Syndicated by: Montana News
By: Donald Cyphers, Investigative reporter re-published with permission by: BigHorn Tea Party
March 25, 2018As I write this newsletter, many of the anti-gun rallies around our country are wrapping up for today. Yes, for today. I say this because the left is continuing its relentless attack upon our civil liberties. For those who have been loyal participants and supporters of the Big Horn Basin TEA party (BHBTP)you may be asking why all the involvement in gun rights issues. After all TEA party originally meant Taxed Enough Already, and the TEA party emulated actions taken by the colonists involved in the Boston Tea Party.
Over the years many of us have been outspoken regarding the excessive taxation efforts of local, state and federal governments. Have we been successful? In some endeavors yes, in some no. However, TEA party organizations have given politicians something to think about whenever increasing taxes or expenditures comes across their minds.
Given the grassroots nature of TEA parties throughout our nation, the BHBTP has been evolving towards more of a “Take Educated Action” more so than just a taxation position. We believe the impetus for this change was a result of the Obama administration.
What we saw during those eight years was the effectiveness of community organizers in the main populace areas effecting change nationwide through the guise of emotional pleas regardless of the lack of factual basis. Thus, the birth of the moniker, the low information voter (legal and illegal) was born. Ill-informed people who base their opinions and actions at the polls upon what they may have read or heard on social media, word of mouth, or other sources of fake news.
Alas, reasonable people throughout our nation had had enough in 2016 and voted in Donald Trump as our president. Were Rob or I to say we agreed on presidential choices during the build-up to the election we would be lying. However, we did agree the election of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would have been a surefire recipe for disaster. In the end, we saw the election of a man with no political experience, save for his contributions and influence, elected as our 45th President.
As a result, we have snowflakes, never Trumpers, Resist Trump, the deep state, and a whole range of what could be construed as treasonous contributors all determined to fulfill former President Obama’s promise to fundamentally transform the United States of America. Each day when we turn on the news or open a newspaper we hear and read efforts to undermine the office of the President of the United States. Effectively, efforts to undermine the very Constitution we live under. A Constitution many of us took an oath to support and defend, against all enemies foreign and domestic.
TAKE EDUCATED ACTION
Thus, “Taking Educated Action” is doubly important to our citizens of these United States of America. Recently, as in other tragedies which have occurred in our Country and around the world, we have the nefarious left and those committed to fundamentally transform the United States of America regardless of the founding father’s intentions when the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were crafted.
Many of those on the left and those who falsely claim to be supporters of the Constitution will stop at nothing to undermine the basic Rights we have inherited, fought for, and demand as the foundation of our Nation.
In these past few months we have seen Wyoming’s legislature attempt to pass legislation to solidify our gun rights to defend ourselves. During which we have had international terrorist incidents, domestic atrocities, and outright failures of our domestic law enforcement agencies. Who would think passing legislation to strengthen the very basic Rights of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" would be an issue? Rights which are the basis of the Declaration of Independence. Rights which are described as being “Unalienable”! Rights given to all human beings by their Creator and which governments are created to protect.
However, we saw it in “gun friendly” Wyoming this past session. There were three bills presented which pertain to firearms. Bills which codified in State Statute our Right to protect oneself and/or another from danger presented to themselves by another human being. One bill pertained to being able to carry a concealed firearm into a place of worship, which passed with little trouble and will go into effect July 1, 2018. The other two bills were similar in nature, but effectively created state statute allowing a person to “Stand Their Ground” when faced with imminent danger from another person.
As our law stands now persons within their homes or habitation are protected by a “Castle Doctrine” law (WY Stat § 6-2-602) which does not require a person to retreat when there is reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious bodily injury to himself or another.
However, our Castle Doctrine law ONLY allowed you to act within your home or habitation, not anywhere outside of those areas where a person would reasonably be such as on your own land, a parking lot, a church, etc… Currently, you have a requirement or a duty to retreat to the greatest extent possible before using deadly force to protect yourself or others. However, that is going to change on July 1, 2018. How we got there is a confusing and perplexing route. Nonetheless, on July 1st “Stand Your Ground” goes into effect and your legislator and/or senator may not have had your best interests in mind.
NYC ANTI-SECOND AMENDMENT GROUP
Those two “Stand Your Ground” bills, one in the House (HB168) and the Senate (SF71) faced a road littered with forces also not concerned with the best interests of Wyoming citizens. You may ask who could that be? Let us tell you. First there was the notorious anti-gun group organized by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ’Everytown for Gun Safety’. Yes, a NYC anti-Second Amendment group registered in Wyoming to actively oppose Wyoming “Stand Your Ground” legislation. By the way, billionaire Michael Bloomberg has an armed protective detail everywhere he goes.
WYOMING TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
Next there was the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association. Tom Jubin, a local attorney and registered lobbyist with the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, went further. “The laws that existed in Wyoming were clear and strongly allowed people to defend themselves,” he said. “This bill just makes hamburger out of that law. It’s more confusing than anything else.”(1)
When you hear things like this the speaker fails to mention it’s not state statute which is clear and strong, but more so case law. Essentially, opinions made by judges during criminal or civil cases are subject to interpretation.
Case law, also known as precedent or common law, is the body of prior judicial decisions that guide judges deciding issues before them. Depending on the relationship between the deciding court and the precedent, case law may bebinding or merely persuasive.(2)
However, state statute is more definitive and solidifies the ground, the ground on which the potential “defendant” may be standing on by using words such as “shall or shall not or reasonable”. So why would the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association be concerned about a “Stand Your Ground” bill? Let’s face it attorneys are in business.
In case you’ve never hired an attorney in Wyoming you’re looking at between $150 an hour for a relatively new inexperienced or potentially incompetent attorney, and the sky is the limit for an exceptional attorney. What you can afford or not afford can be the difference between going to prison and maybe being acquitted at a trial. If you can’t afford an attorney there is always the “attorney will be provided to you clause of Miranda." Ask anyone who has used a public defender about going that route. Public defenders are usually over worked, under paid, and often not the pick of the crop when it comes to the pool of attorneys available.
Regardless of the outcome, you will be a poorer person when everything is over. You will probably not have the job you had before defending yourself. Your family will go through more stress during the judicial process than when you defended yourself or them. Most likely you will have lost your home, car and anything of significant value to defend yourself in court. And count on having to move to a new city / state because your reputation will possibly be destroyed minimizing the chance of a good paying job.
You may ask why does Wyoming have a concealed carry law which allows you to carry with or without a permit? Go figure! Because under current law if you use a firearm to protect yourself or your family outside of the home you just opened Pandora’s box and you will need that lawyer.
WYOMING ASSOCIATION OF SHERIFFS AND CHIEFS OF POLICE (WASCOP)
Also, many of those who were following the progress of these bills were shocked to read and hear the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police (WASCOP) was opposed to HB168 and SF71. You would think an association comprised of chief law enforcement officers in our communities throughout our state would be supportive of people being able to lawfully and reasonably being able to defend themselves when confronted with the worst case scenario.
Apparently not so, their lobbyist was concerned. “A major Wyoming law enforcement group came out in opposition to part of a “stand your ground” self-defense bill being considered by the Legislature that would give anyone who claimed to have acted in self-defense immunity from arrest and prosecution. Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police Executive Director Byron Oedekoven said his organization was concerned about the provision.” (3)
MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA
Representatives of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America stated, “It’s bad because it encourages vigilantism and it hampers and hinders law enforcement, Beth Howard, a member of the Moms Demand Action group. “It puts the burden of evidence on the state to try to prove whether the killing was justified or unjustified. It’s ridiculous.”(4)
Doesn’t our form of criminal justice dictate all persons are innocent until proven guilty? Or should we just change it to “guilty until proven innocent.”
Even Governor Mead had to recently deal with Wyoming’s confusing firearm’s laws in March 2018. You see, the Governor had lived in a private residence in Cheyenne during the bulk of his time in office. However, he and his family moved into the official Governor’s residence as his term of office drew near. In their private home he had the ability to possess firearms, and to protect himself and his family. However, the official Governor’s Residence is a Wyoming State building, a gun free zone.
So the Governor could not “lawfully” have had a firearm in the “Governor’s Residence”. He couldn’t even protect his family from an armed intruder. The Governor even had an armed protective detail at his residence. Yet, an armed intruder was able to gain entry and pose a risk and potential harm to our Governor and his family.
The arrest affidavit pertaining to the arrest of the intruder stated in part; he (the suspect) allegedly told his employer the day before that if he were to steal from people, he would target the rich because they have insurance.(5)
So you would think our Governor would have jumped on signing “Stand Your Ground” as soon as it got to his desk. Especially, since he and his family had recently been victims of an armed intruder in the official Governor’s Residence. If you were to think that you would be wrong.
Governor Mead received HB168 which had received overwhelming support from the House and the Senate. Instead of signing the bill into law he let it sit in his in box and refused to sign it. Why would he do such a thing?
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says he didn't sign the ''stand your ground'' bill passed by state lawmakers in part because he wanted to send a message about what he considers overaggressive lobbying on the bill. (6) What about the lobbying against the bill? Wasn’t the full page ad in the Casper Star Tribune encouraging people to contact the Governor’s office to veto the bill overaggressive? Lobbying groups in favor of the bill were standing up for our Rights, those opposed were just that. OPPOSED to our Rights! And Governor Mead was concerned with overaggressive lobbying on the bill????
Many politicians enthusiastically seek an A+ rating from the NRA. Is it any surprise both the NRA and Wyoming Gun Owners asked senators not to vote for an amendment effectively gutting SF71?
In fact, the notes stated, “Please oppose amendment. Both NRA and WYGO oppose and will score it. Thank you.” Senators should have thanked the lobbyists for being upfront about their position and their membership.
Yet Governor Mead let the bill sit for 96 hours without his signature and it became law without his signature.
On July 1, 2018 “Stand Your Ground” goes into effect and the citizens of Wyoming will have the Right to defend themselves without having to retreat first.
So the moral of the story is;
- Taking Educated Action at the grassroots forced the hands of our legislators to pass “Stand Your Ground” legislation despite the efforts of lobbying groups working against legislation designed to preserve our Rights.
- Groups working together, in concert, to preserve our Rights were able to encourage our legislators to vote correctly.
- The citizens of Wyoming calling, writing and dialoging with our representatives and senators encouraged them to vote for legislation which is reflective of the People of Wyoming.
- Our governor had an opportunity to sign legislation into law showing that he is responsive to the Wyomingites who elected him into office. Now he’ll be remembered for doing nothing!
March for our lives, Cody, Wy
March 24, 2018
We attended the rally in the park this weekend to gain insight to what people thought about the national call for a March for Our Lives.
The rally was attended by approximately 74 people and of that about 14 high school / elementary age people. Interesting enough, many of the people we spoke to had connections to the education community. Some were active teachers, some retired, some staff. There was even one man who was there from New Mexico who just wanted to come out and protest. During the March I was able to have a civil discussion with a couple from Basin, Wyoming. They held two signs, one stating “Ban Assault Weapons”, the other stated “Total Background Checks.”
As we dialoged I asked the woman what she thought an assault weapon was? She replied fully automatic guns are assault weapons. I asked her if she knew fully automatic firearms were already controlled under the National Firearms Act. She didn’t know that. I asked the man about his sign regarding background checks. Specifically, did he know background checks were done as part of an FFL purchase and the form is called an ATF 4473? He told me he wasn’t aware of that.
Within the crowd there appeared to be a hodgepodge of activists cheering on their own agendas. Democrats rallying for people to register to vote, leftover hippies from the 60’s and 70’s talking about being proud these kids were being active, and teachers expressing their “Freedom of Speech.” Unfortunately, their freedom of speech sometimes seeps into the classroom and is passed onto impressionable young minds.
The good thing was there appeared to be only 14 or so student age people in the crowd.
Once there we interviewed a young lady who headed up the rally in Cody City Park this past Saturday. We must say she was courteous and gracious enough to give an interview. However, the interview was cut short by an older woman who thought we were up to something contrary to their efforts.
During the interview the young lady was asked some questions pertaining to the rally and the 2nd Amendment.
Unfortunately, we cannot post the entire video due to using mail chimp for our platform.
However, here are some of her comments:
She referred to the 2nd Amendment as “oversimplified, that it is an 18th century gun law in a 21st century world and the 2nd Amendment is not applicable in the same way the other ones are."
“Freedom of speech is very black and white thing whereas the 2nd amendment isn’t black and white because we don’t know what is okay anymore”.
Yet, we found two articles which indicate school shootings are on the decline:
Schools are safer than they were in the 90s, and school shootings are not more common than they used to be, researchers say
Despite Heightened Fear Of School Shootings, It's Not A Growing Epidemic