Republican lawmakers in the state of Michigan held a press conference on Tuesday in Lansing to announce new legislation that was crafted in response to the Lucas Gerhard case.
Big League Politics broke the story weeks ago of how the 20-year-old criminal justice student was kicked out of Lake Superior State University, charged with making terror threats, and imprisoned for 83 days because he posted a picture of a rifle on Snapchat that triggered a leftist female on campus.
Rep. John Reilly of Lake Orion has led the charge in creating awareness of the case and has devised legislation to stop prosecutorial abuse of this magnitude from happening again.
“When I first ran for office, I never thought I would be here today introducing legislation to explain the difference between a joke and a terror threat,” Reilly said. “I never thought our society was so fragile that someone’s life could be ruined by telling a joke among friends.”
He explained that Gerhard’s intent did not matter, whether he meant snow or he meant that he was going to trigger some left-wing snowflakes was irrelevant. It is Gerhard’s 1st Amendment right as a free American to express himself as he wishes.
“This case sits at the nexus of 1st Amendment rights, 2nd Amendment rights, campus culture, cancel culture, privacy, due process of law, and the weaponizing of the criminal justice system,” Reilly said.
Reilly mentioned that this legislation would likely be the first in a series of bills to address constitutional abuses, particularly on college campuses, which have grown even more hostile toward conservatives since President Trump’s election in 2016.
House Bill 5483 would make the statute pertaining to terror threats applicable only when a specific violent threat is made toward an individual or property. The threat will also have to come from the individual or an agent of the individual, rather than an unrelated third party. The legislation would also institute a reasonable listener standard so that opportunistic prosecutors could not make an example of someone like Gerhard for political purposes.
“I hope people are noticing who and what is driving the effort to make it dangerous to speak freely,” Reilly explained. “I am a politician. I signed up to be publicly attacked, and I’m fine with that, but Lucas Gerhard was a student with every expectation that the university that he was undoubtedly paying a huge amount of money to attend was going to treat him honorably, help him succeed in defending his rights, and stand up for free speech for all by supporting him when his rights were attacked. But no, the total opposite happened.”
Reilly was joined at the press conference by Lucas’ father Mark, a retired Marine Colonel who works for the federal government; Rep. Beau LaFave, the state legislator from Marquette who represents Michigan’s upper peninsula where Gerhard used to go to school; and Tom Lambert, the President of Michigan Open Carry.
“While this is playing out in real time, the school wasn’t seeing this as a general public safety concern,” Mark Gerhard said. “It was only afterwards when they decided that they were going to pursue this along with the prosecutor.”
“This is a gross miscarriage of justice,” LaFave said. “This shouldn’t happen to you, Lucas. You’re a nice guy. You didn’t do anything wrong for exercising your Second Amendment right and talking about it with your First Amendment right.”
Lambert drew a parallel between Gerhard’s case and red flag laws that are currently active in the Michigan state legislature.
“The standards of due process here, while they fail, they are at a certain level… The proposals for red flag laws reduce those protections. They lower those levels,” Lambert said.
“If these are the problems that we are already seeing under existing law, what is it going to be like for good people when we take those protections away – when we reduce those protections? Due process exists for a reason,” he added.
Chippewa County Prosecutor Rob Stratton, whose office has attempted to make an example of Gerhard, would not give a comment regarding the allegations of impropriety in how the case has been handled.
“The prosecutor’s office cannot comment as to the facts or evidence against Mr. Gerhard because it seriously risks impacting his constitutional guaranteed right to a fair trial,“ Stratton told 9&10 News.
Gerhard’s next court date is scheduled for Mar. 18. The legislation is currently in the House Committee on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security where it awaits further action.
The NRA Files for Bankruptcy
The Pro-Second Amendment Organization is Now Moving to Texas
On January 15, 2021, the National Rifle Association announced that it would be filing for bankruptcy.
The long-time advocate of gun ownership revealed that this bankruptcy is part of its new plan to restructure as a Texas non-profit organization. It has been motivated to do so because it believes that New York has a corrupt political and regulatory environment. Before the NRA’s decision to file bankruptcy, it was registered in the Empire State.
A few months ago, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit that threatened to dissolve the NRA. The suit contends that the NRA has been involved in cases of fraud and mismanagement of funds. Following New York’s attempts to persecute the NRA, President Donald Trump suggested that the NRA move to Texas, a state that treats pro-Second Amendment organizations much better. Trump stated, “I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life, and I’ve told them that for a long time.”
“This strategic plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth and progress,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre declared in a statement. “Obviously, an important part of this plan is ‘dumping New York.’ The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in upholding cn.
“The @NRA‘s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt. While we review its bankruptcy filing, we will not allow the @NRA to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability and my office’s oversight,” James said in a tweet that she posted on January 15 following the bankruptcy announcement.
The @NRA's claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt.
While we review its bankruptcy filing, we will not allow the @NRA to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability and my office’s oversight.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) January 15, 2021
Indeed, the NRA’s decision to move to the Lone Star State is a wise decision. Texas’ gun laws are much better than New York’s. Furthermore, Texas actually bothers to protect free speech and the state government will not go on petty vendettas against right-wing organizations that leftist politicians hate.-
Mass polarization is here to stay in American politics, so it would be wise for right wing organizations in solidly Blue states to consider relocating to friendlier political climes.
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