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Friday, August 23, 2019

Sibley’s Second Amendment FOIL/Red Flag Lawsuit Set for Hearing

In conjunction with my recently-filed Federal Lawsuit in which I challenged New York’s criminalization of handgun possession in the home in clear violation of the Second Amendment, I have filed a New York State Article 78 lawsuit under New York’s Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) challenging New York’s procedure for granting pistol permits.

In my Article 78 Lawsuit, I sought a “complete copy of records or portions thereof pertaining to all Pistol /Revolver License applications and Pistol /Revolver License files for each person granted or denied a Pistol /Revolver License in Steuben County for the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.”  In response, the Records Access Officer for Steuben County claimed that she was prohibited from releasing that information under New York Penal Law §400(5)(b).

Of course Steuben County must follow the law as written and deny my request.  I understand, it is not for the administrative/executive branch to declare a statute unconstitutional which is what I am arguing. My point: Albany has created a secret, extrajudicial, Red Flag system to deny New Yorkers the right to possess handguns in their homes as secured by the Second Amendment. That system secrets pistol permit applications and determinations from public view.  By hiding the “why” who is getting ‒ and who is not getting pistol permits ‒ Albany can and is treating persons seeking a pistol permit who are similarly situated differently.  That allows for the arbitrary and discriminatory granting of pistol permits and thus violates Equal Protection guarantees.”

The Honorable Judge Robert B. Wiggins has issued an Order to Show Cause in which he set a hearing on my Article 78 Lawsuit for September 9, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at the Steuben County Courthouse, 3 E. Pulteney Square, Bath, N.Y. 14810.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

New York Handgun Laws vs. The Second Amendment

Young George Washington
Once again, I find myself called to file a lawsuit. This time regarding the scope of the Fundamental and Second Amendment rights of resistance and self-preservation in the Home vs. the State of New York's attempt to circumscribe those rights by banning ownership of handguns. I would rather not be so called as lawsuits are harder to get out of than marriages.  But this one I can not walk away from and here is why:

Young George Washington's first military and diplomatic venture came in the Fall and Winter 1753 - 1754 through Western Pennsylvania.  He was accompanied by my Fifth Great Grandfather, Christopher Gist (1706 - 1759)*.  Martin J. O'Brien of the Harmony Museum, recounts the story:
At one point, Washington and his traveling companion, Christopher Gist, had a mishap on the Connoquenessing Creek. They tried to take this raft across the Allegheny River, and Washington was controlling it with a pole, and didn’t do a very good job because he ended up being thrown into the river. And with all the wet wool clothes that they used to wear, it was very fortunate that he was able to be saved by Gist.
Washington was the catalyst of the Revolution, he was the leader of the Constitutional Convention, he held everything together throughout the Revolution and afterwards, when we formed our government. And I truly believe, had Washington been killed, that our nation’s history would be quite different and the history of the world, the modern world as we know it, would be quite different.
The way I look at it, I have little choice other than to jump in and assert the fundamental rights of resistance and self-preservation in my home than my great, great, great, great, grandfather Christopher Gist did to jump in the Connoquenessing Creek and save young George Washington from drowning: Indeed, less choice.

The background on this is:
  • On July 18, 2018, I filed my State of New York Pistol/Revolver License Application (“Application”) with the Clerk of Steuben County. The Application was referred to Chauncey J. Watches, a New York Penal Law §265.00(10) Pistol/Revolver Licensing Officer for Steuben County, New York and, incidentally, a County Court Judge. 
  • On May 29, 2019 ‒ three hundred fifteen (315) days or 10 ½ months after I filed my Application ‒ Chauncey J. Watches sent me a letter denying to me a Pistol/Revolver License stating in pertinent part: (i) That he had reviewed my application and “the investigation submitted by the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department”; (ii) "The basis for the denial results from concerns about your being sufficiently responsible to possess and care for a pistol”; (iii) “[T]he Court is concerned that your history demonstrates that you place your own interest above the interests of society”.
  • In response to my request for the factual basis of his decision, on June 25, 2019, Chauncey J. Watches wrote me stating that:“I have reviewed your requests for information and documents and find them to be without legal basis and therefore they are denied.”

My response: Sibley v. Watches, a federal lawsuit in the Western District of New York. 

IDistrict of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a handgun, unconnected with service in a militia, for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.  Importantly, the late Justice Scalia writing for the majority opinion stated:
Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.
Thus, faced with a denial-without-explanation by Chauncey J. Watches of my Application upon "secret" evidence against me, I have loosed three litigation dogs of war; the first being the above federal lawsuit.  Subsequent posts on this blog will update the full nature and progress of my three litigation hell-hounds through the treacle-slow process of litigation.
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* Nathaniel Gist (1733 - 1796) Son of Christopher Gist; Elizabeth Violet Gist (1794 - 1877) Daughter of Nathaniel Gist; Montgomery Blair (1813 - 1883); Son of Elizabeth Violet Gist; Montgomery Blair (1865 - 1944); Son of Montgomery Blair; Montgomery Blair (1898 - 1974); Son of Montgomery Blair; Beatrice Blair (1929 - 1994); Daughter of Montgomery Blair; Montgomery Blair Sibley (1956- ); Son of Beatrice Blair.



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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Chapter Fourteen

November 15, 2017

To find a form that accommodates the mess, 
That is the task of the artist now. 

Samuel Beckett


The Committee of the Whole, sensing the need to finish before Christmas finally finished their debates, lobbying and wood-shedding and was ready to vote. And vote they did, by a solid majority sending all of the Proposed Amendments to Congress who had the responsibility to send those Proposed Amendments on to the States. Along with the transmittal of the Amendments, Congress was obligated to designate the method of ratification, either by the respective state legislatures or by state convention called for that purpose.

It was then with real relief that Blair took the podium for the last time. “Is there any further business? Hearing no response, I am then, with real pleasure, prepared to adjourn permanently this, the First Convention to Propose Amendments. But two final matters remain. I have asked Rabbi Joseph Black to give a closing prayer. Rabbi?”

Rabbi Joseph Black took the microphone and began: “Our God and God of All creation: God who inspires fear and God who comforts. God who can be found in the rubble of the quake and in the marches for justice in the streets. All around us we confront the debris of existence. We, who try to infuse order into the disarray of daily life, understand all too well that, at any moment, the calm we take for granted can be plunged into chaos without warning – whether by natural disaster or pent-up anger and frustration. In this sacred chamber, the tasks of governance seem both insignificant and indispensable at the same time. When we try to assess our actions in light of the challenges that face us, our attempts to create change can seem insignificant. And yet, our refusal to succumb to a cynicism bred from hubris is a defining characteristic of the divinity You have implanted within us all. As this Convention draws to a close, we look back at the months that have passed with mixed emotions. Thank you, God for the ability to shine a light on the goodness of humankind – even when we face adversity. Thank You for reasons to rise above the petty and the political to make a difference. Thank you for these leaders who share their passion for representing their communities. May the recess that awaits them bring rest, renewal and a re-ignited hope for all that is good. Amen.”

“Thank you Rabbi.” Blair said. “As was the tradition at the conclusion of the Convention of 1787, where, as George Washington noted in his diary, ‘the members adjourned to the City Tavern, dined together and took a cordial leave of each other’, I am pleased to announce that the government of the District of Columbia has prepared a dinner for us at City Hall, and I invite you to join Rachel and me there so that we may thereafter report that we dined together and took cordial leave of each other. That said, this Convention is adjourned, sine die.”

Blair dropped his gavel one last time.

***

“Blair”, Rachel said, “In all the months we have been here, did you ever take the walk up to the upper ramparts and see the Great Hall from there? It is quite a view.”

“No, I didn’t know you could get up there.”

“Well you can, if you know the secret passage way, which I do. Follow me.” Rachel led Blair to the second floor and to a door which opened to a staircase leading up. Taking the stairs up, Rachel led Blair to the ramparts from where, looking down, he could see the Great Hall below:


“Rachel, this is a great view. It is odd to see the Hall empty below, just the chairs and desks testifying to the debates held here over the last months.”

Rachel called from around the corner. “Come see the view from here”, she said.

As Blair rounded the corner he saw Rachel unbuttoning the buttons on her blouse.

“You always said, ‘Women need a reason, Men need a place.’ Well, now that our professional relationship is at an end, I have a reason and we have a fitting place, don’t you think?”

The End

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