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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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Sunday, March 3, 2019

Chapter Thirteen -- The Proposals to Amend the Constitution


Chapter Thirteen

November 15, 2017

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is
resolved in the morning after the
Committee of Sleep has worked on it.

John Steinbeck

The Committees formed by suggestion of and mediated by Sensus worked with startling efficiency. Thirty days after being delegated the task; the Committees had come up with a number of proposed amendments to the Constitution. Upon re-convening, Blair formally presented the proposed amendments for discussion to the delegates. While the debates that ensued, both by the delegates and in public were fierce, they were all for the most part respectful. The scope of those debates is beyond the scope of this monograph, and in all events is well documented elsewhere. However, it is appropriate here to list those amendments that were ultimately approved by a majority of the Delegates at the ConProAm.
  • “The Seventeenth Amendment is repealed returning the election of U.S. Senators to state legislatures as envisioned by Article I, §3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution as originally written.”
Committee Comment: Realizing the corrosive effect of popularly elected Senator reliant upon special interest money and influence and recognizing the wisdom of the Framers of the Constitution in securing a voice for the States in the federal government, the 100 year experiment in popularly elected Senators is deemed a failure and due to be repealed.
  • Article I, Clause 3: Apportionment of Representatives and taxes is amended to read: “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, by aggregating the U.S. Postal Service standard ZIP Codes sequentially starting with the lowest Zip code assigned to create Representative Districts of no less than 30,000 U.S. Citizens nor more than 40,000 U.S. Citizens. The ‘several States’ shall include the U.S. territories of, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands along with the District of Columbia.”
Committee Comment: Designed to eliminate the grotesque Congressional districts established to protect special interests, this rational, objective system for established Representative Districts will insure a wide diversity of Representatives responsive to their constituents. Where presently each Representative represents 700,000 people, this system will insure that each Representative is responsible to no more than 40,000 people. Two further points. This amendment would mean that the House of Representatives would be made up of some 7,500 Representatives. Second, given the experience of utilizing Sensus, logistical concerns about moving legislation forward in such a large deliberative body are not well founded. Finally, the delegates recognizes and resolved the incongruity of being a U.S. Citizen in a U.S. Territory without a vote in Congress by admitting the U.S. territories of, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands along with the District of Columbia into U.S. Statehood.
  • “Commencing five years after becoming an amendment, English shall be the official language of the United States and all public or commercial speech shall be solely in the English language.”
Committee Comment: The Committee found the sentiment of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President, in this regard fully contains the reason for this proposed amendment: “In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American … There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag … We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language … and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
  • “The 16th Amendment is hereby repealed Congress is specifically prohibited from imposing an income tax”
Committee Comment: The present income tax code is riddled with special interest provisions that favor rich donors to political campaigns, distort business decisions and consumer choices, and handicap economic growth and job creation. An income tax is the most degrading and totalitarian of all possible taxes. Its implementation wrongly suggests that the government owns the lives and labor of the citizens it is supposed to represent. Tellingly, “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax” is Plank #2 of the Communist Manifesto, which was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and first published in 1848. To provide funding for the federal government, the Committee supports excise taxes, non-protectionist tariffs, massive cuts in spending and sales taxes.
  • The First Amendment is amended to read as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a Judeo-Christian congruent religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Committee Comment: This Country being founded upon the tenets of Judaism and Christianity, the protections afforded its Citizens for the establishment and free exercise of their religion extends only to religions that can claim a congruence derived from the Judeo-Christian religion traditions. The express purpose of this amendment is to prevent seditious creeds from seeking shelter in the First Amendment’s protections.
  • The first phrase of the Article V of the Constitution is amended as follows: “The President, whenever two thirds of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments . . .
Committee Comment: This amendment is designed to remove from Congress any role in amending the Constitution and placing the ministerial task of convening a Convention to Propose Amendments upon the President.
  • The Second Amendment is amended to read as follows: “The right of the a Citizen without a felony conviction to responsibly keep and bear Arms necessary for their protection shall not be infringed except temporarily for thirty days by a court of competent jurisdiction with just cause or upon a verdict by a jury stripping a person of such right upon terms the jury deems just.”
Committee Comment: The purpose of amending the Second Amendment is to ensure that Courts and Legislatures do not infringe upon this fundamental right of self-protection in the 21st Century which is besotted of firearms, legal and not legal.
  • An Amendment to the Constitution shall read: “The rights protected by this Constitution are the rights of natural persons. The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state, and such corporate entities are subject to such regulation as the people, through their elected State and Federal representatives, deem reasonable and are otherwise consistent with the powers of Congress and the States under this Constitution.”
Committee Comment: This proposed amendment seeks to return to the People, and strip from non-human entities, the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The design of this proposed amendment is to eliminate powers that corporate entities presently enjoy and abuse.
  • An Amendment to the Constitution shall read: “No person shall be denied standing to privately prosecute a public right for at least declaratory or injunctive relief, even if he or she has not incurred, or does not expect, personal injury resulting from the failure to grant such relief.”
Committee Comment: A judicial-created barrier to access to Court known as “standing” is eliminated by this Amendment thus allowing grievances to be aired by any Citizen in a judicial forum.
  • An Amendment to the Constitution shall read: “Every federal judicial officer will sit for a retention election every four years. Those judicial officers deemed unfit for retention by both a majority of the votes casts will be removed from office and disqualified from future service as a judicial officer.”
Committee Comment: As Senator Ted Cruz has noted: “The Framers underestimated the judicial officers’ craving for legislative power, and they overestimated the Congress’s backbone to curb it. It was clear even before the end of the founding era that the threat of impeachment was, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, ‘not even a scarecrow’ to the judicial officers. Today, the remedy of impeachment — the only one provided under our Constitution to cure judicial tyranny — is still no remedy at all.” Accordingly, a direct check on judicial officers is necessary.

Thus it was that these ten proposed amendments were taken up for debate, deliberation and voting by the Committee of the Whole of the Convention to Propose Amendments.

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