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

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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.

Can I Legally Shoot Someone If I’m Defending a Statue?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Grant cavalry statue

 

A viral social-media post is suggesting that it may be okay to shoot someone to defend a statue. Our Independent Program Attorneys beg to differ.

Here is U.S. & Texas LawShield® Independent Attorney Edwin Walker’s response:

defend statue
Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker

Texas LawShield recently became aware of a viral Facebook post telling people they can shoot someone vandalizing a statute.

Based on recent events, we understand the importance of knowing whether or not this is valid legal information.

It appears this viral story started as a blog post that reported on one individual’s opinion on the use of force and/or deadly force to protect public property.

The position advocated by the Facebook post cited in the blog is not a very good idea.

The defense of property justifications (TPC 9.41, 9.42, and 9.43) are all based upon the finding that the person’s conduct was based upon a “reasonable belief” that the use of force is “immediately necessary” to prevent the harm to property.

With regard to deadly force, it can only be used if the person “reasonably believes that … the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by ANY other means.”

This presents a lot of room for a jury to find that someone was unreasonable in using force or deadly force to defend against an act of criminal mischief.

Further, deadly force can never be used in response to the crime of criminal mischief in the daytime.

Many people who have commented on this post have posed a “…but what if they come at me…” scenario.

It is true that the circumstances that allow for the use of force and/or deadly force can change instantly. If a person is simply trying to stop a vandal by shouting at him or calling the police, and as a result the vandal attempts to attack the person, then the person being attacked would be justified in using force and may even escalate to deadly force to defend themselves if they have a reasonable belief that they are going to be murdered.

However, if a person were to physically intervene to stop a vandal (any offensive, unwanted, or injurious touching is an assault) and then were to be physically assaulted themselves, the issue that a jury would have to decide is whether or not the person had disqualified themselves from claiming self-defense because of their initial “assault” on the vandal.

Needless to say, this is a very complex issue and should not have been addressed by anyone in a cavalier manner.

It is unfortunate that civilized behavior in our society has devolved to such a state that it is even necessary to consider these issues.

 

To learn more, we invite Members and guests to attend seminars and workshops presented by experienced attorneys as they discuss laws regarding the legal use of force and legal use of deadly force. To stay on the right side of the law, it is critical you stay current on any legal changes. Don’t miss this opportunity. Click Gun Law Seminar to find out more. 

 

The Law of Self-Defense Explained

 

If Someone Threatens to Kill You, Can You Legally Respond?

SAGA: Second Amendment Guarantee Act Would Protect Popular Rifles, Shotguns from Antigun Politicians

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

This new act would put a stop to the inconsistencies between state and federal firearms laws. Important!

Source: NRA-ILA

Last week, Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY) introduced legislation that would shield popular rifles and shotguns, including the AR-15, from being banned under state laws. The bill, known as the Second Amendment Guarantee Act (SAGA), would also protect parts for these firearms, including detachable magazines and ammunition feeding devices.

The bill is a response to antigun laws in a small handful of states — including California, Connecticut, D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — that criminalize the mere possession of highly popular semiautomatic long guns widely available throughout the rest of the country. Although rifles or shotguns of any sort are used less often in murders than knives, blunt objects such as clubs or hammers, or even hands, fists, and feet, gun control advocates have sought to portray the banned guns as somehow uniquely dangerous to public safety.

Anti-gunners’ focus on these so-called “assault weapons” was renewed after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. That decision made clear that handguns — by far the type of firearm most commonly used in crime — were subject to Second Amendment protection and could not be banned. This led gun control advocates to seek out other sorts of guns to demonize, and they’ve since been strenuously promoting the myth that semiautomatic rifles and shotguns with certain features such as detachable magazines, pistol grips or adjustable stocks are “weapons of war” with no legitimate civilian use.
Yet Americans overwhelmingly choose these types of firearms for legitimate purposes, including protection of their homes and properties, “three-gun” and other practical shooting sports, and hunting and pest control. And, indeed, the states’ legislative attempts to ban these guns has spurred a market for innovative products that use the same basic calibers and firing mechanisms, but with stock, grip, and accessory configurations that comply with legislative guidelines.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to review any of these state bans, lower courts have come up with increasingly strained readings of the Second Amendment and Supreme Court precedents to try to justify them. The Seventh Circuit, for example, held that even if a ban’s incursion on Second Amendment rights had no beneficial effect on safety whatsoever, it could still be justified on the basis of the false sense of security it might impart to local residents with exaggerated fears of the banned guns. “[I]f it has no other effect,” the majority opinion stated, the challenged “ordinance may increase the public’s sense of safety.” That’s hardly an acceptable offset for the infringement of a constitutional right.

Members of the Supreme Court have criticized their colleagues for failing to review these cases and the lower courts for misapplying Supreme Court precedent. As noted in a dissent filed by Justice Clarence Thomas and joined by Heller’s author, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, “Roughly five million Americans own AR-style semiautomatic rifles.” Moreover, the “overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting.” “Under our precedents,” Thomas concluded, “that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons.”

With states’ violating Americans’ rights and federal courts allowing them to act with impunity, it is up to Congress to ensure that all Americans, wherever they may live, have access the best, most modern and innovative firearms for their lawful needs, including the protection of themselves and their families.

The SAGA would ensure that state regulations could not effectively prevent the manufacture, sale, importation, or possession of any rifle or shotgun lawfully available under federal law or impose any prohibitive taxes, fees, or design limitations on such firearms.

The NRA thanks Rep. Chris Collins for leading this important effort and urges his colleagues to cosponsor and support this staunchly pro-gun legislation.

Please contact your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 3576, the Second Amendment Guarantee Act. You can call your U.S. Representative at 202-225-3121.

D.C. Appeals Court Strikes Down ‘Good Reason’ Licensing Scheme

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

“Unconstitutional” is what a federal appeals court has ruled on the D.C. gun law that says people must show “good reason” to have concealed handgun permits.

The Second Amendment is sufficient reason itself to issue permits, according to the 2-1 ruling released Tuesday July 25, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

“In fact, the Amendment’s core at a minimum shields the typically situated citizen’s ability to carry common arms generally,” wrote Judge Thomas B. Griffith in the ruling on the case Wrenn v. District of Columbia.

Subsequently, the appeals court instructed lower courts to block the D.C. law with permanent injunctions. City officials indicated they’re exploring an appeal, while gun-control groups claim the ruling shrinks public safety in the nation’s capital.

D.C. gun laws are among the strictest in the U.S., but they’ve also faced several legal challenges in the last few years, said Kirk Evans, President of U.S. & Texas LawShield.

Evans noted that one landmark pro-gun victory was District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 in which the U.S. Supreme Court—voting 5 to 4—struck down D.C.’s ban on handguns. Then, in 2014, another federal court prevented a proposed ban on carrying guns in public.

The D.C. Council—the enclave’s municipal government—responded by creating the “good reason” rule, which only issued permits to citizens who could prove they faced legitimate threats, Evans said.

“Simply residing in one of the District’s high-crime neighborhoods was not considered ‘good reason,’” Evans said. “This was not unnoticed by at least one member of Congress who complained colleagues were unarmed when a gunman shot up their ball practice in June.”

But, according to the appeals court’s decision, the “good reason” rule negated what the Supreme Court decided in Heller.

“The District’s good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on exercises of that constitutional right for most D.C. residents,” Judge Griffith wrote. “That’s enough to sink this law under (Heller).

Second Amendment advocates praised the latest ruling, including Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).

He said the ruling “contains some powerful language that affirms what we’ve argued for many years, that requiring a so-called ‘good-cause’ to exercise a constitutionally-protected right does not pass the legal smell test.”

Gottlieb added, “We are particularly pleased that the opinion makes it clear that the Second Amendment’s core generally covers carrying in public for self-defense.”

In the days after the ruling it was too early to tell how far the case would rise through the appeals process. The Supreme Court in June declined to consider another Second Amendment case, Peruta v. California, in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a San Diego County law requiring gun owners to prove they have “good cause” to apply for concealed carry permits.

But Gottlieb said the latest victory in D.C. spurs confidence among Second Amendment advocates.

“To say we are delighted with the ruling would be an understatement,” Gottlieb said. “We are simply more encouraged to keep fighting, winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.” — Bill Miller, Contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog

 

 

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield and click here to become a member:

 

The “purple paint law” became official in Texas on September 1, 1997. The law doesn’t appear to be common knowledge for every hunter in the Lone Star State, even though Texas hunting regulations describe it.
Can your employer restrict your ability to carry firearms at the workplace? Click to watch Emily Taylor, Independent Program Attorney with Walker & Byington, explain that in Texas, employers call the shots regarding workplace self-defense.
In this excerpt from a U.S. Law Shield News live report, watch Emily Taylor, independent program attorney with Walker & Byington, discuss the ground rules for carrying firearms into restaurants and bars. Click the video below to find out the significant differences between blue signs and red signs in Texas establishments, and how getting those colors crossed up could lead to some orange jumpsuit time.   If you would like to see these reports live on Facebook, click here to join the Texas Law Shield Facebook page and sign up for live notifications.

Campus Carry Part II Kicks Off at Texas Community and Junior Colleges

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

The application of the state’s Campus Carry Law at community and junior colleges across Texas kicked off with a whimper—not a bang—on Tuesday (Aug. 1), to no surprise of TSRA Legislative Director Alice Tripp.

Texas LawShield Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker visited with TSRA Legislative Director Alice Tripp in Austin earlier this year. 

“This effort started in 2007 and we’ve gone through four sessions of the Legislature and 10 public hearings,” said Tripp, who works closely with legislators as a representative of the Texas State Rifle Association.

“It has required a lot of work and effort.

“Now we will focus on making sure the state colleges follow the letter of the law,” she added, noting that every regular session of the Legislature colleges must send a report about their specific rules and regulations pertaining to the law and why they created them.

She said dire predictions of problems by the anti-gun crowd have proven to be groundless, just as when the law took effect at four-year public colleges on Aug. 1, 2016.

 

History

“There have been firearms on campuses since 1996—in the parking lots, on the grounds, in the dorms—this just opens up carrying firearms into buildings and classrooms.

“I am sure that students have been sitting next to someone carrying a handgun into a classroom all along. They were just doing it without permission—now they have permission,” she said.

Tripp pointed out that the negative attention on the issue has been focused mainly on students carrying firearms, while the driving force behind the effort to allow licensed carry on campus has come from faculty and staff members at the institutions of higher learning.

“What the faculty and staff members have told us is that they wanted to feel safe walking to their car in the parking lot after dark or in other areas where they might face a threat,” she said.

With the backing and support of the TSRA, state Senator Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, filled SB 11, also known as the Campus Carry Law. It passed during the 2015 Legislative session.

 

Incidents

Tripp noted that incidents related to the implementation of the law last year at four-year public colleges have been limited to one accidental discharge where no one was injured and a couple of cases where licensed concealed-carry holders inadvertently entered restricted areas.

 

Campus Carry Legal Issues

On the legal side of the issue, three University of Texas at Austin professors sued the state and the university after enactment of the Campus Carry Law, claiming that the potential presence of guns in classrooms has a chilling effect on class discussion.

A federal judge rejected their claims, ruling that the professors failed to present any “concrete evidence to substantiate their fears.”

Colleges may ban or restrict firearms from certain areas of the campuses. The Legislature must review these restrictions every other year.

There was at least one demonstration opposing the implementation of the state law at community and junior colleges on Tuesday. It was a one-man protest by a San Antonio College geography instructor.

 

Minor Pushback

According to the San Antonio Express-News, the 60-year-old instructor conducted classes on Tuesday while wearing a Kevlar helmet and a flak jacket in his protest of the law.

Reaction on the comments page of the paper was mostly negative. One reader wrote that the instructor’s action was a “melodramatic and buffoonish spectacle in protest of the constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.” —by Ralph Winingham, Contributor, U.S. and Texas LawShield blog

 

 

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield and click here to become a member:

 

The “purple paint law” became official in Texas on September 1, 1997. The law doesn’t appear to be common knowledge for every hunter in the Lone Star State, even though Texas hunting regulations describe it.
Can your employer restrict your ability to carry firearms at the workplace? Click to watch Emily Taylor, Independent Program Attorney with Walker & Byington, explain that in Texas, employers call the shots regarding workplace self-defense.
In this excerpt from a U.S. Law Shield News live report, watch Emily Taylor, independent program attorney with Walker & Byington, discuss the ground rules for carrying firearms into restaurants and bars. Click the video below to find out the significant differences between blue signs and red signs in Texas establishments, and how getting those colors crossed up could lead to some orange jumpsuit time.   If you would like to see these reports live on Facebook, click here to join the Texas Law Shield Facebook page and sign up for live notifications.

California Court Blocks Enforcement of Recently-Enacted Magazine Ban

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Second Amendment advocates are cheering a federal court’s opinion blocking enforcement of California’s draconian magazine ban. Read more…

judge in California

Source: NRA ILA

The battle to secure Second Amendment rights is ever-evolving. Last Monday, gun owners were dealt a disappointing blow with the Supreme Court’s refusal to review the legal scheme that empowers California counties to effectively ban the bearing of arms. Yet by Thursday, Second Amendment advocates were cheering a federal court’s opinion blocking enforcement of California’s draconian magazine ban. That opinion, in Duncan v. Becerra, shows what’s possible when a federal judge treats the right to keep and bear arms with the respect deserved by all provisions within the Bill of Rights.

The case is challenging the ban enacted last fall by Proposition 63 on so-called “large capacity magazines” (i.e., most ammunition feeding devices “with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds”). California’s law went beyond similar laws in other antigun states by prohibiting not only the manufacturing, sale, or importation of such magazines but also their possession, including by those who had lawfully obtained them before the ban’s effective date of July 1. As Judge Roger T. Benitez put it in his order, “On July 1, 2017, any previously law-abiding person in California who still possesses a firearm magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds will begin their new life of crime.”

Thanks to the injunction issued by Judge Benitez, that is no longer the case. His order prevents enforcement of the ban on possession and the requirement that those in possession rid themselves of their magazines, pending further proceedings in the case. The order left intact, however, the bans on manufacturing, sale, or import.

Judge Benitez held that standard capacity magazines like those affected by the ban are “arms” within the meaning of the Second Amendment. He further ruled that the law burdens the “core” Second Amendment right of possessing an arm commonly held by law-abiding citizens for defense of home, self, and state. The burden, he wrote, was “more than slight” and the ban was neither presumptively legal nor of long-standing pedigree. And even if the ban were subject to the more forgiving brand of “intermediate scrutiny” under which many gun control laws have been upheld, he found it would not be a reasonable fit with the state’s asserted purpose of public safety because it is squarely aimed at law-abiding persons.

Judge Benitez had some unusually sharp characterizations of California’s gun control laws. “The language used, the internally referenced provisions, the interplay among them, and the plethora of other gun regulations, have made the State’s magazine laws difficult to understand for all but the most learned experts,” he stated. “Too much complexity fails to give fair notice and violates due process,” he continued, noting that even the attorney for the State of California could not describe all of the magazine ban’s intricacies during the hearing. “Who could blame her?” he asked rhetorically. “The California matrix of gun control laws is among the harshest in the nation and are filled with criminal law traps for people of common intelligence who desire to obey the law.”

Judge Benitez also assailed the creeping incrementalism that retroactively seeks to punish facially harmless behavior by upstanding people who are acting in good faith.

“Constitutional rights would become meaningless if states could obliterate them by enacting incrementally more burdensome restrictions while arguing that a reviewing court must evaluate each restriction by itself when determining constitutionality,” he wrote. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was exactly the complaint that the NRA and others had raised with the Ninth Circuit’s opinion the Supreme Court had earlier in the week declined to review. By focusing narrowly on the question of whether the Second Amendment was specifically meant to protect concealed carry, the Ninth Circuit had ignored the fact that California has foreclosed every option to lawfully bear arms for self-defense in public.
Judge Benitez framed the questions in Duncan case as whether a law-abiding, responsible citizen has “a right to defend his home from criminals using whatever common magazine size he or she judges best suits the situation” and “to keep and bear a common magazine useful for service in a militia.” He opined that “a final decision on the merits is likely to answer both questions ‘yes’… .“

Last Thursday’s opinion represents a very encouraging development but unfortunately is not the last word in the case. It remains to be seen if the state will appeal the injunction, and the court must still resolve the underlying claims. Once that happens, further appeals are likely to follow.

Overall, however, the week’s events were a reminder of the critical role that federal judges play in the freedoms that Americans enjoy (or don’t enjoy). And having a president who respects the Constitution when appointing those judges is a safeguard that no liberty-loving American can overestimate.

Trump sends more feds to fight Chicago gun violence

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

As usual: it’s not about new laws, it’s about more effective enforcement… Read on…

chicago crime scene

Source: Chicago Tribune

Twenty federal gun agents have been assigned to Chicago to join a newly formed task force aimed at cutting the flow of illegal guns into the city and cracking down on people repeatedly arrested on gun charges.

Hours after the Chicago police department sent out a news release about the task force, President Donald Trump claimed credit for sending in the agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help,” he tweeted last Friday morning.

Trump said there have been “1714 shootings in Chicago this year!” but the number is actually higher, according to data kept by the Tribune. As of Friday morning, the number of people shot in Chicago was at least 1,760, still lower than this time last year, when violence reached levels not seen in two decades.

In January, Trump tweeted, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, … I will send in the Feds!”

At a news briefing Friday in Washington, D.C., reporters asked Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether Chicago’s crime problem was related to gun access.

“I think that the problem there is pretty clear that it’s a crime problem. I think crime is probably driven more by morality than anything else,” she said. “So I think that this is a law enforcement issue and our focus is trying to add additional support.”

The roughly 40-person strike force, which consists of Chicago police officers, ATF agents and Illinois State Police, will be working on unsolved shootings and gun-related homicides and combating illegal gun trafficking, officials said Friday.

“It is a battle which can only be fought with all hands on deck, that is, state, federal and local law enforcement,” Joel Levin, Chicago’s acting U.S. Attorney, told reporters at a Friday afternoon news conference at Chicago police headquarters.

This isn’t the first time task forces have been formed to combat gun violence in Chicago.

For example, ATF agents worked in the past with Chicago police officers in the South Chicago District, which borders northwest Indiana, to try to counter the flow of illegal firearms from that state. ATF statistics have shown that most of the guns originating from outside of Cook County that were recovered at Chicago crime scenes in past years came from Indiana.

Tim Jones, who heads the ATF task force, told reporters that 20 new agents will be working on it. That’s in addition to 41 ATF agents who were already working in Chicago.

“We are a small agency, have a small footprint but we like to cast a bigger shadow through our attitude and effort, and we’re here to help, so we’re going to do what we can to work with our partners,” Jones said.

When asked by a reporter if 20 additional agents is enough, given the scope of Chicago’s illegal gun problem, Jones replied, “Me personally, we could probably use 500 more agents. We just don’t have (those resources).”

One of the things the task force will be doing is examining bullet casings recovered from crime scenes in order to perform expedited ballistics testing and determine whether the casings came from the same guns used in other crimes.

These casings will be tested in a mobile van provided by ATF agents who will perform the tests through its National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. This way, Chicago police will be able to determine within hours — instead of days with the department’s in-house lab — whether the casings came from guns used at other crime scenes.

Anthony Riccio, chief of the Chicago police’s Bureau of Organized Crime, said the ATF’s ballistics technology not only could help the department work more quickly, but also could help them link guns to solve more crimes.

“While officers probably will still be working on the arrest report for this individual, we’ll know the history of that gun. We’ll know if it’s been involved in any other shootings. We’ll know where it’s been used,” he said. “And that’s a great lead for detectives because now they’ve got the guy and the gun that have been used in shootings that before would’ve taken us days to find out.”

Chicago police First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro said the department had been working on arrangements to receive more assistance from federal law enforcement since November, during former President Barack Obama’s administration. Those efforts continued under Trump

According to a release from the office of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the task force became operational June 1.

“The Trump Administration will not let the bloodshed go on; we cannot accept these levels of violence,” the release quoted Sessions as saying. “That’s why, under President Trump’s strong leadership, we have created the Chicago Gun Strike Force and are sending 20 more permanent ATF agents to Chicago, reallocating federal prosecutors and prioritizing prosecutions to reduce gun violence, and working with our law enforcement partners to stop the lawlessness.”

Sessions went on to criticize the city of Chicago’s status as a “sanctuary city,” which gives certain legal protections to immigrants without legal status in Chicago, saying the policies “tie the hands of law enforcement.” He then praised Celinez Nunez, the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of ATF, saying the agent “has experienced the tragic consequences of gang violence firsthand,” and would make the city safer.

The task force will work with the Chicago police department’s Organized Crime Bureau and the ATF’s Chicago field office, Chicago police said.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in the CPD news release that the task force “will significantly help our police officers stem the flow of illegal guns and create a culture of accountability for the small subset of individuals and gangs who (disproportionately) drive violence in our city.”