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Quote of the Day: Taxpayer Privacy and IRS Abuse

At CFIF, the issue of improving taxpayer privacy and protection against persistent abuse by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) remains among our most important missions.  Among the abuses that we've chronicled is the case of convicted criminal Charles Littlejohn, who rejoined the IRS in 2017 with the specific purpose of illegally breaching and leaking the private tax returns of Donald Trump and other Americans to radical left-wing organizations like ProPublica.

In The Wall Street Journal this week, one of those victims speaks out on his own experience and the need for greater taxpayer protection against this recurring problem that should terrify all Americans of every political persuasion.  Ira Stoll, whose tax information was passed to ProPublica, even helpfully details how…[more]

May 29, 2024 • 11:28 AM

Liberty Update

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Federal Court Overturns Yet Another Chicago Gun Law Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 09 2014
Unable to prohibit firearms outright, liberals who govern that violence-plagued city sought to simply render their legal acquisition impossible.

“Certain fundamental rights are protected by the Constitution, put outside government’s reach, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense under the Second Amendment.  This right must also include the right to acquire a firearm, although that acquisition right is far from absolute:  there are many long-standing restrictions on who may acquire firearms (for example, felons and the mentally ill have long been banned) and there are many restrictions on the sale of arms (for example, licensing requirements for commercial sales).  But Chicago’s ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms, and at the same time the evidence does not support that the complete ban sufficiently furthers the purposes that the ordinance tries to serve.  For the specific reasons explained later in this opinion, the ordinances are declared unconstitutional.” 

That was federal Judge Edmund E. Chang, overturning yet another government scheme to restrict Second Amendment freedoms. 

In this instance, the City of Chicago had attempted to circumvent the United States Supreme Court’s D.C. v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) decisions, which finally affirmed the Second Amendment’s individual right to keep and bear arms against federal and state violation, respectively.  More specifically, Chicago enacted a new ordinance that, “no firearm may be sold, acquired or otherwise transferred within the city, except through inheritance of the firearm.”  In other words, as summarized by Judge Chang, “The ban covers federally licensed firearms dealers; even validly licensed dealers cannot sell firearms in Chicago.  The ban covers gifts amongst family members; only through inheritance can someone transfer a firearm to a family member.” 

Unable to prohibit firearms outright, liberals who govern that violence-plagued city sought to simply render their legal acquisition impossible. 

But Judge Chang was having none of it.  “The City,” he ruled, “has not demonstrated that allowing gun sales and transfers within city limits creates such genuine and serious risks to public safety that flatly prohibiting them is justified.” 

Judge Chang’s ruling follows a similar 2011 decision in Ezell v. City of Chicago, when a federal appellate court overturned Chicago’s virtual prohibition against shooting ranges within the city.  There, the court ruled the restriction “a serious encroachment on the right to maintain proficiency in firearm use, an important corollary to the meaningful exercise of the core right to possess firearms for self-defense.” 

Unfortunately, none of this interrupted the mainstream media’s continuing effort to subtly and not-so-subtly malign Second Amendment advocates.  The Associated Press, in its “news” report on Judge Chang’s decision, conspicuously chose to describe the National Rifle Association (NRA) representative applauding the decision as a “lobbyist.”  Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s mouthpiece was more innocuously identified as “a spokesman for Chicago’s law department.” 

Regardless of that ongoing media bias, Kerry Picket of breitbart.com reported that on the heels of Judge Chang’s decision overturning the Chicago gun acquisition ban, the number of concealed carry applications in Illinois “already surpasses those who enrolled in ObamaCare after the first two months of the launch of healthcare.gov.”  One suspects that the concealed carry website also functions better than the ObamaCare site.  We also learned this week that the number of background checks for the purchase of firearms set a new record in 2013, breaking the record set in 2012 by almost 2 million.  

Further north in the city of Detroit, meanwhile, its police chief welcomed the new year with a press conference announcing his support for arming citizens to deter crime: 

“Coming from California, where it takes an act of Congress to get a concealed weapon permit, I got to Maine, where they give out lots of CCWs [carrying concealed weapon permits], and I had a stack of CCW permits I was denying.  That was my orientation.  I changed my orientation real quick.  Maine is one of the safest places in America.  Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.” 

All in all, the year 2014 has opened with a welcome litany of good news in terms of Second Amendment rights and constitutional freedom more generally.  But milestones such as these occur only because of groups like the NRA and vigilance among those Americans who cherish those rights and fight to maintain them. 

We must constantly maintain that vigilance, lest reverses begin to appear on the horizon. 

Notable Quote   
 
"Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says Democrats have tipped their hand to their desire to unleash noncitizen voting by opposing his state's citizenship verification in court and he is urging elections chiefs in other states to fight such lawsuits.Georgia's citizenship verification system has prevented noncitizens from getting on state voter rolls, but the state had to defend it in court…[more]
 
 
— Natalia Mittelstadt, Just the News
 
Liberty Poll   

Which would be the most useful for voters: a televised presidential debate that only includes Trump and Biden or one that adds Kennedy?