The New York Times has a very good editorial calling for reform of the state’s crazy gravity-knife law, under which the NYPD has arrested thousands of stagehands, carpenters, construction workers and others observed in possession of work knives that are legal almost everywhere else in the country. I wrote about the issue for Cato a year and a half ago; more here.
- No flavored milk for 5-year-olds: feds prescribe what day care centers may serve to 3 million kids [final rule via Elizabeth Harrington, Free Beacon]
- Andrew Jackson and alcohol access: “…whereas Whigs insisted that regulating morality was a proper function of government, Democrats warned that government intrusion into areas of private choice would violate republican liberties.” [John M. Murrin et al, Liberty, Equality, Power on Massachusetts “Fifteen-Gallon Law” of 1838, via historian Richard Samuelson on Twitter, and more]
- Eric Schneiderman takes his toll of fun: “Daily Fantasy Sports Stop Operations in New York” [Scott Shackford]
- Wyoming happy with results of food freedom legislation [Baylen Linnekin]
- Priors didn’t help, but yes, New Jersey’s gun control laws are such that the state will prosecute an actor over a prop gun used in filming a movie [AP/San Jose Mercury News; Carlo Goias]
- Hadn’t remembered the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, one of America’s strangest industrial disasters, had a Prohibition angle [Dylan Thuras, Atlas Obscura]
Under New York City’s stiff gun control laws, it can be famously hard to obtain a carry permit from the NYPD’s license division — at least, famously hard if you’re an ordinary resident without cash or connections to spare. Now, scandal [DNAInfo, New York Daily News]:
A Brooklyn businessman has been charged by the feds with obtaining gun permits for friends and other businessmen by paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to NYPD officers in its License Division, authorities said on Monday….
In all, Lichtenstein boasted that he obtained 150 weapons for his friends and associates, charging them about $18,000 each time, and giving $6,000 of the payout to his police connections. If true, that means corrupt officers raked in as much as $900,000.
It’s yet another reminder, Ira Stoll points out, of the general rule that draconian regulation begets corruption — and a caution to those who propose to inflict NYC-style regulation on other parts of the country.
- To keep your sex business free from the coils of federal regulation, your best bet might in fact be Ted Cruz, implacable opponent of Operation Choke Point [Elizabeth Nolan Brown; more from Snopes on rather silly attacks on Cruz for doing job lawyers are expected to do for clients in Texas case]
- Snoopy, you’re not systematically important: judge frees MetLife from SIFI designation under Dodd-Frank [Thaya Brook Knight/Cato, John Cochrane]
- What with Sen. Elizabeth Warren trying to put a lid on some companies’ criticism of the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule, hope it’s still OK for the rest of us to talk about it [Thaya Brook Knight, Cato]
- Sen. Warren isn’t only one using letters to SEC to browbeat businesses: New York City elected Public Advocate Letitia (“Tish”) James tries to hassle gunmaker Sturm Ruger to comply with various demands of gun control advocates [Manikandan Raman, Benzinga/Yahoo; more on Ms. James and her blames]
- Next term Supreme Court will consider case on scope of insider trading law, Salman v. U.S. [Ira Stoll, more] “Returning to Common-Law Principles of Insider Trading After United States v. Newman” [Richard Epstein, Yale Law Journal on Second Circuit’s decision via Stoll]
- DoJ cracks down on big-investor activism — at least when of a sort antitrust enforcers don’t like [Matt Levine]
- Women-only ride-hailing service (“Chariot”) set to launch in Boston. But is it actually legal under prevailing discrimination law? [Story Hinckley, Christian Science Monitor]
- Troll it with flowers: “Intellectual Ventures Hits Florist With Do-It-On-A-Computer Scheduling Patent” [Daniel Nazer, TechDirt]
- Pirate smugglers of Lake Champlain! Hillary Clinton’s tales of Vermont gun-running are silly beyond belief [Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post “Fact Checker”; Three Pinocchios]
- “Does Anyone Get Arrested For Breaking Those Weird Old Laws? This Man Did” [Mental Floss on Michigan swearing law]
- Harassment in Harrisburg: “Retaliation and Intimidation Persist in AG [Kathleen] Kane’s Office” [Lizzy McLellan and Ben Seal, The Legal Intelligencer, earlier]
- “Congress should privatize the USPS, repeal its legal monopolies, and give the company the flexibility it needs to innovate and reduce costs.” [Chris Edwards, Cato]
- Sixth Circuit to IRS: stop stonewalling the political-targeting-of-nonprofits scandal [Jonathan Adler, James Taranto/WSJ “Best of the Web”, Joely Friedman/Capital Research Center (see Table 1), my take on the Lois Lerner scandal two years ago]
- “What’s the most ridiculous thing you could imagine a city doing?” “Dunno…paying people not to shoot each other?” [Washington Post on so-called Richmond plan]
- Never mind, prior art: archery company drops foam-arrow patent case, still pursuing other claims against LARPer [ArsTechnica, earlier]
- In New Jersey, “Possessing Air Pellet Gun During Film Shoot Can Get You Many Years in Prison” [Brian Doherty; earlier on tender mercies of New Jersey gun control in Brian Aitken, Shaneen Allen, and Gordon VanGilder cases]
- Georgia: “Woman Walks Into Ladder, Sues, Wins Huge Jury Verdict” [Bob Dorigo Jones]
- New allegation on 20-year-old Vera Coking story: Trump offered work to lawyer representing her in limousine-lot eminent domain case [Washington Post] Magnifies the power of celebrity: “Campaign Finance Restrictions Help Trump” [John McGinnis, Liberty and Law]
Leading tort law scholar Victor Schwartz describes as “pure fiction” Hillary Clinton’s claims, which I’ve discussed before, that the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) gave gun manufacturers a sweeping immunity from litigation. “Putting rhetoric aside, this much is clear: Traditional liability law still applies to gun manufacturers. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act specifically states that makers of firearms are liable for any defect in their products, such as if a gun misfires and harms someone, or if it does not work at all and fails at the moment it is lawfully needed.”
- To what extent should law schools pursue missions other than that of training lawyers to practice competently? [Ken at Popehat]
- Survivors of woman slain in terror attack seek $200 million from county of San Bernardino [Courthouse News] A pertinent 2001 Elizabeth Cabraser quote about terrorism and litigation: “If we sue each other, the terrorists win. We need to be united.”
- Self-driving car revolution is coming quickly, but there might still be time for feds to mess it up [Randal O’Toole]
- “NYT throws hissy-fit, sues over use of thumbnails in critical book” [Rebecca Tushnet via Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
- New laws from Brussels could endanger thousands of historic guns in British museums [Telegraph]
- Drawing on the organization’s entire moral authority, i.e. none at all, United Nations panel calls for U.S. to pay slavery reparations [Independent, Vice]
- Aviary Attorney: “The hottest bird lawyering game to come out of 1840s France!” [Steampowered via Lowering the Bar]
- Malheur standoff: here come the self-styled “citizens’ grand jury” hobbyists [Oregonian, my two cents on this branch of folk law, earlier]
- Your egg-flipping, coffee-guzzling grandma was right all along about nutrition, federal government now seems gradually to be conceding [Washington Post]
- “Obama’s State of the Union pledge to push for bipartisan redistricting reform was a late add” [L.A. Times, Politico, American Prospect, Todd Eberly on Twitter, some earlier takes here and here]
- More Charlie Hebdo retrospectives after a year [Anthony Fisher, Reason] Another bad year for blasphemers [Sarah McLaughlin, more] The magazine’s false friends [Andrew Stuttaford; hadn’t realized that departing NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos, who so curiously compared the magazine’s contents to “hate speech unprotected by the Constitution,” has lately held “the James Madison Visiting Professorship on First Amendment Issues” at the Columbia School of Journalism]
- “The Ten Most Significant Class Action Cases of 2015” [Andrew Trask]
- More from Cato on Obama’s “mishmash” of executive orders on guns [Adam Bates, Tim Lynch, Emily Ekins]
- The “worst and most counter-productive legal complaint that’s been filed in a long, long time” [Barry Rascovar, Maryland Reporter on move by ACLU of Maryland/NAACP Legal Defense Fund to challenge as racially discriminatory the decision to cancel construction of a new Baltimore subway line]
“If you’re not for gun control, at least you should be for gun safety. That’s a line you hear a lot these days.” My response is at Ricochet, and touches on gun locks, the Obama idea of requiring more persons who sell firearms on an occasional or incidental basis to register as gun dealers, the notion of liability insurance mandates for gun owners, and, inevitably, the subject of gun control through litigation against manufacturers and dealers, a topic on which Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been doing a little backsliding of late.
Related, Charles Cooke in the New York Times “Room for Debate” feature, on “smart gun” myths: “Eventually, all American gun control advocacy descends into science fiction.” “Ban under-25-year-olds from owning guns? Not so fast.” [Eugene Volokh] And this looks like a don’t-miss story from Brian Doherty in the new Reason: “You Know Less Than You Think About Guns” (via David Henderson, who excerpts highlights).