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Righets watch: use the first, lose the second.


All he wanted was to talk to his representative about a political issue--something supposedly guaranteed by the First Amendment's right to petition clause. True, being an activist with the Minutemen and wanting to discuss concerns over criminal illegal alien activity wasn't exactly something he expected" would resonate with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), but over the years, Gabriel Razzano had established a rapport with her chief of staff, who had even visited him at his home.

Except there was now a new chief, Razzano found out when he paid a visit to McCarthy's office. And he didn't return calls. So Razzano returned to McCarthy's office to make an appointment, and this time was informed he was no longer one of her constituents due to reapportionment. They promised they'd straighten things out, but a week later, not having heard from them, he came back. They instructed him to go to the board of elections, which he did, returning with a "stamped official copy of his Certificate of Registration along with a Voter Registration Printout," both confirming he was a McCarthy constituent. Proof in hand, he went back to her office.

There he was confronted by a Nassau County Police detective, who, according to a lawsuit Razzano filed in federal court, "informed [him] that he was not in Rep. McCarthy's district and that he should leave [her] office alone. [The detective] then told Plaintiff to stop 'annoying' Rep. McCarthy and not to contact Rep. McCarthy on any issue until he straightened this 'entire situation out.'" The detective escorted Razzano down the elevator, where they ran into the congresswoman on the ground floor (she would not respond to Razzano's request to speak) and saw him out the door.

The bum's rush, one would think. But that wasn't the end of it. The next day, police showed up at Razzano's house and demanded that he surrender his guns or face arrest. Someone from McCarthy's office called them and complained about his behavior, so police told him they were removing his legally registered weapons--nine rifles, 15 handguns, and his fiancee's handgun--for 90 days.

A week later, Razzano still hadn't been given a receipt for his property, which he had to request. Three weeks later, he received a letter from Nassau County Police Chief Anthony Rocco stating his pistol license had been revoked, because he "had become 'increasingly obsessed with the day laborer situation' and that [his] 'actions have cause[d] great concern over [his] suitability to possess a pistol license.'" And they weren't going to return his long guns either, since there was no provision in law to do so.

Meanwhile, Carolyn McCarthy denied any knowledge of the 911 call. It wasn't until the magistrate ordered it at a discovery hearing that the name of the staffer who made the call became known.

What we have here is an American citizen--with no criminal charges against him. no convictions, no mental health diagnoses, no adjudication of any kind--being stripped of his Second Amendment rights because he exercised those promised in the First.

Visit David Codrea's online journal The War on Guns at
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Author:Codrea, David
Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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