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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released a new batch of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) documents revealing that its handling of Tea Party applications was directed out of the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC.  The documents also show extensive pressure on the IRS by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to shut down conservative-leaning tax-exempt organizations. The IRS’ emails by Lois Lerner detail her misleading explanations to investigators about the targeting of Tea Party organizations.

The documents came in response to an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the agency refused to respond to four FOIA requests dating back to May 2013 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)).

One key email string from July 2012 confirms that IRS Tea Party scrutiny was directed from Washington, DC. On July 6, 2010, Holly Paz (the former Director of the IRS Rulings and Agreements Division and current Manager of Exempt Organizations Guidance) asks IRS lawyer Steven Grodnitzky “to let Cindy and Sharon know how we have been handling Tea Party applications in the last few months.”  Cindy Thomas is the former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations office in Cincinnati and Sharon Camarillo was a Senior Manager in their Los Angeles office. Grodnitzky, a top lawyer in the Exempt Organization Technical unit (EOT) in Washington, DC, responds:

EOT is working the Tea party applications in coordination with Cincy. We are developing a few applications here in DC and providing copies of our development letters with the agent to use as examples in the development of their cases. Chip Hull [another lawyer in IRS headquarters] is working these cases in EOT and working with the agent in Cincy, so any communication should include him as well. Because the Tea party applications are the subject of an SCR [Sensitive Case Report], we cannot resolve any of the cases without coordinating with Rob.

The reference to Rob is believed to be Rob Choi, then-Director of Rulings and Agreements in IRS’s Washington, DC, headquarters.

Another email string from February – March 2010 includes a message from a California EO Determinations manager discussing a Tea Party application “currently being held in the Screening group.” The manager urges, “Please let ‘Washington’ know about this potentially embarrassing political case involving a ‘Tea Party’ organization. Recent media attention to this type of organization indicates to me that this is a ‘high profile’ case.”  A co-worker responds: “I think sending it up here [DC] is a good idea given the potential for media interest.”  As with Ben Rhodes’ Benghazi-related talking points email, Judicial Watch obtained a more complete version of this IRS email chain than was provided to a congressional committee.

The Judicial Watch documents also contain email correspondence to internal IRS investigators from Lerner, dated April 2, 2013, that tries to explain the “Be on the Lookout” (BOLO) criteria used to select organizations for screening and scrutiny:

Because the BOLO only contained a brief reference to “Organizations involved with the Tea Party movement applying for exemption under 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4)” in June 2011, the EO Determinations manager asked the manager of the screening group, John Shafer [IRS Cincinnati field office manager], what criteria were being used to label cases as “tea party ” cases. (“Do the applications specify/state ‘ tea party’? If not, how do we know applicant is involved with the tea party movement?”) The screening group manager asked his employees how they were applying the BOLO’s short –hand reference to “tea party.” His employees responded that they were including organizations meeting any of the following criteria as falling within the BOLO’s reference to “tea party” organizations: “1. ‘Tea Party’, ‘Patriots’ or ’9/12 Project’ is referenced in the case file. 2. Issues include government spending, government debt and taxes. 3. Educate the public through advocacy/legislative activities to make America a better place to live. 4. Statements in the case file that are critical of the how the country is being run. . . “

So, we believe we have provided information that shows that no one in EO “developed” the criteria. Rather, staff used their own interpretations of the brief reference to “organizations involved with the Tea Party movement,” which was what was on the BOLO list.

Lerner omits that her office was “developing” the applications for all Tea Party groups.

The IRS documents also include a presentation entitled “Heightened Awareness Issues” with a red and orange “Alert” symbol identifying the “emerging issues” that trigger scrutiny for organizations seeking tax-exempt status. Page six of the presentation focuses on the Tea Party organizations due, in part, to the fact that these groups had become a “Relevant Subject in Today’s Media.”

A series of letters between Senator Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations, and top IRS officials throughout 2012 discuss how to target conservative groups the senator claimed were “engaged in political activities.” In response to a Levin March 30 letter citing the “urgency of the issue,” then-Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller assured the senator that IRS regulations were flexible enough to allow IRS agents to “prepare individualized questions and requests” for select 501(c)(4) organizations.

The newly released IRS documents contain several letters and emails revealing an intense effort by Levin and IRS officials to determine what, if any, existing IRS policies could be used to revoke the nonprofit exemptions of active conservative groups and deny exemptions to new applicants. In a July 30, 2012, letter, Levin singles out 12 groups he wants investigated for “political activity.” Of the groups – which include the Club for Growth, Americans for Tax Reform, the 60 Plus Association, and the Susan B. Anthony List – only one, Priorities USA, is notably left-leaning.

As the 2012 presidential election drew nearer, Levin sent a series of letters to the IRS intensifying his campaign against predominantly conservative nonprofit groups:

  • September 27, 2012: Levin asks for copies of the answers to IRS exemption application question 15 – a question about planned political expenditures – from four specific groups: Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, Priorities USA, Americans for Prosperity, and Patriot Majority USA.
  • October 17, 2012: Miller informs Levin, “As discussed in our previous responses dated June 4, 2012, and August 24, 2012, the IRS cannot legally disclose whether the organizations on your list have applied for tax exemptions unless and until such application is approved.” Miller, however, then informs Levin that Americans for Prosperity and Patriot Majority have been approved, but the IRS has no records for Crossroads and Priorities USA.
  • October 23, 2012: Levin writes to again express his dissatisfaction with the IRS handling of “social welfare” (501(c)(4) organizations insisting that IRS guidance “misinterprets the law” by allowing any political activity. He again demands an answer as to whether the four organizations he listed in his previous letter were primarily engaged in the promotion of social welfare.  He also seeks copies of tax exempt revocation letters sent due to c4 political activities, as well as statistics on how many c4s have been notified that they may be in violation due to political activities.

In perhaps the most revealing letter from the IRS to Levin, Miller on June 4, 2012, takes 16 pages to explain to the senator what IRS regulations and policies may and may not be used to evaluate political groups and assures him that the agency has considerable leeway in picking and choosing which groups would be subject to additional scrutiny:

There is no standard questionnaire used to obtain information about political activities. Although there is a template development letter that describes the general information on the case development process, the letter does not specify the information to be requested from any particular organization … Consequently, revenue agents prepare individualized questions and requests for documents relevant to the application. . .

A May 14, 2013, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report revealed that the IRS had singled out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as “patriot” and “Tea Party” in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status. The TIGTA probe determined that “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status (e.g., lists of past and future donors).”  The illegal IRS reviews continued for more than 18 months and “delayed processing of targeted groups applications” preparing for the 2012 presidential election.

“These new documents show that officials in the IRS headquarters were responsible for the illegal delays of Tea Party applications,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “It is disturbing to see Lois Lerner mislead the IRS’ internal investigators about her office’s Tea Party targeting.  These documents also confirm the unprecedented pressure from congressional Democrats to go after President Obama’s political opponents.  The IRS scandal has now ensnared Congress.”

In mid-April, Judicial Watch released a batch of IRS documents (produced earlier in this litigation) revealing that Lerner had communicated with the Department of Justice about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute certain tax-exempt entities.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-new-documents-show-irs-hq-control-tea-party-targeting/

  • NSA used ‘back door’ to search Americans’ communications
  • Director of national intelligence confirms use of new legal rule
  • Data collected under ‘Prism’ and ‘Upstream’ programs
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Clapper said: ‘These queries were performed pursuant to minimization procedures and consistent with the statute and the fourth amendment.’ Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA

US intelligence chiefs have confirmed that the National Security Agency has used a “back door” in surveillance law to perform warrantless searches on Americans’ communications.

The NSA’s collection programs are ostensibly targeted at foreigners, but in August the Guardian revealed a secret rule change allowing NSA analysts to search for Americans’ details within the databases.

Now, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the intelligence committee, the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has confirmed for the first time the use of this legal authority to search for data related to “US persons”.

“There have been queries, using US person identifiers, of communications lawfully acquired to obtain foreign intelligence targeting non-US persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States,” Clapper wrote in the letter, which has been obtained by the Guardian.

“These queries were performed pursuant to minimization procedures approved by the Fisa court and consistent with the statute and the fourth amendment.”

The legal authority to perform the searches, revealed in top-secret NSA documents provided to the Guardian by Edward Snowden, was denounced by Wyden as a “backdoor search loophole.”

Many of the NSA’s most controversial programs collect information under the law affected by the so-called loophole. These include Prism, which allows the agency to collect data from Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and other tech companies, and the agency’s Upstream program – a huge network of internet cable taps.

Clapper did not disclose how many warrantless searches had been performed by the NSA.

Confirmation that the NSA has searched for Americans’ communications in its phone call and email databases complicates President Barack Obama’s initial defenses of the broad surveillance in June.

“When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program’s about,” Obama said. “As was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people’s names, and they’re not looking at content.”

Obama was referring specifically to the bulk collection of US phone records, but his answer misleadingly suggested that the NSA could not examine Americans’ phone calls and emails.

At a recent hearing of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, administration lawyers defended their latitude to perform such searches. The board is scheduled to deliver a report on the legal authority under which the communications are collected, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa), passed in 2008.

In December 2012, Wyden and Colorado Democrat Mark Udall failed to persuade their fellow Senate intelligence committee members to prevent such warrantless searches during the re-authorisation of the 2008 Fisa Amendments Act, which wrote Section 702 into law.

Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the committee, defended the practice, and argued that it did not violate the act’s “reverse targeting” prohibition on using NSA’s vast powers to collect content on Americans.

“With respect to analysing the information lawfully collected under Section 702, however, the intelligence community provided several examples in which it might have a legitimate foreign intelligence need to conduct queries in order to analyze data already in its possession,” Feinstein said in December 2012.

“The Department of Justice and the intelligence community reaffirmed that any queries made of Section 702 data will be conducted in strict compliance with applicable guidelines and procedures, and do not provide a means to circumvent the general requirement to obtain a court order before targeting a US person under Fisa.”

Clapper referred to that debate in his letter to Wyden, which came in response to the senator’s request in January for a public answer on whether the NSA had in fact conducted such searches.

“As you know, when Congress reauthorized Section 702, the proposal to restrict such queries was specifically raised and ultimately not adopted,” Clapper wrote.

Much of the NSA’s bulk data collection is covered by section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act. This allows for the collection of communications – content and metadata alike – without individual warrants, so long as there is a reasonable belief the communications are both foreign and overseas.

The communications of Americans in direct contact with foreign targets can also be collected without a warrant, and the intelligence agencies acknowledge that purely domestic communications can also be inadvertently swept into its databases. That process is known as “incidental collection”.

Initially, NSA rules on such data prevented the databases being searched for any details relating to “US persons” – that is, citizens or residents of the US. However, in October 2011 the Fisa court approved new procedures which allowed the agency to search for US person data, a revelation contained in documents revealed by Snowden.

The ruling appears to give the agency free access to search for information relating to US people within its vast databases, though not to specifically collect information against US citizens in the first place. However, until the DNI’s disclosure to Wyden, it was not clear whether the NSA had ever actually used these powers.

On Tuesday, Wyden and Udall said the NSA’s warrantless searches of Americans’ emails and phone calls “should be concerning to all.”

“This is unacceptable. It raises serious constitutional questions, and poses a real threat to the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans. If a government agency thinks that a particular American is engaged in terrorism or espionage, the fourth amendment requires that the government secure a warrant or emergency authorisation before monitoring his or her communications. This fact should be beyond dispute,” the two senators said in a joint statement.

They continued: “Today’s admission by the Director of National Intelligence is further proof that meaningful surveillance reform must include closing the back-door searches loophole and requiring the intelligence community to show probable cause before deliberately searching through data collected under section 702 to find the communications of individual Americans.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/01/nsa-surveillance-loophole-americans-data

Gun-Appreciation_large

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) – Three different homeowners in Detroit used guns to defend themselves against intruders this week.

Two suspects were shot and killed.

“I think it’s just a matter of the individual homeowners protecting themselves and finally catching up with the criminals in that enough is enough and they aren’t going to take it anymore,” said Detroit Police Deputy Chief Rodney Johnson.

The latest incident happened around 2:00 Saturday morning.  Two men broke into a home on Toledo in southwest Detroit, armed with a tire iron.  The intruders tried to knock out the homeowner, but the homeowner fired back with his gun.  He shot them both and killed one of them, a 21-year-old man.  The other man got away.

The second incident happened around 12:30 Saturday morning on Abington on Detroit’s west side.  A woman had just pulled her car into the garage when a man with a gun appeared out of nowhere.  She dropped her keys on the ground as a distraction and then reached for her own gun and shot and killed him.

“People are told, that when faced with a situation, whether a robbery or carjacking, just to drop your belongings right there.  That’s what she did taking a few steps back to obtain her weapon which was a .38 caliber handgun.  She was able to fire off several shots,” said Deputy Chief Johnson.

Saturday’s shootings come less than a week after a Detroit mom opened fire on three teens who broke into her house while she was home with her children.

The surveillance video of the break-in is below:

Police caught all three suspects, two 14-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy.

Deputy Chief Johnson said over the past three to four years the department has seen an increase in the number of homeowners applying for concealed pistol licenses.

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Holder was addressing the Woman’s National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to “change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC” about guns.

“What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes.”

Holder added that he had asked advertising agencies in the nation’s capital to assist by making anti-gun ads rather than commercials “that make me buy things that I don’t really need.” He had also approached local newspapers and television stations, he said, asking them to devote prime space and time, respectively, to his anti-gun campaign.

Local political leaders and celebrities, Holder said, including Mayor Marion Barry and Jesse Jackson, had been asked to help. In addition, he reported, he had asked the local school board to make the anti-gun message a part of “every day, every school, and every level.”

Despite strict gun control efforts, Washington, DC was and remains one of the nation’s most dangerous cities for gun violence, though crime has abated somewhat since the 1990s.

Holder went on to become Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, and currently serves as Attorney General in the Obama Administration.

 

Spike in My Veins

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On Korn‘s tension-filled tune “Spike in My Veins,” the band attacks governmental data surveillance and modern information overload. “We are all so caught up in watching crazy media on the internet and TV that we are manipulated into ignoring that our privacy has all but disappeared,” Korn’s Jonathan Davis says. The song is one of the standouts from 2013′s The Paradigm Shift and the video reflects the band’s mindset.

From the onset, we see them stomping around a room filled with TV monitors, as the video first cuts to news reports of data surveillance before the broadcast is interrupted with a Justin Bieber report. There’s not-so-subtle images of President Obama walking out to give a Presidential Address that’s spliced with him walking onto Jimmy Fallon’s stage and videos of Toronto mayor Rob Ford and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie interrupted by shots of Miley Cyrus and Kanye West. Korn’s point is clear: Is news news or just entertainment?

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Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 bemoaned his predecessor’s supposed efforts to “bring more and more power into the executive branch” rather than working with the legislature.

Nearly six years later, President Obama has pledged to unilaterally enact key portions of his legislative agenda if Congress refuses to accede to his priorities.

“I taught constitutional law for ten years,” President Obama said in 2008. “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that were facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”

Obama on Wednesday signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal workers, in a move that some experts say is illegal.

The order was the first in what Obama is calling his “year of action,” in which he will use his “pen and phone” to circumvent Congress and increase the executive’s power to make law.

Repeated changes to the controversial Obamacare law have also been criticized as potentially illegal end-runs around Congress, as the president unilaterally changes the law to reduce to the economic pain the law is causing.

http://freebeacon.com/obama-in-2008-i-intend-to-reverse-executive-power-grabs-go-through-congress/

Adan Salazar

MAIG-ap

 

Nearly 50 mayors have jumped ship on former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” campaign over allegations that the group’s ultimate goal is outright gun confiscation, according to one former member.

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group hits snag with truth-telling mayor.

As reported, Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik published a statement in last week’s Poughkeepsie Journal coming clean about the group’s true intentions, total disarmament of law-abiding gun owners.

“Under the guise of helping mayors facing a crime and drug epidemic, MAIG intended to promote confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens,” Tkazyik said, confirming what many already suspected about the group.

“Nearly 50 pro-Second Amendment mayors have left the organization. They left for the same reason I did,” he also added.

The fact that 50 mayors bailed in response to a concerted effort to undermine the Bill of Rights is certainly headline-worthy, but so far, unsurprisingly, few other media outlets have picked the story up.

And Tkazyik isn’t the first to cast these allegations. In 2007, the mayor of Williamsport, Pa., also said she left after witnessing “dubious” attempts to subvert the Second Amendment. “I have learned that the coalition may be working on issues which conflict with legal gun ownership, and that some actions on your behalf are dubious,” then-Williamsport Mayor Mary Wolf wrote in a letter to Bloomberg himself.

And just last year, during a Mothers Demand Action rally (a gun control coalition which merged with MAIG in December 2013), Austin, Texas City Councilman Mike Martinez singled out a protestor carrying a “Stop the Gun Ban” sign and told him, “…there is no gun ban currently, but because of the work we’re doing here today, we will make your sign legitimate shortly, so you hang on to that.”

News of the group’s traitorous crusade comes at a time when American gun owners are already wary of continual attempts to curtail firearm ownership. Since the Sandy Hook school shooting, the Obama administration has proposed legislation aimed at combating “gun violence,” including proposals that would require background checks for all gun sales; in effect, registration.

American gun owners who know the history behind gun control are fearful that a federal gun registry will eventually lead to confiscation. Indeed, numerous articles have been published showing how, since 2007, roving law enforcement teams have been disarming Californians deemed “illegal” using a list of owners.

However, in the face of blatant evidence, the director of MAIG, Mark Glaze, has boldly gone on to publicly deny that “nobody in California has come to take anyone’s guns.”

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White House press secretary Jay Carney made in the following statement in response to the recently-released CBO report on Obamacare.

“Opportunity created by affordable, quality health insurance allows families in America to make a decision about how they will work, or if they will work.”

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“He says opportunity. This is what he’s heralding in this achievement, that the government is giving opportunity for people to decide if they want to work. This is the liberals’ ideal of the opportunity society” -Charles  Krauthammer

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U.S. Postal Service Announces Giant Ammo Purchase

Kit Daniels

The U.S. Postal Service is currently seeking companies that can provide “assorted small arms ammunition” in the near future.

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On Jan. 31, the USPS Supplies and Services Purchasing Office posted a notice on the Federal Business Opportunities website asking contractors to register with USPS as potential ammunition suppliers for a variety of cartridges.

“The United States Postal Service intends to solicit proposals for assorted small arms ammunition,” the notice reads, which also mentioned a deadline of Feb. 10.

The Post Office published the notice just two days after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced his proposal to remove a federal gun ban that prevents lawful concealed carry holders from carrying handguns inside post offices across the country.

Ironically the Postal Service isn’t the first non-law enforcement agency seeking firearms and ammunition.

Since 2001, the U.S. Dept. of Education has been building a massive arsenal through purchases orchestrated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The Education Dept. has spent over $80,000 so far on Glock pistols and over $17,000 on Remington shotguns.

Back in July, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also purchased 72,000 rounds of .40 Smith & Wesson, following a 2012 purchase for 46,000 rounds of .40 S&W jacketed hollow point by the National Weather Service.

NOAA spokesperson Scott Smullen responded to concerns over the weather service purchase by stating that it was meant for the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement for its bi-annual “target qualifications and training.”

That seems excessive considering that JHP ammunition is typically several times more expensive than practice rounds, which can usually be found in equivalent power loadings and thus offer similar recoil characteristics as duty rounds.

Including mass purchases by the Dept. of Homeland Security, non-military federal agencies combined have purchased an estimated amount of over two billion rounds of ammunition in the past two years.

Additionally, the U.S. Army bought almost 600,000 Soviet AK-47 magazines last fall, enough to hold nearly 18,000,000 rounds of 7.62x39mm ammo which is not standard-issue for either the U.S. military or even NATO.

It would take a Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy, one of the largest cargo aircraft in the world, two trips to haul that many magazines.

A month prior, the army purchased nearly 3,000,000 rounds of 7.62x39mm ammo, a huge amount but still only 1/6th of what the magazines purchased can hold in total.

The Feds have also spent millions on riot control measures in addition to the ammo acquisitions.

Earlier this month, Homeland Security spent over $58 million on hiring security details for just two Social Security offices in Maryland.

DHS also spent $80 million on armed guards to protect government buildings in New York and sought even more guards for federal facilities in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

While the government gears up for civil unrest and stockpiles ammo without limit, private gun owners on the other hand are finding ammunition shelves empty at gun stores across America, including shortages of once-common cartridges such as .22 Long Rifle.

UPDATE: Since the publication of this article, the USPS has amended its pre-solicitation, claiming that the ammunition is a “standard purchase” for the Postal Police. This does not explain, however, why the Postal Police was not listed in the original notice if this is standard. As the federal government grows larger, more and more federal agencies such as the Dept. of Education and NOAA are forming and arming their own “law enforcement divisions” with hundreds of thousands spent on full-blown arsenals. Even the EPA has its own SWAT teams conducting raids on peaceful Americans. Expect to see more large-scale firearm and ammunition purchases by these bureaucracies as they become even more militarized.

 

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Say What?

School officials in a Chicago suburb are not thrilled with a state law passed last year requiring schools to post a “no gun” sticker featuring an image of a handgun with a red slash through it.

Guns were already not allowed in schools before the law was passed, and now some school officials are worried the image on the warning sign might send the wrong message.

“One of my biggest concerns as a principal is safety and security,” Tinley Park High School Principal Theresa Nolan told the Southtown Star. “It is bothersome to have to post a sticker of a gun that says, ‘Hey, folks, leave your guns at home.’”

Nolan said she feared the image could be misinterpreted.

Read more on WashingtonExaminer.com

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