17May/21

Second Amendment Sanctuaries Facing 1st Court Test in Oregon

The first court test of whether local governments can ban police from enforcing certain gun laws is playing out in a rural Oregon county, one of a wave of U.S. counties declaring itself a Second Amendment sanctuary.

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The measure that voters in the logging area of Columbia County narrowly approved last year forbids local officials from enforcing most federal and state gun laws and could impose thousands of dollars in fines on those who try.

Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions have been adopted by some 1,200 local governments in states around the U.S., including Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Illinois and Florida, according to Shawn Fields, an assistant professor of law at Campbell University who tracks them. Many are symbolic, but some, like in Columbia County, carry legal force.

The movement took off around 2018, as states considered stricter gun laws in the wake of mass shootings, including a high school shooting near Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and made survivors into high-profile gun control activists.

After President Joe Biden took office, conservative lawmakers in several states proposed banning police from enforcing federal gun measures, and at least one proposal in Arizona has been signed into law.

The movement hasn’t yet faced a major legal challenge. The Oregon case was filed by Columbia County under an unusual provision in state law that allows a judge to examine a measure before it goes into effect. No timeline has been set for a court hearing.

“This will allow the court to tell us whether the county can actually decline to enforce certain state laws, and it will tell us how to abide by the will of the voters to the extent that we can,” said Sarah Hanson, who serves as counsel in the conservative-leaning county in deep-blue Oregon.

Supporters of the ordinance include the Oregon Firearms Federation, which said in a November statement that “extremists” and “big city radicals” were trying to curtail gun rights.

The group referenced Portland protests opposing police brutality that occasionally turned violent last summer and called the ordinance a “common sense” step that would “ensure your right and ability to defend your life and the lives of your loved ones.”

The ordinance would ban the enforcement of laws like background check requirements and restrictions on carrying a gun, though it would have exceptions for others, including keeping firearms from convicted felons.

The Oregon Firearms Federation didn’t respond to a request for comment on the court case.

Sheriff Brian Pixley has expressed support, saying in a March statement that one of his responsibilities is to uphold people’s Second Amendment rights and that he’s eager to “move forward with the will of the voters.”

The measure is divisive locally, though, and four residents filed court documents opposing it. One, Brandee Dudzic, referenced the strict gun safety drills she learned in military medic training, saying she values the right to own a gun but believes it should come with safety measures like background checks and secure storage.

A gun shop owner in Columbia County said he supports background checks and believes that “state law trumps the county law.” But he voted in favor of the Second Amendment measure on principle.

“We need to make sure that people are safe. We need to make sure that people are responsible,” he said. “But as more rules are in place, we just need to make sure that we’re not overregulated.”

He spoke on the condition he not be identified because some of his customers take a hard line against gun restrictions and he didn’t want to lose their business.

Everytown Law, an affiliate of the group Everytown for Gun Safety, is pushing for the measure to be overturned. Managing Director Eric Tirschwell said it would be the nation’s first court test amid the current wave of Second Amendment sanctuary laws.

Everytown argues that the ordinance violates the U.S. Constitution, which says federal law supersedes state law, as well as the state Constitution and an Oregon law that gives the state power to regulate firearms.

The decision won’t have a direct effect outside Oregon but could send a message.

“This case is important and should send the message that where state or local jurisdictions attempt to unconstitutionally or unlawfully nullify gun safety laws, we are prepared to and will go to court,” Tirschwell said.

Other laws trying to blunt the effect of federal gun restrictions haven’t fared well in court, including a 2009 Montana measure that made guns and ammunition manufactured in the state exempt from federal law and a similar 2013 measure in Kansas.

Many of the latest wave of measures, though, take a different tack by focusing on the actions of local police, including punishments like fines.

In terms of federal law, gun rights advocates may have a successful legal argument under the so-called anti-commandeering doctrine, which says the U.S. government can’t make state and local officials enforce federal law, said Darrell Miller, a professor of law at Duke Law School and co-faculty director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law. He agreed that the Oregon case is the first of its kind.

Local enforcement of state law, meanwhile, is another matter. Most states don’t have similar provisions in their own legal codes, and Oregon’s attorney general said in court documents that the Columbia County ordinance is “incompatible” with criminal law and the duties of county officials.

“To the extent the local government is trying to say, ‘We’re also not going to enforce state law either’ …. that’s a much more difficult and complicated position,” Miller said. “The authority of the state over localities is much, much stronger.”

17May/21

Microsoft Investigated Gates Before He Left Board

Board individuals at Microsoft Corp. settled on a choice in 2020 that it wasn’t suitable for its fellow benefactor Bill Gates to keep sitting on its board as they researched the extremely rich person’s earlier close connection with a female Microsoft worker that was considered unseemly, as indicated by a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Refering to anonymous sources, The Journal announced online Sunday that board individuals investigating the matter employed a law office in late 2019 to direct an examination after a Microsoft engineer affirmed in a letter that she had a sexual relationship with Gates more than quite a long while.

The Journal announced that Gates surrendered before the board’s examination was done, refering to someone else acquainted with the matter.

An anonymous representative for Gates recognized to The Journal that there was an issue right around 20 years prior, and that it finished “agreeably.” The representative revealed to The Journal that “his choice to progress off the board was not the slightest bit identified with this matter.””

At the point when he left Microsoft’s board a year ago, Gates said he was venturing down to zero in on charity.

In an email shipped off The Associated Press late Sunday, Microsoft said that it “got a worry in the last 50% of 2019 that Bill Gates tried to start a personal connection with an organization worker in the year 2000. A council of the Board looked into the worry, supported by an external law office, to direct an exhaustive examination. All through the examination, Microsoft offered broad help to the worker who raised the worry.”

Recently, Bill and Melinda Gates declared that they were separating following 27 years of marriage however would continue to cooperate at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the biggest beneficent establishments on the planet. Entryways was some time ago the world’s most extravagant individual and his fortune is assessed at above and beyond $100 billion.

Prior Sunday, The New York Times revealed that Gates had created “a standing for sketchy direct in business related settings.”

The Times detailed that on at any rate a couple of events, Gates made suggestions to ladies who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Times refered to individuals with direct information on his conduct.…

15May/21

Singapore Warns Children Susceptible to Virus Variants, Shuts Schools

Singapore warned on Sunday that the new coronavirus variants, such as the one first detected in India, were affecting more children, as the city-state prepares to shut most schools from this week and draws up plans to vaccinate youngsters.

All primary, secondary and junior colleges will shift to full home-based learning from Wednesday until the end of the school term on May 28.

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“Some of these (virus) mutations are much more virulent, and they seem to attack the younger children,” said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing.

None of the children who have contracted the virus are seriously ill and a few have mild symptoms, he added.

On Sunday, Singapore confirmed 38 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number since mid-September, with 17 currently unlinked. The cases included four children linked to a cluster at a tuition centre.

The B1617 strain appeared to affect children more, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, citing the ministry’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak. It was not clear how many children had contracted the strain.

Singapore has reported more than 61,000 virus cases, with the bulk linked to outbreaks last year in foreign worker dormitories, and 31 deaths. Sunday’s new cases were the highest number of local infections outside of the dormitories in a year.

“The sharp rise in the number of community cases today requires us to significantly reduce our movements and interactions in the coming days,” Chan added.

The Asian trade and financial hub of 5.7 million people had until recently been reporting almost zero or single-digit daily infections locally for months.

Though Singapore’s daily cases are still only a fraction of the numbers being reported among its Southeast Asian neighbours, infections have been increasing in recent weeks. From Sunday, the government implemented its strictest curbs on gatherings and public activities since a lockdown last year.

But the speed of Singapore’s inoculation programme is being limited by the pace of vaccine supply arrivals. Experts are studying whether to give one dose of the vaccine and extend the interval between shots, said Ong.

Over a fifth of the country’s population has completed the two-dose vaccination regimen with vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna. Authorities will invite people under 45 years of age to receive shots from the second half of May.

Chan said the government is also working on plans to vaccinate children below 16 years after regulatory approval, which was being sought by Pfizer.