Louisiana: More Women Than Ever Focused on Self-Defense and Concealed Carry

Photo from groupon.com.

 

In Louisiana, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s department, “which has an overwhelming number of applications from women wanting to take the self-defense courses being offered without charge, announced there will be other classes in the fall,” The Advocate reported

These new fall offerings were in addition to the four courses the St. Tammany parish department held in July in Covington, and another four in Slidell.

Demand for female self-defense instruction in Louisiana is not limited to St. Tammany Parish, which lies just northeast of New Orleans. The Baton Rouge Police Department offers the “Equalizer Women’s Self-Defense” class, specifically designed for women.

“The course covers facts about violence against women, reducing the risk of becoming a victim, defenses striking, common grab defenses, head-lock defenses, bear hug defenses, along with striking and knife defenses,” WBRZ.com reported earlier this year.

 

Photo from batonrougemoms.com.

 

This move toward female self-defense in Louisiana also includes concealed carry. John Lott, of the Crime Prevention Research Center, published new data recently that revealed a “general upward trend in the percentage of people with permits to carry a concealed firearm are women in seven states— including Arizona, Florida, Indiana and Louisiana,” Fox News reported

Lott’s findings were presented in a report, “The changing gender and Race of Permit Holders.”  It says that in 14 states that have issued approximately 4 million concealed carry permits among them, Lott found that women now represent about 36 percent of all those with carry permits, indicating a clear upward trend. In Louisiana specifically, women held 18.3-percent of the carry permits in 2008. By 2016, that had risen to an impressive 24.1 percent.

Lott also reported that eight states saw a 326 percent faster increase in permits among women permit holders than among men from 2012 to 2016.

And, contrary to what the mainstream media often tries to portray, “Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at one-sixth of the rate at which police officers are convicted,” according to the report.

Obviously, women in Louisiana and many other states are not going to allow themselves to be victimized by violence, and are taking the appropriate steps to make themselves as prepared as possible for worst-case scenarios. And that’s a great thing!

—By Brian McCombie, U.S. Law Shield Contributor

Air Travel: Carry-On Bags and Firearms Don’t Mix!

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 31: Singer Scotty McCreery performs at the ‘FOX & Friends’ All American Concert Series outside of FOX Studios on July 31, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)

 

Country singer and “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery was in the news recently, for reasons he no doubt regrets. McCreery was stopped at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport when TSA agents discovered a loaded handgun in the singer’s carry-on bag.

USA Today reported that “McCreery had tried to carry the gun through a passenger checkpoint before boarding a flight July 13. While McCreery has a permit to carry, his attempt to bring the 9 mm Smith & Wesson handgun through the checkpoint resulted in a misdemeanor violation. The singer told police that he’d forgotten to remove the handgun from his bag after visiting a firing range.”

McCreery is not alone—and the number of gun owners who find themselves in similar legal straits is rather staggering, according to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch regarding U.S. airports: “In 2015, 2,653 firearms were discovered at [TSA] checkpoints nationwide. Last year, the number reached 3,391, an almost 28 percent increase…. From July 3-9, for example, the TSA found 78 firearms in carry-on baggage; 62 of those guns were loaded, and 32 had a round chambered.”

“So far this year, we’re over 1,800,” said TSA Regional Spokesman Mark Howell. “TSA doesn’t want to infringe on anybody’s right to take a gun with them when they travel. We just want to make sure that it’s done in the safest way possible, and that it’s inaccessible during the flight.”

While McCreery was charged with a misdemeanor, the Post-Dispatch noted that a person found with a firearm at a TSA checkpoint could face a civil penalty of up to $12,000. 

Best advice for gun owners traveling by plane, especially those with carry permits who regularly go out armed: Check your bags and pockets before you enter an airport for firearms, knives, and ammunition. They can all land you in hot water if TSA finds them in your carry-on bags.

Remember, too, that your carry permit does not apply past TSA checkpoints or on planes operated by the airlines. For more information about the do’s and don’ts concerning firearms and air travel, contact your airline and visit TSA.gov.

 

Brian McCombie, U.S. Law Shield Contributor 

Michigan:  Do Adoptive Parents Have to Forfeit Second Amendment Rights?

Does a Michigan concealed pistol permit disqualify people as adoptive parents?

A federal lawsuit has been filed in Michigan, alleging that the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) violated the Second Amendment rights of potential foster parents.

According to FoxNews.com, “Caseworkers from MDHHS and a county judge told William Johnson of Ontonagon, Mich., that he had to choose between his Second Amendment rights and fostering his grandson, according to a complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The 54-year-old Johnson is a retired, disabled Marine with a Michigan Concealed Pistol License.”

Initially, MDHHS asked Johnson and his wife to foster their grandson. When they arrived at MDHHS offices, “Johnson said he was searched for a firearm and, although he was not carrying a gun, officials demanded to see his concealed carry license. He was then told he would need to give MDHHS the serial numbers of all of his firearms, including rifles and shotguns, and register them with the agency.”

When Johnson asked why he had to register his firearms, he said that “he was told by one caseworker, ‘if you want to care for your grandson you will have to give up some of your constitutional rights.’”

The lawsuit alleges that a county judge also told Johnson much the same thing when he and his wife appeared for a custody hearing. 

On the MDHHS website, there is no mention of firearms in its document “Adopting A Child In Michigan,” on its “Frequently Asked Questions” page, or under the heading of “Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Applicants.” 

The closest we could find to a firearms refence and adoption on the MDHHS site concerning adoption had to do with a form entitled, “INITIAL FOSTER/ADOPTION HOME EVALUATION,” (CWL-3130_527684_7), which in part reads:

“If there are weapons in the home, specify what they are, where they are stored and how they are secured. Document all weapons (rifles, handguns, bow and arrows, air/paint guns, etc.), registrations, trigger locks/inoperable and storage. Weapons must be inoperable and locked in a place separate from ammunition or stored in a locked gun safe.”

The lawsuit is not referenced in the MDHHS website’s “Newsroom,” and a web search finds no MDHHS officials on the record disputing the reported situation or defending the alleged actions.

The lawsuit was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), a gun rights group located in Washington state, alleging civil rights violations under color of law for enforcing restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of people who want to be foster or adoptive parents. SAF was joined in the lawsuit by Michigan residents William and Jill Johnson and Brian and Naomi Mason. — Brian McCombie, Contributor, U.S. & Texas LawShield® blog

Louisiana: Congressman Steve Scalise On The Mend After Shooting

Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise (R-1s Dist.) is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. It came as no surprise to his constituents back home that, even after he’d been shot by a gunman intent on a murderous rampage, Scalise neither blamed the firearm itself nor advocated for stricter gun control.

On June 14, 2017, Scalise and other Republican congressman were practicing for a congressional baseball game at a park in Alexandria, Va., when James T. Hodgkinson of Illinois opened fire on them with a rifle. Hodgkinson, according to multiple news sources, had a list on him with the names of six members of Congress—all Republicans—and planned to kill them. A supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders during Sanders’ failed run for the presidency, Hodgkinson apparently hated President Donald Trump. That day, he ended up wounding five people before he himself was shot and killed by police.

Seriously wounded in the attack, Scalise has had multiple surgeries to repair the damage he suffered. He was readmitted to the hospital last month because of an infection related to his bullet wounds.

As Scalise’s congressional website notes, “In the 112th Congress, Scalise introduced H.R. 58, the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which improves law-abiding citizens’ ability to purchase firearms. The bills Scalise has recently cosponsored include H.R.645, a bill to restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia and the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, H.R.822, which would ensure national reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders. Congressman Scalise’s pro-gun stance has earned him an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association. A member of the Congressional Second Amendment Task Force, Congressman Steve Scalise will continue fighting to protect every citizen’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”

After the shootings, gun-control supporters demanded ever more firearms regulations. But the congressmen who had been shot, all of whom are Scalise’s colleagues, called for something different: new laws to allow concealed carry in Washington, D.C., so people could protect themselves in the case of another similar event.

As the New York Times reported in early July, in the weeks following the shootings, “Conservative lawmakers, some of whom were nearly the victims of gun violence, have pressed to loosen gun controls. Three bills introduced in the Republican-held House during the past two weeks would allow lawmakers to almost always carry a concealed weapon. A fourth would allow concealed carry permits obtained in other states to be recognized in the District of Columbia.”

The Republican Majority Whip, Scalise has been working when his health has allowed, including taking conference calls with other members of Congress. He will no doubt be reasserting himself as a strong proponent of the Second Amendment for his constituents back in Louisiana once he is fully recovered.

Brian McCombie, U.S. Law Shield Contributor 

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

“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 the 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 a ‘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

 

No Sunday Hunting in Pennsylvania: Why?

Note: This is the fifth in a five-part series discussing tactics that land hunters and anglers in jail. 

 

no sunday hunting sign PFBCLight faded as the young hunter, who was new to the East Coast, trudged through fallen leaves toward his truck.

“Odd,” he thought, “not seeing any other people this Sunday.” Yesterday he saw a lot of other hunters wearing blaze orange. That didn’t surprise him; in the George Washington National Forest, about an hour’s drive west of the densely populated nation’s capital.

But the first people he saw Sunday were hunters around a campfire near his truck. One guy asked, “See anything?”

“Nah,” said the hunter. “Nice day, but no deer.”

“You’re lucky the game warden didn’t see you,” the guy said, noticing the hunter’s truck had New Mexico plates. “In the Old Dominion of Virginia, it’s illegal to hunt on Sunday. ”

Although this incident occurred in 1989, Sunday hunting bans continue in a few states, including Pennsylvania. That list, however, shrinks each year with some states altering the bans or chunking them altogether.

Virginia’s General Assembly eased the all-out Sunday ban in 2014, and North Carolina virtually did away with its ban last month.

Not so in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where some very vocal hunters formed a group—Hunters for Sunday Hunting or HUSH—calling for an end to the “blue law.”

HUSH logo“A blue law is a regulation reaching back to colonial days when hunting and other tasks were banned to ensure settlers attended church on Sunday, not the deer woods,” said Justin McShane, an Independent Program Attorney for U.S. Law Shield of Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania allows some varmint hunting on Sunday—fox and coyote—but not the Commonwealth’s ‘big four’—deer, bear, turkey, and elk,” McShane said.

Powerful pro-gun groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) also protest the law. NSSF is part of the Sunday Hunting Coalition—a veritable “who’s who” of top outdoor retail businesses and hunting and conservation groups.

According to an NSSF fact sheet, “Today, regardless of whether one believes it should be the government’s role to encourage church attendance, it is interesting to note that states that allow Sunday hunting actually have the highest rates of church attendance in the country.”

In recent years, NSSF said Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania could create 8,193 new jobs and pump $764 million into the state’s economy, according to that 2015 report.

Bryan Burhans, executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, gripes about the ban, too. Last year, when he was deputy executive director, Burhans called blue laws “antiquated.”

Testifying before a legislative committee, he said, “To date, all but two blue laws in Pennsylvania have been repealed: the complete ability to hunt on Sundays and the option to purchase a vehicle.”

So who’s against Sunday hunting in the Keystone State? Let’s start with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

According to its website, “The current restrictions on Sunday hunting provide safety and security to farm families and friends who are journeying around the farm to enjoy the woods and landscape on that day.

“Legislation to remove or significantly reduce these restrictions would place farm families and other landowners at far greater safety risk and would discourage them from participating in activities that enhance their personal well-being.”

Burhans said “other recreational user groups” like “hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, among others” also point to safety.

“But,” he added, “these groups recreate 365 days per year, including Saturdays and Sundays during hunting seasons,” and “it is important to note (that) hunting is an inherently safe sport.”

“In fact,” Burhans said, “over the past decade, hunting related shooting incidents have decreased by half. In 2015, the total number of hunting related shooting incidents was 23. Out of nearly 935,000 hunters, 23 incidents represent less than one one-thousandth of one percent.”

Justin McShane, an Independent Program Attorney for U.S. Law Shield of Pennsylvania.
Justin McShane, Independent Program Attorney for U.S. Law Shield of Pennsylvania.

“Some members of the General Assembly regularly sponsor legislation to end the ban, but they haven’t achieved much traction yet,” McShane said. House Bill 71 is that chamber’s latest attempt.

“While there are some very vocal hunters and supporters against the ban, it seems that a majority of the people in those communities are OK with the status quo,” he said. “Until that changes, the anti-ban folks are left with watching football on Sundays.

“And those caught ignoring the ban face a summary offense of the fifth degree, not less than $75 but no more than $200.”

McShane also suggested signing up for a U.S. Law Shield membership with the Hunter Shield add-on.  “It’s a combo that can protect you while hunting and at home,” McShane said. “Plus you get some sound legal education to help you remain a law-abiding gun owner and sportsman.”

— Bill Miller, Contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog

 

 

SAF Issues Travel Advisory To Gun Owners: ‘Avoid California!’

For the first time in its history, the Second Amendment Foundation has issued a “travel advisory” to firearms owners to avoid going to California, warning law-abiding armed citizens that their civil rights could be in jeopardy due to that state’s restrictive gun control laws.

“The California Legislature has been out of control for years when it comes to placing restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of honest citizens,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said. “Right now, I wouldn’t suggest to any gun owners that they even travel through the state, much less travel to it as their final destination.

“Lawmakers in Sacramento,” he continued, “either ignored or have forgotten that in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment in SAF’s landmark case of McDonald v. City of Chicago. The Second Amendment’s protection of the right to keep and bear arms applies to state and local governments, but they seem oblivious to that fact in the halls of California’s Legislature.”

Of particular concern to Gottlieb is the fact that California steadfastly refuses to recognize concealed carry licenses or permits from other states. The state’s restrictive laws literally leave residents and visitors defenseless.

“If you are licensed to carry in your home state,” he warned, “that license is not recognized in California. It doesn’t matter how many background checks you’ve gone through or whether you took a gun safety course. Your license is no good in the Golden State, which suggests that your safety and the safety of your family are of no concern to state lawmakers or city administrators. You could be prosecuted for having a gun for personal protection, or you might get killed because you didn’t.”

Travel Advisory: Don’t Take Your Guns to NYC

New York City arrests people who bring guns to the city’s airport nearly every week–even when the person has a gun license from his or her state, notifies authorities about the gun, and follows TSA procedures for flying with it. Click to watch John Stossel interview people who were arrested and see him confront the assistant district attorney who prosecutes well-meaning gun owners.

 

 

Back to School 2017: Firearms Laws You Need to Know in Florida

The possession of a firearm on school grounds is generally illegal with few exceptions.

Florida Statute 790.06 contains several subsections that explicitly prohibit the carrying and possession of a firearm on school grounds.

Firearms are not allowed at any school or college athletic event not related to firearms.

Florida law broadens this prohibition by applying it to all school-sponsored events and school property.

A person may not possess a firearm or other weapon at a school-sponsored event or on the property of any school, school bus, or school bus stop, subject to the exceptions explained below, found in Florida statute 790.115.

This includes the grounds of any elementary or secondary school facility or administration building and career centers.

Florida does not allow for the concealed or open carry of firearms on university or college campuses.

However, if an individual is a registered student, employee, or faculty member of the college or university, they may carry a stun gun or non-lethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes, if it does not fire a dart or projectile. Further, recent court decisions have approved having a firearm securely encased in one’s vehicle on a college or university property.

As mentioned previously a person may carry under one of the few exceptions laid out in Section 790.115(2)(a).

A firearm can be carried in a case to a firearms program, class, or function that has been approved in advance by the principal or chief administrative officer of the school, as a program or class to which firearms may be carried or carried in a case to a career center having a firearms training range.

What about parking lots? Or when you pick up your kids or drop them off at school?

Concealed firearms can be carried without a license in a vehicle under Florida law as long as the person is 18 or older and the firearm is securely encased or otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use.

This extends to the carrying of a firearm in a person’s vehicle on the grounds of a school or at a school activity.

However, school districts are free to adopt written and published policies that waive this exception for purposes of student and campus parking privileges.

This means that while firearms in vehicles on school parking lots are legal under state law, and an individual school may have a policy that makes it illegal to have one on the lot. Further, even in a parking lot of a school that does not have a policy prohibiting firearms on the property, firearms still may not be taken out of the vehicle or into a school building.

Finally, it is important to remember that under the federal Gun Free School Zone Act unless you have a CWFL, you are committing a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison if you carry a firearm within a thousand feet of a gun-free school zone.

So if you are not a concealed weapons and firearm licensee, avoid driving in or near school zones in Florida.

 

Back to School 2017: Firearms Laws You Need to Know in Colorado

Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards:

Let’s talk for a few moments about whether or not you can bring a firearm onto a college campus, if you’re going heading back to school and in college, or you’re going back to school, or your kids are going back to school in a primary or high school.

Public University

Starting with college: If you are going to a public university, there’s case law on point that the university cannot limit your ability to carry concealed with a concealed handgun license on the campus as long as you’re in public areas. The schools sometimes find a way around that by through a contractual relationship, for example, if you are living in a dorm and they have a landlord, and you’re in a tenant-type of a relationship, sometimes through that contract, they’re able to limit your ability to carry the firearm within the dormitory. I think it’s a bad idea to have the firearm in your dorm room, as college kids tend to have alcohol around them, and I think it’s very you’re asking for trouble if there’s alcohol and guns nearby.

But, what can you do? What is the law? That’s what we’re here to discuss today and so the public universities are not able to just outright limit your ability to carry a firearm concealed on campus, notwithstanding the fact that they have signs posted saying or policies saying that you can’t carry concealed.

Please call my office to discuss your exact situation, because there are nuances from university to university.

Private University

Private universities are totally different. A private university can limit your ability to carry concealed on campus anywhere, so make sure that you do take advantage of us as a resource for you, and we will help answer all of your questions.

Now let’s toggle over to parents dropping off kids at school this year.

Drop Off

So if you are, let’s just say, driving your child to school, and you’re going to drop them off now let’s just say in the drop off circle or somewhere on the school property, even if you decide to go in and take them inside, you’re fine to do that with a firearm in your car, as long as it’s unloaded and locked in the glove box. If you have a CCW, that’s fine, if you do not have a CCW, you cannot do this. You’ll need to park your vehicle off campus or off school property and walk your child up or go up there to collect your child from the school.

If you don’t have a child, and a school zone happens to be something you have to drive through once, twice, or even more times on your way to work, or wherever you’re going, you do not need to avoid the school district just because school’s back in session, and you have a gun in your car, as long as you’re just driving directly through the school zone, you’re not going to have any problems. It’s not until you pull into the school that we start to have to wonder or ask questions.

Do you have a CCW? And if you do, is your gun locked… unloaded and locked in your glove box?

Teachers are sometimes allowed to bring firearms into school. They have to do this under a special exception that allows them as a school security or school resource officer to carry a firearm.

I highly suggest that if you’re a U.S. LawShield® member, you contact my office, and let’s review that policy together, and make sure that the school district is in compliance with state and federal laws. It’s extremely important. We’re walking a very thin line here and I want to make sure that you, our Member, is doing everything perfectly.

Thank you, I look forward to talking to each one of you about these issues and more.