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

A Promise Kept: SOCIAL SECURITY GUN BAN ENDED!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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.

Texas: Can Your Town Outlaw Your Guns?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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: Gun-Deregulation Ideas Offered by BATFE

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

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