Religious Exemption To Mandatory Covid Vaccination

Herschel Smith · 24 Aug 2021 · 11 Comments

I authored this paper for an individual who wishes that the name be removed.  The name has been redacted from the copy provided here. In order to assist the reader with a framework for understanding this paper, it should first be emphasized that it is written from a very specific theological perspective.  The necessary presuppositions are outlined at the beginning. It could of course be objected that there may be other (what I am calling "committed Christians") who do not hold one or…… [read more]

What Does It Mean To Have A Well-Regulated Militia?

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

Opinions from S.C.

South Carolina Sen. Tom Corbin, R-Travelers Rest, sponsored a measure in anticipation of federal efforts to bolster gun control.

The senator wants to exempt from any new federal gun laws all members of South Carolina’s “unorganized militia,” which consists of all able-bodied citizens older than 17 who aren’t in the National Guard or the organized militia.

I infer from his measure that the senator is relying upon the Second Amendment to support his measure.

Had the senator taken the time to read the very document he swore an oath to support and defend, he would see that the Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

It says “well-regulated militia,” not “unorganized militia.”

How can we abide having a state senator draft laws who doesn’t even understand the seminal document that our free society is predicated upon?

It would seem South Carolina has greater concerns than gun control.

J. BROOKS DAVIS

Attorney

Coleman Boulevard

Mount Pleasant

This confusion occurs a lot and while it’s impossible to correct it every time, some things bear repeating.

First of all, let’s address the 2A again.  The founders didn’t rely exclusively on the notion of militia to honor the RKBA.  Remember, bearing arms was so common in and among the people in the colonies that it would have been unnecessary to stipulate that people had that right given by God.

In the colonies, availability of hunting and need for defense led to armament statues comparable to those of the early Saxon times. In 1623, Virginia forbade its colonists to travel unless they were “well armed”; in 1631 it required colonists to engage in target practice on Sunday and to “bring their peeces to church.” In 1658 it required every householder to have a functioning firearm within his house and in 1673 its laws provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government, which would then require him to pay a reasonable price when able to do so. In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered that not only freemen, but also indentured servants own firearms and in 1644 it imposed a stern 6 shilling fine upon any citizen who was not armed.

When the British government began to increase its military presence in the colonies in the mid-eighteenth century, Massachusetts responded by calling upon its citizens to arm themselves in defense. One colonial newspaper argued that it was impossible to complain that this act was illegal since they were “British subjects, to whom the privilege of possessing arms is expressly recognized by the Bill of Rights” while another argued that this “is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their own defense”. The newspaper cited Blackstone’s commentaries on the laws of England, which had listed the “having and using arms for self preservation and defense” among the “absolute rights of individuals.” The colonists felt they had an absolute right at common law to own firearms.

The concern at the time was that the militia could be federalized and put to uses against the states themselves.  The militia comes from the people, is armed by personal ownership, and serves the interests not of the federal government, but of the people.

All the founders needed to stipulate that the constitution honors the RKBA (not grants it, but recognizes and honors it as pre-existing and axiomatic) was one reason, and the militia serves as that reason.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s get to the notion of well-regulated.  It doesn’t mean what the lawyer says it means.  Standing armies were anathema to the founders.  Calling up the militia was calling up free men, calling them from their labors into battle.  Hence the term “unorganized.”

People also misinterpret the intent when they affirm that the existence of state sponsored armies (like the N.G.) replace the unorganized militia.  They usually use the term “well-regulated” to infer that they must exist under formalized, federally recognized statute, regulation, or federal code.

Let’s cover again what the term means.

“It is also important to note that the Framers’ chose to use the indefinite article “a” to refer to the militia, rather than the definite article “the.” This choice suggests that the Framers were not referring to any particular well regulated militia but, instead, only to the concept that well regulated militias, made up of citizens bearing arms, were necessary to secure a free State. Thus, the Framers chose not to explicitly define who, or what, would regulate the militias, nor what such regulation would consist of, nor how the regulation was to be accomplished.

This comparison of the Framers’ use of the term “well regulated” in the Second Amendment, and the words “regulate” and “regulation” elsewhere in the Constitution, clarifies the meaning of that term in reference to its object, namely, the Militia. There is no doubt the Framers understood that the term “militia” had multiple meanings. First, the Framers understood all of the people to be part of the unorganized militia. The unorganized militia members, “the people,” had the right to keep and bear arms. They could, individually, or in concert, “well regulate” themselves; that is, they could train to shoot accurately and to learn the basics of military tactics.

This interpretation is in keeping with English usage of the time, which included within the meaning of the verb “regulate” the concept of self- regulation or self-control (as it does still to this day). The concept that the people retained the right to self-regulate their local militia groups (or regulate themselves as individual militia members) is entirely consistent with the Framers’ use of the indefinite article “a” in the phrase “A well regulated Militia.”

This concept of the people’s self-regulation, that is, non-governmental regulation, is also in keeping with the limited grant of power to Congress “for calling forth” the militia for only certain, limited purposes, to “provide for” the militia only certain limited control and equipment, and the limited grant of power to the President regarding the militia, who only serves as Commander in Chief of that portion of the militia called into the actual service of the nation. The “well regula[tion]” of the militia set forth in the Second Amendment was apart from that control over the militia exercised by Congress and the President, which extended only to that part of the militia called into actual service of the Union. Thus, “well regula[tion]” referred to something else. Since the fundamental purpose of the militia was to serve as a check upon a standing army, it would seem the words “well regulated” referred to the necessity that the armed citizens making up the militia(s) have the level of equipment and training necessary to be an effective and formidable check upon the national government’s standing army.”

It is quite clear that the Founders used the phrase “well-regulated” to denote that militia forces should be skilled with arms of contemporary military utility and relevant military tactics, so that they can serve in the defense of Republic against both foreign invaders  and the threat of domestic tyrants commanding a national army against the liberty of the citizenry.

A well regulated machine is one that runs correctly.  If a clock doesn’t keep time, it isn’t well regulated.  If your car engine knocks, it isn’t well regulated.  If your scope hasn’t been zeroed, the rifle/scope system isn’t well regulated.

The founders recognized that in order to e effective, free men operating under the axiom of the RKBA need to be drilled, need to know how to shoot, need to have weapons that were zeroed, operating correctly, and in good working order, all operated by men who knew how to do it.

Thus, the lawyer is wrong.  The proposed bill for S.C. is a good start, but still shouldn’t get in the way of either (a) open carry for S.C., or (b) constitutional carry for S.C.

 

Lucky Gunner: How To Mount A Rifle Scope

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

We’ve All Been There

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

Seen on Reddit.

The Federal Circuits’ Second Amendment Doctrines

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

Via David Codrea, this academic publication co-authored by David Kopel appears very interesting and yet a time-consuming study.

Feel free to download and read it.  Supply comments via email if you wish on important things.

Brownells: Smyth Busters: Are Chrome-Lined Barrels Less Accurate?

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

I can’t really think of a single reason they would be.

At 2.35 Miles, This Is The Longest Rifle Shot Ever Recorded In Competition

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

Outdoor Life.

Ryan Cheney, a 41-year-old competitive ELR shooter from Conway Springs, Kansas, just made a couple of those shots that are going to be tough to top. In a competition last weekend, Cheney put two impacts on steel that were jaw-droppingly impressive.

He hit a plate at 3,592 yards—which itself was a record hit for a .33-caliber projectile—but then managed to drop a shot on a piece of 6-foot by 6-foot steel at 4,134 yards, which is 2.35 miles. Here’s his account of the achievement, which took place at the Spearpoint Ranch in Barnard, Kansas, on March 27.

“The day started off late. We had fog until 10 a.m. and couldn’t shoot until it cleared off. My squad started on targets five and six (T5 and T6) at 2,073 and 2,203 yards. You had to hit T6 at 2,203 to advance to the far plates. I had some elevation issues with target six because of the 17 to 26 mph 4:30 wind. It was squirrely, pushing the bullets high or dropping them low because of the hilly, uneven terrain.  Luckily, I hit it on the fifth and final attempt to be able to engage the bonus target 3,592 yards. The rest of the targets from T1 to T4 went well, and I cleaned T4, going 5-for-5 at 1,942 yards.

“Then came the bonus plates at 3,592 and 4,137. In order to shoot at the 4,137-yard target, you had to hit the 3,592-yard plate first. The first four shots, my spotters and I saw the misses as I got closer and closer to hitting the plate. On the fifth and final shot at 3,592 we didn’t see where it went, so I grabbed my gear and left the firing line thinking I had missed.

“That’s when I was approached by another shooter who said I hit the bottom right portion of the plate, and I looked through his spotter to confirm. I could definitely see a splash from my 300-grain Hornady A-Tip on the steel. I talked to the score keepers watching the target cameras and they confirmed they could see what looked like an impact on the plate as well.

“About 30 minutes later, after the other shooters had cycled through, I was able to get back on my gun and try for the long plate. The sun had just set and it was pretty dark looking through my Nightforce ATACR scope fitted with a Charlie Tarac Macro Charlie optical prism. I had dialed all the elevation in my scope, 33 mils above my zero, and had an extra 35 mils thanks to the prism. Even so, I was holding 10 mils over the target, for a total of 78 mils of elevation. [Editor’s note: At 1,000 yards, this puts the shot more than 200 feet above the ground.] I had to zoom out to about 17x in order to do that, putting the 11-mil mark on my Mil-C reticle right at the bottom of the image. I had also dialed 6 mils of right wind, the max my scope allowed, and had to hold an extra 1.2 mils more into no-man’s land for the 7.2 mil windage correction. [Editor’s note: That’s about 90 feet of wind drift at 4,134 yards.] Luckily, Steve Ream and Rusty Newton worked together to spot for me, and brought me onto the plate to make a fourth-round impact. At that point, I could barely see anything. It was dark and, at 17-power, that 6-foot plate at 4,100 yards was very small.

“After the match we went downrange to check the plates, and sure enough, there was a single, beautiful lead splash on both targets.

With custom rifles and high powered scopes and a lot of practice, combined with very meticulous hand loading, these guys are just getting better and better at putting shots a very long ways down range.

Pro-gun YouTuber arrested in Brevard County for wiretapping, Titusville police say

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

Oooo … sounds awful, yes?  Wiretapping?  Arrested?  Oooo …

A YouTube creator known for posting pro-gun videos faces charges in Brevard County after police say he illegally recorded a phone conversation with the county parks and recreation operations manager.

Michael Taylor, 41, was booked into the Brevard County jail early Thursday morning.

According to investigators, Taylor post videos on his two YouTube pages, Soloyaker and The Armed Fisherman, where he conducts “First Amendment and Second Amendment Audits” around the state — which entails him open carrying a gun and a fishing pole and then filming the response from police.

According to Titusville Police, Taylor was recently asked to leave Parrish Park along A. Max Brewer Memorial Parkway, where he was “fishing” with a rifle. Police included the quotes around the word fishing in their report.

Officers said the man then made multiple calls to the police department and the county parks and recreation department. Police said, during one of these calls Taylor recorded the conversation he had with Jeff Davis, the operations manager for Brevard County Parks and Recreation.

The conversation was included in a video uploaded March 3 on The Armed Fisherman YouTube page titled “Someone is Lying!!! Titusville PD O Board OF Commissioners Or Is It Conspiracy,” according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant.

Police said Davis was never informed that he was being recorded and did not give permission for the call to be recorded. Florida law requires that both parties consent for a conversation to be recorded.

The First Amendment does allow for individuals to record public officials in the course of their duties while they are in public — such as recording a police officer during an arrest — and sometimes in private settings. However, News 6 legal expert Steve Kramer said that Florida’s two-party consent law doesn’t allow an individual to record a private phone call with a public official without their consent, even if that public official is on the job at the time of the recording.

And before you jump to conclusions, the comments point out that “In general, courts have concluded that employees do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy while they are at work. See Jatar v. Lamaletto, 758 So.2d 1167, 1169 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000).”  And another user writes “Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011).  Public employees can be recorded. I guess Brevard County wants to find that out the hard way, which will likely also be the expensive way.”  And finally there is this.  “Hey I believe the 2 party consent does not apply to public officials, especially if the public official is on the clock (which I believe was the case), as they are paid by the public they loose their expectation of privacy when in the course of their duties, very similar to being able to record police.”

As should be the case.  There should be no stipulation for permission to catch a public employee in the act of lying.

I have watched his videos before, and even linked or embedded a few of them.  He does good work.  Drop by and give him a thumbs up for his hard work.  He is a patriot doing the things necessary for liberty.  Florida, for all the good DeSantis is doing, is too much a collectivist state for my tastes.

There is no reason to deny Floridians open carry.  The governor should make this a focus.  If he did, the issue would be gone in a flash.

Defense Distributed v. Grewal

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

TTAG.

The Supreme Court has denied the cert petition of the New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in Defense Distributed v. Grewal. In that case, Defense Distributed had sued Grewal for his efforts to restrain (and threats to prosecute) Defense Distributed’s distribution of various 3D print files for firearms and accessories.

The district court granted Grewal’s motion to dismiss, finding that his sending a threatening letter to Defense Distributed in Texas was insufficient to justify jurisdiction over him in a Texas federal court. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, disagreed.

As a result, AG Grewal will now have to justify his posturing, threats, and interference with Defense Distributed’s business in a Texas federal court…in a circuit that has already made it clear that it believes that governmental efforts to restrict Defense Distributed’s distribution of 3D files have very serious if not fatal First Amendment implications.

It’s ridiculous that anyone would think you could stop this signal now anyway.  This is intellectual material, plans, specifications, drawings.

But it’s very nice, I admit, that the arrogant, pompous, conceited, self-righteous collectivists and controllers in New Jersey and their awful AG have to try this case in a hostile venue.

Good.

Rob Pincus On Gun Purchase Background Checks

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

I have not seen a significant number of things eye-to-eye with Rob Pincus.  I’ll offer one brief example, i.e., shouldering stabilizing braces on AR pistols.  I recall Rob’s counsel of his viewers and readers not to shoulder stabilizing braces (this was before the latest ATF “interpretation”), and his reluctance (and even refusal) to do videos showing such tactics.

On the other hand, I have long said that you should do what feels natural and what you find necessary.  There are many legitimate reasons for firearms ownership: sporting, range shooting, competition precision shooting, self defense, collecting, and on and on the reasons could go.  It’s no more the business of the state to interest itself in your what firearms you own than what forks you have in your kitchen drawers, or how or why you have them.

But if you have a firearm with which you intend the use of home defense, and it has a stabilizing brace, if you need to shoulder the weapon to best use it, then do so.  Your responsibility is to your own life and the lives of your loved ones, not an ATF interpretation.

So I have had a difficult time trusting Rob, for whatever reason.  This latest commentary at Ammoland adds to that mistrust.  He co-authored a piece on common ground with Dan Gross, Former President of the Brady Campaign.  I will quote extensively.

Although many other issues have understandably dominated the news cycle, we are at a critical moment for guns. Over the last year, gun sales have reached unprecedented levels, as have gun-involved homicides, and the House has recently passed H.R. 1446, The Enhanced Background Check Act of 2021, which is currently being debated in the Senate. Recently, a wave of tragic mass shootings has put the gun issue in national headlines as President Biden has called on the Senate to pass the background check bill, adding that he supports a ban of “assault weapons.”

We are two advocates, activists and leaders from opposite sides of the “gun debate” who have come together because we both believe we are at a make-or-break moment. Suffice it to say, there is plenty that we disagree on, but for anyone with the genuine goal of reducing the number of preventable gun deaths in our nation, we believe we have an opportunity for real impact that has not existed in years and, if we are not able to seize it, it is likely to have negative repercussions for years to come.

Stop there.  This is strong language.  It means that Rob thinks that unless the policy recommendations that we are forthwith to read in the commentary are implemented, there will be negative repercussions.  No one is holding a gun to Rob’s head.  He appears to desire what we are about to read.  There seems to be no other reason to suspect that we need to “seize” the opportunity before us (Biden is president, the senate is split).

To expect meaningful and lasting change, we must first change the entire conversation, from one defined by politics to one defined by our common values and goals. This is not just a matter of deciding whether to call it “gun control,” “gun violence prevention,” “responsible gun ownership” or “gun safety.” It is about advocates, leaders and the media considering, far more than they have in the past, the narrative they are helping to create. It is about those who really care about impact, changing that narrative from one that is too-often divisive and counterproductive to one that genuinely unites the American public and provides the foundation that is necessary for real, lasting and fundamental change.

I have a bit of an issue with the notion of having “common goals” with progressives.  Philosopher Cornelius Van Til flatly debunked the idea that Christians can have a common goal or common starting point with unbelievers.  Now, this isn’t a theological debate, but the point is salient.  One doesn’t come into a conversation with neutrality.  There is always a set of presuppositions involved.  For the progressive, this is it.

The only way we can truly be safe and prevent further gun violence is to ban civilian ownership of all guns. That means everything. No pistols, no revolvers, no semiautomatic or automatic rifles. No bolt action. No breaking actions or falling blocks. Nothing. This is the only thing that we can possibly do to keep our children safe from both mass murder and common street violence.

Unfortunately, right now we can’t. The political will is there, but the institutions are not. Honestly, this is a good thing. If we passed a law tomorrow banning all firearms, we would have massive noncompliance. What we need to do is establish the regulatory and informational institutions first. This is how we do it.  The very first thing we need is national registry. We need to know where the guns are, and who has them.

This is true at least for the commoner.  For the controller, they want a monopoly on violence.  This is the starting point.  There is no common ground with them.  But we must continue.

Fortunately, the policy area with the most synergistic message is also the one that represents what we believe is the greatest potential for impact: Expanded Background Checks. The overwhelming majority of gun owners have already accepted that anyone engaged in the business of selling guns commercially, should be required to conduct a background check. At the same time the two of us believe that many private transfers, such as gifting a gun to a family member or letting a fellow member of a gun club borrow a firearm for a competition or hunting event should be legal and remain a private transaction outside of government regulation. We believe any expansion of the Background Check requirement should be focused on transfers to strangers. Sure, there are some important details to work out around exceptions such as specific definitions of “strangers,” and exceptions that would make it impossible for the government to compile a comprehensive list of gun owners; but we are confident that there are solutions that can make a huge impact if we stick to the principle and message of only keeping guns from the people we all agree shouldn’t have them. This is also how to “walk the walk” in terms of demonstrating that we are not trying to limit gun ownership among responsible gun owners and how to give substance and true credibility to the claim of respecting gun owners and the Second Amendment.

It’s wrapped up in nice words like “Expanded Background Checks.”  It’s padded to reduce the impact.  The claim is made up front that people support it, which if true, would obviate the need to say it all the time.

But make no mistake about it, Rob Pincus has come out in favor of universal background checks.  He, along with the former president of the Brady Campaign, supports it.

Thus Rob has in a single commentary thrown away what little he had left of his credibility as a defender of the RKBA.  I’m sure he’ll go on with his tactical training business, but for me, I do not see him as a credible defender of liberty.

For the record, I support the liberty to conduct person-to-person transfers of firearms of any sort.  We had this discussion at the dinner table a few nights ago, and I laid it out at the beginning by saying that I believe felons have a RKBA.  They have as much right to self defense as I do.

Eyes opened wider, and I explained what we all know to be true.  If a felon cannot be trusted to own a firearm, then a felon cannot be let out of prison to purchase fertilizer at the local Tractor Supply.  Besides which, felons guilty of murder, rape or kidnapping should be executed.

So, I suspect, ends the relationship of the 2A community with Rob.  I hope it was worth it for him.

UPDATE: I see that the editor has found it necessary to “apologize” for printing the article.  A quick note to the editorial staff.  Don’t worry about it.  If you publish enough, you’ll offend someone.  Ask me how I know?  I found this commentary useful even if I didn’t agree with its contents.  It’s useful because I know where Rob stands now.  That means you did the right thing.

Cops Behaving Badly

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

News from Seattle.

A lawsuit filed by a 74-year-old Seattle man who was held at gunpoint and painfully handcuffed by police in his own home claims the department has a “policy, practice and custom” of using “welfare checks” to enter people’s homes without warrants.

To illustrate the allegations, the man’s attorneys posted a YouTube video that meshes Seattle police dispatch tapes, Computer-Assisted Dispatch entries and body-camera video to highlight the ordeal of Howard McCay, a retired computer programmer, longshoreman and homeowner who woke from a nap one February evening in 2019 to find a cadre of armed officers in his house.

The officers, including one armed with an assault-style patrol rifle equipped with a flashlight, ordered a dazed McCay out of his bedroom with his hands up, holding a cellphone connected to 911 dispatch, which McCay had called to report intruders. When he exited the bedroom — where he had been sleeping with the television turned up — the officers ordered him to drop the phone, turn around and lift his shirt to show he wasn’t hiding a weapon, then had him kneel with his hands on his head.

The video shows McCay cooperating as officers point handguns at him. “What did I do?” he asked at one point.

“The officers did not explain why there were in the house, nor did they seek to verify Mr. McCay’s name, residence or purpose in the home,” wrote Seattle lawyer Joseph Shaeffer in a lawsuit filed last year in U.S. District Court.

[ … ]

McCay, who in an interview Tuesday said he suffered a shoulder injury while working as a longshoreman in 1999, said that when the officers tried to rotate his arms behind his back to cuff him the pain became “excruciating.” Body camera video from several officers at the scene shows McCay writhing on the ground.

“Please! I’m an old man! I have shoulder problems!” McCay yelped as two officers held him down and attempted to cuff him — at that point, there were four officers in the home. Within the next few minutes, according to the lawsuit, there would be 10. An officer, identified in the lawsuit as Joshua Brilla, replied, “Well thank you for telling us, but you gotta give us a second here … We’re not going to leave you alone.”

The really amazing thing here is that police nation-wide expect to be considered heroes of the community, with people caring whether they go home safely at the end of their shift.

And then they act like this, as if the destruction of their reputation could stand more work.  What’s really needed here is for the officers who were involved in this to be stripped naked, frog marched into the town square, and put in stocks for people to look at.

Mothers everywhere: “See children, behave badly and this happens to you.  Make sure you don’t do things like they did.  They’re bad men.”


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