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Guns and Crime

Is Operation Choke Point making a comeback in GOP-controlled Washington?

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In 2013, Barack Obama and Erik Holder launched Operation Choke Point (OCP), an initiative that gave the government power to use banks and financial institutions to track down companies suspected of illegal activities.

Like just about everything else Obama did, OCP violated our Constitutional rights—in this case the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. However, the community organizer also used OCP as a back-door method to dismantle the Second Amendment by using banks to shut down “risky” gun dealers by denying them bank services. In 2015, a gun store in Hawkins, WI, was driven out of business when their bank closed their account simply because they sold guns and ammo.

Obama’s dictatorial use of OCP eventually led to the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (FICPA) in 2016. Co-sponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, the bill was designed to prevent the government from using banking services to target firearms businesses for doing nothing more than exercising their Constitutional rights.

FICPA was revived in 2017 in the House, and while it hasn’t become law yet, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last summer that he was committed to ending the unconstitutional program.

But all of this transpired before the high school shooting in Parkland, FL. Since that tragedy, there’s been a new willingness by Trump and the GOP to abandon liberty in the name of safety. Gone is the commitment to protect the Constitution. Instead, a Dianne Feinstein-friendly approach to chipping away at the Second Amendment has taken its place.

Already on record as being in favor of denying due process rights in order to seize our guns, Trump has joined hands with Republicrats, Trumplicans, and Democrats—sorry if that was being redundant—to advance a host of anti-Second Amendment schemes.

One such scheme is a proposal known as “Fix NICS.” Though supposedly an improvement to background checks, this bill is so flawed that it would give government the power to seize guns simply for having unpaid parking tickets. Bad news, right? That’s not the worst of it. Fix NICS is part of the new Omnibus bill to finance the government for the rest of the year.

Since we’re talking about gun control and finances once again, it looks like Operation Choke Point could be on the way back. Citigroup announced yesterday that they will cease doing business with firearms dealers unless they adopt a host of anti-gun proposals, such as not selling guns to anyone under 21.

According to Citigroup’s head of global public affairs, Ed Skyler, this new policy isn’t intended to “rid the world of firearms.” However, it should be noted that Skyler served under former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for eight years. As you’re probably aware, Bloomberg is the founder of Everytown for Gun Safety, a major player in the anti-Second Amendment movement.

Will Trump and the GOP keep OCP from making a return? Will they stop people like Bloomberg? Or will they cave to anti-gun hysteria and welcome them into their Constitution-killing fold. Based on recent history, the answer to these questions aren’t looking too good.


Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Entertainment and Sports

As Jussie Smollett story evolves, let’s not give it the Covington Catholic School treatment

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As Jussie Smollett story evolves lets not give it the Covington Catholic School treatment

When a juicy story hits social media, the instant reaction is to run with it and all the implications. That’s the nature of our on-demand, always-on, real-time media world. The only thing faster than hot takes from the first hint of a story are the assumptions made by both sides regardless of the details.

Such is the case with Jussie Smollett, the actor who was allegedly attacked by MAGA-loving bigots. Smollett, a gay man of color, was allegedly targeted on the streets of Chicago, but now reports are coming in that it may have been an elaborate hoax designed to help him save his job on the cast of Empire.

But so far, police have only confirmed that Smollett is still being treated as a victim. Yes, there were two persons of interest questioned by police. Yes, Smollett skipped a voluntary interview with police this morning. Yes, the story was strange from the start and this new narrative seems to match much better regardless of which side of the political or cultural aisle you’re on.

And yet, nothing has been confirmed.


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It’s incumbent on us, whether journalists or simply social media users, to wait for the facts before jumping to conclusions. It works in both directions.

Was it all a hoax? Possibly. Some who are looking at he evidence today and the report released by local Chicago news may come to the conclusion that a hoax was likely. But let’s not assume until the truth is revealed by officials.

 


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Democrats

Democrats push background check bill in the House

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Democrats push background check bill in the House

As social media buzzes about the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting, Democrats hope to put their latest iteration of gun control on the floor and onto the Senate. Called a “bipartisan” attempt to initiate more background checks on firearm purchases and sales, many conservatives on Capitol Hill are speaking out against it.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced the bill yesterday.

My Take

Gun control bills, of which this is merely the first to be pushed by the current iteration of Democrats, usually have two things in common. First, they don’t address the problem they’re allegedly trying to solve; neither the Parkland shooting nor any mass shooting in the 21st century would have been prevented had this bill been in place. Second, they are a stepping stone through which leftists will attempt to initiate more draconian laws that eat away at our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

As with the abortion issue, the gun control issue is one in which “common sense” is used to push harsher laws down the line.

It should be strange to cognizant Americans that Democrats continue to push laws that make it easier to kill preborn babies while making it harder for innocent people to defend themselves with firearms. Are you seeing a trend in their mentality?

 


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Guns and Crime

Freedom-lovers, keep an eye on AG William Barr

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Freedom-lovers keep an eye on AG William Barr

Today, William Barr is likely to be confirmed to be the next Attorney General. While he’s a qualified leader to take the reins over the Justice Department and a strong patriot, there are concerns that we must remember as he joins the Trump administration.

First and foremost, Barr’s record on the 4th Amendment is abysmal.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

One would hope the top law enforcer in the nation would be an ardent defender of the 4th Amendment, but Barr has demonstrated not only a willingness to circumvent it at times but has also expressed annoyance that it prevents law enforcement from doing its job, particularly as it pertains to stopping terrorism. He’s also a fan of the Patriot Act, though if anything it didn’t go far enough.

Sadly, only a tiny handful of Republicans in DC seem to be concerned.

The tribalism that has infected the country and plagued groups on both sides of the political aisle has struck once again. There would be plenty of objections from conservatives if Barr had been nominated by President Obama or another Democrat, but since he’s a Trump nominee it appears he’s going to fly through with no GOP Senators objecting other than Rand Paul.

It’s a shame that the President decided to go with Barr. It’s likely he did so based on Barr’s objections to Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian hacking of the election, but otherwise Barr’s record is one that doesn’t seem very conducive to freedom. We’ll be keeping a close eye on him.

 


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