Legislation to Expand Gun Rights Shot Down in Colorado

For the second consecutive year, a Democrat-led House panel has rejected a Republican-led attempt to expand gun rights in Colorado.

Earlier this week, five pieces of proposed legislation that would have expanded gun rights and scaled back strict gun control laws adopted in 2013 were rejected after seven hours of hearings by the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee in which survivors and family members of victims of gun violence were paraded before the Committee.

Defeated were:

  • Senate bill 17 which would have allowed a person who legally possesses a handgun under state and federal law to carry a concealed handgun in Colorado without the need for a permit.
  • House bill 1023 sought to expand the state’s “Make My Day” law to allow people to defend their place of business with deadly force. So if an owner, manager, or employee reasonably believed that an intruder is trying to commit a crime other than unlawful entry, then they would have been permitted to use physical force against the intruder.
  • House bill 1024 would have repealed the large-capacity ammunition magazine ban passed in 2013.
  • House bill 1179 would have created an exception to the state’s concealed carry permit process for active duty military with a concealed handgun.
  • House bill 1204 would have allowed people with a concealed carry permit onto public school grounds with their weapon.

The House Democrats issued a statement that read “[A]ttempts to gut Colorado’s sensible gun safety laws have been an annual exercise in futility ever since the laws were expanded in 2013.”

House Republicans were quick to condemn the actions of the Committee, stating that the Democrats put their political agenda ahead of the needs of the people and failed to protect the rights of Coloradans to defend their loved ones and property.

There has been no comment by the bills’ sponsors as to whether further attempts at introducing new legislation will be made at this time.

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First Not Guilty Verdict in Plano Federal Court

Attorney Justin Sparks of Fort Worth got the first “not guilty” verdict in the history of a Plano federal court after his successful defense of a gun collector charged with failing to register as a firearms dealer.  His client had made over 300 firearms transactions during a two year period and BATFE alleged that he had failed to register as a firearms dealer. Justin Sparks is also a Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney. The picture above shows Mr. Sparks in his office after his client’s firearms were returned.  Read the following press release for more information.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date:              December 4, 2015

First Not Guilty Verdict in Plano Federal Court

A gun collector charged in federal court in Plano with buying and selling firearms without a license was found not guilty by 12-person jury following a four-day trial. It was the first “not guilty” verdict in that court since it was established in 2007.

The indictment alleged that Larry Tom, a local pharmacist, had failed to register as a firearms dealer and was engaged in the business of buying and selling firearms for livelihood and profit.  The United States Attorney’s Office presented testimony from agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms showing that Tom had over 300 firearms transactions over a two-year period and seized over 50 firearms from his home.

“The jury only deliberated 75 minutes before returning a “not guilty” verdict for my client,” said the defendant’s attorney, Justin Sparks of the Sparks Law Firm in Fort Worth. He praised the jury’s careful consideration of the evidence.

Through cross examination of the government’s witnesses and presentation of his own witnesses, Sparks was able to convince the jury his client was merely a gun collector whose motive was to improve his collection and was exempt from the requirement to obtain a firearms license.

Craig Gottlieb, an expert in firearms and military antiques and a regular on the hit TV show “Pawn Stars”, testified for the defense. He examined the guns involved in the accusation and testified that Tom was clearly a gun collector and not a gun dealer.  He said that Tom’s collection of guns and firearms transactions were exactly what he sees on a daily basis from gun collectors all over the United States.

Sparks also presented the testimony of a local federally-licensed firearms dealer to explain the purpose in obtaining a federal firearms license and how it did not apply in this case.

During final argument, Sparks pointed out that the government’s own exhibit, a sample federal firearms license application, asks: “Do you intend to use your license only to acquire personal firearms? If yes, do not submit application.”  He argued that the government’s own license form negated his client’s guilt and that his client did not need to acquire a license.

It was only after the trial had concluded that Sparks learned that there had never been a previous “not guilty” verdict in that courthouse.

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KA-BAR Releases Two New Knife Lines

KA-BAR Knives has released a line of skeleton knives under the KA-BAR and Dozier brand names.

The KA-BAR 1118BP Skeleton Knife is modeled after the iconic KA-BAR USMC Fighting/Utility Knife. It has a 6.125-inch overall length and a blade length of 2.5 inches. The 1118BP is made of 5Cr15 stainless steel and comes with a hard plastic sheath.

The KA-BAR Dozier 4073BP Skeleton Knife is modeled after Bob Dozier’s hunter design. It has an overall length of 6.375 inches and a blade length of 2.625 inches. The Dozier 4073BP is made with 5Cr15 stainless steel and comes with a hard plastic sheath.

Both the KA-BAR and Dozier Skeleton Knives come with a limited lifetime warranty. Additional details: KA-BAR Skeleton #1118BP lists for $12.88. It weighs 0.1 pound, has an 18-degree edge angle and a clip-style point.

The Dozier Skeleton #4073BP also lists for $12.88. It weighs 0.15 pound and a drop-style point.

As always, Law Shield doesn’t endorse products, but we do want to let members know about products or services of potential interest. Because we have recently expanded our membership coverage to self-defense items other than firearms, we have begun letting members know about new self-defense tools and devices, such as knives and tasers.

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In Virginia, Gun Control Loses Again

Our Virginia Law Shield members may take heart that a recent important state senate election hinged on the turn-out of gun voters. It seems the state’s voters lived up to the state motto, sic semper tyrannis.

Background: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been anti-gun-rights his entire career, and his recent advocacy of gun control in a pivotal Senate race in the Richmond area likely backfired because the Governor teamed up with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to promote Democrat Daniel A. Gecker.

In that race, Republican Glen H. Sturtevant won the 10th District seat, beating Gecker, who was tied to $700,000 of donations from Bloomberg. GOP supporters ran ads that said Gecker was trying to buy the seat with Bloomberg’s money.

The mere mention of Bloomberg’s name activates gun proponents to donate, volunteer, and vote all across the country.

Takeaway: Sturtevant’s win enabled Republicans to retain control of the Senate.

A Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial recapped the race, saying, “The Democrat made a massive mistake when he accepted campaign swag from an interest group affiliated with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who seeks tougher gun control laws. Gecker might have lost anyway, but the Bloomberg intervention gave Powhatan voters a reason to rise up in indignation. Sturtevant also received funds from outsider sources but the Bloomberg connection vividly cast Gecker on the wrong side of an issue of vital concern to Powhatan’s citizenry. A campaign focused on guns redounded to Gecker’s despair. This is not a surprise.”

McAuliffe’s failure to win Democratic control of the Senate means he has little to no chance of passing new gun-control laws. Law Shield thinks this is an important roadblock to gun- and accessory-ban attempts by groups controlled by Bloomberg that are being waged on the state and local levels.

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In Illinois, Customer with Concealed Carry License Kills Robber

Click here to read another example of a concealed carry license holder stopping an armed robber. According to a recent Chicago Tribune story, a customer inside a Southwest Side corner store pulled out a gun and opened fire at a robber, killing him, police said.

Police said the shooter has a valid concealed carry license and a valid firearm owner’s identification card.

Law Shield wants to keep our membership informed about such legal use-of-force events. We don’t necessarily endorse the actions taken by legally armed citizens, but you should know that such events take place quite often.

Be sure to attend a seminar to hear our program attorneys discuss the likely chain of events following such a shooting, and what your rights and responsibilities are in your state . Click here to see a list of seminars across the country.

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In Texas, Homeowner Fires On 4 Home Invasion Suspects

2015-11-25_9-58-37A homeowner fired on four would-be robbers in an alleged attempted home invasion in north Harris County, Eyewitness News reported. Law Shield directs your attention to this story to illustrate what’s advisable, and not, when you’re defending yourself, your family, and your property.

The Channel 11 report said four people posed as deliverymen and then forced their way into a home. The suspects held the residents at gunpoint while they robbed the home. Detectives say when the robbers made their getaway, the homeowner picked up his gun and opened fire.

The suspects ran out of the residence with the homeowner chasing them. He fired further on their vehicle.

Armed adversaries create a lot of room for folks to defend themselves. How far could the homeowner have gone before he started creating legal jeopardy for himself? Let us hear your thoughts below, and attend a Gun Law Seminar today to learn more about your rights and responsibilities.

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Texas Rep Introduces Bill to Hold ATF Accountable on Ammo Rulings

f54558df-ce55-49f2-abcb-f68e654d4da5Texas Law Shield supports U.S. Rep. Brian Babin’s Alternative Ammunition Manufacturing Act (H.R. 3802), which would compel BATFE to issue a ruling on new ammunition-making requests within 60 days of receiving a waiver application, or else the application will be automatically granted.

“Over the past three and a half years, the ATF has failed to respond in a reasonable and timely manner to requests from ammunition manufacturers who are seeking waivers to produce alternative rifle ammunition for the hunting market made with brass instead of lead or copper,” said Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36).

Babin said slow-footed responses to waiver requests creates considerable uncertainty for ammunition manufacturers and gun owners alike. “Manufacturers looking to comply with the law and produce alternative types of ammunition should not be given the silent treatment by the ATF,” he said. “Our legislation will hold the ATF accountable for their inaction by requiring a timely and detailed response to all waiver requests.”

What do you think?

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University of Texas Profs Want Guns Banned


Law Shield members whose college-age adult children may be attending or planning to attend the University of Texas-Austin should know that a citizen-disarmament group called “GunFreeUT” is demanding that the University restrict the civil rights of their fellow students, faculty, administrators, and family when a new campus-carry law takes effect next year.

The new state law that goes into effect in August, 2016 could allow CHL holders to carry concealed guns into classrooms, dorms, and other UT buildings.

In particular, GunFreeUT, a group largely made up of professors according to media reports, wants the University to forcibly disarm already-vetted CHL holders from protecting themselves and others and create a potential “spree-kill” zone by ensuring law-abiding citizens can’t resist interlopers with deadly force.

In particular, the anti-self-defense group wants UT-Austin President Greg Fenves to ban guns from classrooms, and if possible, extend the exposed areas to other campus buildings, such as dorms and offices.

What do you think about this group’s objective?

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Oregon County Passes Measure Directing Sheriff To Block State And Federal Gun Laws

coos-county-2a-ordinance-graphicLaw Shield admires the pushback of residents of Coos County, Oregon, who passed a ballot initiative with 61 percent of the vote in early November that requires their Sheriff to block the enforcement of state and federal gun laws that he thinks seem unconstitutional.

The 2nd Amendment Preservation Ordinance directs the Sheriff to decide whether certain state and federal gun laws violate the Second Amendment. If he thinks they do, the county is then banned from using any resources to enforce those laws.

Further, any county employee who violates the ordinance will be fined $2,000.

Ballot initiative sponsor Rob Taylor said he’s hoping for a court challenge.

“One of the reasons we enacted this measure is that we wanted to challenge [the state’s] background check law through the judicial process,” he said to The Daily Signal.

We predict Mr. Taylor will get his wish — unless this is never tested. Sheriff Craig Zanni was already steering clear of enforcing the background check law, and if 61 percent of the voters who put you in office want that, and more, to continue, there is limited recourse for gun prohibitionists to force Sheriff Zanni to act.

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Homeowner Shoots Burglary Suspect; Has No Comment

2015-11-24_14-26-54Law Shield wants to point out an important concept contained in a KHOU-TV story:

The details as reported: A Houston homeowner shot and wounded a suspected burglar in the head around 10:30 a.m. on a mid-November day.

According to KHOU-TV: “Shaken up after, the homeowner reportedly told police he fired his handgun because he thought the man was trying to break in.”

Sr. Ofc. Willis Huff, an investigator with the Houston Police Department’s Homicide Division, told the station, “He [the homeowner] heard noises in his backyard, came out, saw a ladder along the side of this fence. And next thing you know, he says the male (was) coming up the ladder trying to come over the fence, and that’s when he shot his weapon.”

Sr. Ofc. Huff says there are no charges pending against the homeowner.

Here’s what we want to point out in the KHOU-TV story:

“The owner of the Sumpter St. home had no comment as police led him to a squad car on Wednesday afternoon to head downtown for more questioning. ‘He’s still a little nervous and upset,’ said officers.”

YES! Have no comment! If you’re in this predicament, we always recommend cooperating with authorities who arrive on the scene, but politely decline to answer any potentially incriminating questions when you’re “a little nervous and upset….”

The procedure: Make sure the threat(s) are stopped and that you and your loved ones are safe. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance and police to respond. Give your name and address. Hang up.

Call an attorney. Law Shield members should call the emergency hotline to speak with a program attorney directly. When officers arrive, make sure you pose no threat whatsoever — that is, make sure you’re not holding a gun. Tell the responding officers your name, but that you’d prefer to speak with your attorney before making any statements.

Your freedom may depend on your ability to keep quite.

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