Tag Archives: law

Can The Government Confiscate My Firearms During a Disaster?

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firearms confiscation

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

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

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

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

CAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONFISCATE MY FIREARMS?

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

SEC. 706. FIREARMS POLICIES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TEXAS LAW ON FIREARMS CONFISCATION

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

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

Specifically,

Sec. 418.003.  LIMITATIONS.  This chapter does not:

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

Sec. 418.184.  FIREARMS.

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

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

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

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

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

FLORIDA LAW ON FIREARMS CONFISCATION   

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

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

In part, the Executive Order states:

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

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

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

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

FINAL WORD

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

Surprising Hurricane Harvey Heroes

 

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

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS CONFISCATING FIREARMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LTC Fee Reduction Legislation

(SB16 by Senator Robert Nichols/Representative Phil King)

Background:

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

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

With SB 16:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caliber Requirement for LTC Qualification

(SB263 by Senator Perry/Representative Drew Springer)

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

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

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

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

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

Volunteer First Responders

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

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

TSRA Suppressor Bill plus a Friendly Amendment

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

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

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

But wait, there’s more! Mossberg Shockwave!

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

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

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

HB1819 Bill History with Co-Author’s List

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

Online LTC Course Option

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

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

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

Church Volunteer Security

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

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

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

Primary and Secondary Teachers and School Parking Lot

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

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

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

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

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

Legalize the Bowie Knife

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

LTC Range Qualifications and Veterans

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

Big News on Big Knives Coming September 1

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

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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?

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

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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.

As Temperatures Go Up in Texas, So Does Road Rage

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A recent national television report asserted that road-rage incidents are becoming more common and more deadly, with the latest incident taking place in Pennsylvania, in which a man is alleged to have shot and killed a teenage girl during a traffic merge.  Click to watch level-headed advice from your Independent Program Attorney about what to do—and what not to do—in these situations.

Hello, my name is Edwin Walker. I’m an Independent Program Attorney with Texas Law Shield.

I want to talk to you today about an issue that we see on a daily basis. In fact, you will encounter it on a daily basis — the subject of road rage. I am sure that you have all seen road rage. You may have actually been involved in a road rage incident.

Now, if you’re a responsible gun owner, I’m going to give you a few words of advice on how to react when you find yourself in one of these unfortunate road-rage incidents. While on the roadways, we all observe something that makes us upset, whether it’s poor driving, unsafe driving, or just simply somebody being very discourteous.

By all means, you should restrain yourself from engaging that person and telling them how bad their actions were because this can be perceived as an act of road rage. If you’re a lawful gun owner and you have a firearm in your vehicle, you do not want to be viewed as the aggressor in a road-rage situation.

Now, about a situation where an individual has chosen to rage against you, and you are the actual victim of road rage, if you and the other individuals are still in their automobiles, do not use your firearm to respond to any of the rager’s activities. This is because law enforcement views the fact that you’re both still safely in your metal boxes as removing any threat of immediacy that you may be harmed.

So please, if you have a gun, and somebody is raging against you, forget that you have a gun, don’t display it, don’t brandish it, don’t show it, don’t point it, and for God’s sake, don’t fire it. This could result in a lot of trouble for you. Now let’s look at a situation where a road rage incident has escalated to the point where one of the participants has actually gotten out of their vehicle. We recommend that you stay in your vehicle at all times. Do not exit your vehicle because the person who left their vehicle is going to be looked at as the aggressor.

If the other individual has exited his or her vehicle and the person is not in contact with your vehicle, and they do not have a weapon, then do not feel that you can display your weapon in the act of self-defense. People are allowed to just simply stand there and scream at you—scream whatever they want—until they make a demonstrative effort to try to harm you. There is no immediate threat that would justify displaying or shooting or brandishing your firearm.

Now, if the person shows a weapon, in particular, a firearm, the existence of a weapon would give you reasonable belief that there was an immediate threat of harm that would justify an act of force or deadly force.

Even in this situation, I would be very cautious. Now, if this situation escalates even further, where the person has actually made physical contact with your vehicle, whether they are beating on it with an instrument with their fists or they’re attempting to open your door, this would give you the facts that you would need to show that you had a reasonable belief that that individual is unlawfully and forcefully attempting to either enter your vehicle or remove you from your vehicle. This is very very important because this falls under what is commonly known in Texas as the Castle Doctrine.

The Castle Doctrine provides that an individual is given a presumption of reasonableness if they use force or deadly force in a situation where they believe that the person is unlawfully and forcefully either attempting to enter their occupied vehicle or remove somebody from their occupied vehicle. This legal presumption can be very very important because this legal presumption then says that you are allowed to use force or deadly force in response to this other individual’s actions.

We want to keep you safe out on the roadway, so keep these words of advice in mind and try to have a little less road rage out there. If we have a little less road rage, maybe we’ll have a safer world.

 

 

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.

National Legal Update: Hearing Protection Act Rolling Into Bigger Bill

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The Hearing Protection Act has been attached to the SHARE Act, a sportsman’s omnibus bill with a lot of pro-gun features. Among those features, the SHARE Act (Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act) would do the following:

  1. Moves silencers/suppressors from Title II to Title I status.
  2. Enhances the Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA) language to include travel by means other than vehicles.
  3. Creates remedies against states that violate the safe travel provisions, including a cause of action and attorneys fees.
  4. Eliminates the sporting-purposes language from the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the law on armor-piercing ammunition.
  5. Creates a blanket exception for shotguns to prevent arbitrary reclassification as destructive devices.

“The Hearing Protection Act has been one of the most important bills for sportsmen and women this Congress, which is why it’s common sense for it to be included in this year’s sportsman’s legislative package,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) Duncan, the bill’s sponsor, told POLITICO. “By changing the outdated regulation of suppressors to an instant background check, just like the requirements to purchase a typical firearm, I hope the sportsmen and women in the United States will have greater access to noise reduction technology as they carry the hunting and recreational shooting tradition to future generations.”

“If this bill passes,” said Texas & U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington, “it will make suppressors Title I items like firearms—that is, not National Firearms Act devices—which means they will become more common and more widely transported. However, at least 10 states will likely ban suppressors even if this becomes law. About the same number of states have some kind of restriction on ammunition-feeding devices, also known as magazines. FOPA safe travel won’t do us much good if gun owners can still be arrested for magazines and accessories.”

“Attaching the HPA to a bill that should be easier to pass suggests that Congressional Republicans may have become serious about actually passing this,” she said. “Passing this bill would be a big win.” —Texas & U.S. Law Shield Staff

 

 

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.

Bills Allowing Permitless Carry and First-Responder Carry Advance

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A Texas House committee has approved legislation that would allow handguns to be carried—concealed or in a holster—without a state-issued license. Also, the Texas Senate has passed SB 1408, a bill to allow first responders to conceal carry.

The just-passed version of HB 1911’s permitless carry provisions approved by the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee contained several substantial changes from previous versions.

• To carry without a permit, gun owners would have to meet existing LTC standards: be 21 years of age or older, have no criminal convictions, and be eligible to purchase a weapon under federal and state laws. The previous version would have allowed guns to be carried by those 18 and older.

• Churches and places of worship would no longer be prohibited places to carry a gun, unless they posted 30.06 and/or 30.07 signs.

• Handguns carried in the open would still be required to be kept in a holster, but the restrictions on them being in a belt or shoulder holsters would be loosened.

“This bill simply creates an unlicensed option to carrying a handgun,” said Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford., chairman of the committee.

A competing bill, House Bill 375 by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, wasn’t considered for a vote. Stickland’s legislation would allow anybody who legally owns a firearm to carry it without a license—a much broader franchise than what’s being considered in HB 1911.

“We understand that for the most part, Texans are satisfied with the current carry laws we have now. However, there is still a significant number of Texans who believe that if you’re a law-abiding citizen, you shouldn’t necessarily have to buy your way to a right to bear arms through a license,” Rep. James White (R-Hillister) told the Austin American-Statesman.

Over in the state Senate, SB 1408, brought by Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas), would allow first responders to carry a handgun on duty if they have Licenses to Carry (LTC) and have completed a special on-duty first responder training course that will be approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Senator Huffines said, “As first responders answer our cries for help, we cannot leave them exposed to attack. First responders do dangerous work and sometimes come under fire. In a time in which our police are targeted just because of their uniform and badge, we must not leave first responders disarmed and exposed to danger, either.”

If you feel that either piece of legislation should continue, please contact your representative and voice your support for these measures.

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

The just-released video above is from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, supporting a judge’s ruling that a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy last year was justified in using deadly force.
Taking the family to a state or national park this summer? Then you need to know the rules about firearms carry at your destinations,

Two Bills Compete to Bring Permitless Carry to Texas

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In this interview with WBAP radio in Dallas, Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker of Walker & Byington discusses the differences between two Texas House bills that are vying to bring permitless carry to Texas. (Audio only).

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

The just-released video above is from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, supporting a judge’s ruling that a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy last year was justified in using deadly force.
Taking the family to a state or national park this summer? Then you need to know the rules about firearms carry at your destinations, in state or out of state. Click to watch Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington explain various park rules controlling where you can — and definitely cannot — take your gun. And please take the poll at the bottom to tell us if you take firearms with you on vacation. All poll responses are completely confidential.

 

 

 

Fired for Your Firearm: Do You Have any Options?

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A recent incident in which a Waffle House waitress was fired after defending herself against an attempted robbery shows that even when people exercise their legal right to self-defense, they can still be terminated by their employers.

According to WSBTV in Georgia, “Deputies said robbers gave a note to a waitress that threatened to shoot everyone unless she gave them money.” Heather Stanley, another waitress at the Newnan, Georgia eatery, went out to her car, retrieved her handgun, and “fired one shot into the air” as the would-be robbers ran to their cars.

Stanley was fired by Waffle House after the incident.

Stanley told WSBTV, “I didn’t know if they had guns. I didn’t know if they were going to their vehicle to get another one and could come back and try to get to the safe, so my instinct was to go to my car and get the gun.” Stanley added, “For trying to protect their Waffle House and trying to protect their money and to get their money back, they let me go.”

In Texas, employers can fire employees for similar policy violations. Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor of Walker & Byington discusses the limited options fired employees in the Lone Star State have if they violate an employer’s firearms policy:

What happens if you do get fired for violating a firearms policy? Well, unfortunately, Texas is an “employment at will” state so your employer can fire you for virtually any reason, or no reason at all at any time.

So if you’re fired for violating a firearms policy, you don’t really have recourse. Firearms owners in Texas are not a protected class of persons, so you can’t come back then and sue your employer and say you were discriminated against for being a firearms owner. We reserve this protected-class status for things like race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and things of this nature.

There’s one more quirk in Texas firearms law that pertains to employers and employees, and this is having your firearm in your vehicle at work. We have a bill here in Texas that says that the general rule is employers must allow you to do this.

However, that bill doesn’t have a punishment for employers who violate this law, so at the end of the day, if you have your firearm in the car, your employer tells you that you cannot do this, and then they fire you for having your firearm in the car, unfortunately, even though, they are in violation of the statute, you have again no legal recourse because Texas is employment at will.

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

The just-released video above is from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, supporting a judge’s ruling that a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy last year was justified in using deadly force.
Taking the family to a state or national park this summer? Then you need to know the rules about firearms carry at your destinations, in-state or out of state. Click to watch Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington explain various park rules controlling where you can — and definitely cannot — take your gun. And please take the poll at the bottom to tell us if you take firearms with you on vacation. All poll responses are completely confidential.

U.S. Law Shield News Update: Constitutional Carry

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Texas & U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington discusses the state of Constitutional Carry with host Sam Malone.

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

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?
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.