Category Archives: Law

A Promise Kept: SOCIAL SECURITY GUN BAN ENDED!

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Trump Signs Repeal of Obama-Era Social Security Gun Prohibition Rule. Read more…

Source: NRA-ILA

TRUMP

On Tuesday, Feb 28, President Donald J. Trump signed the repeal of an Obama-era Social Security Administration (SSA) rule that would have resulted in some 75,000 law-abiding beneficiaries losing their Second Amendment rights each year.

The SSA rulemaking was issued in the waning weeks of Obama’s presidency and targeted those receiving disability insurance or Supplementary Security Income based on SSA’s listed mental disorders and who were appointed a “representative payee” to help them manage their benefits. The agency — for the first time in its history — sought to portray these individuals as “mental defectives” who were prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms under federal law. It had planned to notify them of their prohibited status and to report them to NICS.

Making matters worse, the beneficiaries would have had no ability to argue about their suitability to possess firearms before their rights were lost. Instead, they would have been reduced to filing a petition for “restoration” of their rights, an expensive and bureaucratic process that would have required them to pay for a mental health evaluation and to prove they were not dangerous, a premise the government never established in the first place.

The plan drew fire not just from the NRA, but also from the ACLU and a wide range of mental health advocacy and treatment groups from across the political spectrum. Also opposing the plan was the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding policies, programs, practices, and procedures that affect people with disabilities. The NCD issued a statement explaining:

Since the action was first proposed in 2013, NCD has consistently taken the position that equating the need for assistance in managing one’s finances with a false presumption of incapacity in other areas of life, including possession of a firearm, unnecessarily and unreasonably deprives individuals with disabilities of a constitutional right and increases the stigma that [affects] those who may need a representative payee. The overly broad classification of “mental disorder,” includes a wide range of limitations and a shifting set of criteria relevant to whether or not one can engage in substantial gainful activity. NCD remains steadfast in our position that this classification remains irrelevant to the question of whether one can be a responsible gun owner.

The SSA received tens of thousands of comments in opposition to the rule. The NRA-ILA’s submission explained in detail how the rule was contrary to the underlying statute, to the U.S. Constitution and would function mainly to stigmatize the SSA beneficiaries and discourage others from seeking treatment and benefits to which they were entitled. It also argued that there was no empirical support for the notion that the rule would promote public safety.

The SSA, however, ignored the comments and issued the rule essentially as proposed.

It also brazenly brushed aside proffered evidence that the targeted beneficiaries were not at any increased risk for committing violence with firearms. “We are not attempting to imply a connection between mental illness and a propensity for violence, particularly gun violence,” the SSA wrote. “Rather, we are complying with our obligations under the NIAA, which require us to provide information from our records when an individual falls within one of the categories identified in 18 U.S.C. 922(g).”

Fortunately, pro-gun majorities in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate acted quickly to disapprove the rule under the Congressional Review Act, a federal statute that allows Congress to use an expedited legislative process to overrule administrative actions passed in the waning days of an outgoing administration.

The efforts to roll back this unjustified and legally unauthorized rule were predictably met with a withering barrage of negative and fake reporting from the anti-gun media, with supposed “news” outlets issuing such ludicrous headlines as “Senate, House hand guns to seriously mentally ill.” All these reports completely ignored the fact that existing restrictions on persons who had been involuntarily committed or adjudicated mentally incompetent remained fully intact. By acting to block the rule, Congress simply disapproved the Obama administration’s attempt to create a new class of prohibited persons by “reinterpreting” a federal gun control statute passed in 1968.

President Trump’s signing of the measure not only served to help repair the damage to the Second Amendment wrought by the Obama administration, it ushered in what many hope will be a new era of respect for the right to keep and bear arms. Just over a month into his presidency, Trump signed a free-standing pro-gun bill into law.

The NRA, of course, was among the earliest and staunchest supporters of Trump’s presidential bid. We thank him for his quick action on this measure and look forward to working with him and the pro-gun majorities in Congress to protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

Last to Call — First to Jail

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When a Colorado member was confronted by two angry men in a grocery store parking lot, he tried to defuse the situation by showing his firearm. Watch Member Ambassador Sherry Hale explain why our Member got arrested — and learn the simple step you can take to avoid a similar fate.

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield:

Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Gordon Cooper says that words alone are not enough to justify use of force or deadly force in an escalating situation. But couple them with a threatening action, and it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame. Click to watch the video:
Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Gordon Cooper says that words alone are not enough to justify use of force or deadly force in an escalating situation. But couple them with a threatening action, and it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame. Click to watch the video:
Springfield-Armory-Saint-right-x1200
You might have read some articles or seen headlines about a court upholding a ban on “assault rifles,” including the AR-15. Independent Program Attorneys at the law firm of Walker & Byington, PLLC have received many questions from Members concerned that this ruling has made the AR-15 (and similar semi-automatic firearms) illegal “assault weapons” everywhere in the country. Is this the truth of the matter, or a case of media misinformation?

Texas: Can Your Town Outlaw Your Guns?

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In the Lone Star State, cities and counties generally may not regulate the ownership or carry of firearms, ammunition, and knives — with a couple of pretty important exceptions. Click the video link below to watch Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker of Walker & Byington in Houston tell you how to stay legal in the great state of Texas.

Texas is our second largest market in the U.S. so it’s important for us to impart as much info as we can. It also raises the question to many of our other larger markets (lookin at you CA!) What are your state’s regulations, and how well are you familiar with them?

Help you fellow shooters out in the comments section. Feel free to post valid links to state regulation in the comments section as a reference.

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield:

 When a Colorado member was confronted by two angry men in a grocery store parking lot, he tried to defuse the situation by showing his firearm. Watch Member Ambassador Sherry Hale explain why our Member got arrested — and learn the simple step you can take to avoid a similar fate.
Springfield-Armory-Saint-right-x1200
You might have read some articles or seen headlines about a court upholding a ban on “assault rifles,” including the AR-15. Independent Program Attorneys at the law firm of Walker & Byington, PLLC have received many questions from Members concerned that this ruling has made the AR-15 (and similar semi-automatic firearms) illegal “assault weapons” everywhere in the country. Is this the truth of the matter, or a case of media misinformation?

U.S. Law Shield News Update: Homeowners’ Rights and the Use of Deadly Force

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Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor discusses the intricacies of the law of self defense in Texas when people are doing bad things at night. Does darkness expand your ability to protect yourself and your property?

U.S. Law Shield News Update: Gun-Deregulation Ideas Offered by BATFE

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The news of the leaked white paper for the proposal to deregulate some rules from the ATF has been making it’s way around the web this week.

In an 11-page white paper labeled “not for public distribution,” but which has been obtained by Texas & U.S. Law Shield, Ronald B. Turk, associate deputy director and chief operating officer of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, outlines several steps the agency could take to remove many restrictions on gun regulations, including suppressors and stabilizing braces, in the United States. Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington walks U.S. Law Shield News Host Sam Malone through the proposals.

What are your thoughts on the deregulation of these accessories?

U.S. Law Shield News Update: Judge Gorsuch Nomination

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Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington talks about the pros and cons of Judge Neal Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Will he likely be a friend of the 2nd Amendment, or not? Click to watch the more-in-depth interview to find out.

What are your thoughts on President Trump’s Supreme Court pick?

Trump Touts Suppressors as ‘Safety Equipment’ for Gun Owners

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As Texas & U.S. Law Shield have previously reported, advocates of hearing protection want to pursue new legislation to make suppressors easier to buy, and a key backer is Donald Trump, Jr.

“It’s about safety,” Trump Jr. explains in the video interview above recorded last September with the founder of SilencerCo Joshua Waldron. “It’s a health issue, frankly.”

“Anyone who has ever worried about hearing loss from shooting might want to lend their ears to this cause!” said  Emily Taylor, an attorney at the Houston law firm of Walker & Byington.

Now the issue is advancing on several fronts.

On January 9, 2017, Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC), co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), introduced H.R. 367 to remove suppressors from the National Firearms Act control and treat them the same as long guns, replacing the outdated federal transfer process with an instantaneous NICS background check.

The measure picked up 42 Republican co-sponsors, including fellow CSC member Congressman John Carter (R-TX), and one Democrat co-sponsor, CSC Co-Chair Gene Green (D-TX). The measure was immediately referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill, whose official title is “To provide that silencers be treated the same as long guns,” takes a public-health angle to safeguard the hearing of the nation’s 55 million gun owners.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introducted the similar Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (S. 59) in the Senate.

“This legislation will enable gun owners to have better access to hearing protection products and improve safety for the shooting sports by removing extensive wait times for burdensome paperwork processing that does not advance public safety,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “NSSF is appreciative of Sen. Crapo’s leadership on this firearms safety issue and his willingness to stand alongside lawful American gun owners, hunters, and shooting sports enthusiasts.”

An earlier measure with the same goal is H.R. 3799, known more widely as the Hearing Protection Act of 2015.

About all the bills, Taylor explained, “Currently, the manufacture, purchase, and possession of firearm silencers are regulated by the ATF and must comply with the requirements laid out in the National Firearms Act. Similar to a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, anyone who wants a firearm suppressor must first get approval from the ATF and pay the required tax. An extended waiting period comes along with the time it takes the ATF to process these requests.”

“The Hearing Protection Act seeks to amend the law so that firearm silencers are treated the same way as long guns,” Taylor added. “The bill would make it so that there is no longer a tax associated with the transfer of a firearm silencer, and anyone who pays a tax on a silencer after October 22, 2015 could receive a refund of such tax.

“Additionally, anyone who possessed a firearm silencer would be treated as meeting any registration and licensing requirements of the NFA. Lastly, the bill would preempt certain state laws that tried to impose taxes or registration requirements on firearm silencers.”

Missoula Gun Background Check Ordinance Illegal

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Montana’s Attorney General says Missoula’s gun background check ordinance violates Montana state law.


Originally reported January 26 by Taylor Winkel, NBC Montana


“Missoula’s ordinance is outside of its authority,” Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said. Fox issued an opinion saying state law does not allow cities to exercise any power that affects the right to bear arms.

Tim Fox
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox

The ordinance in question was passed in September 2016. It requires private sellers to complete a background check before selling a gun. That means if you’re a gun owner and want to sell your firearm to a friend or colleague, you’re required to run a background check on the buyer, which means the paperwork must be handled by a federally-licensed firearms dealer.

“If there’s going to be one more extra step for somebody to get a gun that can harm somebody, either on purpose or on accident, I think ‘why not’ and create a safer environment for everyone if possible,” Jack Dawson, a Missoula resident told NBC Montana. Missoula City Council member Bryan Von Lossberg sponsored the legislation. He said that he is not surprised by the Attorney General’s decision but does not see a “clear path of appeal.” Von Lossberg says he believes the ordinance is effective and necessary but expected the ruling as the Attorney General had made his position “clear” long before the AG’s ruling was issued.

Von Lossberg also said the council was advised the ordinance was within the law by the city attorney, Jim Nugent. “He absolutely was consulted and issued an opinion making it clear the city was absolutely in its rights to pass this,” explained Von Lossberg.

The attorney general didn’t directly comment on what the city of Missoula needs to do with the ordinance, but did say common sense would be to stop enforcing the ordinance. Right now, Von Lossberg says there’s no immediate plan to appeal the Attorney General’s opinion.

Fox noted Missoula does have certain powers as a charter city, saying it does have the authority to regulate the use and carrying of firearms under state law. However, Fox says state law doesn’t allow Missoula to have an ordinance “enforcing a local regulation or ordinance requiring background checks on firearm sales or transfers within its borders.”

Montana passed a state preemption law thirty years ago to prevent a patchwork of contradictory firearms laws from being enacted across the state. The state previously allowed cities to make their own laws regarding firearms sales, Fox wrote in his opinion, but a 1985 House bill repealed that section of the MCA and replaced it with new language that still is in place. “The purpose of HB 643 was clear — only the state should decide how firearm purchases, sales, and transfers should be regulated, if at all.”


Click here to read the full legal opinion from Attorney General Tim Fox.

U.S. Law Shield: Should You Protect Thy Neighbor?

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Every Member has to make the decision to intervene in a fight — or not — based on a host of tactical and safety issues. Member Ambassador Sherry Hale interviews Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington to learn how Good Samaritans can stay out of legal trouble if faced with these dangerous situations.

Make sure to check your states laws on protecting yourself, and those around you. Every state is different. Some have clear-cut laws defining the shooters rights, some are vague, and some states have no laws on the books at all, but rather court cases by which to stand behind. Ohio is a rare case, where the shooter (person using deadly force to protect him/herself) must prove their justification for defending themselves.

Post in the comments what the law says in your state!

What’s NOT New at 2017 SHOT Show!

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Shot Show LogoThis year’s NSSF SHOT Show was gargantuan. This is nothing new.  We’re talking about some major real estate being taken up at the Sands Expo Center. Thousands of square feet filled to the brim with booths, climbing 4 levels, not to mention the side rooms full of more booths. Each booth consists of an array of delights spanning everything from our favorite past-time (reloading,) to the uber hip suppressor, to AR builds, coolers, jerky, pistols, rifles, safes, ammo, anything “tacticool”, optics, knives, and more goodies than a guy can see in 3 days.

Again, this is nothing new…

Droves of People at SHOT ShowThere were a ton of people in attendance (second most attended SHOT Show ever) with people from over 100 countries mingling in an environment of mutual respect, passion for the industry, and common interest. Everyone in attendance may or may not have walked as far as we did. According to our fancy watches what tell us to move (or else!) we walked an average of 11 miles per day just at the show. Not new.

Some of the booths at this thing are multiple stories high. Not the Show itself, but the actual booths within the show. Not anything new, yet still mind boggling!

The Booths at SHOT Show

The overall message at the show was one of guarded optimism. This, somehow, wasn’t new either. At the State of the Industry Dinner we were told now was the time to work hard, and continue our efforts to ensure our freedoms were never trampled upon, and to be innovators, and to reach new enthusiasts. New? Thankfully, no.

The outdoor/shooting industry is still a leading jobs creator, as well as an economic center of excellence. Want to see the research for yourself? Check out the research center of the NSSF website right here! The numbers are new, but the sentiment is not.

Now, I know what you’re about to say, and the answer is yes, there were a ton of new products at the show. Over 500 brand new innovations for the consumer to adopt as early as this month. Am I going to write about them? No way. I don’t know them well enough to be of any service to you. You’ll find the press releases in the next segment, where we’ll look at what’s new. This is strictly the “What’s NOT New at SHOT Show 2017”

Row of new Pistols at SHOT ShowFinally, the best thing which wasn’t new at 2017 SHOT Show was the continuous thread of a shared philosophy. Call us enthusiasts, call us ammosexuals, call us deplorables, call us red necks, call us whatever you want. Just remember, there were about 70,000 of us gathered in the desert for no other reason than to look at the new guns and gear in our industry.

So, if/when a friend undoubtedly asks you what was new at this years SHOT Show, you can unflinchingly say, “Nothing! Aren’t you glad?”

lady with bald eagle

Want to see some other really cool stats on SHOT Show? Click Here for a great infographic from NSSF! The numbers are slightly dated, but you’ll get the idea.