Personal Liberty Issue Update: Guns, More Guns, and Trey Anastasio

There’s never a dull moment in the world of liberty and I’m once again here to give you the low down. Read on to find out how the NRA plans to expand Second Amendment rights, why the Feds have been selling assault rifles to Mexican drug cartels, and why Phish front-man Trey Anastasio was given an award for his work on promoting drug courts.

  • The National Rifle Association is again lobbying congress to loosen gun laws throughout the country. This time, they’re pushing for the passage of the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act, which would require all states to allow out-of-state visitors to conceal and carry firearms as long as the visitors are permitted to do so in their home states. Despite criticism from many law enforcement groups who say the law will make police work more dangerous, the bill is already sponsored by a majority of the House of Representatives.
  • And speaking of guns - you won’t believe this. The U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has admitted to selling more than 2,000 weapons to Mexican drug cartels, including AK-47 assault rifles and powerful .50 caliber rifles as part of a drug war operation. Their brilliant plan, called “Operation Fast and Furious," was to install sensors on the guns and use that to lead them to criminals. The only problem was that the sensors quickly ran out of batteries – they bought them at Radio Shack! Well, they did find 122 of the weapons at crime scenes in Mexico – including one where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was murdered. You can’t make this stuff up!
  • Phish front-man Trey Anastasio received a standing ovation and an award at the National Association of Drug Courts annual conference in Washington, D.C. last month. A graduate of drug court after being arrested for seven felony drug offenses, Anastasio has now become one of the program's main champions. He recounted his own tale in a heartfelt acceptance speech that was lauded by the Washington Post, and he made an equally stirring appearance at a rally that was caught on VIDEO. You can read a full account of Trey's visit to DC on the HeadCount blog.
  • While Democratic Senators Robert Menendez (NJ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) are considered two of drug court's biggest proponents, check out these words from Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. He has said, "We need to treat drug addiction as a medical condition and reserve space in our prisons for those who are violent."Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has said, "We need to treat drug addiction as a medical condition and reserve space in our prisons for those who are violent."
  • Here’s one that tests the limits of free speech and how far public schools should go in controlling the action of students.  Students at a mostly white Minnesota high school organized an annual “Wigger” day – a reference to whites who dress and speak in ways that imitate African-Americans. An African-American student has filed a lawsuit, alleging that the school violated anti-discrimination laws because it “failed to take adequate steps to address the conduct.” What do you think of that?

I’m sad to say that this will be my last update as your Personal Liberties issue editor! I’m moving on to lead HeadCount’s San Francisco team and will be replaced by Lizzy Kinnard who will keep you up to date on the latest liberty issues.