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During the recent storms that struck Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, your attorney hotline has been busy helping members that have been forced to abandon their guns as they leave their flooded homes, who were worried about the threat of gun confiscation, or have had to defend their property from looters. Texas & U.S. Law Shield was there to help.
“Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma devastated the Texas and Florida coasts causing unprecedented damage. During difficult times like these, we tend to experience the best out of people, as seen in countless heroic images of neighbor helping neighbor.
However, these events can also bring out the worst out of people, seeking to take advantage when you are the most vulnerable.
From the moment rain and wind started, calls have been pouring into our attorney answered emergency hotline from members who were forced to abandon guns in their homes overtaken by flood waters as well as members who have had to protect their property from looting. Our member, John, was one of those callers after he was forced to use his gun. Here is his story.
During Harvey, John and his son were combatting the water that continued to rise in their home. Suddenly, John noticed a truck driving up and down the street, creating wakes. Each time the truck passed, it pushed more water into John’s home.
As the truck was coming back around, John’s son went out to confront the driver and ask him to stop. John didn’t recognize the truck as being from the neighborhood and was worried the driver might be casing the street looking for an opportunity to loot empty houses. Responsibly and legally armed, he followed his son outside.
As John walked toward the truck, the bad guy started accelerating straight at his son. John, fearing for his son’s safety, fired a single shot in order to startle the driver and give his son time to move.
When police arrived, they intended to arrest John for Deadly Conduct. He called the LawShield emergency hotline and was immediately advised by his Independent Program Attorney. After the attorney talked to the police, they determined that a crime had not been committed because John acted in lawful defense of his son.
Thank goodness John is a LawShield member and knew exactly what to do when the police arrived. We were there for John when he needed us most and we are here for you 24/7 with our attorney-answered emergency hotline.”
At U.S. & Texas LawShield, our hearts are truly broken for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and the devastating floods. This event struck close to home for us as many members, employees, and friends have lost so much. We want to thank you all for the concerns and well wishes sent via emails, phone calls, and comments on social media regarding the safety of our employees and our facility located in south Houston. We are grateful all staff members and families are safe.
We want our Members to rest easy knowing they are protected 24/7/365, even during catastrophic emergencies. During the storms, our attorney-answered emergency hotline was available without interruption. That is our promise to you.
Since Harvey hit, there have been hundreds of calls to the emergency hotline from people who had to leave firearms behind in their homes due to flooding. Like so many others, were forced to leave with only what they could carry. Others have had to fend off looters and other opportunists who lurk during these tragedies.
We are amazed, but not surprised, at the selfless nature of our fellow Texans, and our brothers and sisters in other states who are helping people survive this record-setting weather event, which now stretches from Corpus Christi to the Sabine River. We appreciate your service and sacrifice as you help your neighbors.
We recognize the effects of Hurricane Harvey have devastated a lot of families. Rest assured, if you have concerns or problems related to your legal protection, we’re just a phone call away. We’ve got your back.
U.S. & Texas LawShield®
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)
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
NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, has announced it will make available disaster relief funds to help its members whose businesses were impacted by the ongoing destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey.
“We want our member companies to know that their trade association stands with them in these difficult times, and that this assistance is another benefit of membership,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and CMO. “This is in keeping with the monetary relief we provided our members in the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy wreaked her havoc in 2012, and to those in the Southeast following Hurricane Matthew in 2016.”
With the approval of its Board of Governors, NSSF is immediately making dedicated aid available for business loss or damage resulting from Hurricane Harvey to qualifying NSSF member businesses. Funds will be available to NSSF members suffering significant financial hardship and unable to pay for critical and immediate expenses to resume business.
Applicants for relief should contact NSSF Member Services at 203-426-1320 ext. 209. A “Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund Application” is available online at www.nssf.org/relief. Additionally, NSSF strongly encourages any FFL needing assistance with their physical location in the affected Texas regions to contact their local ATF field office regarding removal of firearms and ammunition inventory, ATF Forms 4473 and 3310.4, and acquisition and disposition records from those business premises to a safe location, as well as remedies for damage to or irreparable loss of these items and required reporting of such losses.
Gun sales in Missouri are seeing a spike while the number of permit applications fall, thanks to a new law that no longer requires residents to have a permit when carrying a concealed firearm.
Highway Patrol data on concealed carry permits show submissions numbered fewer than 1,600 in December 2016. That’s the smallest number processed in the three years of available dating back to January 2014.
No permit is necessary to carry a concealed handgun under these terms of Missouri law.
The 2016 law, SB 656, changing the conceal carry requirements leaves intact the conceal carry permitting system for persons who wish to participate in reciprocal concealed carry permit agreements when traveling to other states
Lawmakers and law enforcement officials say the drop was expected because of the new law.
Republican Cole County Sheriff John Wheeler says he still encourages people to get permits. He says they allow gun holders to carry in states with reciprocal agreements.
Wheeler also says training is helpful for understanding other gun laws and how to act in situations where holders might need to use firearms for defense.
The number of permit applications in Jasper County has dropped a total of 94 percent after the Legislature moved to get rid of the concealed-carry permit requirement, the Joplin Globe reported.
In order to get a permit, residents have to pass a background check and undergo eight hours of firearms training. The FBI still conducted 8 percent more background checks on would-be gun owners last year than in 2015, a record high in Missouri, according to agency statistics.
Doug Richards, Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield®, describes what laws should gun owners be aware of when attending a protest. (Transcript below.)
Doug Richards here for U.S. LawShield.
Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about protesting, and I think that this is an important topic to discuss, given what’s happened recently in Charlottesville.
What I want to talk to you about is whether you can, and whether you should, carry a firearm about a protest.
Now, there is no specific law in Colorado that prohibits the either open or concealed carry of a firearm at a public protest. You could run into some problems, depending on where it actually occurs.
If it occurs on federal property, or on state property where firearms are prohibited, or if it occurs within a government building, obviously statutory restrictions would limit your ability to carry concealed. However, there is no statute in place that says you can’t carry a firearm at a public demonstration, or at a public gathering such as a protest.
Now the question is whether or not you should.
I don’t think you should. I think it’s a very poor choice to bring a firearm to any sort of a rally or a protest or anything like that. Obviously if there’s an incident and you’re the one that’s in possession of the firearm, you will immediately be under some significant scrutiny by the police and the district attorney’s office. Moreover, if you’re in possession of the firearm, you could very easily be charged with either disorderly conduct or menacing if your actions are creating a panic in other people or making them feel as if you’re presenting the firearm in a way that might hurt them or in a way to attack them.
So whether you can, and whether you should, like many things with the Second Amendment, you know, they don’t necessarily go together, and I urge you to exercise caution when you’re exercising your First Amendment rights and your Second Amendment rights.
Legislative update from Florida by Independent Program Attorney James Phillips.
Legislative update: In 2017 there was a extremely important change made to the law regarding self defense that everyone should be aware of.
This is in regards to our immunities statute, which is found in Florida Statute 776.032. Prior to July, a defendant in a criminal proceeding wanting to claim immunity from prosecution had to show by a preponderance of the evidence in a pretrial hearing that he or she was entitled to immunity. This was one of the only times a defendant in a criminal case ever had a burden to prove anything.
Now a defendant only has to make an initial showing that he or she was justified in using defensive force, and then the government must show by clear and convincing evidence that the party claiming immunity was not justified.
Not only did this law change take the burden off the criminal defendant and place it on the government, but it also made the government’s burden to rebut the defendant’s claim of self-defense higher.
In July of this year, the new version of the immunity law made national news after a circuit court judge in Miami ruled that the new version of the law contained unconstitutional changes. The judge did not find that the language of the statute was unconstitutional, but rather declared it unconstitutional because the legislature did not have the two thirds, or super majority, votes needed to make the procedural change.
On August 11, 2017, a second Miami circuit court judge found the new version of the immunity law unconstitutional for the same reason.
It is important to know that both of the circuit court judge’s rulings were not made in appellate case, but in cases that originated in their courtrooms.
So what does that mean to you and I?
These two decisions have no binding effect anywhere in the state of Florida except in those two judges’ courtrooms. Ultimately this issue will probably be fleshed out by the Florida Supreme Court.
Georgia Legislative Update by Independent Program Attorney Matt Kilgo:
There were some significant changes in the law for Weapons Carry License holders and for firearms owners in general in Georgia in 2017. (Transcript continues below video.)
In this Georgia legislative update, we’re going to look at two specific House Bills: House Bill 280 and House Bill 292, both of which were signed by Governor Deal and both of which went into effect July 1st.
Now House Bill 280 is what we call the Campus Carry bill. This bill applied to Georgia’s public colleges and universities—not private schools—public colleges and universities, but does allow for lawful Weapons Carry License holders to carry concealed handguns onto certain areas and spaces of Georgia’s public colleges and universities.
Very important thing to remember in this Georgia legislative update:
• Only public colleges and universities.
• You must have a Weapons Carry license.
• It must be a concealed handgun.
There are certain places you can’t go; no sporting events, no stadiums, no gyms, no sporting events or areas where sporting events are held. No student housing, no dormitories, and no fraternity houses. You can’t carry in any of those locations.
No rooms or spaces where disciplinary proceedings are held, no rooms or spaces where administrative offices are, no rooms or spaces where high schoolers take classes, and no rooms or spaces where child care is provided. But other than that, there’s a lot of open places where you can carry to protect yourself. That’s House Bill 280.
Now House Bill 292 is the other bill in this Georgia legislative update that changed many facets of Georgia’s weapons carry law. To begin with, financial institutions are barred from prohibiting transactions with businesses that deal with firearms or from discriminating against businesses that handle firearms or they have a business involving firearms. So businesses that involve firearms—can’t discriminate against them.
That’s number one.
Number two, whereas before the change in the law, you could only carry a knife with a blade of five inches or less without a weapons carry license, the law was changed beginning July 1st. Now you can carry a knife with a blade of 12 inches or less.
The law revised multiple aspects of reciprocity law, allows for easier reciprocity and recognition of reciprocity with other states. And it also requires the Georgia attorney general to maintain a public list of states that we have reciprocity with.
So, in this Georgia legislative update, there are many good changes in the law for Georgia citizens. Be sure to look those two up: House Bill 280 and House Bill 292.