Category Archives: Law

Muzzleloaders Now Targeted by “Giffords” Gun Prohibition Lobby

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More deceit, lies, and the emergence of a very clear agenda from the anti-gunners: read how the “Giffords” seeks to disarm Americans and even take away great-grandad’s gun…

muzzleloader

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

It didn’t take long after the events in Las Vegas, Nevada for gun control advocates to resort to their usual tactic of blaming hardware for the acts of an evil man. Numerous anti-gun bills were introduced almost immediately, with arch anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) leading the charge. “This is written in clean English,” Feinstein insisted of her bill. “It does not take anyone’s gun.” Less than a month later, however, Feinstein abandoned the pretense of “not taking” guns and introduced perhaps the most sweeping gun and magazine ban in U.S. history.

Close on her heels last week was the recently-rebranded “Giffords” gun control consortium, which released a report that used the current debate over firearm legislation to, well, advocate for gun bans too. But the Giffords report went well beyond the usual gun control talking points in extending its attack all the way to muzzle-loading firearms. From the modern to the archaic, no gun is safe from the newly-emboldened prohibition lobby.

Considering these proposals, it’s hard to imagine how any firearm can thread the needle through all the justifications gun control advocates use to argue for additional bans.

Semiautomatic carbines that use detachable magazines must go, they say, because they can fire too many (relatively small) rounds too quickly.

But muzzleloaders — which fire one shot at a time and must be laboriously loaded through by hand down the barrel — can deliver what “Giffords” calls “a particularly lethal .50 caliber round” and are therefore unacceptable as well.

Bump stocks should be banned, according to the report, because they increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle held against the shoulder.

Yet dispensing with the stock entirely — as in the case of AR- or AK-style pistols — also presents a problem for the “Giffords” group because that creates guns capable of firing rifle-sized cartridges that are “concealable like handguns.”

But concealability of course isn’t the only problem for “Giffords.” Exceptionally large guns are out, too. The Giffords report goes on to fault modern .50 caliber rifles for combining “long range, accuracy, and massive firepower.”

Of course, the actual use of .50 caliber rifles to commit crime in the U.S. is vanishingly rare, thanks to their considerable weight, bulk, and price tag. A five-foot long gun that weighs nearly 33 lbs. and costs as much as many used cars is not likely to be the sort of tool most common criminals will lug from one crime scene to the next.

Where does this all lead? The Boston Globe answered that question this week with an article headlined, “Hand over your weapons.” It states: “The logic of gun control lies, at bottom, in substantially reducing the number of deadly weapons on the street — confiscation is far and away the most effective approach.” This thesis is accompanied by the usual celebration of Australia’s mass gun confiscation effort, an almost mandatory feature of any journalistic exploration of gun control these days.

And while admitting that “America is not Australia,” the Globe writer nevertheless asserts “there’s no way around” the conclusion that widespread gun ownership is to blame for violent crime in America and that the solution must involve confiscating “millions of those firearms.”

It’s telling that the “Giffords” organization — once among the more moderate of the gun control advocacy groups — now demands curbs on the sorts of muzzleloaders that it admits “fell out of favor as a firearm of choice almost a century ago, and are generally seen as primitive antiques.”

But what’s really out of favor and antiquated, in the unforgiving worldview of gun abolitionists, is your Second Amendment rights. The values of America’s Founding Fathers are just as obnoxious to them as the revolutionary-era rifles that helped win America’s freedom.

What do you think?

SKILLS: Three Self-Defense Myths That Just Won’t Die

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Don’t buy into these age-old myths! Sheriff Jim tells the truth, and the truth might just save your life… Keep reading!

defensive rounds

SOURCE: NRA Publications, Shooting Illustrated
by Sheriff Jim Wilson

Just about the time it appears they have been proven false and dismissed, the same self-defense and gun myths pop again. Part of this is probably due to the fact there are always new people who finally realize they need to do something about their personal safety and begin seeking answers. Unfortunately, it is also due to the tendency of some people to pass on advice they have heard, but never took the time to find out if it is really true. Since it sounds cool, it must be right. This is one of the many reasons why defensive shooters need to receive professional training. With a good, professional instructor, it is remarkable how many of these myths quickly fall by the wayside and are replaced by cold, hard facts. Let’s look at three of the old self-defense myths that just won’t die and discuss the truths they conceal.

Myth No. 1: Hit him anywhere with a .45 and it will knock him down. This myth probably started with the advent of the .45 Colt back in the 1870s, but it has been repeated most often when people refer to the .45 ACP. Nowadays, you will hear it touted regarding the .44 Mag., the .41 Mag., the .40 S&W or whatever new and powerful pistol cartridge that has just been introduced. The truth was discovered way back in 1687, when Sir Isaac Newton published his third law of motion. Newton stated that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, if a bullet shot from a handgun was so powerful that it could actually knock a person down, it would also knock the shooter down. There are a lot of reasons why a person who is shot may appear to fall down, or even be knocked down. But, the truth is the force of the bullet striking him is not knocking him off his feet. That only happens in the movies and TV. In reality, a person who is shot with even a relatively powerful handgun may show very little indication of being hit. There will also be very little sign of blood, especially at first. Therefore, the defensive shooter should not rely on these as cues that the fight is over. The important thing is to recover from recoil, regain your sight picture and quickly re-evaluate the threat. If the criminal is still armed — whether or not he is on his feet — and if he appears to still be a threat, additional shots may be necessary. Just don’t expect the bad guy to go flying off his feet, because it probably won’t happen.

Myth No. 2: There’s no need to aim a shotgun, just point it in the general direction of the bad guy and fire.
The shotgun is an awesome firearm that is altogether too often overlooked by today’s defensive shooters. However, it is not a magic wand. People who claim you don’t have to aim a shotgun have simply never done patterning tests with their favorite defensive smoothbore. When shot exits a shotgun barrel, it does so in almost one solid mass. That mass is smaller than a man’s fist. It is only as the shot travels downrange that it begins to spread apart, and it spreads much more gradually than a lot of people expect. Whether you are using buckshot or birdshot, from 0 to 10 yards you should consider it to be one projectile. Actually, by about 7 yards the shot has begun to spread noticeably, but not as much as you might think. From 10 yards to about 25 yards, the average shotgun will deliver a pattern that will still stay on the chest area of a silhouette target. But, by 25 yards some of the pellets may stray off target. When dealing with a threat at 25 yards and beyond, it’s time to think about transitioning to a slug. Instead of taking anyone’s word for it — mine included — the defensive shotgunner should run pattern tests using his shotgun from extremely close range out to 25 and 30 yards. He will also find his shotgun performs better with one brand of ammunition than others. There are a lot of reasons for this preference for particular loads, but the defensive shotgunner should know this occurs and make his selection accordingly. The smart defensive shooter will run tests until he knows which load his gun prefers and exactly what his shot pattern is doing at the ranges his shotgun could be called upon to perform. Always true: don’t just believe it, test it!

Myth No. 3: If you have to shoot a bad guy in your front yard, drag him into the house before calling the cops.
As ridiculous as this may sound, it is one of the self-defense myths that just won’t go away. A student brought it up once in a defensive pistol class. There are couple of good reasons why this is a terrible idea.
To begin with, most states determine the justification for using deadly force as being a reasonable response to prevent immediate death or serious bodily injury. Therefore, if a person is justified in defending himself inside his home, he is also justified in defending himself in his yard, because he is under an immediate attack in which he could be killed or seriously injured. This varies from state to state, so check your own state’s laws before determining your home-defense plan. The second, equally important, reason is the crime scene will quickly make a liar out of you. Any investigator worth his salt will know within five minutes that you moved the body. And, if you’re lying about that, you are probably lying about everything else, or that’s what the investigator will assume. It is the quickest possible way to go directly to jail. Protecting yourself in a completely justifiable shooting can get expensive. So can lying to the police about a shooting.
Part and parcel to obtaining a defensive firearm should be obtaining advice from a criminal defense attorney. He can tell you what your state laws are, how they are interpreted in court and the limitations regarding use of deadly force and how they apply to a legally armed citizen. Getting that sort of advice from the guys down at the bar or from an Internet commando is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

Dianne Feinstein Wants to Ban Commonly-Owned Semi-Autos, Again!

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I guess we all figured THIS one was coming, and, well, here it is… Read more.

Dianne Feinstein

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

On Wednesday, November 8, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced S. 2095, which she is calling the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2017.” The 125-page firearm prohibition fever dream is perhaps the most far-reaching gun ban ever introduced in Congress.

Subject to an exception for “grandfathered” firearms, the bill would prohibit AR-15s and dozens of other semi-automatic rifles by name (as well as their “variants” or “altered facsimiles”), and any semi-automatic rifle that could accept a detachable magazine and be equipped with a pistol grip, an adjustable or detachable stock, or a barrel shroud. And that’s just a partial list. “Pistol grip” would be defined as “a grip, a thumbhole stock, or any other characteristic that can function as a grip,” meaning the ban could implicate even traditional stocks or grips specifically designed to comply with existing state “assault weapon” laws.

Needless to say, semi-automatic shotguns and handguns would get similar treatment.

Also banned would be any magazine with a capacity of greater than 10 rounds or even any magazine that could be “readily restored, changed, or converted to accept” more than 10 rounds.

While Feinstein’s bill would graciously allow those who lawfully owned the newly-banned guns at the time of the law’s enactment to keep them, it would impose strict storage requirements any time the firearm was not actually in the owner’s hands or within arm’s reach. Violations would be punishable (of course) by imprisonment.

Owners of grandfathered “assault weapons” could also go to prison for allowing someone else to borrow or buy the firearm, unless the transfer was processed through a licensed firearms dealer. The dealer would be required to document the transaction and run a background check on the recipient.

Should lawful owners of the newly-banned firearms and magazines decide that the legal hazards of keeping them were too much, the bill would authorize the use of taxpayer dollars in the form of federal grants to establish programs to provide “compensation” for their surrender to the government.

This bill is nothing more than a rehash of Feinstein’s failed experiment in banning “assault weapons” and magazines over 10 rounds. Except this time, Feinstein would like to go even further in restricting law-abiding Americans’ access to firearms and magazines that are commonly owned for lawful self-defense.

The congressionally-mandated study of the federal “assault weapon ban” of 1994-2004 found that the ban had little, if any, impact on crime, in part because “the banned guns were never used in more than a modest fraction” of firearm-related crime.

Don’t let Dianne Feinstein infringe on our Second Amendment rights with a policy that’s been proven to do nothing to stop crime. Please contact your U.S. Senators and encourage them to oppose S. 2095. You can contact your U.S. Senators by phone at (202) 224-3121.

Hunting Non-Native Species In America: Is it For You?

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Beyond deer, elk, moose, and bear, there are a few critters roaming the wilds in this country that are more than worthy of a planned hunt. Here are a few suggestions…

SOURCE: NRAFamily.org, by Richard Mann

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a definition for the word exotic is: “Something introduced from another country or something not native to the place where it is found.” Another definition describes exotic as something strikingly, excitingly or mysteriously different or unusual. Both are appropriate when it comes to describing exotic game animals in the United States.

The hunting of exotic animals is most often associated with ranches, and it’s most common in Texas, where ranch sizes can range from a few hundred acres up into the thousands. There are places in Texas where you can hunt almost any animal found in Africa, or Continental critters like the European red stag. Since these animals are not native to the United States and have not ever become part of the American free-ranging ecosystem, hunts of this type are generally considered “high-fence” hunts. Animals harvested on hunts like this are not eligible for Boone & Crockett or Pope & Young recognition.

Blackbuck
Blackbuck photo by Nita Turpin, Lifetime Member of the Exotic Wildlife Association

There are also exotic animals that are free-ranging in America. By “free-ranging,” I mean running wild just like native animals like elk and grizzly bears. (Animals harvested on hunts like this are considered “fair chase,” as long as all local and national laws are obeyed.) What might surprise you is that several animals you might think are native to North America are actually exotics.

The most widely hunted exotic animal in North America is, believe it or not, the feral hog. The domestic pig was introduced to the Americas by the Spanish explorer DeSoto in the 1500s. Those that escaped captivity became feral and were hunted for food. Later, when the wild boar was introduced throughout the United States, they crossed with the feral hogs. Hunting wild hogs has become very popular because in most states they are considered a nuisance animal and seasons are year-round. Few hunters consider the wild hog an exotic, but it fits the definition-the pig is not native to North America. Their range is expanding, too. Initially wild hogs could only be found in the Southern states. Now, they have spread to almost every state and they continue to expand their range. This is partly because they multiply at such an amazing rate and partly because they have few natural predators to contend with.

gemsbock

I’ve hunted wild hogs in Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Texas. They can be extremely challenging to stalk or stand hunt but are most often shot as they come into feeders. Wild hogs are certainly edible, but due to their diet and the amount of exercise they get, they’re not going to be as tender as domestic pigs. (It’s also very important to cook the meat of all pigs very thoroughly, as they can harbor parasites.)

Upland bird hunters across North America frequently pursue another exotic-you might know it as the ringneck pheasant. It was introduced to America in the 1850s. These exotic game birds are often called the Chinese pheasant because they originated in Asia. Because of their numbers and popularity people think of them as a native species so much that the common pheasant, as it is now called, is the state bird of South Dakota.

Axis deer were introduced in the United States in the 1930s. They have thrived and are the most common non-indigenous ungulate found in North America. Over the years axis deer escaped from game ranches…and there have also been free-range introductions, too. Today, huntable populations of axis deer are found over much of Texas. They are still considered an exotic as far as game laws are concerned, so the license is cheap and they can be hunted year-round.

Hunting exotic species in the U.S. can involve any number of hunting techniques. My first axis deer hunt was on a large ranch in Texas near the South Llano River. The only fence there was a low cattle fence. The axis deer that frequented the ranch could have walked to West Virginia had they been of a mind to do so. I hunted from a box blind set up near a feeder. This is a common practice for hunting whitetails in Texas, since the brush can be so thick as to be nearly impassable for people, but it’s not necessarily my favorite way to hunt. (I did take a nice stag and the antlers are impressive.) Conversely, several years later I hunted axis again in Texas, but this time behind a high fence that surrounded thousands of acres. That time, we hunted strictly by spot and stalk. Finding an axis buck and getting close enough for a shot proved difficult. It was a thoroughly enjoyable hunt and that axis tasted just as good as the first one. Most hunters that have eaten axis deer meat agree they taste better than whitetails.

One appealing facet of the axis deer is that they breed year-round. Axis bucks grow and shed one set of antlers per year, but they do so based on when they were born. This can be at any time, so bucks in the same group can be seen with no antlers, velvet antlers or hard antlers. Hunting a stag or buck axis is not restricted to just a few months each year.

Axis deer are not the only free-ranging exotic animal you can hunt in Texas. One of my favorite critters to hunt is free-ranging aoudad, also known as Barbary sheep. (On my last aoudad hunt, the guide called them “doodads.”) The aoudad is a sheep native to North Africa, but these days they roam wild in the mountains of West Texas. It’s technically not really a sheep; the aoudad is a “caprid” or goat-antelope. Sheep or goat, these “doodads” have exquisite eyesight and like to keep to the most rugged terrain you’ll find in west Texas-in fact, today there are more aoudad in Texas than their native land. On my first aoudad hunt I walked and climbed hills until my knees begged for relief. Finally, on the fifth day, I managed to connect with one of these elusive animals with the wide curling horns.

The blackbuck and gemsbok are two other free-ranging, exotic antelope that can be hunted in North America. As a matter of fact, there are more blackbuck in Texas than in India, where they are indigenous and now considered endangered. Gemsbok (pictured above) were introduced to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in 1969. They have established additional territory off the range and in Texas. Each year the New Mexico Fish & Game issues a limited number of hunting permits for these “oryx” (as they are also known). Gemsbok are one of Africa’s most magnificent trophies. A free-ranging, North American hunt for gemsbok can be very similar to, and in some cases more challenging than, what you might experience hunting in South Africa. Interestingly, what I’ll bet you don’t know is that most all of the gemsbok hunted in South Africa are hunted behind high fences. So it’s a little ironic that you’ve got a better chance to hunt free-ranging gemsbok in the United States than you would in its native country.

When it comes to hunting ethics for exotics, we must all make our own decisions as to what is and is not acceptable. For example, in some counties in eastern Virginia it is perfectly legal to hunt whitetail deer with dogs. In South Africa, where hundreds of Americans go on safari every year, they will be hunting a high-fenced concession. What hunters should not do is discount the hunting of exotics as unethical or easy just because they are animals that are not from around here.

What’s important, regardless of whether the game animal is an exotic or not, is the method in which the hunt is conducted and the interaction between the hunter and the hunted. With a bit of research you can find a suitable location where you can have an ethical hunt for animals that in many cases were not even on this continent just 100 years ago.

I’m eagerly awaiting my next aoudad hunt that I hope happens this fall. Thousands of upland bird hunters are anticipating the opening of pheasant season across the midwest. Year round, fathers, sons and daughters will be out looking for wild hogs to hunt and a few hunters are eagerly waiting to see if they will finally draw a New Mexico gemsbok tag. Exotics are fine game animals and if you have the chance you should try for one or more of these mysterious animals.

NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox Issue Joint Statement

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NRA calls for BAFTE review on rapid-fire devices. Here’s the story…

NRA

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

The National Rifle Association issued the following statement on October 5, 2017:

“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

Feinstein’s “Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act” Might Make Replacement Triggers Illegal

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Almost immediately following the wake of the tragic events in Las Vegas, Diane Feinstein has already introduced a bill that could have devastating impact on the aftermarket parts industry, and on all shooters. Here’s what we know so far…

feinstein

SOURCE: TheTruthAboutGuns.com, Nick Leghorn

Just this morning [October 5, 2017] we heard that Dianne Feinstein had introduced her “Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act,” a bill which would ban bumpfire stocks like the one used in the Las Vegas shooting among other things. In an attempt to make her new law apply as broadly as possible she not only specifically wants to outlaw bumpfire stocks, but also any modification that makes a firearm fire “faster.” But what exactly does that mean?

Here’s the relevant section:
Except as provided in paragraph (2), on and after the date that is 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, it shall be unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a trigger crank, a bump-fire device, or any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.

The issue is in the definition of “accelerate.” Bumpfire stocks are an obvious step, and are specifically named. The same with hand cranks for triggers. But the bill wants to make anything which increases the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle illegal, yet it doesn’t do a good job of outlining exactly what that means.

For semi-automatic firearms the rate of fire is completely subjective. An untrained shooter and legendary speed demon Jerry Miculek will be able to achieve two very different rates of fire with the same firearm. The bill thankfully isn’t silly enough to outlaw training sessions and gym memberships — it concerns itself only with attachments and physical devices. Tools like the bumpfire stock are obvious targets, but other factors can have similar effects.

Lighter replacement triggers are a great example. A lighter trigger in a firearm can allow the shooter to fire faster than with a heavy trigger simply because their finger is less fatigued. We reviewed one such trigger years ago, the Geissele S3G trigger, which absolutely increases the rate at which a shooter can fire their weapon. For that reason, according to Feinstein’s bill the Geissele S3G trigger would be illegal to purchase or possess in the United States.

Another issue: what exactly is the baseline for the rate of fire?
The baseline rate of fire that can be achieved with a finely-tuned competition rifle and a bare bones budget rifle are two very different things. Would there be one baseline for each weapon platform against which all other examples would be compared? Would manufacturers be required to install the worst trigger possible in order to reduce the rate of fire? Or would it simply be illegal to modify the trigger from the factory installed version, making drop-in replacements like Timney and Geissele illegal?

On its face, it sounds like Dianne Feinstein’s bill, as written, would kill the aftermarket trigger industry and make it illegal to improve the trigger on your rifle. We’ll have to see whether this bill makes it out of committee, and what (if any) amendments would be added to give some clarity to the situation.

Watch this one closely!

Can The Government Confiscate My Firearms During a Disaster?

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firearms confiscation

During the recent disaster wrought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and the impending landfall in Florida of Hurricane Irma, many of our members have been asking if the government can confiscate their firearms if the Governor or Federal Government declare a state of emergency.

Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the New Orleans police went door to door seeking people who rode out the storm in their homes to force them to comply with the forced evacuation ordered by the government. As part of the effort, the officers were also confiscating firearms.

This created an outrage among the law-abiding gun owners of the country and resulted in the passage of state and federal laws to prevent such confiscations from occurring in the future.

In 2006, Congress passed the DISASTER RECOVERY PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT OF 2006. The law was intended to prevent the government from seizing legally owned firearms during the time of a disaster. It was incorporated as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act 2007 and signed into law on October 4, 2006.

CAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONFISCATE MY FIREARMS?

This law amended 42 U.S.C 5201 Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to add the following provision:

SEC. 706. FIREARMS POLICIES.

(a) PROHIBITION ON CONFISCATION OF FIREARMS- No officer or employee of the United States (including any member of the uniformed services), or person operating pursuant to or under color of Federal law, or receiving Federal funds, or under control of any Federal official, or providing services to such an officer, employee, or other person, while acting in support of relief from a major disaster or emergency, may–

(1) temporarily or permanently seize, or authorize seizure of, any firearm the possession of which is not prohibited under Federal, State, or local law, other than for forfeiture in compliance with Federal law or as evidence in a criminal investigation;

(2) require registration of any firearm for which registration is not required by Federal, State, or local law;

(3) prohibit possession of any firearm, or promulgate any rule, regulation, or order prohibiting possession of any firearm, in any place or by any person where such possession is not otherwise prohibited by Federal, State, or local law; or

(4) prohibit the carrying of firearms by any person otherwise authorized to carry firearms under Federal, State, or local law, solely because such person is operating under the direction, control, or supervision of a Federal agency in support of relief from the major disaster or emergency.

(b) LIMITATION- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person in subsection (a) from requiring the temporary surrender of a firearm as a condition for entry into any mode of transportation used for rescue or evacuation during a major disaster or emergency, provided that such temporarily surrendered firearm is returned at the completion of such rescue or evacuation.

Following the lead of the federal government, most state legislatures adopted their own version of this law.

TEXAS LAW ON FIREARMS CONFISCATION

In Texas, Government Code Chapter 418 (EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT) permits the Governor to declare a State of Disaster which suspends certain state laws and regulations to allow local authorities to conduct rescue and recovery operations.

However, it does not allow for the seizure of any legally owned firearms, with limited exception.

Specifically,

Sec. 418.003.  LIMITATIONS.  This chapter does not:

(5)  except as provided by Section 418.184, authorize the seizure or confiscation of any firearm or ammunition from an individual who is lawfully carrying or possessing the firearm or ammunition;

Sec. 418.184.  FIREARMS.

(a)  A peace officer who is acting in the lawful execution of the officer’s official duties during a state of disaster may disarm an individual if the officer reasonably believes it is immediately necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual.

(b)  The peace officer shall return a firearm and any ammunition to an individual disarmed under Subsection (a) before ceasing to detain the individual unless the officer:

(1)  arrests the individual for engaging in criminal activity; or

(2)  seizes the firearm as evidence in a criminal investigation.

To read Governor Abbott’s actual declaration, click here.

FLORIDA LAW ON FIREARMS CONFISCATION   

Article IV, Section 1(a) of the Florida Constitution permits the Governor to issue an Executive Order to declare a State of Emergency in times of a natural disaster, allowing him to enact provisions of the State’s Emergency Management Plan.

For Hurricane Irma, the Executive Order provides specific provisions regarding the activities permissible to state and local officials during the emergency, as provided for in  Florida Statutes beginning with Chapter 252.31  “State Emergency Management Act.”

In part, the Executive Order states:

Section 2. I designate the Director of the Division of Emergency Management as the State Coordinating Officer for the duration of this emergency and direct him to execute the State’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and other response, recover, and mitigation plans necessary to cope with the emergency. Pursuant to section 252.36(1)(a), Florida Statutes, I delegate to the State Coordinating Officer the authority to exercise those powers delineated in sections 252.36(5)-(10), Florida Statutes, which he shall exercise as needed to meet this emergency, subject to the limitations of section 252.33, Florida Statutes.

But those powers have certain limitations with regards to firearms. In particular,

Chapter 252.36(5)(h) states the Governor may:

(h) Suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles. However, nothing contained in ss. 252.31-252.90 shall be construed to authorize the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed, unless a person is engaged in the commission of a criminal act.

FINAL WORD

So, there you have it. During our times of disaster, we can all focus on recovery and not have to worry about the authorities coming along and confiscating our firearms. The Second Amendment survives disasters.

Surprising Hurricane Harvey Heroes

 

[Addendum: Due inquiries from Members, this story was updated on Sept. 7.]

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS CONFISCATING FIREARMS

On Tuesday, the island’s Governor ordered the National Guard to confiscate weapons and ammo that may be required for them to carry out their mission.  What that specifically means is unclear. Also, the U.S. Virgin Islands IS NOT governed by the U.S. Constitution, but instead by the “Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands,” a federal law approved by Congress in 1954. The island does not have its own constitution yet.

The NRA has threatened to file a lawsuit, and here is their take:

In 1997, the chairman of the House Committee on Resources asked the General Accounting Office (GAO) to clarify just how the U.S. Constitutional applies to various “U.S. Insular Areas,” including the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its findings were inconclusive and unsettling, especially to those now living under Governor Mapp’s orders. Said the report:

Under the Insular Cases and subsequent decisions, rights other than fundamental rights, even though they may be stated in the Constitution, do not apply to the territories or possessions unless the Congress makes them applicable by legislation. The Congress can by law extend the coverage of the Constitution in part or in its entirety to a territory or possession, and has done so with respect to some territories. In the absence of such congressional action, however, only fundamental rights apply.

Digging further, one finds that only parts of the Fifth Amendment are considered to be “fundamental” based on court rulings, and none of the Sixth Amendment applies. And nothing is said in the 75-page report about the Second.

If the NRA does sue and their position is sustained by the courts that people living on the island are U.S. Citizens with full protection of the U.S. Constitution, the issue will be settled. If not, or no suit is filed, those living on the island will be subjected to having their weapons confiscated by the National Guard.

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

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The SHARE Act could have a very positive effect on gun-owning sportsmen as well as all gun enthusiasts. Here are some details…

SHARE Act.

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

On Tuesday, September 12, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which had been introduced on September 1 by Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC). Following the subcommittee hearing, the full Committee on Natural Resources marked up and passed the SHARE Act by a vote of 22-13. All amendments offered in an attempt to weaken the bill were soundly defeated. The bill now awaits floor action in the U.S. House.

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting, and broadening access to federal lands for these purposes, this year’s SHARE Act contains reforms that would widely benefit sportsmen and the gun-owning public at large.

These reforms would protect Americans traveling interstate with lawfully-owned firearms, amend provisions of federal law that have been abused by antigun administrations to impose gun control by executive fiat, and make the health-promoting benefits of firearm sound suppressors more accessible.

Attorney and constitutional scholar Steven Halbrook, who has litigated firearms issues before the U.S. Supreme Court, testified at Tuesday’s hearing that the Act would “enhance protection of Second Amendment guarantees” without “adversely affect[ing] law enforcement interests.”

Halbrook provided background on several key provisions of the act. He noted that under current law, for example, certain federal courts have denied plaintiffs remedies for violation of their federally-protected right to transport unloaded firearms interstate between jurisdictions where they may be lawfully carried. This has emboldened certain states, like New York and New Jersey, to ignore these protections and arrest law-abiding Americans for exercising their rights under federal law. “Title XI of the bill will rectify this affront to the right to travel and the Second Amendment by explicitly immunizing law-abiding travelers from arrest and recognizing a civil action for violation,” he stated.

Halbrook also testified about the benefits of suppressors and how they were rarely implicated in violent crime. “That is why suppressors are freely available,” he noted, “even over the counter or by mail order, in many European countries.” In this regard, the bill would eliminate the current $200 transfer tax and a federal approval process that can take as long as a year to complete.

Others testifying focused on Title IV of the bill, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act, which will reduce the regulatory burdens for federal agencies to promote hunting, fishing, and shooting on federal public lands across the nation.

Testifying against the bill was David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the Gabby Giffords/Mark Kelly gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Chipman claimed to draw on his experience as a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in arguing that the Act “assaults the interests of our nation’s law enforcement officials and threatens our public safety and security.” In particular, his comments focused on the Act’s removal of impediments to the lawful purchase of suppressors. He also criticized the Act’s reforms to the “sporting purposes” standard for firearm importation.

Ironically, Ronald Turk, ATF’s current second-highest ranking official — who has spent over two decades working up the ranks of the agency from his initial assignments as a street agent — offered far different takes on these same issues in an interagency white paper that became public in February. Turk cited both of these issues as ripe for “regulatory changes or modifications … that would have an immediate, positive impact on commerce and industry without significantly hindering ATF’s mission or adversely affecting public safety.”

Turk characterized the import restrictions cited by Chipman as serving “questionable public safety interests,” because they often affect firearms “already generally legally available for manufacture and ownership in the United States.” He also suggested a broader understanding of firearm “sports” was appropriate, to include activities and competitions that use “AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles.” Regarding suppressors, the white paper opined, “Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act].”

The SHARE Act now heads to the House Floor, where it could receive consideration as early as September 25.

Please contact your U.S. Representative NOW and ask him or her to vote YES on H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act. You can call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office.

There has never been a better opportunity to pass this important and far-reaching legislation, but your help is urgently needed to ensure it goes the distance.

Arizona Supreme Court Rebuffs Tucson’s Illegal Destruction of Firearms

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A Supreme Court ruling in Arizona establishes that forfeited and seized firearms should be treated the same as any other valuable property. Here’s the story…

destroyed gun

Source: NRA-ILA

On Thursday, August 17, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously held that the state was within its authority to prohibit cities and counties from routinely destroying firearms obtained through forfeiture or as unclaimed property. State law holds that political subdivisions must instead (subject to certain exceptions) recirculate the firearms through legitimate channels of commerce, just as they do with other types of valuable property. The case represents the latest battle in an effort dating back nearly two decades to prevent anti-gun localities from undermining the pro-gun policies of the state legislature.

While the case — State v. City of Tucson — rests on complicated issues of Arizona constitutional, statutory, and common law, it illustrates challenges facing gun owners nationwide and the importance of sustained advocacy in ensuring Second Amendment rights. Infringements of the right to keep and bear arms are rarely resolved simply by pointing to the Second Amendment or similar provisions of state constitutions. Rather, it often takes remedial legislation, backed by months or years of painstaking litigation, to vindicate the rights of gun owners.

The case also illustrates how even in the most pro-gun of states, there are always anti-gun enclaves and/or political opportunists who will openly defy clear legal authority for as long as possible to further their oppressive agenda of suppressing our firearms freedom.

As explained in the case’s leading opinion, the Arizona legislature passed a statute in 2000 to assert exclusive authority over the regulation of firearms and ammunition. Nevertheless, the City of Tucson five years later enacted an ordinance calling for the destruction of certain unclaimed or forfeited firearms.

The legislature, in turn, responded by enacting two additional statutes in 2013 that prohibited agencies, political subdivisions, and law enforcement entities from “facilitating the destruction of a firearm” and that instructed them instead to sell the firearms to businesses which lawfully participate in gun sales.

Despite the legislature’s explicit directives, Tucson destroyed nearly 5,000 additional firearms after the enactment of the 2013 laws. The legislature again responded in 2016, this time by establishing a framework by which one or more members of the legislature could seek remedial action through the state attorney general’s office against alleged violations of Arizona’s laws or its constitution by political subdivisions.

Pursuant to that framework, Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem asked the attorney general to review Tucson’s firearm destruction program. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich concluded that Tucson’s ordinance was contrary to state law, but the city rejected the findings and refused to take corrective action. Pursuant to the 2016 law, Attorney General Brnovich then filed a petition with the Arizona Supreme Court to resolve the matter.

Although the justices were divided on their reasoning, all agreed the state legislature had acted within its authority by enacting the statute preventing localities from destroying firearms that were otherwise lawful to sell under state and federal law. The leading opinion of four justices validated the NRA’s argument that protecting the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the state and federal constitutions is a matter of statewide concern and that the enactments of the legislature on this subject therefore take precedence over the acts of charter cities.

Tucson’s behavior to date leaves little doubt that anti-gun officials will continue looking for ways to undermine the rights of gun owners within the city, notwithstanding the state legislature’s pronouncements. This is unfortunately an all-too-common phenomenon across the country in otherwise pro-gun states. That is exactly why the NRA’s work to vindicate the rights of gun owners never stops, even when it does not grab national headlines.

The leading opinion of four justices validated the NRA’s argument that protecting the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the state and federal constitutions is a matter of statewide concern and that the enactments of the legislature on this subject therefore take precedence over the acts of charter cities.

September 1 is Here! This is How the Texas Gun Laws Change

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September 1 changes
The TSRA outlines the new laws taking effect September 1.

Read this release from TSRA to learn about ALL of the changes in Texas gun law on September 1. See below:

LTC Fee Reduction Legislation

(SB16 by Senator Robert Nichols/Representative Phil King)

Background:

In 1995 the Texas Legislature passed the concealed handgun license. At that time the fee to the state for the CHL was put into statute at $140 for the initial license and $70 to renew. The only discounts in 1995 were for seniors over 60 at a 50% discount and to indigents for the same 50% discount.

Over the years the Legislature created discounts for various groups such as judges, district attorneys, military, law enforcement and others but nothing for the average hardworking Texan. In addition, the process of issuing the license became streamlined.

With SB 16:

Those who would have paid $140 will now pay $40, and their renewal will also be $40. The cost will be $40 for seniors for their first license instead of $70, and a senior renewal will remain $35.

$40 is the most any Texan will pay the state for the License to Carry.

While TSRA strongly supports unlicensed possession of a handgun, the Texas license has become acceptable even to those who opposed the issue for decades.

Special thanks to Senator Robert Nichols the author of SB 16, to Representative Phil King for HB300, Representative Dustin Burrows for HB339 and to Representative Kyle Kacal for HB1024; all filed to create support for SB 16.

SB 16 was Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s #1 priority for Texas gun owners.

Governor signed (5/26/2017)  Effective Date 9/1/2017

Caliber Requirement for LTC Qualification

(SB263 by Senator Perry/Representative Drew Springer)

Since 1995 there has been a minimum caliber requirement in the statute for the range proficiency portion of the Texas License to Carry class. Range Proficiency requires the applicant shoot a 50-round course of fire.

Currently, those seeking a license must test with a .32 caliber or higher handgun although there is no caliber requirement regarding the firearm carried by the licensee on a day to day basis.

This minimum caliber requirement negatively impacts those with hand injuries and the elderly who wish to obtain a license.

SB 263 by Senator Perry removes the caliber requirement for the range proficiency exam to obtain a Texas License to Carry.  The bill takes effect September 1.

Governor signed (6/9/2017)  Effective Date 9/1/2017

Volunteer First Responders

(HB435 by Representative Ken King/Senator Perry.)  Relating to handgun laws as they apply to licensees who are volunteer first responders.

Governor signed (June 15, 2017) Effective Date 9/1/2017

TSRA Suppressor Bill plus a Friendly Amendment

On Friday, May 19th, at 8:55 p.m. the Texas House passed HB 1819, authored by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) with Senate sponsor, Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) plus an amendment by Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls).

HB1819 sets up Texas law in preparation for the Hearing Protection Act (HR 367) to pass in Congress. The Hearing Protection Act would remove suppressors, also known as silencers, from the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA). This means the purchaser of a suppressor would no longer be required to pay the suppressor dealer a deposit, fill out the form 4, transmit digital fingerprints, send BATFE $200, followed by waiting as long as a year for their application to be processed, the “tax stamp” issued and the purchase finalized.  Again, we’re only talking about suppressors. A device which simply muffles sound.

The US Congress, under our current administration, is expected to act and when the change occurs Texas law will be ready to accommodate the change. This means law-abiding Texans wanting a suppressor for their firearm will show their LTC or submit to NICS as though they were purchasing a firearm.  No forms and no $200 tax to BATFE when the Hearing Protection Act passes in Congress.

But wait, there’s more! Mossberg Shockwave!

It was brought to our attention by State Rep. Poncho Nevarez (D-Eagle Pass) and by TSRA members that the Mossberg 590 Shockwave could not be purchased in two states: Texas and Ohio. There is a Mossberg manufacturing facility in Eagle Pass.
You see BATFE does not require this 14″ barrel,  pistol grip “firearm” to be registered as an NFA device. The Shockwave is not a shoulder-mount shotgun.

The Mossberg amendment was added in the Senate by Senator Craig Estes. Thanks of course to Senator Charles Perry the Senate sponsor for HB 1819.

HB1819 has now been signed by Governor Abbott and takes effect September 1. We may have a wait to purchase a suppressor, but we will purchase the Mossberg 590 Shockwave and other similar firearms after September 1.

HB1819 Bill History with Co-Author’s List

Governor Signed (5/26/2017)  Effective Date 9/1/2017 for Texas law but we wait on Congress!

Online LTC Course Option

(HB3784 by Representative Justin Holland (R-Rockwall and Senator Van Taylor (R-Plano))

Creates an optional online course for the Texas LTC. The shooting portion must be done with a DPS certified instructor.

Governor signed (6/15/2017)  Effective Date 9/1/2017

Church Volunteer Security

Relating to the exemption from the application of the Private Security Act of certain persons who provide security services on a volunteer basis at a place of religious worship.

The original bill didn’t pass but was successfully amended to SB2065 by Senator Kelly Hancock (R-N. Richland Hills)

Governor signed (6/15/2017)  Effective Date 9/1/2017

Primary and Secondary Teachers and School Parking Lot

The language of HB1692 by Representative Cole Hefner (R-Mount Pleasant) Relating to the transportation and storage of a handgun or other firearm and ammunition by a license holder in a motor vehicle in a parking area of a primary or secondary school.

This legislation protects the jobs of hard-working primary and secondary teachers with an LTC. This group was not previously covered by the employer parking lot bill from years ago.

Neither the House Bill nor the Senate bill passed, but the language was amended.

Representative Hefner successfully amended his language to SB1566 by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham).

Governor signed  (6/15/2017)  Effective Date 9/1/2017

Legalize the Bowie Knife

HB1935 by Representative John Frullo/Senator John Whitmire eliminates daggers, dirks, stilettos, poniards, swords, spears, and Bowie knives from Texas law, allowing them to be carried in Texas. Governor signed (6/15/2017)  Effective Date 9/1/2017

LTC Range Qualifications and Veterans

SB138 by Senator Van Taylor/Representative Morgan Meyer to exempt certain military veterans and active duty service members with military range qualifications from the state required range portion of the LTC course. SB138 passed as an amendment to HB3784 Effective Date 9/1/2017

Big News on Big Knives Coming September 1