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“I didn’t realize that so many people here in our corner of Rhode Island were so passionate about guns,” a nonplussed Calvin Ellis told the Wall Street Journal. Bless his heart. It’s safe to say, though, that he and his three fellow Exeter town council members have now been thoroughly educated on that matter. That’s because, as RF relayed, 80% of the town council – Ellis included – stand to lose their jobs in a recall election today because they voted to transfer their shall-issue concealed carry licensing authority to the state’s may-issue attorney general. As resident Letitia Davis told, “Our rights are at issue here—our Second Amendment rights as well as our rights to be listened to by our elected leaders.” We’re listening, Letitia. And watching. You go, girl.  [h/t SZ]

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  1. Some on the left are saying that Newtown changed the gun debate.

    They are right. As someone once said: They have awakened a sleeping giant.

    Gunowners have woken up. Many sleeping in the middle have been educated. May the house clearing start now. May the response in 2014 make 1994 mild by comparison.

    • I would like to say as an Exeter resident this was far more than just about gun control. Our city council has also been sneaking around having secret meetings at the library with our constable keeping out the citizens. Who knows what else they are sneaking around doing. Exeter was founded in the 1700s and our founding fathers made sure that our rights to govern our own town and the right to bear arms were guaranteed in our charter. We are a small rural town and as a farmer I need my guns to protect my livestock, property and personal well-being (I am a woman by the way – and I was raped when I did not have a gun with me). I hope that people do wake up and realize what is happening – Exeter is just one example. If we give our rights to issue our own gun permits away to the State then the State has the right to deny us that right which is exactly what they want to do. Rhode Island government and liberal yuppies would have us not even being allowed to own a sling shot. Rhode island law (see tazers) states that a personal alarm is an “effective weapon” so when the coyotes are dragging off my animals or kids I will push my damn alarm and it will all be alright.

      • That may very well be true but someone has to replace them. Hopefully it will be people who respects their voters rights.

    • Yes, the candidates who came in second in the last election will become the winners for three of the seats, the fourth one will have to be appointed.

    • We do have back up council members – the losers of the election and I believe maybe one will need to be appointed. The margin between the winners and losers was by just a few votes. Hopefully the new guys will get the picture that the citizens are not going to put up with secret meetings and decisions without votes of the people.

  2. Why must one register with a “shall issue” system to carry a gun?
    1. government now has you on a list.
    2. government just made some extra money.
    3. government can regulate the shit out of the activity.
    4. government waiting period involved.
    5. government may stop you at any point and demand ID, search you and the weapon.

    Shall issue and may issue are all unconstitutional. There is nothing to celebrate when either scheme prevails. Frankly it is disturbing to read that people are satisfied when government provides a regulating scheme for a fundamental right.

    • Nice straw man, there. Constitutional carry isn’t a current option in Exeter. The question at hand is between locally issued shall-issue permits or state controlled may-issue permits. If you’d like to write something on the merits of constitutional carry, feel free and send it to [email protected]. Otherwise, try to stay on topic.

        • The Attorney General of RI is “May Issue.”

          The issuing authority of the towns (Usually police chief) is under “Shall Issue” laws.

          However, the chief’s never issued historically, that is until sued several and won. Several issue now, but many still refuse. More lawsuits are coming.

        • The point that most fail to grasp is that “no issue”, “may issue”, and “shall issue” all have a common theme, restrictive regulatory scheme. As long as people fight for scraps they will only have scraps. The fight should be focused on the second amendment right to bear arms that shall not be infringed.

        • Leonard, I’m with you on this. Any kind of “permit” is an infringement, which is expressly forbidden!

          It’s time to reinstate the Constitution, no ifs, ands, or buts!

        • I agree, but one step at a time, and one place at a time. The Infringement Lobby has had decades to do their perverted work.

        • Gentlemen, please.

          If it were even remotely, realistically possible to fight for and win an immediate abolition of these unconstitutional anti-2A laws I would be down for the struggle, but as was stated, they have had many decades to slip these things into place piece by piece and I would argue that unless you are the sole possessor of some sort of nuclear option no war is won in a single battle. I take it as a HUGE win these days that we are so successful at simply stopping the decline. Now we must pick and choose those battles we are likely to win and focus our resources there. By selecting for ourselves which islands we will invade and conquer we will best utilize our resources and by winning rather than exhausting ourselves against insurmountable defensive positions we can shake their confidence and perhaps take the eventual prize.

          The only other option as I see it, is open insurrection, civil war, and the awful and world-wide repercussions of that are staggering to consider. Let’s not go there except as a final resort, okay?

          • Personally, I disdain groupthink. The bottom line is Individual Liberty, and the only one who can secure that for me is me. By the same token, the most direct route to Individual Liberty is to Be Free.

            The “nuclear option” you so glibly refer to is, of course, Nullification, and even THAT is only necessary if you insist that you need some overlord to dictate your behavior.

            Don’t Comply! Nullify!

      • The problem is that some people, government, legislators, and gun rights groups don’t want to move to shall not be infringed. They are satisfied with shall issue or may issue. Both are basically the same, shall issue simply requires a little more effort on the part of government to restrict the right.

        • Leonard,

          Your arguement only makes sense if people are consistent in their rights in general. And this is not the case. The people calling themselves the United States claim to own you and will put you in a cage if you don’t pay them income tax EVEN IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY.

          Furthermore, you do not own your property, that to is licensed to you. If you dont pay the renewal fee people calling themselves the city/ town/ or state will send men with guns to remove you from your property and maybe even put you in a cage.

          As much as i’m for constitutional carry. The government already claims to own you (example 1) and all your property (example 2).

          BTW, for those in RI who have a town permit, they can Carry anywhere without restriction and engage private sales without restriction.

          • Well, governments are formed to secure the rights to life, liberty, and property.

            But it’s criminally insane to grant the registrar of deeds the authority to throw people into iron cages for doing things that the Puritans don’t like.

        • Some may be satisfied with shall issue.

          But in Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, Arkansas (in process), it went from no issue to shall issue to constitutional carry. It appears that Louisiana may be next, through the state constitutional amendment that they passed with over 70% of the vote. There are several other states that have been pushing constitutional carry as well. New Hampshire, North Dakota, Kentucky, Utah, Georgia, Montana, Nevada, and South Carolina all come to mind.

          It appears that we are making progress.

          • Florida Carry, Inc. has a case pending involving open carry. I don’t think it’ll flip the script this time around, but it’s gone further than anything has in the past, so it gives me hope that the next push might reach the tipping point.

            • Aren’t about half the population gun owners? I looked up stats, and “they” say the numbers are declining (“Survey data shows self-reported gun ownership peaked at 53 percent in 1973 before seeing a fairly steady decline to 32 percent in 2010, the most recent year available” –, but I’m surmising that’s due to the number of Tragic Boating Accidents™ affecting the poll outcomes.

              And the grabbers are a very noisy, well-financed minority, but they are, very probably, a very small minority indeed.

              And there are more battles going on than just gun control. It just seems like Liberty’s bustin’ out all over! Hooray!

              • It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that it was more than half, but in my experience, people (unless they know you personally, and WELL) are more likely to tell you who they voted for than if they have guns. Here’s a secret: the number of people who know me personally AND know I own guns can be counted on two hands, and the number than know I carry every day can be counted on one.

          • “”
            Personally, I find that “I stand with Israel” quite off-putting, for two reasons:

            1. Israel has repeatedly tried to tell the Wash. DC ruling elite, “We can stand on our own two feet.”
            2. There is NO WAY I will stand with a nation of child-mutilators.

            Just out of curiosity, do they even have a Constitution?

    • Lamenting that you are still in a creepy basement while standing on the first step of the staircase is wasted breath. Be glad you’re on the stairs and take that next step.

  3. Two things stand out to me about this story:

    1.) They didn’t “realize” that so many of their constituents are passionate about their freedoms. I know, he said “guns”, but that’s just another example of his failure to understand not only that people are feeling, but what they’re feeling. So that says to me that these local satraps were otherwise comfortable stripping people of their rights because they figured no one would notice or care either way. Shameful.

    2.) This has to be the first recorded moment in history in which a governmental entity has moved to devolve power from itself. Of course, about the only reason giving up power makes sense is if it also means stripping the citizenry of freedom. That is, they’re transferring the power to do nothing in an anti-Constitutional scheme to prevent the citizenry from doing something, like exercising their natural, civil, Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Doubly shameful.

    • I don’t think they were giving up power. With “shall issue” they were already powerless to stop citizens from exercising their rights except within a very narrow band of disqualifications.

      • Not quite. “Shall issue” are just words in the law. Doesn’t mean anything unless the town takes it seriously. Otherwise they can jam you up however they like. Just like a cop on the side of the road. What are you going to do? Take them to court? Ok. Take time out of your life, hire a lawyer at your expense, and go do it. Please. Words written in laws mean little when it comes to rigjts. What matters is the underlying culture. Really, what’s so clear about “shall issue” that isn’t equally crystal clear about “shall not be infringed?” And how’s that working out across America?

      • They weren’t giving up power. They are having power stripped from them against their will by the people who elected them. A BIG and fundamental difference.

    • Setting aside the “shall issue” vs “may issue” part and its potential impact on freedoms for a moment, they weren’t really voting to devolve themselves of power. They were voting to devolve themselves of hassle. I wrote about it just a few days ago in the Digest. The law says that applicants can apply to the attorney general or the town police. Since Exeter doesn’t have a police department, the job now falls to the town clerk. The four council members argued that the clerk — also the town’s lone elected sergeant — lacks the resources to conduct proper background checks.

      Naturally, some will believe that they made the change to infringe on people’s rights, and that opinion is fine. But it could really be just as simple as their argument makes it. They just picked a really bad (for them) time to do it.

      • Well thank you for deigning to allow me my opinion. Much appreciated. As for your opinion that they’re just exporting the “hassle”, uh, what hassle? Exeter is a speck of a place: fewer than 6,000 people in one zip code. I was surprised to see they even have the one gun club. So how many license apps could they possibly field in a year? A dozen?

        Any other time, an ohhh sooo put upon and allegedly understaffed government agency would just whine and cry for more money, possibly a federal grant. Not these heroic civil servants! They just shirk their duty and pass it to the the Kafkaesque state police apparatus. Nice.

        No way this gets spun as mere unloading of an administrative burden. I could brainstorm half a dozen options right now which do not entail screwing the few people of Exeter out of their rights. At the very, very best, this cabal’s least nefarious potential motive is that they wanted to feel good and act in solidarity with their statist idols on the national stage. Perhaps score an invite to the upcoming State of the Union speech or a stopover by the Veep.

        They figured they could get away with this infringement of rights without notice, and could spin it to the gullible as merely “unloading a burden” if they did get caught. All of that, too, crosses the threshold into shamefulness. So let’s stop making of excuses for these rights-snatching statists.

        • Enhance your calm, John Spartan. I wasn’t trying to “allow you” to have an opinion, I was trying to say that some people think that, and there’s nothing wrong with it, and they could very well be right. Or, it could be just as simple as they say. I do the devil’s advocate thing around here a lot, in case you haven’t noticed, because it gets people thinking and/or talking. There’s no need to get all personally offended with me when I do. I think I’ve made it pretty clear where I stand on most of these issues.

          As far as the “hassle” goes, their (stated) concern wasn’t that the workload was too heavy, but that their one police officer, who is barely a police officer (hence the title of “Town Clerk”) doesn’t have the resources to perform the background check required by law. Maybe he doesn’t have a NICS or AFIS terminal or whatever, and has to call up the State Police every time he needs to run a check. If they had a murder, they’d probably sublet that investigation out to an outside agency as well, because they don’t have the resources for that either.

          It’s entirely possible you’re right, that this was a backdoor attempt at gun control in the city of Burlington, and they just found a sneaky way to do it. God knows they’ve shown enough enthusiasm for the subject for that to be within the realm of possibility.

        • You step in the ring, you take the hits, Devil’s Advocate or not. Don’t whine and proclaim others are taking it personally when the first one to transition from topical to personal, my friend, is you. Your points came crashing down with such minimal effort, that the Devil should sue you for malpractice.

          • I’m not real clear how I made it personal. I said that others may hold a certain opinion, and that’s fine. I’m not real sure how I could have expressed that statement “less personally.” You’re the one who attributed some sort of malice (“deigning”) to what I said.

            “Malpractice” made me chuckle.

  4. I hope they all are recalled. Yet another loud and clear message to the pols that we’re not putting up with this crud anymore.

  5. I so wish the people had recall power in Maryland. It might make a difference in keeping the minority in Baltimore and the DC burbs from running the majority of the state.

  6. ”Our rights are at issue here—our Second Amendment rights as well as our rights to be listened to by our elected leaders.”

    That’s the problem right there. The folks in Exeter are trying to elect “leaders.” They should be electing representatives who vote the people’s will, and the people should be the leaders. But Exeter still doesn’t get it, and never will.

  7. Organize. Go get signatures from people. Have everyone who supports the 2nd amendment agree to come to a city council meeting. Make the place overflow with citizens, and tell the Exeter city council that you will not comply with unconstitutional laws. Tell them that constitutional carry starts in four hours. Tell them that this is their only warning.

  8. Georgia was moving in the direction of opening up our carry laws until a year or so ago. About that time a certain extremely wealthy”gentleman” who is leaving office in New York became interested in our “too independant” way of living and stated he would donate as much of his billion dollar wealth as needed to bring this state in line with his philosophy. One of Bloombergs’ top lobbiests has begun working in the back halls of our state capitol to :good ‘ol boy his bosses’ way into our halls of power. We stand to lose a great deal of the rights we fought so hard for in the last few years unless some of the local pro gun groups work together. Most of the people I talk with aren’t even aware Bloomberg is moving in. He’s little more than an improved version of a carpetbagger with almost endless funds. We are still recovering from the last “visit” from some of his kind. Do we really want a re-peat of that?

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