Defiant U.S. sheriffs push gun sanctuaries, imitating liberals on immigration

by Daniel Trotta

(Reuters) – A rapidly growing number of counties in at least four states are declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, refusing to enforce gun-control laws that they consider to be infringements on the U.S. constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Organizers of the pro-gun sanctuaries admit they took the idea from liberals who have created immigration sanctuaries across the United States where local officials defy the Trump administration’s efforts to enforce tougher immigration laws.

Now local conservatives are rebelling against majority Democratic rule in the states. Elected sheriffs and county commissioners say they might allow some people deemed to be threats under “red flag” laws to keep their firearms. In states where the legal age for gun ownership is raised to 21, authorities in some jurisdictions could refuse to confiscate guns from 18- to 20-year-olds.

Democrats took control of state governments or widened leads in legislative chambers last November, then followed through on promises to enact gun control in response to an epidemic of mass shootings in public spaces, religious sites and schools.

Resistance to those laws is complicating Democratic efforts to enact gun control in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Illinois, even though the party holds the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature in all four states.

The sanctuary movement is exposing the rift between rural and urban America as much as the one between the Republican and Democratic parties, as small, conservative counties push back against statewide edicts passed by big-city politicians.

Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace’s side arm in Grants, New Mexico, U.S., February 28, 2019. Picture taken February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Adria Malcolm

“If they want to have their own laws, that’s fine. Don’t shove them on us down here,” said Dave Campbell, a member of the board of Effingham County, Illinois, about 215 miles (350 km) south of Chicago.

Backers of the sanctuary movement say they want to take it nationwide. Leaders in all four states where it has taken hold have formed a loose alliance, sometimes sharing strategies or texts of resolutions. They also say they are talking with like-minded activists in California, New York, Iowa and Idaho.

As it grows, the rebellion is setting up a potential clash between state and local officials.

In Washington, nearly 60 percent of the voters in November approved Initiative 1639, which raises the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle to 21, enhances background checks and increases the waiting period to buy such guns to 10 days.

The law is due to take effect in July, but sheriffs in more than half of Washington’s 39 counties have pledged not to enforce it, pro-gun activists say, and five counties have passed resolutions to the same effect.

Governor Jay Inslee has firmly backed I-1639 and Attorney General Bob Ferguson has advised sheriffs “they could be held liable” if they allow a dangerous person to acquire a firearm later used to do harm.

Sheriff Bob Songer of Klickitat County, population 22,000, called Ferguson’s warning a “bluff” and said he would not enforce I-1639 because he considered it unconstitutional.

“Unfortunately for the governor and the attorney general, they’re not my boss. My only boss is the people that elected me to office,” Songer said.

GAINING MOMENTUM

Support for Second Amendment sanctuaries has gained momentum in recent weeks, especially among county boards in New Mexico and Illinois.

Sixty-three counties or municipalities in Illinois have passed some form of a firearms sanctuary resolution and more are likely to, Campbell said.

Twenty-five of New Mexico’s 33 counties have passed resolutions to support sheriffs who refuse to enforce any firearms laws that they consider unconstitutional, according to the New Mexico Sheriffs Association. In some cases hundreds of pro-gun activists have packed county commissioner meetings.

In Oregon, voters in eight counties approved Second Amendment Preservation Ordinances last November that allow sheriffs to determine which state gun laws to enforce.

Organizers in Oregon plan to put even more defiant “sanctuary ordinance” measures on county ballots in 2020 that will direct their officials to resist state gun laws.

Such sanctuary resolutions could face legal challenges but backers say they have yet to face a lawsuit, in part because the Washington initiative has yet to take effect and the Illinois and New Mexico legislation has yet to pass.

The chief counsel for a leading U.S. gun-control group questioned the legality of the sanctuary movement, saying state legislatures make laws and courts interpret them, not sheriffs.

“It should not be up to individual sheriffs or police officers deciding which laws they personally like,” said Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “This attitude shows a disrespect for the way our system of government is supposed to operate.”

In New Mexico, the legislature is moving forward with a slate of gun-control bills. One would enhance background checks and another would create a red-flag law keeping guns out of the hands of people deemed dangerous by a judge.

The New Mexico Sheriffs Association is leading the resistance, saying the red-flag law would violate due process rights and was unnecessary given current statutes.

Tony Mace, sheriff of Cibola County and chairman of the statewide group, said the background check law would impose regulations on hunting buddies or competitive shooters every time they share guns, and he refuses to spend resources investigating such cases.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham accused the rebellious sheriffs of falsely promoting the idea that “someone is coming for their firearms,” saying none of the proposed laws infringe on Second Amendment rights.”It’s an exhausting charade,” Lujan Grisham said.

Source: Defiant U.S. sheriffs push gun sanctuaries, imitating liberals on immigration

Why a Republic and How do we Keep it?

By Doug Knowles ~ February 28th 2019

Why did our forefathers, give us a republic?

It was not easy for them to agree on the best form of government for the newly liberated nation.  They did much research, analysis, and debate to come to the final definition of our Constitutional Republic.

A large portion of the consideration was to the understanding of the failures of other efforts both currently and in history, and how those failures would be prevented.

The types of governments they had to consider at that time, were vulnerable to and ended in rebellion and chaos.  They looked at the failures of the ability of the ruled to rule themselves.  Their ultimate goal became the concept of Governoring by those that are being Governed.

Chaos, being the absolute enemy of any government, how could they keep chaos in check. Balance the powers of the governing and the governed.

From this, the concept of a Constitutional Republic was born.  A form of government for the people and by the people. Throughout history, the attempts at pure democracy also ultimately failed in chaos — the inability to control the leadership by the governed.

The separation of powers with checks and balances allowing for organized intervention when the balance of power or control becomes detrimental to the republic was what would be attempted.

The branches of Government were organized to define not only responsibility but also accountability.

The legislature would be the body by which laws and fine tuning of the government would take place as well as the control of the spending.

To control chaos, they created a House of Representatives and a Senate. Each state would have two senators elected by the people. Each state would have an equal number of representatives to the population divided into equal districts of the population.

This was done to balance the legislative branch of government, between the two types of representation — equality of the states and the separate equality of the population as a whole. Last but not least, the decisions approved by both bodies have the President as a check and balance to veto.

The executive branch was created to operate the functions of governing based on the rules put in place by the legislature. It includes a President and Vice President elected by the states through a process called the electoral college. The today electoral college consists of 538 electors each having a vote. An absolute majority of 270 electoral votes is required to determine the President and Vice President, team.

Electors are chosen by a method provided in each state’s constitution, and a number of electors equal to the representatives and senators combined representing the state in the legislature.

A national election for the President and Vice President team is held in each state. However, the members representing the state may be chosen by other methods.  It is presumed, that the votes of the electoral college members will represent the results of the state’s election but is not required; it is based upon each state’s constitution.

A third, branch of the government, the Judicial, was created to be an arbiter between not only the Executive and Legislative branches, but between the government and the people as well as between the people.

Power and Control

In our Constitutional Republic, anything not covered in the constitution is left to the states. However, the states must yield to the constitution of the republic in the constitution of the state.

As the States, Counties and Cities were formed; they were encouraged to follow a similar approach for the same reasons that a republic was chosen.

The Model from the republic was separately elected branches and something similar to a legislature or commission or council.  Most states have an Executive Branch; A Governor and a successor, a Judicial Branch; an Attorney General and a Legislature; Assembly and Senate.

At the county levels things change, the legislature is replaced by a council or commission, but in most cases, the judicial, and law enforcement are still elected by the people making them a separate branch elected by the people.

The county, being the closest government to the people, has the ultimate jurisdiction and constitutional protection for the people.

The sheriff has the authority to stand between the people and any of the governments any issue of natural rights protected or not by the constitution of the republic.

Why and How are we the people losing the Power and Control

The only way we as individuals lose Power and Control is either delegating it or allowing to be taken. The constitution protects your ability to vote in or out the folks that you are delegating the power and control to.

Simple process until we allow it to be changed.

So far we have described what is referred to as the Layer Cake Republic. Each layer of government has controls that define them, and each layer has power and controls that are defined by the layers above or below.

Then comes what we call the Marble Cake Republic. This concept describes what we are seeing happen in the structure of government today.

Examples that turn the Layer Cake Republics to Marble Cake Republics

Starting in the legislatures, we find that they are delegating the power and controls we have given them to executive branch bureaucracies. When this happens, we as voters lose our power and control as our elected officials have delegated those powers to non-elected bureaucrats.

Anytime one of our Powers and Controls gets delegated to a non-elected official we lose our power and control of our vote.

Now comes the regional Boards and Commissions.  An example would be a regional water board. The member cities agree to create a board/commission for the purpose of making decisions and rules about water issues. This transfers the power and control of an agency. They appoint representatives to the board from each member city/county.

There go the powers and control of electing those that represent your interests on those matters.

Bad court decisions applied globally are another culprit.

A court decision, Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964), forced western states like here in Nevada to change how senators are elected and allocated to the counties.  The legislature in Nevada was originally set up like the federal government, with a senator allocated for each county and the assembly members elected by district based on population. Now the senators are determined by districts created based on population.

This change had the effect of giving a majority of senators and assemblymen to the largest populated county in the state.  My county here in NYE shares both an assemblyman and senator with five other counties districts.  The Rural counties are no longer represented fairly.

As California loses people, a Las Vegas suburb grows

 

HENDERSON, Nev.—For Karina Nasir, leaving California for this booming Las Vegas suburb was the chance to escape commutes up to three hours. For Bill Clune, it is saving nearly $5,000 a year on his water bill. For John Falkenthal, the opportunity to have some money left over every month after paying his mortgage.

“I never even considered leaving Southern California, but it took me every dime I had to buy a home there,” said the 54-year-old Mr. Falkenthal, a software engineer who moved to Henderson from San Diego last October.

California has been losing more residents than it gains from other states for years, even though its population of 40 million keeps growing from births and foreign immigration.

But the outflow has accelerated lately. Net migration to other parts of the U.S. from the nation’s largest state was more than 100,000 in 2015,  2016 and 2017, according to the Census Bureau. Total emigration from California to other states between 2006 and 2017 was 1.24 million, according to the Census Bureau, third highest in the nation behind only New York and Illinois.

For many former Californians, the high cost of living in the Golden State came to outweigh its balmy climate and booming economy. California has some of the highest utility bills and taxes in the country and the median home price soared 83% between 2012 and 2018, according to real-estate listings company Zillow Group Inc. Buying a house is unaffordable to all but 28% of the state’s population, according to an index by the California Association of Realtors that measures the percentage of people in the state who can afford to buy a single-family, median-priced home.

“They’re moving out of the state for less expensive housing,” said Mohamed Hassan, a real-estate broker in Woodland Hills, Calif., who helped three clients sell their homes last year to relocate elsewhere.

Ex-Californians have flocked to neighboring states like Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Arizona, which are among the fastest growing in the country. Few places have been as affected as Henderson, whose population surged 20% in the last decade to more than 300,000, pushing it past Reno to become Nevada’s second most populous city.

Fifty-six percent of new arrivals in Henderson between 2013 and 2017 were from California, according to Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles data. Home sales in many of the city’s master-planned communities have been dominated by migrants from the West.

a house with trees in the background: The MacDonald Highlands community of Henderson, Nev.© Roger Kisby for The Wall Street Journal The MacDonald Highlands community of Henderson, Nev.

At the 1,300-acre MacDonald Highlands in the dusty bluffs overlooking Las Vegas, Californians accounted for about 70% of purchases in 2018, compared with 30% 20 years ago, said Rich MacDonald, the developer. He said he began increasing the share of his marketing targeting Californians over the past three years after seeing the run-up in housing costs there.

“They’re tired of getting their pockets picked,” Mr. MacDonald said.

Mr. Falkenthal initially looked for a house in San Diego after selling his former home following a divorce three years ago. But his half of the proceeds, about $250,000, would have paid for only a small townhouse or condo in the coastal area where he lived, he said.

Instead, he bought a three-bedroom, two-story house in Henderson in October for $416,000.

“My quality of life went up the day I moved here,” said Mr. Falkenthal pointing to his pool table and his musical equipment.

Former Californians are finding plenty of familiar sights and people. The Oakland Raiders in January broke ground on a new headquarters and practice facility in Henderson for the team’s coming move to Las Vegas.

Mr. Clune, 62 years old, and his wife Cindy, 63, both retirees, persuaded their daughter and cousin, along with two other couples, to follow them to Henderson after they moved here three years ago. In addition to saving money, escaping the California traffic was a big draw. Mr. Clune said he used to spend as much as two hours each way commuting from his home in Temecula to his manufacturing business in North Hollywood.

“Here, they complain if you have to spend 30 minutes in traffic,” Mr. Clune said.

There are things he and his wife miss in California, though. “We have four grandkids there, and would love to see them more often,” he said. “And the beach is nice.”

Henderson got its start in World War II as a supplier of magnesium for munitions and airplane parts. As Las Vegas began to sprawl, it became known for master-planned communities such as Lake Las Vegas, where singer Celine Dion and other celebrities live.

Like the rest of Nevada, Henderson suffered as housing prices crashed during the recession a decade ago. But it came back with a vengeance as the Las Vegas metro economy rebounded, thanks in part to a tourism resurgence.

Now Henderson is feeling some growing pains from the California influx. Schools are becoming crowded. Enrollment in the Nevada State High School at Henderson rose to 350 from 200 three years ago and is at its full capacity, school officials say.

Two more campuses of the state charter high school system are in the works in Henderson, said John Hawk, chief operations officer for the school district.

Average housing prices in the Las Vegas metro area rose to $278,000 in 2019 from $120,000 in 2012, according to Zillow. The increase has pressured some locals looking to buy, but 47% of Vegas-area residents can still afford it, said Jeremy Aguero, principal of Nevada consulting firm Applied Analysis. That is down from 88% after the last recession, he said.

Not everyone is enamored of the California migration, though. Melissa Winders, a 48-year-old church ministry assistant, said she and her husband had a difficult time buying a home 12 years ago outside Henderson because of Californians outbidding them with all-cash offers. And she said she sees the same thing happening again.

“It does hurt the locals,” Ms. Winders said, “just because they don’t have the cash like the Californians do.”

Source ~ As California loses people, a Las Vegas suburb grows

9th Circuit gets another Trump-picked judge after White House bypasses consultation with Dems

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Trump’s nominee to be a judge on the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a party-line vote — and, in a historic snub, the White House ignored the input of the judge’s two Democratic home-state senators in the process.

The aggressive and unprecedented move to bypass the traditional “blue slip” consultation process and plow ahead with the confirmation comes as the Trump administration seeks to systematically erode left-wing dominance on the key appellate court, which Trump has called “disgraceful” and politically biased.

With a sprawling purview representing nine Western states, the appellate court has long been a thorn in the side of the Trump White House, with rulings against his travel ban policy and limits on funding to “sanctuary cities.” A lawsuit is currently pending before the 9th Circuit concerning Trump’s emergency declaration over border security — and Trump had sarcastically predicted that Democrats would purposefully file suit in the San Francisco-based appellate court to improve their odds.

The new 9th Circuit judge, Seattle attorney Eric Miller, was confirmed 53-46. Miller was one of the 51 federal judicial nominees left over from the previous Congress whom the White House re-nominated last month.

Miller, currently the appellate chairman of the high-powered law firm Perkins Coie, will replace Judge Richard Tallman, a Bill Clinton appointee who assumed senior status March 2018. Miller is the fifth former clerk to Associate Justice Clarence Thomas to be nominated by Trump to a federal appellate court, including embattled D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Neomi Rao.

Miller represented the government before the Supreme Court when he served from 2007 to 2012 as an Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States. He was also Deputy General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., with, from left, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., McConnell, John Thune, R-S.D., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speakING to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., with, from left, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., McConnell, John Thune, R-S.D., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speakING to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Among those objecting to Miller’s nomination were Washington State’s two Democratic senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. Aides say Miller’s confirmation marks the first time the Senate has strayed from tradition and confirmed a judicial nominee over the dissent of both home-state senators.

“This is wrong. It is a dangerous road for the Senate to go down,” Murray said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “Confirming this 9th Circuit court nominee without the consent or true input of both home-state senators, and after a sham hearing, would be a dangerous first for this Senate.”

Miller was nominated last year but faced opposition from Democrats, in part over his views on issues of tribal sovereignty.

The White House has previously signaled it will also plow ahead with other 9th Circuit nominations in other states without using the “blue slip” consultation process. The Sacramento Bee reported last year that White House officials had been negotiating with California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris about 9th Circuit appointments, but the dialogue collapsed, and the White House proceeded to announce three nominees over their objections.

Those nominees — Patrick Bumatay, Daniel Collins and Kenneth Kiyul Lee (all from the Golden State, and reportedly all members of the conservative Federalist Society) — have yet to be confirmed.

GOP critics have branded the court the “Nutty 9th,” in part because many of its rulings have been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Last November, Chief Justice John Roberts openly disputed Trump’s comments that the nation has “Obama judges” and partisan hacks on the courts. The move marked a highly unusual challenge to the White House from a sitting Supreme Court justice, and prompted some observers to accuse Roberts of naivete.

“What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them,” Roberts said in the head-turning statement.

But Trump, invoking the 9th Circuit, fired back immediately.

“Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’ and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country,” Trump tweeted.

“It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an ‘independent judiciary,’ but if it is why are so many opposing view (on Border and Safety) cases filed there, and why are a vast number of those cases overturned,” Trump continued. “Please study the numbers, they are shocking. We need protection and security — these rulings are making our country unsafe! Very dangerous and unwise!”

Fox News’ Bill Mears and Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: 9th Circuit gets another Trump-picked judge after White House bypasses consultation with Dems