Wednesday, October 27, 2021

SUMMERFIELD HOMEOWNER INJURED, KILLS 2 INTRUDERS WITH AR-15 from Gun Owners of America

 SUMMERFIELD — Marion County sheriff’s officials say a homeowner armed with an AR-15 shot and killed two intruders and was injured himself during a home invasion robbery in Summerfield Wednesday night.

According to the Marion County Sheriff's Office, two other robbery suspects — Robert John Hamilton, 19, of Ocala, and Seth Adam Rodriguez, 22, of Belleview — were detained near the scene.

Nigel Doyle, 22, of Summerfield, and Keith Jackson Jr., 21, Ocala, were killed. The homeowner, whose name was not released by the Sheriff’s Office, was in stable condition at a hospital Thursday afternoon.

Rodriguez was arrested on charges of murder and home invasion robbery with a firearm. Hamilton faces home invasion robbery with a gun. Both men were being held in the Marion County Jail without bond…

Sgt. Micah Moore found Doyle with a gunshot wound and a shotgun next to him on the ground. Deputies entered the home and found Jackson dead on the dining room floor. Detectives said he was wearing a “Jason” mask on top of his head, gloves on both hands, jeans and a black shirt.

Near Jackson’s head was a semi-automatic pistol, detectives said.

Continuing into the home, deputies found the 61-year-old homeowner in a bedroom.

According to sheriff's officials, he had an AR-15 rifle on his legs and was bleeding from a gunshot wound to the stomach. Doyle and the homeowner were transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center, where Doyle died…

Monday, October 25, 2021

SON SHOOTS AND KILLS MAN WHO BROKE INTO HOME AND BEGAN STABBING HIS FATHER from Gun Owners of America

 SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA — A burglar is dead after being shot by the victim's son he was stabbing.

The resident’s adult son opened fire on the suspect, Hollis Forman, 38, after finding his 54-year-old father being assaulted at the family’s residence on Lake Shore Drive near Lake Ree Avenue on Tuesday morning, according to police.

Police responding to the home invasion and shooting shortly before 6:30 a.m. found the victim on the floor of the house, suffering from stab injuries to his upper body, and Forman dead in a backyard swimming pool, Lt. Anthony Dupree said.

Via fox5sandiego.com

The father was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.

A firearm was close, coupled with the son’s quick thinking.

“The (intruder) began assaulting the homeowner, at which point the homeowner’s 20-year-old son retrieved a firearm and shot the intruder,” the lieutenant said. “(Forman) ran out the back door and landed in the pool.”

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Spy from Jason Hanson

                                                               


                                                        

For the sake of things, let’s assume you’re a spy…

 

And right now, you’re overseas planning a meeting with an agent that you recruited.

 

Because you’re in a more dangerous country, your meeting will take place at night, since it’s better to operate at night.

 

The plan is to pick up the person at 7pm on the side of a dirt road.

 

This dirt road has a thick brush around it, so the agent can hide in the bush until he sees your car.

 

Then he’ll pop out of the brush, hop in your car, and you’ll conduct the meeting from the vehicle.

 

You have thoroughly cased this meeting site to make sure it’s safe.

 

You’ve checked that there isn’t much traffic, and there are plenty of escape routes if things go south.

 

Most importantly, remember that your meeting is scheduled for 7pm.

 

This means you cased the site from 6pm to 8pm so that you know exactly what’s going on at this site around the time of your meeting.

 

In other words, you didn’t plan a 7pm meeting and then case the site at 9am in the morning.

 

Obviously, traffic patterns will be different, and people will be doing other things at 9am versus 7pm at night.

 

This might sound obvious, but most people forget to do this.

 

And this is something you need to think about when it comes to bug out from your home during a crisis…

 

I’m fortunate that I live in a small town in Utah.

 

If I need to go to my bug out location, there’s no traffic any time of the day.

 

However, I still have multiple routes planned if a downed tree or something else is blocking one of the routes I plan to take.

 

But, for those who live in a big city such as DC, LA, or NYC, you need to plan accordingly.

 

Traffic is a nightmare in those cities, and you need to have options to escape the city even during the worst times of the day.

 

This might not be easy and takes some planning, such as different modes of transportation.

 

But this is an excellent exercise to do to get your mind thinking.

 

Bottom line: Plan your escape during a crisis so that you’ll be able to successfully flee danger no matter what time of the day it is.

 

And, of course, make sure and check out below so that you’re 100% prepared with the right gear in case it takes a little longer than you thought to escape to a safe location.

 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Is Your Gun Banned Here? Carrying at State Buildings… | North Carolina from US Law Shield

                                                           


As you’ve no doubt seen in the news, many parts of the country are experiencing a push to ban firearms from government buildings. A significant portion of this new “outrage” is media-driven opportunism by gun control advocates. To help sort the legal facts from fiction, let’s take a look at how the law plays a role in securing your rights as a law-abiding gun owner.

The Second Amendment ensures the rights of all Americans to keep and bear arms. But lawmakers have differing opinions on applying to the North Carolina Capitol building and other public lands.

Here’s what you need to know about the past, the present, and the future of legally carrying a firearm on the grounds of our state buildings and other government properties.

Did the Events in Our Nation’s Capitol on January 6 Spark Change in North Carolina?

It is illegal for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any deadly weapon not used solely for instructional or officially sanctioned ceremonial purposes in or on the grounds of the State Capitol Building, the Executive Mansion, and the Western Residence of the Governor, as well as any building used for court purposes by the General Court of Justice. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.4.

It is also illegal for any person participating in, affiliated with, or present as a spectator at any parade, picket line or demonstration upon any private health care facility or upon any public place owned or under the control of the State or any of its political subdivisions to willfully or intentionally possess or have immediate access to any dangerous weapon. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-277.2.

Should You Be on Alert for Changes?

It seems very unlikely that in light of the events of January 6 that either of these laws will be repealed or modified in any way. It also seems unlikely that any further restrictions will be enacted. However, concerned gun owners should remain vigilant about potential gun legislation. Stay informed by following local news updates and come back here for future articles on these issues.

For any questions about carrying in and around government buildings, contact U.S. LawShield and speak to your Independent Program Attorney.


The information provided in this publication is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current. However, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information, and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Biden Administration Bans Importation of Russian Ammunition from NRA

                                                           



The Biden Administration’s Department of State announced that it would soon prohibit the importation of Russian ammunition into the United States. According to a release on the Department of State’s website, “[n]ew and pending permit applications for the permanent importation of firearms and ammunition manufactured or located in Russia will be subject to a policy of denial.”

While the new policy appears to prohibit the importation of firearms and ammunition, the importation of Russian origin firearms was already heavily restricted under past executive policies. The primary effect of this new policy will be on Russian origin ammunition.

The State Department claims that it is imposing these “sanctions on the Russian Federation over its use of a “Novichok” nerve agent in the August 2020 poisoning of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny.” While that may be a viable reason for the United States government to sanction the Russian Federation, the ammunition import restriction seems more aimed at punishing American gun owners and businesses than as a foreign policy tool to influence the Russian Federation.

Ammunition exports to the United States are only a tiny percentage of the GDP of the Russian Federation. Still, Russian origin ammo makes up a large part of the American ammunition supply. American gun owners were already suffering from a market where demand was exceeding available supply. This new move by the Biden Administration will severely worsen the present supply problems.

The release goes on to note that the new policy:

will take effect upon the publication of a Federal Register notice expected on September 7, 2021, and will remain in place for a minimum of 12 months. The sanctions can only be lifted after 12 months if the Executive Branch determines and certifies to Congress that Russia has met several conditions . . . including (1) providing reliable assurances that it will not use chemical weapons in violation of international law, (2) it is not making preparations to use chemical weapons in the future, (3) it is willing to allow international inspectors to verify those assurances, and (4) it is making restitution to Mr Navalny.

While this delayed implementation date may seem to make a rush to approve new ammunition shipments possible, it’s not clear that ATF will provide any type of rush approval for the Form 6s necessary to lawfully import ammunition into the United States. These forms often take six or more weeks to get approved, so ATF delays may prevent new shipments from being approved for importation.

It appears that importers will continue to import ammunition already approved before publication the notice in the Federal Register. That ammunition will likely be rapidly consumed due to the current demand for a shot in the United States.

The total effect of this new policy will likely not be realized for a few months. Still, it will undoubtedly lead to more ammunition shortages, higher prices, and fewer Americans exercising their fundamental rights. It may also result in the shuttering of American small businesses that rely heavily on the importation of Russian ammunition. All of this is, of course, by design for the Biden Administration.

We will keep all NRA members informed of this newest overreach by President Biden on his crusade against law-abiding American gun owners. NRA is reviewing all political, legislative, and legal options to fight this new policy.

Monday, October 18, 2021

2A LEGAL PIONEER DAVID HARDY INDUCTED INTO SECOND AMENDMENT HALL OF FAME from Second Amendment Foundation

                                                           




                                                               

 BELLEVUE, WA – Veteran Second Amendment legal scholar, author, attorney and gun rights authority David Hardy of Tucson, Ariz., has been inducted into the Second Amendment Hall of Fame by the Second Amendment Foundation.

In 1974, he was first to publish an article in the Chicago-Kent Law Review promoting recognition of the Second Amendment as protective of an individual right to keep and bear arms. It was considered an outlandish notion in those days, but now that interpretation is the law of the land, thanks to two Supreme Court rulings in 2008 and 2010.

Upon learning of his award, Hardy said he was deeply honoured, adding, “I don’t think the battle will ever end, but I think that the grounds of the battle are shifting decidedly in our favour.”

The 69-year-old Hardy worked for ten years in the office of Solicitor for the U.S. Department of Interior, primarily representing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. He also served as associate editor of the Arizona Law Review and has handled cases up to the U.S. Supreme Court. He has authored seven books and 27 law review articles, one of which was cited by the Supreme Court and 11 of the 13 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals.

“Among gun rights activists and scholars, David Hardy is a living legend,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “We’ve been honoured to have him appear at several of our Gun Rights Policy Conferences, and it would be difficult to find anyone with his level of history and achievement in restoring the Second Amendment to its rightful place as a cornerstone of the Constitution.”

Hardy was born in Phoenix to an old-line Arizona family. His great-grandfather was Nat Hickman, who Hardy describes as “a gun-slinging outlaw who took the alias of Charles W. Hardy when he fled to the Arizona Territory in 1872. He married a Native American woman and was subsequently elected the first Justice of the Peace of Cave Creek. 

Today, Hardy manages the blog ArmsAndTheLaw.com and operates the publication website hardybooks.net.



Sunday, October 17, 2021

Gun Magnets - not what you think? from Jason Hanson

                                                               




 

                                                      

I’m sure you’ve seen gun magnets…

 

Put simply, these are the extra-strong magnets that can hold a gun.

 

You can mount these magnets any place you want for quick access to a gun.

 

For instance, you can mount them to a desk or to a nightstand.

 

I love these magnets and think they are a good idea, but I never use these magnets for holding a gun.

 

Why not?

 

Well, one word.

 

Kids.

 

Since I’ve got young kids in my home, all my guns are locked up in safes.

 

I obviously can’t have a gun just sitting there out in the open.

 

However, I know plenty of folks who don’t have kids in the home who use these gun magnets.

 

So, even though I don’t use them for guns, I use them for something else…

 

Knives.

 

This is a great way to have quick access to knives all over the house.

 

For example, a Special Forces buddy mounts a magnet holding a knife directly above his front door.

 

Actually, he does this for every door in his house, so he can quickly grab a knife during some type of home invasion.

 

And as a considerable knife fan myself, perhaps I do this too.  

 

Perhaps later today, I’ll be mounting the knife you see below in a new location…


What it all comes down to is this…

 

It’s always a good idea to have weapons around your home that you can access quickly.

 

Home invasions happen fast.

 

It’s improbable the criminal is going to call your cell phone and say…

 

“I just wanted to give you a heads up. In 45 minutes, a friend and I are going to come and kick down your front door. See you soon.”

 

Nope, that’s not how life works, so make sure you’re truly prepared.

Stay safe,

 

Jason Hanson

 

Former CIA Officer

 

Editor, Spy & Survival Briefing

 

Editor, Black Bag Confidential



Friday, October 15, 2021

Update: Red Flag Laws… Who Has the Right to Take Away Your Guns? | North Carolina

 

                                                                     


Can a judge sign an order allowing police to seize your guns without you even breaking a single law? In recent years, there has been a nationwide push for "extreme risk protective orders" or "red flag" laws specifically designed to remove firearms from people accused of engaging in conduct or making statements that others may deem "dangerous." You've probably heard about them in the news recently, but what are they? What do you need to know about them, and how could they be used to take away your Second Amendment rights? Let's look at the history of these laws and how North Carolina uniquely falls on this hotly debated area.

The History of Red Flag Laws

Red flag laws entered prominent national discourse in 1999 when Connecticut passed the first one of its kind because of a mass shooting at the Connecticut Lottery headquarters. Lawmakers in Connecticut intended this law to target individuals with specific mental health conditions and prevent them from accessing firearms.

More recently, on February 14, 2018, a 19-year-old former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, horrifically killing 17 people and injuring 17 others. There was an immediate national outcry to "do something" to stop what the media has frequently dubbed "gun violence." When information emerged that the shooter had documented mental health issues, lawmakers across the country began pushing for laws to take away guns from individuals whose behaviour raised a "red flag" that they could be a threat to themselves or others.

In theory, the purpose of these laws is to identify an individual who exhibits early warning signs of danger and prevent a criminal act from occurring by preemptively disarming them. However, there's an obvious irony: with red flag legal proceedings, the person's firearms are seized, but the individual may be quickly released back into society, free to pursue whatever misdeeds they might choose to do.

Many states with red flag laws currently on the books allow for an enforceable court order that prevents the person from owning, purchasing, possessing, or transporting firearms and ammunition for a specified period. Several jurisdictions also allow the extension of these orders if the affected individual is still "deemed a threat."

For example, under California's red flag law (called a "gun violence restraining order"), a person could be prohibited from owning, purchasing, possessing, or transporting firearms and ammunition initially for between one and five years, with the potential for the order to be renewed and extended indefinitely. California Penal Code §§ 18170-18197 lays out the process of any qualifying person asking to open the red flag order within three months of its expiration. The order will be extended if the court finds that the person still poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to themselves or another by controlling, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm, ammunition, or magazine, and all other conditions for renewal are satisfied.

A Californian subject to a red flag order may petition the court only once per year and ask for it to be lifted, which could entail another costly and time-consuming legal proceeding.

As of this article's publish date, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted versions of red flag laws. How do things stand for North Carolina?

Red Flag Laws in North Carolina

There are currently no red flag laws on the books in North Carolina. Though red flag legislation has previously been introduced, no bills have been passed by the legislature. It is essential to discuss these red flag laws to remember that North Carolina already has similar laws to deal with individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 122C-261 allows anyone with firsthand knowledge of an individual to petition the clerk of court to have an individual who represents a danger be involuntarily committed by law enforcement to a hospital for evaluation and treatment. Further, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 122C-262 allows for an emergency procedure whereby law enforcement, or others, can remove an individual from the community and take them to a hospital for evaluation without prior judicial approval if they meet the criteria of requiring immediate hospitalization to prevent them from harming themselves or others. In other words, this debate needs to emphasize that there are already laws in place in North Carolina to deal with mentally ill people who may pose a danger to themselves and others. Red flag laws are an unnecessary and potentially abusive solution to a problem that does not exist.

Potential Future Legislation in North Carolina

HB 454 was introduced in 2019. HB 454 did not make it out of the committee for any vote. However, this, or a similar bill, could quickly be reintroduced. In fact, in August 2019, Governor Roy Cooper (who has since been re-elected) specifically requested the legislature to pass a red flag law. Several sheriffs indicated their support for such a law. You must pay attention because that legislation may be introduced again with the backing of the Governor.

HB 454, if passed, would have allowed a judge to order the seizure of an individual's firearms, ammunition, and permits to purchase or carry concealed. It would also have allowed an individual to request an extreme risk protection order that would remove guns from another person who posed a danger of causing harm to himself, herself, or others, by having access to weapons shortly. This bill would have allowed an ex parte order to be issued, removing guns before any hearing, if a judge found reasonable cause to believe an individual posed a danger.

"Ex parte" means the gun owner does not need to be present or even aware of the efforts to remove their firearms when the initial order is signed. Ex parte orders may be in effect for 20 days. A person who has their guns drawn is entitled to a hearing within those 20 days. Under HB 454, if a judge found by a preponderance of the evidence that an individual poses a danger, the judge could issue an extreme risk protection order and remove all firearms for up to one year—which could be renewed for a longer time. The bill also included criminal penalties for violations.

As previously indicated, some red flag laws may reappear in the legislature for a vote in 2021. While it does not currently seem that the legislation would get enough votes for passage, North Carolina gun owners should pay attention to this issue.

If you have questions about red flag laws or any other gun-related legislation, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.


The information provided in this publication is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current. However, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information, and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Biden Administration Asks the U.S. Supreme Court to Judicially Nullify the Right to Bear Arms from NRA

                                                                  


                                                                                

On September 21, the Biden Administration filed an amicus brief in the pending U.S. Supreme Court case of New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, supporting New York’s draconian and unconstitutional restrictions on the right to bear firearms in public for self-defence.

This NRA-supported challenge to New York’s “may-issue” licensing scheme for public handgun carry will be the first Second Amendment challenge to a firearm law to be considered by the high court on the merits since 2010.

New York’s law presumptively denies the right to bear arms for self-defence unless a licensed applicant can demonstrate a particular need for self-protection that distinguishes the person from the general population.

In practice, this means the rich and well-connected can get unrestricted carry licenses. Still, ordinary people cannot, even if they actually face a greater risk of being violently victimized while going about their daily lives in public. The law effectively nullifies for most New Yorkers what the Supreme Court has already characterized as “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

In fact, New York’s “may-issue” scheme gives authorities so much discretion that it has fostered a culture of corruption, particularly within the Licensing Division of the New York City Police Department (NYPD). There have been repeated scandals involving the NYPD Licensing Division’s application process, with “facilitators” offering gifts and bribes to licensing personnel to approve or expedite their clients’ applications. In some cases, this has resulted in issuing carry licenses to applicants with otherwise disqualifying criminal histories and in criminal convictions for NYPD officers. In other locales, licenses are issued by elected sheriffs, with preference given to political donors and supporters.

The entire point of the New York scheme is not simply or primarily to screen out applicants who fail to meet objective standards of responsible and law-abiding behaviour. It is to give authorities complete control over who gets to exercise the right and who does not. This, of course, is wholly incompatible with the idea of a fundamental right, which exists, as the Supreme Court said in the Second Amendment context, “to take certain policy choices off the table.” If the starting point for a carry licensing scheme is presumptive denial, then there is no right at all, only a privilege administered to the favoured few.

And this is absolutely fine for the Biden Administration, at least when it comes to the Second Amendment.

After all, as we’ve reported, Biden’s own son Hunter has the manifest privilege of violating with impunity various federal gun control laws the government brief insists are so necessary to protect public safety. This is in addition to his apparent immunity to other laws against things like drug possession and distribution, prostitution, and the list continues.

The government’s brief, filed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Justice, also gives complete vindication to the NRA’s opposition to now Attorney General Merrick Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016, when he was a federal appellate judge. Anti-gun pundits had mocked that opposition at the time, falsely claiming there was no legal basis for it, even though Garland had voted to rehear a case that had ruled an outright ban on handgun possession violated the Second Amendment. Yet, as we had explained, the only plausible reason to support such a “do-over” was that the court had come to the wrong conclusion. Why repeat something already done correctly?

Now, as AG, Garland advocates that the U.S. Supreme Court effectively remove the right to “bear arms” from the U.S. Constitution.  The administration’s brief additionally argues for what it calls a “reasonable regulation” standard for other types of gun control and for its implementation via “intermediate scrutiny.” Activist and anti-gun courts have used this standard to uphold not just may-issue licensing schemes but sweeping bans on some of America’s most popular types of firearms and magazines.

Fortunately, the United States Senate blocked Garland’s Supreme Court appointment in 2016. Thus, while his noxious view of the Second Amendment will still be put forth before the court, he at least won’t have the opportunity to cast a vote against the right to bear arms himself, as he undoubtedly would have.

While no outcome at the Supreme Court is ever guaranteed, Second Amendment advocates should, if anything, be in an even stronger position this time around than during the court’s prior visitations of the Second Amendment in 2008 and 2010.

And Merrick Garland --Barack Obama’s handpicked choice to replace the legendary Justice Antonin Scalia, author of the landmark Second Amendment opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller – will have to watch from the sidelines as just another lawyer.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Book Review: One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History

                                                                   




By Ted Cruz

Regnery Publishing, Sept. 29, 2020
Hardcover: 256 pages $13.99; Kindle Edition $14.99
ISBN-13 ‏978-1684511341

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

Although it was written by a prominent politician, I didn't read this month's book, One Vote Away, because of any political leanings. I'd seen quotes that piqued my interest in the U.S. Supreme Court's role in preserving or eroding constitutional principles, and I wanted to learn more. Cruz did not disappoint in focusing on a handful of critical cases in which outcomes hinged on a single vote.

He aptly quotes Justice William Brennan, who illustrated "the most important legal principle at the Supreme Court...with a grin while holding up five fingers, the 'Rule of Five.' As he would say, 'with five votes, you can accomplish anything—no matter what the law or Constitution said otherwise," an activist, Cruz writes, who "excelled at persuading his fellow justices to join him in reshaping America."

Cruz knows the Supreme Court. "For nearly two decades, my professional life revolved around the Supreme Court, and it is an extraordinary institution," he writes. "Living legends have walked those marble halls. The victories they have won for justice and the rule of law—and, at times, the damage they have inflicted on our nation—have been incalculable." I wanted to learn more about the courts. Cruz, who clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 1996, and as TX Solicitor General argued several cases before the Supreme Court, knows so well.

In his introduction, Cruz writes that judges should apply the law, not "decide policy matters." This went astray long ago when "activists on the far left decided that democracy was too cumbersome. It was too slow. And it was too difficult to persuade their fellow citizens that their policy prescriptions were sound and wise. So instead, they resorted to litigation, trying to get judges to mandate the public policy outcomes they wanted—even if the voters disagreed." In deciding those matters, the Supreme Court, Cruz charges, has given itself more power than the founding fathers intended, "well beyond what it is entitled to under the constitution."

The accusation of judicial activism is bogus when judges "strike down laws that violate the constitution", but true judicial activism does occur when "a judge disregards the law to follow his or her own policy preferences," Cruz explains. He illustrates this principle by dissecting pivotal cases in which a single vote harmed or preserved the constitution.

These cases involved religious liberty, school choice, the Second Amendment, U.S. sovereignty, abortion, free speech, capital punishment and whether the U.S. Supreme Court can overrule voter decisions.

Cruz starts appropriately with the First Amendment. Underscoring the amendment's importance, he writes, "True political liberty, free speech, social stability and human flourishing all depend upon a robust and durable protection, under the rule of law, of our fundamental right to choose our faith." Nonetheless, in the early 1960s, the separation of church and state morphed from prohibition of state religion to fights over prayer in school and display of religious texts and symbols in public places, Cruz writes. In Texas, an atheist sued the state for removing the bigger-than-life stone Ten Commandments monuments so familiar to courthouses in the '50s and '60s. Cruz argued other religious freedom cases show how much broader the First Amendment is than the prohibition on a state-mandated religion. One point called for removing a large cross that memorialized fallen veterans; another dealt with requiring religious health care providers to give contraception and abortion medications in opposition to their beliefs.

In the next chapter, Cruz calls the issue of school choice "the defining civil rights struggle of our times." While common today, charter schools and other alternatives to public schools were less well-recognized when the state held a monopoly on education. Does the state or do parents have the responsibility to bring up American children? Cruz explores. Though thin, the margin of victory in the cases he outlines was sufficient to preserve the right to choose how to educate your own children. "Four justices were prepared to strike down ... virtually every other school choice program in America, taking away the educational options and—in a genuine sense—the hope of millions of kids," he warns.

"Much that can be said about the natural right to religious liberty can also be said about the natural right to self-defence," Cruz compares as he reviews District of Columbia v. Heller. He asserts that the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to "properly defend themselves and their families", he argues. The founding fathers "sought to preclude the citizens of the country they were birthing from ever having to worry about their right to self-defence — whether that right applies against a petty thief or a tyrannical government," he stresses.

Cruz authored an amicus brief defining the individual nature of the right to possess firearms. Cruz explains the specific words used in the Bill of Rights, "the right of the people," appear several times in the amendments indicating individual rights. He explains that the authorities of state militias and their activities are considered a "power," a term used in other contexts discussing actions the states are allowed. If the principle of an individual right applies to copyrights and searches, it must also apply to gun rights. Cruz also explains the role of prefatory clauses in the amendments to establish the context of the amendment.

Heller had a companion case, Parker, in which Cruz gave oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court. When appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Cruz "took the lead for the states defending the Second Amendment," writing an amicus brief backed by 31 states. The brief showed "the Second Amendment also bound the state governments because it was 'incorporated' against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment." He explains, "As a general matter, the text of the Bill of Rights applies only against the federal government", but incorporation has been practised since the Civil War. Sometimes, it is politically unpopular, and Cruz remembers various state attorneys' protests when his brief pledged the 31 states presenting it to abide by the Second Amendment.

Because the District of Columbia is under the authority of the federal government, Heller didn't ask the Court to "address incorporation to resolve the case," Cruz notes, but, "Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Court finished the journey that we had urged it to begin in Heller. In McDonald, the Court rightly concluded that the individual right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right that is, in turn, incorporated against the states. After McDonald, it is not just the District of Columbia, but also all the fifty states and every local government that is prohibited from infringing upon our fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms," he writes.

In another chapter, Cruz casts the abortion issue as a Supreme Court invasion into States' rights with long-lasting, divisive results. "When nine unelected judges ... decree what is and is not acceptable on a policy as personal and far-reaching as abortion, it produces enormous social division." He decries Roe v. Wade, writing, "Part of the genius of our Constitution's Framers was establishing a system in which fifty states can enact fifty different standards to reflect the values and policy judgments of their respective citizens." He predicts that if Roe was to be overturned, the decision would return to individual states, with the result that some would outlaw abortion while others allowed it.

It is an understatement to comment that the issues Cruz write about elicit strong opinions. Discussing the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, Cruz cites lie after lie put forward about that decision. The fight, he asserts, was whether advertisements for a movie about Hillary Clinton's shortcomings were subject to restrictions on electioneering communications. Instead of advertising an unfavourable movie with a presidential campaign ongoing, the issues were misrepresented as special interests buying elections and giving corporations the same rights as individuals. Cruz gives an insider's look at campaign politics, the wealth required to successfully run for office and factors that eliminate many candidates who would be good leaders.

Next, Cruz shifts his attention to law enforcement searches, the right against self-incrimination and the death penalty. The latter, he writes, is controversial and "deeply politicized", and he roundly condemns the "gamesmanship that pervades and characterizes so much capital litigation." Capital punishment is an issue for legislatures to decide; he stresses and calls judicial decisions that override statutory law unconstitutional. "There is a place to deal with the highly contested issues of criminal punishment, and it's not the federal bench."

Much as I like Cruz, I admit that some of his opinions in One Vote Away are very opposite from my own viewpoints, but still, I appreciate the way his clear, concise arguments make me examine my own beliefs. Time to read his book is well spent.