Category Archives: Politics

If it concerns your Second Amendment, or other policy driven content, you’ll be able to find it in our politics section

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?

NSSF Applauds Bipartisan Introduction of Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017

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H.R. 788 would provide more money for public shooting range development, read more…


Source: National Shooting Sports Foundation


shooting instruction

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, has praised the bipartisan introduction of H.R. 788, the Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017 in the U.S. House of Representatives, sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif).

“This legislation would provide state fish and game agencies more flexibility to use Pittman Robertson excise taxes dollars raised from the sale of firearms and ammunition to enhance existing public shooting ranges and to build new ones to meet the growing need for additional places for target shooters to participate in their sport,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “Public shooting ranges provide hunters a place to sight in rifles and shotguns before hunting seasons, for people to take firearm safety and hunter education courses and, for recreational target shooters to enjoy their sport.”

Joining Congressman Hunter are 23 original bipartisan cosponsors, including Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Tim Walz (D-Minn.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Since 1937 almost $11 billion has been raised for wildlife conservation through the Pittman-Robertson excise tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition. States are permitted to use some of those funds for hunter education course and for public shooting ranges under a restrictive formula that has largely discouraged state agencies from building and enhancing public shooting ranges. The legislation would provide states greater flexibility on their ability to use Pittman Robertson excise tax funds by increasing the cap of federal funds accrued for the creation and maintenance of shooting ranges from 75 to 90 percent. This means states could begin work on range facilities with 10 percent matching funds, instead of the current 25 percent. It would also allow excise funds to be made available and accrue for five years for land acquisition or range construction.

In addition, the legislation would limit frivolous lawsuits that might result from the use of federal land for target practice and encourage federal agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities for maintenance of ranges on federal lands.

Target shooters are largely responsible for the funds derived through excise taxes from the sale of firearms and ammunition products. That money is directly responsible for habitat conservation, recreational shooting and wildlife management, making gun owners, hunters and manufacturers largest financial supporters of wildlife conservation throughout the United States.

Passage of H.R. 788, the Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act of 2017, would ensure that the Pittman-Robertson Act continues to maximize wildlife conservation.

The Target and Marksmanship Training Support Act was previously introduced H.R. 2406, the SHARE Act (Title II)  and the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act  in the last Congress as well as a stand-alone bill H.R. 2463  in the 113th Congress.


About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.

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?

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!

Sen. Sessions Stands Strong on Guns During Confirmation Hearing

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) took a firm position on Capitol Hill during two days of confirmation testimony for his nomination to be the next attorney general of the United States. Read more.


Fr. January 13, 2017
Source: nssfnews


sen. sessionsThe National Shooting Sports Foundation urged Sessions’ confirmation due to his commitment to gun ownership rights, respect for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and vow to enforce the gun laws already on the books.

A letter of support from NSSF’s Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel, was entered into the Senate record.

Sessions testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on a wide range of topics. The former Attorney General for Alabama and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama was clear on his stance with regard to guns. Sessions made it clear to his fellow senators that the Second Amendment would be respected as an individual right by the Trump administration.

“Well, I do believe the Second Amendment is a personal right,” Sessions said in response to questions. “It’s an historic right of the American people, and the Constitution protects that and explicitly states that. It’s just as much a part of the Constitution as any of the other great rights and liberties that we value. So my record is pretty clear on that.”

Sessions also took a stand against universal background checks, telling the committee that laws already on the books need to be effectively enforced. The idea of applying universal background checks to every gun transfer is not only unfeasible, but intrusive.

“Well, I believe in background check laws and many of them are appropriate,” Sessions explained. “But, in every instance –- there’s some instances when it’s not practical, let’s say. For example somebody inherited a gun from their grandfather. Those transactions I’m not sure should require that kind of universal background check.”

Sessions also testified that obstructive practices against the firearms industry would become a thing of the past. He was questioned by fellow senators on Operations Fast and Furious and Choke Point as examples of overreach by the attorney general’s office saying, “… I do believe it has a corrosive effect on public confidence in the constitutional republic of which we are sworn to uphold.”

Sessions responded to concerns from Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) that Congress is still unable to determine if Operation Choke Point, an effort by the Department of Justice to lean on financial institutions to discriminate against businesses in the gun industry, has actually stopped. NSSF has worked with members in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to end the practice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued a letter to banking and finance institutions to stop denying banking services based on broad categories versus financial risk.

Sessions told Crapo, “… a lawful business should not be attacked by having other lawful businesses pressured not to do business with the first business. That’s, to me -– it would be hard to justify.”

Sessions vowed to the Senate committee that scapegoating the firearms industry and lawful gun owners for the use of guns in crimes committed by individuals would come to an end. Sessions pointed to his own record as attorney general and the successes in Operations Trigger Lock and Project Exile where the might of the federal government should be wielded to vigorously prosecute those who commit crimes with guns.

“The first and foremost goal I think of law enforcement would be to identify persons who are dangerous, who have a tendency or have been proven to be law breakers and been convicted and those who are caught carrying guns during the commission of a crime,” he explained.

“If I am confirmed, we will systematically prosecute criminals who use guns in committing crimes,” Sessions added. “As United States attorney, my office was a national leader in gun prosecutions nearly every year. We were partners with state and local law enforcement to take down these major drug trafficking cartels and dismantle criminal gangs.”

Czech Gov’t: Placing Weapons in the Hands of Citizens is Best Defense Against Terror

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A new proposal in Czech Republic seeks to liberate restrictions on gun ownership in an effort to deter terrorism. Read more…


Source: CNSNews.com, CTK


Skorpion Evo 3The Czech Republic has resisted calls by the European Union’s Executive Commission to tighten gun controls in response to terror attacks, forcing the E.C. to alter its proposals to allow for the private ownership of semi-automatic firearms.

According to the Czech news agency CTK, the Czech interior ministry wants to loosen its gun laws another step by proposing a constitutional amendment on Monday that would allow its citizens to bear legally-held firearms against the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, such as those in Nice, France or Berlin, Germany.

The government says that putting weapons into the hands of citizens is the best defense against terror.

The move comes despite the European Commission’s ongoing advocacy for stricter gun control laws in Europe.

The Czech parliament blocked the E.C.’s earlier attempt to introduce tighter European gun laws, after the attack in Nice.

While the E.U. Firearms Directive and Czech laws already prohibited private ownership of fully-automatic weapons, the commission’s initial campaign aimed to further narrow E.U. regulations to ban semi-automatic weapons and limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds. Semi-autos currently make up about half the firearm ownership in Czech Republic.

The Czech parliament rejected the E.U. proposal, arguing that such tougher gun laws would not be the solution as terror attackers only use illegally-held weapons. The government denounced the E.C.’s plans as “legally ambiguous and in some cases excessive.”

Only last month the E.C. was finally able to reach agreement by all member states, including Czech Republic, after conceding exceptions for hunters and gun collectors and only banning a select few semi-automatics.

“Mass shootings and terrorist attacks in Europe have highlighted the dangers posed by certain firearms circulating across the E.U.,” it said in a statement, but also expressed regret at the concessions it had to make, such as not banning all semi-automatic weapons or limiting magazines to 10 rounds.

In a statement last Monday, Czech Republic Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said that amending the constitution would reduce the chances of attacks by enabling “active and rapid defense.” Citizens should be given the right to use firearms to defend their “life, health, and property” and contribute to “ensuring the internal order, security, and territorial integrity” of the country, he said. As December’s truck attack in Berlin demonstrated, security forces have not been able to prevent attacks.

Gun ownership is currently legal in the Czech Republic. As per E.U. regulations, firearms are required to be registered, and Czech law also requires a license and a “genuine reason” to possess a firearm, such as for hunting or personal protection.

The proposal is scheduled to be considered in March. To pass, it must be agreed upon by at least three-fifths of all deputies and three-fifths of all senators present. The exact details of the interior ministry’s proposal are still to be worked out, and for now simply indicates that it is subject to “terms and details prescribed by law.” However, it appears likely to expand the range of “genuine reasons” for possession of a firearm to include those of “national security,” and thus, in theory, allow anyone to own a gun.

Gun holders are also required to pass a background check which considers factors such as mental health and criminal history.

Unlike gun ownership, there are no laws explicitly covering civilian use of a firearm in self-defense, nor in regards to terror attacks specifically. Such an incident would fall under general criminal provisions regarding self-defense, which may allow the use of a gun, but only in cases of absolute necessity (including the threat of “imminent” attack). Self-defense case law in the Czech Republic has applied only to violent assaults such as rape and robberies, and not to terrorism. It is not clear yet how the constitutional amendment would, if at all, build on or deviate from this established law.

According to data collated by Gunpolicy.org, a firearm injury prevention NGO, an estimated 7.6 percent of Czech’s 10 million residents legally hold weapons, with 810,046 registered privately-owned firearms in the country.


Folks, we’re not alone in this wide world.

Law Shield’s Top 10 Stories from 2016

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Before we get too far into 2017, let’s take a quick look back at the 10 most popular Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog entries from 2016. Gun-law attorneys get into the stickiest issues — restrictions about owning body armor in some states, when you can shoot attacking dogs, how to navigate the carry rules at your church — and pass along legal insights to keep you from having trouble with the legal system. Click each item’s headline to open the story and see what you missed.

1: The Legality of Body Armor (August 17)

2: Traffic Stop! (August 8)

3: Levi’s CEO: ‘You don’t need a gun to try on a pair of jeans’ (December 4)

4: The Fast and the Furious: the Law on Road Rage in Texas (September 19)

5: Bark, But Don’t Bite! Defending your Animals from Human Threats (April 12)

6: Trapped in a Demonstration? What Are Your Self-Defense Options? (November 21)

7: Warning Shot: Ticket to Prison? (March 2)

8: Want to Carry Your Gun to Christmas Service at Church? Know the Law First! (December 19)

9: Check Out This ‘Active Shooter’ Video Package (July 20)

10: Weapons in Texas Polling Places: What Is The Law? (November 2)

And if that’s not enough, here are a few more favorites to get  you rolling into 2017: Carrying Past a 30.06/30.07 Sign? Beware! (August 8, 2016); What Is The Law On Storing Firearms In Texas? (January 12); For or Against Constitutional Carry? Let Us Hear from You (December 19); and Don’t Jump the Gun! (December 5). — Texas & U.S. Law Shield Staff

A Legal Stunner in New Orleans!

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Original Article by: Michael Wisdom

New Orleans resident John Ford has the distinction of being the only private citizen with the right to carry a stun gun or TASER within the city limits. But even that right has been limited to just a 90-day period that began on December 14, 2016.

Louisiana law permits possession of stun guns for self-defense without the necessity of a permit, but municipalities are free to enact their own regulations. New Orleans has made the sale and possession of stun guns illegal with a city-wide ban on such devices.

Undeterred, Ford filed a federal lawsuit in U. S. District Court in November against the city and the police superintendent, asserting that the city’s ban violates his state and federal constitutional right to bear arms.  Ford is seeking an injunction against enforcement of the ban. He simply wants to keep a stun gun in his home for self-defense rather than having to resort to deadly force if ever confronted with a violent criminal attack.

In his suit, Ford states:

“(Ford) is aware of the potential legal, economic and psychological ramifications of even the justified use of deadly force to defend himself or his home against a violent criminal attack. (He) would prefer to minimize the likelihood that he would have to resort to deadly force in the event he was forced to defend himself or his home against a violent criminal attack.”

On Wednesday, December 14, the city and Ford reached an agreed stipulated order, granting him the sole right to purchase and possess a stun within the city limits of New Orleans. U.S. District Court Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon ordered the stipulation to be adopted. The agreement staved off for now an injunction being sought by the suit. According to court records, New Orleans city officials “may” take a look at revising somewhat the municipal code section that bans the sale and possession of the non-lethal devices.

But for 90 days at least, Ford, and only Ford, can buy a stun gun and carry it “anywhere a firearm is allowed to be carried either openly or concealed.” without the city having to admit it’s violating state or federal law with the ban.

Attorneys for Ford indicate he will push for the injunction if the city does nothing or not enough to lift the ban.

So, for the next few months, John Ford will be the only private citizen in New Orleans with the legal right to shock you – with a stun gun, that is. –by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield Blog

Giving Guns as Gifts: Doing It Right

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A Christmas story with AR 15

If you plan to make a gift of a firearm to a family member, close friend, or relative this season, there are right ways to do that — and some very wrong ways to transfer firearms to loved ones, say Texas & U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorneys.

Ownership of a firearm has serious legal implications that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift this holiday season.

Gift Certificates Make the Process Simple

Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor said, “The ATF recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store, buying it, and giving it to someone, purchasing a gift certificate from a retailer and giving that as the present makes the process easy.”

“That way,” she said, “the recipient will get the exact gun he or she wants, and there’s no question about who is ‘the actual buyer of the firearm,’ which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase.”

1: Can the Recipient Legally Own a Firearm?

If you decide to go ahead with giving a gun directly to the recipient, you must find out if the intended recipient can legally own a firearm where he or she lives.

“There are more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, so the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary quite a lot,” said Taylor. Also, she reminded gun givers of a big restriction that many people overlook: Juveniles under the age of 18 generally may not possess a handgun.

Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for more details.

army santa

2: Know the Recipient Very Well

Taylor pointed out that gift givers must not ever transfer a firearm to someone they know legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so if your sketchy brother-in-law may be disqualified from owning firearms, don’t take the chance. It’s also worth pointing out that if you even have reasonable cause to believe the recipient can’t legally own a firearm, that’s enough to get the giver prosecuted under the law.

3: In-State Transfers Are Easier

There’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend that lives in your home state. Abramski v. United States, a recent Supreme Court decision involving a “straw purchase” of a firearm, did not change the law regarding firearms as gifts.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there are a handful of states that currently require in-state firearm transfers to run through a local firearms retailer. This ensures an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun. This is the law in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington State. Also, the District of Columbia Maryland and Pennsylvania require a background check for private-party transfer of a handgun.

Taylor said, “There are exceptions, so it’s important to carefully check the law of your state, ask your local firearms retailer, or call Independent Program Attorneys in these states to get clarifications on the law.”

4: Getting the Gift There

If you would like to gift a firearm to someone in another state, you may not simply ship handguns or long guns to that person. If you would like to transfer a gun to an individual in another state, this must be accomplished by using Federal Firearms License Dealers as an intermediary between the individual parties.

Carriers vary in the types of firearms they are willing to transport, and in the specific rules they impose. Taylor added, “With all carriers, federal law requires you to declare that your package contains an unloaded firearm. To be safe, always consult your carrier in advance about its regulations for shipping firearms.”

5: Family Transfers of Meaningful Firearms

During the holiday season, many families want to pass down meaningful firearms to the next generation. What if you want to give a family firearm to your son or daughter?

firearm family

Of course you can, Taylor said, but she points out that some states require even inter-family transfers to go through a licensed retailer.

“It’s worth emphasizing,” Taylor said, “that you can never transfer a firearm directly to another person who is a resident of a different state. In that case, you must transfer the firearm through a licensed retailer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides.”

If you do it right, giving someone a hunting rifle, a waterfowling shotgun, a plinking handgun, or many other types of firearms can be rewarding gifts. Just keep in mind there are right ways to make the exchange, and wrong ways. It’s better to know the law and follow it closely so the gift-giving is above board and completely legal. — Texas & U.S. Law Shield Staff

 Emily Taylor is an Independent Program Attorney at Walker & Byington