“One Nevada lawmaker’s journey from silence to action” does not mean it’s Good Law.

An April Fools day article by Colton Lochhead in the Las Vegas Review-Journal perhaps, by many, could be considered an Aprill Fools Prank if it were not so serious to everyone attending the joint Assembly-Senate hearing in Carson city on AB291, introduced this session by Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui.

The article, chronicles, Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui’s journey from Route 91 as a participant in the most horrific mass shooting in our countries history.  It was a horrific and tragic night for those that died, those that were injured, everyone who was there, their friends, their families and everyone else that learned of/or watched any of the media and images about the incident.

“Vegas Strong” became the mantra of everyone everywhere as victims, friends, families, neighbors, emergency personnel and everyone else that was touched by the incident, whether they were there or not.

Las Vegas Metro is still slowly releasing documentation from the incident over a year later.

I do not know anyone that was Not horribly impacted as a result of that event. However, what we do with those feelings and emotions is important too.

Writing and passing a law, that nowhere within its text, purpose or understanding, does one additional thing that could prevent such a horrific event from happening again in the future, is not productive use for all of our emotions of this incident.

Please don’t let all of these very real legitimate emotions cause us to do things that won’t help our community and in fact actually will complicate our lives.

“BumpStock”,  a legally acquired accessory for sport shooting, was part of what was used by the shooter that night.  Basically, a tool that lets the forces of the firing of the gun continue the firing via the shooter’s finger without the shooter squeezing the trigger over and over again.  Many believed that automatic weapon/s were being fired that night.

The device is scary to many people both as an observer and many as actual shooters also.  AB291 starts as a state law making “BumpStock” accessories illegal without clearly defining what they are and how they do it.

In spite of the fact that the Federal Government has already made these devices illegal through regulation that became effective just two weeks ago, there is no amendment to take this language out of the bill. This language is unnecessary and redundant in intention as the current federal law.  The vague and dangerous method of defining what was used has great potential to impact good honest citizens unintentionally.  This part of the bill has absolutely no additional benefit to the people of Nevada and their safety.

The next issue with the bill is not clear to anyone without a bit of knowledge about Nevada state gun law history.  Current Nevada laws referred to as preemptive are on the books that have removed the power of local government, cities, and counties, to make gun-related law or ordinances that are not codified in state law.

The reasons and intentions of the Nevada Legislature were very practical and important then as they are today. They made it so that the very mobile population and tourists could move about through the whole state and know that they are not accidentally violating gun laws when they move from city to city or county to county or between a city and unincorporated county.

The language above and beyond the unnecessary “BumpStock” related restrictions discussed above are intent on one purpose and one purpose only, to add more confusion and bureaucracy to the daily lives and gun laws of our state by removing the current preemptions.

I urge our state legislators to amend, removing such language before any consideration of the bill ab291.

Last but not least. a third aspect of the new law being put forth here is changing the Blood Alcohol Level restriction to be the same as they are in motor vehicle DUI laws, 0.08. The only aspect of this bill ab291 that has any practical credibility or value to the population of Nevada.

Selling this legislation to the people of Nevada as an effective hinderance above and beyond any of the currently enacted Federal Regulations on “BumpStocks”, is not only unjust, deceiving and purely unethical, but dishonors everyone that was killed, injured or impacted by the events of 1 October.


NRA WIN: Federal Court Strikes Down California’s Gun Magazine Ban

Posted on March 29, 2019 ~ by Ammoland

California – -(AmmoLand.com)- Today, a federal district court issued a decision permanently enjoining California from enforcing its restrictions on standard capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

This monumental victory comes in the NRA and CRPA supported lawsuit titled Duncan v. Becerra, which challenges all of California’s laws banning so-called “large-capacity” magazines.

In issuing its decision, the court notes that “[c]onstitutional rights stand through time holding fast through the ebb and flow of current controversy,” and that governments cannot turn “millions of responsible, law-abiding people trying to protect themselves into criminals” for simply exercising their Second Amendment rights.

California will no doubt appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit. Given that Duncan is not yet final, California gun owners should still exercise caution when interacting with law enforcement. NRA and CRPA attorneys will soon update members on what exactly this ruling means for California gun owners.

More details and guidance will be provided in future NRA and CRPA information bulletins. To stay up-to-date on the Duncan case and other important Second Amendment issues affecting California gun owners, visit www.nraila.org/campaigns/california/stand-and-fight-california/. And be sure to subscribe to NRA-ILA and CRPA email alerts by visiting www.nraila.org/sign-up and www.crpa.org.

Source: NRA WIN: Federal Court Strikes Down California’s Gun Magazine Ban


Autopsy Results – Dennis Hof, Nevada brothel owner, died of heart attack

Brothel owner Dennis Hof, who won a Nevada Assembly seat after his October death, died of a heart attack, according to his autopsy.

Hof, 72, suffered a heart attack due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease, the Clark County coroner’s office report said. Other significant conditions in his death included diabetes and obesity.

Hof also had marijuana chemical compound THC and sildenafil, which can treat erectile dysfunction, in his system at the time of his death, the report said.

The autopsy was released by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday afternoon, several months after his Oct. 16 death.

In November, Hof won a seat representing District 36 in the Nevada Assembly.

Source: Dennis Hof, Nevada brothel owner, died of heart attack


Rick Perry agrees to provide timeline on removing plutonium from Nevada

By Colton Lochhead ~ Special to the Pahrump Valley Times ~ March 27, 2019 – 7:00 am

Earlier this month, Cortez Masto pledged to hold up nominees for the U.S. Department of Energy until she received a commitment from Perry that no more plutonium would be shipped into the state and a time frame for when the half-metric ton that the Energy Department already shipped to a federal site roughly 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas last fall would be removed.

Rick Perry, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017.

Cortez Masto, speaking to reporters in Carson City after addressing a joint session of the Nevada Legislature, said Perry called her earlier this month to voice his concerns with her hold on his department’s nominees. She said she wanted his commitment in writing before she would lift her hold.

“We had a very good, cordial conversation. He said he would give me that commitment, so we left that conversation with both of us agreeing to have designated staff to work on the written letter, and we’ll go from there,” Cortez Masto said March 20.

The state’s senior senator said they discussed a three- to five-year time frame, but she added she’s “waiting to see what I have in writing.”

In August, the Energy Department sent a letter to Nevada officials, notifying them of plans to ship half a metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to the Nevada National Security Site in Nye County.

The state filed an injunction in late November asking a federal court to block the Trump administration from shipping the radioactive material.

But weeks after the case was argued in federal court, the Energy Department disclosed that it already had shipped the plutonium into the state sometime before November, which drew rebukes from Gov. Steve Sisolak, Cortez Masto and Nevada’s other federal delegates.

U.S. Sen. Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, was one of 10 Democrats to support Rick Perry’s nomination as energy secretary in 2017.

Cortez Masto was one of 10 Democrats to support Perry’s nomination as energy secretary in 2017.

Last week, she said she regrets that vote because of the way he and the Energy Department handled the plutonium shipment and Perry’s push to revive Yucca Mountain.

“The conversations we had in private in my office at the time there in the Senate turned out to be very different than what his commitment is now,” Cortez Masto said. “What I was looking for was somebody who was willing to work with me and with the state of Nevada and be candid. What I saw here, just shipping this plutonium here, they weren’t even candid with the federal court.”

“I think it was outrageous and unconscionable that not only would the Energy Department disregard the governor and governor’s staff, but then lie to a federal court about it,” she said.

Source: Rick Perry agrees to provide timeline on removing plutonium from Nevada


Memorial Diamonds make Lasting Memories When they are Created With The Cremated Remains of a Loved One

When a person dies, cremation is an increasingly popular option. The practice eclipsed burials in the US in 2015 and is expected to make up more than half of all body disposals by 2020, according to the Cremation Association of North America.

But instead of storing a loved one’s cremains in an urn or sprinkling them outside, a growing number of bereaved consumers are doing something more adventurous: forging the ashes into diamonds.

This is possible because carbon is the second-most-abundant atomic element in the human body, and diamonds are made of crystallized carbon. Researchers have also improved ways to grow diamonds in the lab in recent years.

While at least five companies offer a “memorial diamond” service, Algordanza in Switzerland is one of the industry leaders — its services are available in 33 countries, and the company told Business Insider it sold nearly 1,000 corporeal gems in 2016. Algordanza also claims to be the only company of its kind that operates its own diamond-growing lab for cremains — one of two in the world. (The other is in Russia.)

“It allows someone to keep their loved one with them forever,” Christina Martoia, a spokeswoman for Algordanza US, told Business Insider. “We’re bringing joy out of something that is, for a lot of people, a lot of pain.”

Here’s how the company uses extreme heat and pressure to turn dead people — and sometimes animals — into sparkling gems of all sizes, cuts, and colors.

Making a diamond from a dead person begins with cremation. The process typically leaves behind about 5 to 10 pounds of ashes, a small portion of which is carbon.

Making a diamond from a dead person begins with cremation. The process typically leaves behind about 5 to 10 pounds of ashes, a small portion of which is carbon.

A crematorium oven in Budapest, Hungary.

Styles of cremation differ from culture to culture. Some use hotter temperatures for longer, which allows most carbon to escape into the air as carbon dioxide (which may mean a large amount of ashes are needed to form a diamond). Low-temperature cremation is better in that it ensures a larger amount of a person’s carbon remains to create a diamond.

Martoia said Algordanza required a minimum of 1 pound of cremains. “That’s kind of the magic number, where our engineers can guarantee there will be enough carbon to make a memorial diamond,” she said.

When the company receives ashes from a customer, a technician puts a sample into a special oven to see whether there’s enough carbon to grow a diamond. If there’s not enough, the amount of carbon in a lock of hair can make up the difference.

Once there’s enough carbon, the element is extracted and purified of contaminants like salts. “We use an acidic chemical to get rid of impurities,” Martoia said.

This bumps the carbon purity of the processed ashes to about 99% or greater.

The other 1% contains impurities like boron — an element and micronutrient that helps humans (and other animals) grow bone, heal wounds, and regulate the immune system.

Boron is the impurity that colors the rare blue diamonds found in nature — and is why many “memorial diamonds” come out blue, too.

A round Algordanza memorial diamond made from animal cremains.

“The diamonds can range from clear to very deep blue,” Martoia said. “The more boron, the deeper the blue.”

Round Algordanza memorial diamonds made from animal cremains

 

She added that it’s impossible to predict the exact color a memorial diamond will take on.

“But an interesting thing to note is that our technicians are seeing a correlation in people who have had chemotherapy. Their diamonds tend to come out much lighter,” Martoia said. This may be because chemotherapy leaches away the body’s boron and other important micronutrients.

When Algordanza processes ashes, Martoia says, “it’s nearly impossible to separate out the boron from the carbon.” This is because the two elements share similar weights and properties.

Boron and carbon are similar in size and other atomic properties.

To further purify the carbon to 99.9% or more, technicians pack it into a growing cell that contains iron and cobalt — additives that help remove contaminants.

The cell also contains a tiny diamond to help the carbon crystallize into a rough shape, since carbon crystallizes best when it touches an existing diamond.

The diamond provides a “blueprint” for the carbon to work from, which means the new diamond that eventually forms will require less cutting and polishing.

The final purification step converts the carbon into slippery sheets of graphite — the same type of carbon in pencils. Graphite’s microscopic flat sheets of carbon are an ideal starter material for synthesizing diamonds.

Natural diamonds form out of carbon that gets stuck in lava tubes about a mile deep in the Earth’s crust.

To emulate that environment, Algordanza inserts the cell (now packed with graphite) into a platter and slides it into a high-temperature high-pressure growing machine.

That machine can heat a growth cell to nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. It also squeezes the cell under 870,000 pounds per square inch of pressure.

That’s like the entire mass of the International Space Station bearing down on the face of a wristwatch — then heating it up to a temperature exceeding that of lava.

The International Space Station.NASA

Depending on how big a customer wants his or her diamond to be, it can take six to eight weeks in an HPHT machine to coax graphite to crystallize into a gem. “The larger the diamond, the longer it takes to grow,” Martoia said.

A round Algordanza memorial diamond made from animal cremains.

When enough time has passed, technicians remove the puck of graphite and crack it open.

Inside awaits a rough, uncut, and unpolished diamond.

An Algordanza memorial diamond made from animal cremains.

Some customers take the rough gem, but many opt to have their memorial diamonds cut, faceted, and polished by a jeweler in Switzerland.

A diamond is polished on a rotating automatic cast-iron lap.

Algordanza’s prices start at $3,000 for a 0.3 carat diamond. Martoia said the average order was about 0.4 to 0.5 carat, though US customers usually request bigger, 0.8-carat diamonds.

A rough Algordanza memorial diamond made from animal cremains

But Algordanza can make them much larger: The company recently took a $48,000 order for 2-carat diamond. After 10 months of growth, the resulting gem actually wound up being 1.76-carats — but it’s still the largest memorial diamond ever made by the company.

Orders for diamonds made from human cremains aren’t the only type that Algordanza receives. “First we had the cremains of a German Shepard and now we have cremains of a cat,” Martoia said.

An emerald-cut Algordanza memorial diamond made from animal cremains

Source: Memorial Diamonds make Lasting Memories When they are Created With the Cremated Remains of a Loved Ones

Editorial: Same-day voter registration invites fraud

 

Progressives are always clamoring to make it easier to vote. To that end Democratic state Sen. James Ohrenschall of Las Vegas has introduced Senate Bill 123 that, among other things, would allow people to register to vote on Election Day.

“The purpose of SB123 is to make it more feasible for people to be part of the government of ourselves, by making it easier to register to vote, and offer a few more options to vote during the early voting period,” Ohrenschall said during a recent hearing on his bill, according to The Nevada Independent.

Election officials testified that the bill will cost millions of dollars to implement and take years to adequately change the system to comply.

Additionally, Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria warned, “If same-day registration process is handled with a paper form, other than signing an affidavit affirming that the voter has not already voted in the election, there can be no guarantee that the voter has not registered to vote at another location on Election Day. Not until after the election will clerks have the ability to identify that the voter has not voted at another site, which is problematic.”

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, calls same-day voter registration a prescription for fraud and says it does almost nothing to increase voter participation.

“Allowing a voter to both register and vote on Election Day makes it nearly impossible to prevent duplicate votes in different areas or to verify the accuracy of any information provided by a voter,” von Spakovsky writes. “Election officials are unable to check the authenticity of a registration or the eligibility and qualifications of a registrant by comparing the registration information to other state and federal databases that provide information not just on identity, but also on citizenship status and whether the individual in question is a felon whose voting rights have been suspended. Since Election Day registrants cast a regular ballot, even if election officials determine that the registration was invalid after the election, they have no means of discounting the ballot.”

He notes that Wisconsin allows same-day registration and after a comprehensive investigation of voter fraud in the 2004 election, the Milwaukee Police Department concluded that the “one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of fraud or the appearance of fraudulent voting in any given Election is the elimination of the On-Site or Same-Day voter registration system.”

Von Spakovsky also points out that Oregon dumped its same-day registration law after a cult tried to take over a county by planning to bring in large numbers of nonresidents, many of them homeless, to flood the polls with ineligible voters.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said at a Heritage Foundation meeting in 2013 that voters can make up names and addresses and go from poll to poll to vote, and there is no automated system that can stop such nefarious deeds.

While Election Day registration invites fraud, it does little to actually increase turnout.

In 2008, according to von Spakovsky, four of the eight states with same-day registration reported lower turnout than in 2004. The state with the largest decrease in turnout in 2008 was Maine, which also has Election Day registration.

“It has always been abundantly clear that, after four decades of making it easier to vote and having turnout decline (among most groups) except for elections driven by fear and anger,” wrote Curtis Gans of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate in 2008, “the central issue governing turnout is not procedure but motivation. These new procedures, except for Election Day registration for some states, don’t help turnout and pose some discrete dangers for American democracy.”

In Nevada one can already register online or at the DMV or any county elections office.

The risks of fraud due to Election Day registration far outweigh any convenience for those too lazy or disinterested to register to vote by the deadline before each election.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: Same-day voter registration invites fraud


The Cavemen Capitalist: how wealth was created from nothing

By Joe Jarvis – March 14, 2019

The natural state of human existence is abject poverty. That’s the starting point–naked, hungry, and homeless.

Any effort towards survival is the most basic form of wealth creation.

Labor is a key element in creating any wealth. Even cupping your hands together to draw water from a stream is labor. And it is required to survive. That is a rudimentary form of wealth trickling down your throat.

But wealth also requires property. In order to drink that life-sustaining water, you must hold exclusive rights over that water, at that moment.

Your labor turned a previously unclaimed natural resource into your property. And that raised your standard of living… from dehydrating to death, to being quenched.

In a complex economy, you don’t have to do all the labor yourself. You don’t even have to own all the property that you use to create wealth.

But the same basic laws apply:

    • We cannot survive without labor and property (even if you call them something different).
    • Let’s use another primitive example to help us understand how more complex economies develop.

How a Caveman Capitalist Creates Wealth

      1. A stick is a natural resource.
      2. A caveman picks up an unclaimed stick, and it becomes his property.
      3. He uses his time and energy (labor) to sharpen the stick. It becomes more valuable than the stick in its original form (the product of his labor).
      4. And when he impales a rabbit, he has used his wealth (the sharpened stick) plus his labor (the thrust) to produce more wealth (a dead rabbit to eat).
      5. The caveman accumulates more rabbits than he can eat (capital).
      6. So he trades five rabbits for a bow and arrow (the product of someone else’s labor).
      7. Now he can rapidly accumulate even more rabbits (capital).
      8. He trades more rabbits for more bows and arrows. He distributes these bows and arrows to other cavemen under the condition that they give him 1 out of every 3 rabbits they hunt (employment). The entire village is now flush with rabbits.
      9. Rabbit jerky becomes the medium of exchange (money). This means the mushroom gatherer doesn’t have to worry about not having enough protein, and neither does the forager or the fire tender. They can now specialize in what they are good at, and trade their labor for rabbit jerky (which can buy other products and services). The entire village becomes flush with warmth, mushrooms, berries, and greens.
      10. The Caveman Capitalist trades rabbit jerky for materials to build a hut. He trades jerky to workmen to build the hut. He trades jerky for someone to cook for him, and to guard his hut. And all the pretty cavewomen want to get their hands on his jerky.
      11. Now that survival is guaranteed, people can focus on comfort and quality of life. Everyone can afford a hut, someone starts producing medicine, another invents beds, and someone else the wheel. And why forage when you can plant the seed right in your backyard? Now, most village children live past infancy. (The overall standard of living of the village has increased.)
      12. People have so much extra free time without having to constantly fight for survival, some weirdo figures out rabbits will actually keep breeding inside a cage, so you really don’t have to hunt.
      13. Uh oh! How is the Caveman Capitalist going to create wealth now that his industry (hunting rabbits) has been upset? He starts picking the cutest wolves and breeding them (innovation). Turns out, everyone loves the freakish results! And they are actually pretty useful too.
      14. And so on and so forth, until the people with the highest standard of living in human history complain about capitalism on their iPhones.
  • It’s all because this one Caveman Capitalist started accumulating wealth.
  • Discussion Questions:
  • At step 5, does the caveman capitalist become a bad man for accumulating more rabbits than he could eat?
    • Would the village standard of living have increased if he hadn’t?
  • At step 8, should the hunters have been allowed to seize his means of production (the bow and arrow) in order to keep all of the rabbits they hunted?
    • Could they have bought their own bows and arrows if they were able to hunt extra rabbits?
    • What would have happened to the village’s standard of living if they hadtaken his equipment by force?
  • At step 10 should the builders have been able to keep the hut they built for the Caveman Capitalist, even though they agreed to take rabbits in exchange for their labor?
    • How would they have gotten the rabbits they needed without building the hut for him?
    • Do you think they considered building huts more desirable than hunting rabbits themselves?
  • Should the village be able to use their strength in numbers to take all the Caveman Capitalist’s jerky, even without providing him any value in return?
  • Is rabbit jerky the root of all evil?
  1. If you answered Yes to any of these five main questions above, you’re a socialist.
  2. And if you got your way, the entire village would still be in abject poverty.
  3. Nice job commie. (You’re not allowed to be offended by this comment if you are reading this on anything besides scratched tree-bark.)

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

Source: The Cavemen Capitalist: how wealth was created from nothing


Everything You Know About the Civil War is Wrong

RePrint ~ Jonathan Clark   ~

The Civil War is perhaps the most misunderstood event in the history of the United States while ironically, appears to be the single historical event most Americans believe they fully comprehend.

It’s likely difficult for many of us — and nearly impossible for younger generations — to imagine a world without air conditioning, refrigeration, and amply-filled grocery stores. Which is nothing to say of a life without the Internet, smartphones, and Amazon.

Consider for a moment that just over a hundred years ago, many Americans didn’t live to see their fiftieth birthday — and the most common cause of death was dysentery.

Life in 1860 America, the year Abraham Lincoln was elected president, was nothing like it is today.

The Southern states were mostly rural, and agriculture was the primary industry while in the North, the industrial revolution was in its infancy. Few Americans had more than a primary school education, and medicine was one level above medieval.

And yet, too many of us mistakenly believe we can make value judgments about a time of which we know little.

To truly understand any historical event, one must study it within the proper context — what is commonly referred to as “contextualization.” But as generation after generation pass, we internalize notions about why people behaved the way they did in the past.

And often, we interpret stories of events through the lens of popular culture — many of which are not entirely accurate.

The American Civil War is chief among these.

For most of us (including me), we attended public schools where we were provided roughly the same instruction regarding the Civil War: Our country was composed of the North, where people opposed slavery, and the South where slavery was embraced. Abraham Lincoln rose to the presidency and fought against the South to end slavery and saved the Union.

Like most of my high school peers, this story seemed plausible enough to me and after all, it ended happily: Slaves were freed and the Union remained intact.

Plausible enough until I read a couple of books by Charles Adams, a tax historian and author from New England — hardly a Southern extremist with an ax to grind.

In these fascinating books, Adams explores how taxation affected historical events and how the popular interpretation of the Civil War survives in the face of some obvious facts.

I had to revise my thinking.

Consider that throughout the presidential campaign of 1860, then-candidate Abraham Lincoln had all but promised not to interfere with Southern slavery, which he reiterated in his first presidential inaugural address.

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

This seems to run contrary to conventional thinking. Wasn’t he an abolitionist?

Furthermore, Lincoln promised to enforce the fugitive slave laws as president — laws passed by Congress in 1793 and 1850 to provide for the return of slaves who escaped from one state into another state or territory.

Indeed, Southern secession would have made slavery more precarious without the protection of the Constitution and the Supreme Court. From a slave property standpoint, staying in the Union made more sense than leaving.

Adding further confusion are the numerous accounts from contemporary newspapers from the North, South, and Europe — all of which tell the tale of a “tariff war,” not the popularly-held notion that the Civil War was a “war against slavery.”

But if the war wasn’t over slavery, what then?

Like most historical events, this too was complicated.

It’s too easy to assign blame for the Civil War on the South and slavery — and intellectually lazy.

Like many other conflicts, the Civil War was decades in the making and the culmination of unresolved issues between the Northern and Southern states. And it finally came to a head during the 1860 presidential campaign and election.

To fully understand the Civil War, it’s vital to recognize that we are dealing with two separate issues: The cause for secession and the cause of the war.

Let’s begin with secession.

In 1860, nearly all federal tax revenue was generated by tariffs — there were no personal or corporate income taxes. And the Southern states were paying the majority (approximately eighty percent) of the tariffs with an impending new tariff that would nearly triple the rate of taxation.

Adding insult to injury, much of the tax revenues collected from imports in the South went to Northern industrial interests and had been for decades. The 1860 Republican platform promised more of the same, which was further eroding the trust of Southerners.

Remember that slave labor practices of the South contrasted greatly with the industries of the North. Without slave labor, most Southern plantations wouldn’t have survived; there simply weren’t enough workers. Slavery was inextricably linked to the South.

While the issue of slavery was, in fact, a primary concern for the South, the secessionist movement began decades before the Civil War.

In 1828, Congress passed a tariff of sixty-two percent which applied to nearly all imported goods. The purpose of the tariff was to protect Northern industries from low-priced imported goods. But it effectively increased the cost of goods for the South, which sans manufacturing capacity, relied heavily on imported goods.

At the same time, the tariff reduced the amount of British goods sold to the South, effectively making it more difficult for the British to pay for Southern cotton. It’s no wonder the South would refer to the Tariff of 1828 as the “Tariff of Abominations.”

The government of South Carolina declared the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable, creating a precarious situation between the state and the federal government. Of little surprise, President Andrew Jackson refused to accept South Carolina’s defiance. Without the Compromise Tariff of 1833, it’s likely that South Carolina would have moved to secede from the Union.

While the crisis was averted, tensions between the North and the South were just beginning to grow.

More tariffs in 1842 and 1857 along with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision worked to further divide the country. In May of 1860, the House of Representatives passed the Morrill Tariff Bill, the twelfth of seventeen planks in the platform of the incoming Republican Party — and a priority for the soon-to-be-elected new president.

Charles Dickens, from his journal, All the Year Round, observed, “The last grievance of the South was the Morrill tariff, passed as an election bribe to the State of Pennsylvania, imposing, among other things, a duty of no less than fifty per cent on the importation of pig iron, in which that State is especially interested.” (1)

Soon after, America elected its first “sectionalist” president: Abraham Lincoln. And the rupture of the Union was finally at hand.

On December 20th, 1860, South Carolina voted unanimously to secede. Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana soon followed and before Lincoln’s inauguration, Texas and Georgia would be added to the list.

At the outset of the war, Lincoln called on volunteers from all states to “put down the rebellion.” Refusing to bear arms against their Southern brethren, Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee seceded.

Of the eleven seceding states, only six cited slavery as the primary cause for leaving the Union. (2)

The war to save the Union.

To understand how the war began, we should begin with the words of Abraham Lincoln.

“I have no purpose, directly or in-directly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. Those who nominated and elected me did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations and had never recanted them,” Lincoln said in his first inaugural on March 4, 1860. (3)

While promising not “to interfere with the institution of slavery,” Lincoln also argued, “no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union.”

Then he threw down the gauntlet against rebellion.

In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.” (Emphasis mine)

Lincoln argued that secession was legally and constitutionally impossible, a view that stood in stark contrast to his stated beliefs while a member of Congress just twelve years prior.

In a speech in the House of Representatives regarding the war with Mexico, Lincoln argued in favor of secession.

Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right — a right which, we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.(4)

Perhaps his views changed between his time in Congress and becoming president. But it’s doubtful given his involvement in the creation of the state of West Virginia during the Civil War, which provided his party additional electoral votes and congressional representation — an act Lincoln’s own attorney general believed was unconstitutional.

In a December 1862 written statement, Attorney General Edward Bates declared, “I observe, in the first place, that the Congress can admit new States into this Union, but cannot form States: Congress has no creative power, in that respect; and cannot admit into this Union, any territory, district or other political entity, less than a State. And such State must exist, as a separate independent body politic, before it can be admitted, under that clause of the Constitution — and there is no other clause.” (5)

It seems that Lincoln wasn’t opposed to secession if it served his political purposes. But now as president of a divided country, he was facing a challenge of potentially dire economic consequences: Should the Southern states have been allowed to leave the Union unmolested, they would have taken with them millions in tax revenues.

After the first states seceded, many in the Northern press expressed opposition to war with the South. Writing in the New York Tribune, Horace Greeley declared, “We hope never to live in a republic where one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets.” (6)

The Tribune was among the great newspapers of its time, an influential journal of the Republican party, and Greeley was among the day’s opinion leaders.

Moreover, many of Lincoln’s advisors also recommended against any action that might lead to a war with the South. Even Lincoln’s top Army commander wanted nothing to do with war. “Let the wayward sisters depart in peace,” urged General Winfield Scott.

Secretary of State, William Seward, also advised the new president to let the rebellious states go and avoid actions that could upset the states of the upper-South. He thought that eventually, the aggrieved states would see the error of their ways and campaign for reunification. “I do not think it wise to provoke a Civil War beginning in Charleston and in rescue of an untenable position,’’ Seward insisted.

But it didn’t take long before Northern newspaper editors did the math and realized what secession really meant for Northern enterprises. In addition to the loss of tax revenue, the South’s free trade position would’ve had dire consequences for Northern ports.

In his inaugural speech as Governor of South Carolina, Francis W. Picks pledged the state would “open her ports free to the tonnage and trade of all nations” should secession occur.

The Chicago Times foretold the impending economic disaster.

In one single blow our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one-half what it now is. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One-half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all of its immense profits. Our manufactories would be in utter ruins. Let the South adopt the free-trade system, or that of a tariff for revenue, and these results would likely follow.”

Consider this dire warning from the New York Evening Post in March of 1862:

That either the revenue from duties must be collected in the ports of the rebel states, or the port must be closed to importations from abroad, is generally admitted. If neither of these things be done, our revenue laws are substantially repealed; the sources which supply our treasury will be dried up; we shall have no money to carry on the government; the nation will become bankrupt before the next crop of corn is ripe.(7)

In the British journal, All the Year Round,“ Charles Dickens observed, “Union means so many millions a year lost to the South; secession means the loss of the same millions to the North. The love of money is the root of this as of many other evils.

Meanwhile, hundreds of commercial importers in New York and Boston refused to pay duties on imported goods unless the same were collected at Southern ports. This was after the state of New York considered leaving the Union and joining “our aggrieved brethren of the Slave States.” (8)

Now, it’s important to understand that Lincoln entered the presidency on shaky political ground.

Even though he was elected president, he had done so with almost no support from the South and less than forty percent of the popular vote. And in a move that many refer to as “political genius,” Lincoln appointed his political rivals to cabinet positions, ostensibly to destroy enemies by making them friends — a move that would lead to disloyalty and backroom drama.

Moreover, those cabinet appointments caused disappointment with allies who had supported Lincoln’s candidacy. Joseph Medill of the Chicago Tribune was especially miffed he didn’t receive anything from the new president saying, “We made Abe and by God — we can unmake him.(9)

Meanwhile, the South was moving forward to organize as a new nation. On February 8, 1861, the Confederate States of America (CSA) was formed and inaugurated Jefferson Davis as its president. There was, it seemed, no way to remedy the secession issue and its associated financial stress on the North — except by forcing the South to rejoin the Union.

But the last thing the Confederacy wanted was a war with Lincoln.

In fact, soon after Jefferson Davis became the first president of the CSA, he dispatched a commission to Washington, DC to negotiate a treaty and an offer to pay for all Federal property in the South. (10) But Lincoln refused to meet with the emissaries, believing acknowledgment would discredit his position that secession was illegal.

And that thinking also thwarted the final attempt to resolve the dilemma through peaceful means.

Lincoln coaxes the South into war.

At the time Southern states began seceding, many of the Union forts within their borders were abandoned, save a few. Consider that the US Military (and government) at the start of the Civil War resembled little like what we have today. The United States had a standing army of about sixteen thousand men in 1861, most of whom served in poorly equipped outposts.

Fort Sumter, a sparsely populated duty collection point in Charleston harbor, was one of the few forts where Union personnel remained. As was evident from Lincoln’s contemporaries, an attempt to send Union troops into any of the Confederate states would provoke a war.

Lincoln knew that if South Carolina and the Confederacy allowed the fort to be provisioned, it would make a mockery of their sovereignty. And if the Confederacy fired on the Union ships, it would have been the Confederacy, not Lincoln who fired the first shots of the war.

“He was a master of the situation,” wrote Lincoln’s private secretaries John G. Nicolay and John Hay. “Master if the rebels hesitated or repented, because they would thereby forfeit their prestige with the South; master if they persisted, for he would then command a united North.” (11)

Lincoln knew what he was doing when he ordered Fort Sumter to be resupplied. He was a cunning politician and Fort Sumter was his opportunity. He seized it believing it would be a short war. He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Viewing the Civil War as a crusade to end slavery is simply not correct; abolitionists never accounted for more than a sizeable minority in the North. The cause of war in 1861 wasn’t slavery. It was about the loss of millions in tax revenues.

Nor was it a Civil War. The Confederate states had no aspirations to rule the Union any more than George Washington sought control over Great Britain in 1776. In both the American Revolutionary War and the “Civil War,” independence was the goal.

The original quagmire.

The idea that the Civil War was some sort of a morality play about freeing Southern slaves is an ideological distortion that obfuscates many of the atrocities that occurred during and after the war.

But if we accept the idea that Lincoln was waging war to free the slaves, it helps justify the loss of over 600,000 American lives. Not to mention the financial cost of the war, which many historians believe could have been avoided.

Indeed, this wasn’t the first time a United States president had faced the issue of secession.

From 1800 to 1815, three serious attempts at secession were orchestrated by New England Federalists, who were infuriated by what they believed was unconstitutional acts by President Thomas Jefferson.

Among the voices for secession was Connecticut Senator James Hillhouse who declared, “The Eastern States must and will dissolve the Union and form a separate government. I will rather anticipate a new confederacy, exempt from the corrupt and corrupting influence and oppression of the aristocratic Democrats of the South.”

“There will be — and our children at farthest will see it — a separation. The white and black population will mark the boundary,” wrote Timothy Pickering, the prominent Senator from Massachusetts. (12)

It was the belief of Hillhouse, Pickering, John Quincy Adams, and others that the South was gaining too much power and influence at a cost to the New England states.

What was Jefferson’s response to the threat of secession? It certainly wasn’t war.

“Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part.” (13)

“Events may prove it otherwise; and if they see their interest in separation, why should we take side with our Atlantic rather than our Missipi descendants? It is the elder and the younger son differing. God bless them both, & keep them in union, if it be for their good, but separate them, if it be better.” (14)

From all outward accounts, Lincoln wanted a war with the South — some might say he needed it — and that’s what he got. The loss of tax revenues from the Southern ports would not go unpunished as he promised in his inaugural address.

But after more than a year at war, the Union’s prospects for victory were in doubt.

Losses to the Army in significant battles had the Union mired in a bloody quagmire. Moreover, Britain and France were considering support for the Confederacy by recognizing it as a sovereign country, which could have concretized secession and put Lincoln’s forces at risk of having to fight against Confederate allies from Europe.

It’s important to recognize that up until September 1862, the stated purpose of the war had been to preserve the Union. With the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln sought to change the focus of the war.

But the Emancipation Proclamation freed no one. Not a single slave.

“. . . all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” (15)

Only the Southern states were “in rebellion” and Lincoln had no control over the Confederacy. Nor did he have the power to free the slaves in the South or the Union. That would require a Constitutional Amendment, which wouldn’t occur until after the Civil War. In 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery.

Indeed, this was a last-ditch effort to cripple the Confederate Army. Lincoln hoped that it would entice Southern slaves to leave and join the ranks of the Union Army, depleting the Confederacy’s labor force, which was sorely needed to wage war against the Union.

Woodrow Wilson, writing in History of the American People, proposed that, “It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery.”(16)

Prior to the proclamation, Lincoln confessed to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.” (17)

Charles Dickens observed of the proclamation, “The Northern onslaught upon slavery is no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern states.” (18)

Myths which are widely believed tend to become truth.

It really is remarkable how many of our popularly-held beliefs about the Civil War fail critical scrutiny. Not just the causes of secession and the war, but many other elements of the period.

The most incredible of these myths is that of our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. For all that has been written about Lincoln, so few texts accurately portray his presidency.

One has only to spend a little time on the Internet reading his own words to witness the legend of Lincoln fall apart.

“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.” (19)

While denying the charge that he was an abolitionist at a presidential debate, Abraham Lincoln expressed his views about the “black race,” all of whom he thought should be sent back to Africa or to an island in the Caribbean. In his speech on the Dred Scott decision:

“I have said that the separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation. I have no right to say all the members of the Republican party are in favor of this, nor to say that as a party they are in favor of it. There is nothing in their platform directly on the subject. But I can say a very large proportion of its members are for it, and that the chief plank in their platform-opposition to the spread of slavery-is most favorable to that separation. Such separation, if ever effected at all, must be effected by colonization.” (20)

While any reasonable person today would find these remarks abhorrent and bigoted, it was not outside the popular thinking of the period. In fact, the idea of the colonization of blacks was so popular that Lincoln proposed it as an amendment to the Constitution in his second annual message to Congress in 1862. (21)

Colonization was a staple of Lincoln’s speeches and public comments from 1854 until about 1863. Lincoln’s views on race contrast sharply with his modern era image of the “Great Emancipator.”

Indeed, his public remarks, which are well-documented, indicate he had little regard for blacks.

“I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races.” (22)

And this is where the myth of the sympathetic North begins to unravel as well. While there was a strong abolitionist movement in the North, it was so small that Lincoln and other politicians didn’t associate themselves with it.

Contrary to popular modern-day belief, most white Northerners treated blacks with disdain, discrimination, and violence during the period leading up to the Civil War. Blacks were not allowed to vote, marry, or use the judicial system. In many ways, blacks were treated worse before the Civil War than during the Jim Crow era in the South.

As Alexis de Tocqueville observed in Democracy in America, “the prejudice of the race appears to be stronger in the States which have abolished slavery, than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those States where servitude has never been known.” (23)

While the Emancipation Proclamation gave Lincoln some breathing room, he still had a tough road before him. The Union was having difficulty getting volunteers to fight in the war, so Congress enacted the nation’s first military draft act.

In New York City, a town deeply divided over the war, the new conscription law did not sit well with the general population. Not only were the wealthy allowed to buy their way out of the draft, but it excluded blacks.

The day after the draft lottery got underway, demonstrations broke out across New York City and soon morphed into a violent uprising against the city’s wealthy and black residents. The New York City draft riots lasted four days. Black men were lynched, private property destroyed, and over one hundred people lost their lives. (24)

How did we get here?

Prior to his assassination, Lincoln was often depicted in the contemporary media as cowardly, devious, grotesque, and animal-like. During his presidency and for many years after his death, he was the object of much scorn and derision. (25)

It’s not difficult to understand why.

He started a war without the consent of Congress, had men conscripted into fighting the war, suspended Habeas Corpus, (26) had cities burned, imprisoned political enemies, and had dissenting newspapers shut down and the owners imprisoned. (27)

With so much overwhelming evidence available today, how does the fable of Lincoln and his War continue? I propose it’s partly because the average American is relatively ignorant of history and geography, which survey after survey reveal.

A 2015 survey released by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni revealed only half the American public could correctly identify when the Civil War took place. (28)

Moreover, popular culture has played a significant role in shaping perceptions which seems to have begun in 1906, when Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews published The Perfect Tribute.

The story depicted Lincoln writing and delivering the Gettysburg Address but thinking it was an utter failure. Later, he comforts a Confederate Captain as he dies in a prison hospital, and the Captain, who does not recognize him, praises the Address as “one of the great speeches in history”.

The wildly popular story, which was largely responsible for the myth that Lincoln wrote the Address on the train in route to Gettysburg, was assigned reading for many generations of school children in the United States.

Additionally, John Wilkes Booth made a martyr out of Lincoln. From which, his legacy was reconstructed through written accounts (more than 16,000 books have been published), memorialized on Mount Rushmore and in the lavish memorial in Washington, DC, and lionized in movies.

Finally, the Republican Party controlled national politics and set the national tone for almost three-quarters of a century following the Civil War, winning sixteen of eighteen presidential elections.

Most texts about the Civil War and biographies of Abraham Lincoln gloss over his shortcomings with the excuse that the ends somehow justified the means. But as historians continue to excavate Lincoln’s life and times, with each unturned stone, another fable is tarnished, and truth revealed.

Further reading.

I recommend Those Dirty Rotten Taxes: The Tax Revolts that Built America and When in the Course of Human Events by Charles Adams. Also, The Real Lincolnby Thomas J. Dilorenzo.

All three books are well-written and well-cited.

Notes:

(1) All the Year Round: A Weekly Journal, Volume 6: http://bit.ly/2h2K3fh

(2) Ordinance of Secession, Wikipedia: http://bit.ly/2z3TWQH

(3) First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln: http://bit.ly/2z3LrF7

(4) The War With Mexico: Speech in the United States House of Representatives:http://bit.ly/2znmLYJ

(5) West Virginia Archives & History: http://bit.ly/2A6OMB2

(6) Liberty and Union: A Constitutional History of the United States, Volume 1: http://bit.ly/2gRJVvg

(7) New York Evening Post, March 12, 1861: http://bit.ly/2A4O7Ad

(8) HistoryNet: http://bit.ly/2z9HdM2

(9) Lincoln’s Herndon: http://bit.ly/2io3IT8

(10) Causes of the Civil War: The Differences Between the North and South:http://bit.ly/2z4ofnM

(11) Abraham Lincoln, a Man of Faith and Courage: Stories of Our Most Admired: http://bit.ly/2ylDeN9

(12) Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels: http://bit.ly/2iSnjiy

(13) The Letters of Thomas Jefferson 1743–1826: http://bit.ly/2ilhTbS

(14) The Letters of Thomas Jefferson 1743–1826: http://bit.ly/2A0fAls

(15) HistoryNet, Emancipation Proclamation Full Text: http://bit.ly/2A7ud7t

(16) A History of the American People: Critical Changes and Civil War:http://bit.ly/2z4NMNK

(17) Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln: http://bit.ly/2gT3L9d

(18) History Today Volume 61 Issue 9 September 2011: http://bit.ly/2gTOQvO

(19) Lincoln–Douglas debates, Wikipedia: http://bit.ly/2hwqEjw

(20) Speech on the Dred Scott Decision, Abraham Lincoln: http://bit.ly/2z4r4Fo

(21) President Lincoln’s Second Annual Message December 1, 1862:http://bit.ly/2z8LTBH

(22) The Lincoln-Douglas Debates 6th Debate Part I: http://bit.ly/2zpcBHa

(23) Democracy in America — Volume 1: http://bit.ly/2zYhhzZ

(24) New York Draft Riots, History.com: http://bit.ly/2zXxl50

(25) The Lehrman Institute, Abraham Lincoln’s Classroom:http://bit.ly/2A6MZvE

(26) President Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War, History.com: http://bit.ly/2z3A8wV

(27) President Abraham Lincoln Executive Order — Arrest and Imprisonment of Irresponsible Newspaper Reporters and Editors: http://bit.ly/2zY2YeP

(28) ACTA Survey, April 14, 2015: http://bit.ly/2A6NKF0

Source: Everything You Know About the Civil War is Wrong


US Rural Sheriffs Defy New Gun Measures

SANTA FE, N.M.—In swaths of rural America, county sheriffs, prosecutors and other local officials are mounting resistance to gun-control measures moving through legislatures in Democratic-led states.

The “Second Amendment sanctuary” movement has taken hold in more than 100 counties in several states, including New Mexico and Illinois, where local law-enforcement and county leaders are saying they won’t enforce new legislation that infringes on the constitutional right to bear arms.

For instance, in New Mexico, 30 of 33 county sheriffs have signed a letter pledging to not help enforce several gun-control measures supported by Democrats in Santa Fe, according to the state’s sheriff association. The sheriffs, who are elected, say they are heeding the wishes of voters in the counties they serve. More than two dozen counties in the state have enacted “sanctuary” resolutions backing the sheriffs and affirming that no tax dollars in their jurisdictions should go to enforcing the proposed laws.

Nationwide, some see their battle as a conservative version of the “sanctuary” resistance to the Trump administration’s illegal-immigration crackdown led by Democratic mayors in major cities like New York and Los Angeles.

“If a state or city can become a sanctuary for illegal immigration, then we can become a sanctuary for Second Amendment rights,” said Russell Shafer, sheriff of Quay County in eastern New Mexico.

Despite the resistance, New Mexico Democrats are forging ahead with their bills: Legislation requiring background checks for most private gun sales was signed into law Friday but still faces a potential roadblock from the Republicans in the state’s House of Representatives, who are trying to put the measure before voters next year.

Democrats are also pushing a mental-health measure that would make it easier to confiscate weapons from people feared to be a safety threat.

The state’s newly elected Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, supports the bills. She said the sheriffs’ resistance undermines public safety, and in recent tweets, mocked the rural revolt as “rogue sheriffs throwing a childish pity party.”

Elsewhere, about 60 counties in Illinois have approved—some by ballot measures—pro-Second Amendment resolutions, according to the Illinois State Rifle Association. Sheriffs have been more muted in Illinois, but at least a half-dozen Republican and Democratic county prosecutors in southern Illinois are objecting to a bill introduced this year that would ban commonly owned semiautomatic weapons.

More than half of Washington State Sheriffs have denounced a gun-control package approved by voters last year as an unconstitutional and unenforceable step toward banning semiautomatic weapons.

The movement has largely underscored the rift between rural and urban areas.

“We’re all part of the same state, but almost all the crime we’re seeing and the weapons we’re seeing are coming out of the city,” said Brandon Zanotti, the Democratic state’s attorney of Williamson County in Illinois located 300 miles south of Chicago.

Mr. Zanotti objects to proposed restrictions on semiautomatic weapons in Illinois because, he says, they would burden law enforcement and turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals.

Sheriffs and prosecutors have discretion to decide whether to arrest or charge someone for committing a crime, but that flexibility is case-by-case, says Norman Williams, a Willamette University law professor. He drew a distinction between prosecutorial discretion and a categorical refusal to enforce a law. The latter undermines the rule of law, he said.

In response to the protest, Washington state Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson recently warned sheriffs that local law enforcement could face liability for not performing background checks for people buying semiautomatic weapons as required under the new law. Some sheriffs, though, have said they aren’t refusing to perform them.

Democratic New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said local officials should comply with state and federal law but declined to say what measures he would take if they don’t.

It isn’t the first time county law enforcement has rebelled against gun-control laws.

In 2013, Colorado sheriffs joined a lawsuit in protest of expanded background checks and restrictions on higher-capacity ammunition magazines that were enacted after mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn.

While the lawsuit against the 2013 legislation was ultimately dismissed, the protesting Colorado sheriffs have very rarely charged anyone with violations, according to Dave Kopel, an attorney and scholar who represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace, left, along with other state law-enforcement officers speak against a bill that would require background checks for all gun sales in Santa Fe, N.M., on Jan. 24, 2019. PHOTO: EDDIE MOORE/ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL/ZUMA PRESS

The legislation spurring protests varies from state to state, ranging from stricter regulation of sales between individuals to wider bans on semiautomatic weapons. “Red-flag” legislation has stirred much of the backlash.

A New Mexico bill passed by the state House would allow family members or those close to a gun owner to ask a court to temporarily confiscate the person’s gun if they think the person poses an immediate danger to themselves or others.

New Mexico sheriffs say that they already have legal ways to disarm dangerous people in emergencies and that the bill fails to protect the due-process rights of gun owners subject to seizure orders. If the “red-flag” bill becomes law, the sheriffs say they are prepared to get judges to reconsider seizure orders if they feel the gun owner hasn’t been granted due process, according to Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace.

A Democratic-backed “red-flag” bill advancing in Colorado is also facing backlash, with Weld County and several others passing resolutions in opposition in recent days.

Some sheriffs have taken issue with the wider “sanctuary” movement. In a recent Facebook post, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder of Colorado said he would “defend the Second Amendment to the death” but questioned whether sheriffs should be the ones interpreting law. “Do people expect a Sheriff, a Chief of Police, a Mayor or ANY elected person to decide if a law is ‘constitutional’ or not?” he wrote.

Mr. Shafer, the Quay County sheriff in New Mexico, said he is just following the will of the public. “I’m getting my guidance from my constituents who voted me into office,” he said.


Editorial: No need for murky water law changes

 

Two bills proposing to alter water use policy are pending in the Nevada Legislature. They are at best problematic.

Assembly Bill 30 appears to give the state engineer greater leeway in the use of monitoring, management and mitigations — known in the jargon as 3M — to resolve conflicts in water rights. The language is rather vague and subject to interpretation.

Assembly Bill 51 appears to give the state engineer more flexibility in what is called conjunctive management of water. While current law treats surface water and groundwater as interchangeable in a basin in the scheme of allocations, AB51 tells the state engineer to adopt regulations that mitigate conflicts between the two water sources.

Nevada water law is based on the concept of prior authorization, in other words the first one to use a water resource has priority or senior water rights. Those who come later, if there is enough water available, have junior rights that must yield to the senior rights if supply becomes inadequate for any reason.

The Great Basin Water Network, an organization that has been fighting attempts for years by the Las Vegas Valley water provider to tap groundwater in eastern Nevada basins, suspects these two bills are intended to give the state engineer the flexibility needed to allow the project to reach fruition.

GBWN says the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s $15 billion groundwater importation plan would pump 58 billion gallons of groundwater annually in a 300-mile pipeline to Las Vegas. They say the Bureau of Land Management has estimated the project would irreparably harm 305 springs, 112 miles of streams, 8,000 acres of wetlands, and 191,000 acres of shrub land habitat.

A federal judge has so far blocked the water grab from Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys, saying the state engineer failed to establish any objective criteria for when mitigation — such as halting pumping — would have to be initiated. The engineer plans to appeal that ruling, but a change in state law could moot that.

GBWN questions the effectiveness of the two bills’ calls for monetary compensation and water replacement to make whole senior water rights owners.

Abby Johnson, GBWN’s president, says in an op-ed she has penned for area newspapers, “From ranchers to environmentalists, there is a consensus that we don’t need to fix what isn’t broken. Nevada water law has served Nevadans well for more than 100 years and continues to serve the public interest. That success, however, has stymied a select few.”

The select few, Johnson says, include real estate developers and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which has “not had much luck in recent years getting what they want under the current legal and regulatory framework. Why? Because what they want is to facilitate unsustainable over-pumping of the state’s fragile, limited groundwater resources.”

She adds, “ The problem –– for all of us –– is that they want water that either doesn’t exist or already belongs to someone else.”

Johnson further charges that the change in law would grant the state engineer “czar-like powers to unilaterally choose winners and losers without regard to senior water rights holders’ existing property rights … which would mire Nevada water rights owners and the state government in complex and unpredictable litigation for years.”

Assemblyman John Ellison of Elko released a statement saying the bills would constitute an unconstitutional “taking” of water rights and said a recent hearing saw a consensus of opposition from industry, ranchers and farmers and not one person testifying in support of either bill.

“We cannot allow an unelected bureaucrat to wield this much power over one of our state’s most precious resources. I’m reminded of the famous Mark Twain quote, ‘Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.’” Ellison said. “I will never stop fighting for the rights of senior property rights owners in my district and throughout Nevada.”

Though Twain probably never said that, it sounds like something he would say and is apropos to the current situation. AB 30 and AB51 need to be sent down the drain.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: No need for murky water law changes