5 Things Every Gun Owner Needs to Know in 2018

The start of a new year often brings changes of which you may or may not be aware. This report will present you with 5 important things that you as a law-abiding gun owner must know to stay on the right side of the law.

Some states enacted new laws regarding where and how you can carry a handgun. Some changed the procedures to obtain and renew a carry permit or added new levels of licenses. As each state’s lawmaking process is different, some of the laws passed in 2017 went into effect throughout the year while others did not go into effect until January 1, 2018.

State and federal lawmakers were busy last year, and if all indications are correct, 2018 will see additional efforts to address our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

1. New Carry Laws and Interpretation of Existing Laws

In 2017, at least 16 different bills were introduced to allow students and faculty to carry guns on college campuses, passing in Arkansas and Georgia, making them the 10th and 11th states to specifically enact “campus carry” laws.  Bills failed in Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming. Twenty-four other states allow concealed carry weapons on campus, but give each college or university the discretion to administer their own policies.

Kansas

Kansas recently became a “Constitutional Carry” state in that it is lawful for a law-abiding citizen to carry a firearm, without a permit, in the open or unconcealed anywhere except for areas that have been exempted via statute. But that did not deter some state university officials from questioning its implementation on state college campuses and imposing policies the prohibited the carrying of a firearm on campus with a round in the chamber. In July of 2017, the State Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, issued ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINION NO. 2017- 9 that stated the governing bodies of state universities were free to enact policies that prohibit carrying a weapon on campus that has a round in the chamber. You can expect more colleges to implement similar language in the coming months.

Georgia

Beginning July 1 of last year, individuals with a valid concealed handgun license are allowed to carry a concealed handgun on any campus in the state’s public college and university system. There are still some places on campus where guns are banned, such as student housing and athletic facilities. Furthermore, if a high school student is in the class, no weapons are allowed. It is the responsibility of the gun owner to know the rules.

Georgia has also made it easy for those moving the Peach Tree State with an out-of-state concealed carry permit Georgia honors. They now have 90 days to apply and get a Georgia Permit before their former home state permit is no longer valid in Georgia.

Georgia now recognizes firearms permits issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Tennessee

A law went into effect on July 1, 2017, that enables an individual that is granted an order of protection to carry a handgun without a license while the protective order is in place for up to 60 days. Once the order expires or is dissolved, the individual may no longer carry a handgun under this particular law.

Tennessee also strengthened its Preemption Law last year which lets those whose right to possess firearms was adversely affected by a local ordinance seek relief and recover costs. The law also prohibits restricting firearms on County/City Public Buildings/Property unless certain conditions are met to keep firearms off the property, such as installing metal detectors at all entrances and having security or law enforcement officers trained to conduct searches.

Ohio

The Buckeye State made several changes to its carry laws that went into effect in 2017, including the following:

  1. Prohibiting a business entity, property owner, or public or private employer from banning a person who has been issued a valid CHL from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition when the items are locked in a person’s privately-owned motor vehicle on company property.
  2. Allowing CHL-holders to keep their handgun locked in a motor vehicle on school premises.
  3. Allowing colleges and government bodies to decide for themselves if concealed-carry should be allowed.
  4. Allowing CHL-holders to carry on private aircraft, in the non-secure area of airports and in day-care centers (unless the daycare posts a “no-guns” sign).
  5. Allowing active military members who have the same or greater training than that required to obtain a concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a concealed firearm as a license-holder to carry without a license.
  6. Allow the sale of firearms to active duty military members without regard to their age. Current law prohibits those under 21 from purchasing a handgun.

New Jersey

On October 20, 2017, New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino issued a memorandum to prosecutors and police departments throughout the Garden State halting the enforcement of laws that prohibit the possession of stun guns and Tasers. However, the matter is not as clear-cut as it appears. Other provisions of NJ law regarding stun guns remain in full force and effect including prohibitions against “certain person” from possessing stun guns and making it illegal to possess stun guns in any school, college, university or other educational institution without written authorization. Furthermore, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d) makes it unlawful to possess a stun gun under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have. What that means is unclear and may be subject to differing interpretations by prosecutors.

South Carolina

South Carolina added the Mississippi Enhanced Permit to the list of permits it now honors. This brings to 23 the number of States South Carolina Honors. South Carolina only honors Resident Permits from those 23 states.

Utah

Utah has started issuing Provisional Permits as of May 9, 2017. The Provisional Permit is for those 18 – 20 year-olds and expires on their 21st Birthday. They can then convert it to a regular permit. It takes the same criteria to apply as for the Regular Permit. Those with Provisional Permits CAN NOT carry in schools like those with a Regular Permit. If you apply for their Non-Resident Provisional or Regular and are from a state that honors the Utah Permit you have to have a permit from your home state.

North Dakota

North Dakota allows for Permitless Carry for North Dakota Residents ONLY, provided they are at least 18 years-of-age and not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm. Nonresidents and those visiting the state must have a valid concealed carry permit.

California

A whole chapter can be written about the new gun control laws that went into effect on January 1, 2018, in California. But the key laws that are now in effect restrict the purchase of ammunition, certain firearms, and limit magazine capacity.

You can no longer buy an “assault weapon” (as defined by California to be any semi-automatic, centerfire rifle or semi-automatic pistol that lacks a fixed magazine plus at least one of a number of other features) and any you already own must be registered with the state by June 30, 2018.

You can no longer purchase ammo online and have it shipped to your home. All online-sales must be shipped to a licensed vendor. You have to go through a licensed dealer to transfer or buy ammo. Beginning in July 2019 you will have to undergo a background check to purchase ammunition. Nor can you bring into California any ammunition that was purchased in another state. So, if you plan on visiting the state to hunt, for example, you will have to buy your ammunition from a licensed dealer in California.

National Parks

Carry in National Parks is allowed if you can legally carry in the state the Park is located. Administration buildings and other areas a park may choose to designate can be off limits, but by federal law, any place off limits in the Park “Must Be Posted” per 18 USC Sec. 930.  If they don’t have a sign, then there is no violation of Federal Law.

2. Traveling

There has been a lot of chatter on the web and on blogs regarding national reciprocity and what that means for you. At this time, the proposed bill that would force all states that issue its own concealed carry permit to accept the concealed carry permits issued by every other state without regard to any reciprocity agreements that may exist currently.

However, that bill passed the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., but it must still navigate the waters in the Senate, where opposition to the House bill is more organized.  The fate of national reciprocity is up in the air at this time, so if you plan on taking your gun with you on vacation when you leave your home state, be aware that you must be in compliance with the laws of the state you visit and are subject to any current reciprocity agreements that may exist. For example, not all states will recognize a permit issued legally by another state to someone under the age of 21, even if that person is a member of the military.

As you travel across the country, be aware that laws are constantly changing in the states and in local municipalities. You are charged with the responsibility of knowing each and every one of the laws of the jurisdictions you pass through.

For example, you may no longer bring ammunition with you into the state of California if the ammunition was purchased elsewhere.

To learn about a state’s laws regarding firearms, licensing, use of force and other firearm related topics, attend a seminar sponsored by U.S. and Texas LawShield and hear directly from experienced attorneys what you need to know to stay a law-abiding gun owner. To find an event and register, call 1(877)448-6839 or click here.

3. Licensing and Permits

As the new year begins, now is a good time to look at your concealed carry permit or your federal firearms license (FFL) for its expiration date. You don’t want to miss it, especially if there have been changes in the licensing procedures in your state.

Following are a few states that changed the way licenses are issued or renewed.

Tennessee

For instance, Tennessee’s law regarding obtaining a permit to carry a handgun either openly or concealed requires a license that is issued for eight years. If your license expires, you will not be allowed to carry your handgun in public. If your permit has been expired more than eight (8) years past the renewal date, you will need to start the complete process again.  This includes completing an eight-hour approved handgun safety course, paying the permit fee, being fingerprinted and undergoing a background check again.

Approved safety courses include a 50-question exam and a 50-round qualification at a shooting range to pass the course. However, starting January 1, 2018, all veterans or active military who pass the written test can skip the gun range portion. The state will now accept any form of acknowledgment that the applicant had four hours of extensive pistol training in the United States military.

It is recommended you apply for renewal six months before the expiration date to allow time for the application to be processed and a new permit issued. You can renew your permit by submitting a Renewal Application along with a check at any full-service Driver License Center or renew by mail.

Texas

The Texas Legislature was active in 2017, passing some pro-gun laws, including laws regarding obtaining a license to carry a concealed handgun (LTC). Previously, the license was referred to as a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). These laws became effective September 1, 2017.

The new law lowered standard original license to carry application fee from $140 to $40 sets the standard renewal license to carry application fee at $40. Senior Citizens and Indigent applicants can now obtain an LTC for $40 and renewal for $35. The application and renewal fees are reduced from $25 to $0 for active Texas peace officers and Texas Military Forces.

Another change to the licensing laws also applies to active duty, veterans, and Texas Military Forces who may now provide the department with any passing military firearm range scores in place of the range instruction part of the handgun proficiency course.

You want to look at your current license carefully to be certain of its expiration date. It can be confusing. Under Texas Government Code §411.183 the original license expires on the first birthday of the license holder occurring after the fourth anniversary of the date of issuance. A renewed license expires on the license holder’s birthdate, five years after the date of the expiration of the previous license.

Got that?

Texas makes it a little more convenient in that it permits you to renew your license online.

Oklahoma

A new law went into effect on November 1, 2017, that allows Active Military persons 21 years of age or older to carry in Oklahoma on their military ID with no other permit necessary. In addition, the Sooner state will start issuing permits to 18 to 20-year-old Oklahoma Residents who are Active Military, which is sooner than non-military residents that must be 21 or older to apply for a license.

Nevada

Nevada has also joined the ranks of states that are issuing permits to active military persons 18 to 20 years of age as opposed to the 21 years of age limit for the rest of the residents of the state.

Missouri

The Show Me State is among the growing number of states that are no longer requiring an individual to possess a concealed carry license to carry a gun openly or in some instances concealed. Missouri joined the ranks in 2017.

However, if you choose to travel outside the confines of the state with your firearm, you will need to review the laws of each state you intend to visit. At present, 34 states including those that immediately border Missouri have reciprocity agreements with the State that allows a person in possession of a valid license issued by Missouri to carry a concealed handgun in its state, subject to its own state laws.

In addition, there are some local jurisdictions in the State, such as St. Louis, that require an individual be in possession of a valid concealed carry permit before being allowed to legally carry a weapon openly within its jurisdiction.

For those individuals in possession of a concealed carry permit, it is valid from the date of issuance or renewal until five years from the last day of the month in which the permit was issued or renewed. For example, if your permit was issued on January 7, 2013, it will expire on January 31, 2018. If you fail to renew before it expires, you will have to undergo another background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check administered by the FBI.

Arkansas

Beginning on January 1, 2018, the state is supposed to be able to issue an enhanced carry license to individuals that undergo additional classroom and range training as set out by the Arkansas State Police. This enhancement is in addition to a standard concealed carry permit.

However, before any such enhanced carry license can be issued, the instructors in Arkansas must complete training on the new requirements to be taught to students. The instructors have a few months to complete the training, so individuals eager to obtain the enhanced carry license that will enable them to carry their weapon in more places than a regular license allows, will have to wait a little longer.

Federal Firearms License (FFL)

An FFL must be renewed every three years. The ATF will automatically mail a renewal application 90 days prior to the expiration date of the current license to the address of record.  If you intend to continue in the business of firearms as regulated by the ATF, complete the renewal application and submit it to the AFT. If, however, you have not received your renewal application 30 days prior to the expiration of the current license, you must contact the Federal Firearms Licensing Center (FFLC). You can call the FFLC at (866) 662-2750 toll-free.

Impact on You

Each state has established its own procedures for renewing a concealed handgun carry permit. It is up to the individual to know the law of their state because “I didn’t know” is not a valid defense before a judge.

To learn about your state’s laws regarding firearms, licensing, use of force and other firearm related topics, attend a seminar sponsored by U.S. and Texas LawShield and hear directly from experienced attorneys in your state what you need to know to stay a law-abiding gun owner. To find an event and register, call 1(877)448-6839 or click here.

 

4. Self-Defense Laws and the Second Amendment Under Fire

When it comes down to it, are you up-to-date on your state’s laws when it comes to when you are permitted to use deadly force or what are your rights to stand your ground or do you have a duty to retreat?

Second Amendment Court Decisions

The laws of the various states differ and are subject to change by federal and state lawmakers each legislative session. In addition, the courts impact the law by issuing rulings that interpret the law as they see it. Oftentimes these court decisions conflict with decisions from other courts, leading to a mixed bag of enforcement, and ultimately the matter may have to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, even though the Court has not taken up a Second Amendment case since 2010.

For 2017, here are some of the important laws and court decisions affecting your right to defend yourself and your loved ones.

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upheld Maryland’s Firearms Safety Act (FSA) which bans the sale of semi-automatic rifles and caps magazines at 10 rounds. The Court states the Second Amendment does not protect a right for citizens to own “weapons of war.” The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of this case, allowing the lower court’s decision to stand.

In Florida last year, the state Supreme Court upheld a conviction of a man for violating the state’s ban on open carry when his shirt did not completely cover his handgun, for which he had a concealed carry license. That ruling was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017. The Court, however, refused to hear the case, allowing the state’s ban on open carry to stand. The lower court had ruled that the ban did not infringe on the Second Amendment because it only regulates one manner of bearing arms while still permitting those who want to carry outside of their property the opportunity to obtain a concealed carry permit.

In keeping with the trend to ignore the protections afforded by the Second Amendment, last year the U.S. Supreme Court also refused to take up the appeal of a California case that challenged the state’s “shall issue” status with regards to concealed carry permits.

But there was also some good news last year.

The District of Columbia dropped its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of an appellate court decision that ruled the district’s requirement that applicants have to provide a “good reason” to legally obtain a carry permit to be an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment.

That decision puts the issue of “shall issue” versus “may issue” clearly at odds with the California court’s ruling and may ultimately force the Supreme Court to finally take up a case to settle once and for all whether the right to obtain a license to carry a handgun is a fundamental right protected by the Second Amendment. We just have to wait and see.

Does Open Carry Mean You Give Up Your Right to Unauthorized Searches?

Last year, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina) ruled that being armed, even legally, is the same as being “armed and dangerous” that, potentially, means a legally armed gun owner automatically waives the Constitutional prohibition against unauthorized search and seizure by law enforcement simply by being armed in public. That issue may ultimately be addressed by the Supreme Court.

Florida

In Florida, the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law came under fire.

Last year, a Miami Circuit Court ruled that Florida lawmakers exceeded their authority in the 2017 legislative session in updating the state’s Stand Your Ground” law. The legislators passed a law that required prosecutors prove by “clear and convincing “evidence that someone was not acting in self-defense, which shifted the burden of proof to the prosecutor. Previously, the defendant had the burden of proof to establish his actions were in self-defense.

However, the ruling is not binding on other courts in Florida that are free to follow the law until an appeals court or the Florida Supreme Court decides the issue.

Kansas

Last year in Kansas, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a man convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery can legally carry a gun under federal law because a federal law that prohibits someone from owning a gun if they have been convicted of domestic violence “under federal, state or tribal law” does not apply if the conviction is under a municipal ordinance. However, he may still be in violation of state and local law by carrying a firearm.

Missouri

Also last year, Missouri joined the ranks of states with “Stand Your Ground” laws that give law-abiding citizens the right to defend themselves with deadly force with no duty to first retreat, so long as they are in a place they are authorized to be, and the individual’s belief that deadly force was necessary to prevent deadly force from being used against them was reasonable.

5. Be Prepared

“Be Prepared” is more than just the Boy Scout motto. It is also something that everyone who owns a firearm or carries one for protection must accept the fact that they, too, must always be prepared.

When you are walking to your car alone one night and are approached by an armed assailant, you want to be able to quickly, efficiently, and effectively draw your own weapon and use it to defend your life. That situation is not the time to learn that you do not know how to properly draw your weapon or that the manner of carrying it is too restrictive and prevents immediate access.

Your life depends on being prepared.

There are a lot of gun owners that bought a gun for protection and maybe went to the firing range once or twice and then put the gun away or have never gone back to the range to stay sharp or proficient. That complacency can have serious consequences.

If you are serious about wanting to protect yourself or your loved ones, you need to get to the range and practice, practice, practice. Consider taking private instructions from an experienced firearms trainer. That may prove to be money well spent.

If you carry your firearm daily or even less frequent, you need to practice drawing your gun from its holster or your purse or wherever you carry it so that when the time comes for you to use that skill, you can do so confidently. At first, you may want to practice drawing your weapon unloaded until you get more proficient. Then you may introduce ammunition to the training exercise and practice drawing and firing at a target.

But being prepared goes beyond the physical. You must also be prepared mentally. You need to know and understand when you are legally permitted to use deadly force as opposed to non-deadly force. You must also be prepared to handle the aftermath. Have a plan as to what to do after you have been involved in a use of force encounter.

The best plan you can have is to be a member of U.S. and TexasLawShield’s Legal Defense for Self-Defense program in which you have 24/7/365 immediate access to an attorney answered emergency hotline to provide you with the legal advice when you need it most. As a member of the program, you will learn what to do after an incident, how to handle the 9-1-1 call, and how to deal with the police. A mistake in any of those steps can turn you from being called “victim” to being called “defendant.”

To find out more about the program, its benefits, and register, you can call 1(877)448-6839 or click here.

Remember, when it comes right down to it, your life and your freedom may be in your own hands. You will want to be prepared.

Impact on You

To learn about your state’s laws regarding firearms, licensing, use of force and other firearm related topics, attend a seminar sponsored by U.S. and Texas LawShield and hear directly from experienced attorneys in your state what you need to know to stay a law-abiding gun owner. To find an event and register, call 1(877)448-6839 or click here.

 

Georgia Gun Law Under Fire

A May 2012 Georgia gun law is now drawing fire from the anti-gun establishment. At issue is an obscure provision in the Official Code of Georgia relating to forfeiture of weapons used in armed robbery or burglaries. If the gun can be traced back to an innocent owner, the law provides it may be returned to that owner. But only if the owner pays for a new background check, shipping costs, and transfer fees. If the innocent owner does not claim the weapon within six months or if the owner cannot be found, the local government has the authority to sell the firearm to a licensed firearms dealer. This is the part of the law that is drawing fire.

To Sell or Not to Sell – That is the Question

Opponents of the law say it makes no sense to put another weapon back on street. State Senator Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) has come out publicly against the law, stating in an interview with WXIA in Atlanta,”I think guns off the street is a good thing. Let’s leave them off the street.”

She is not alone in her opinion.

Three other State Senators, Lester Jackson (D-Savannah), Ed Harbison (D-Columbus), and Gail Davenport (D-Jonesboro) have co-sponsored SB-84 for the upcoming legislative session to amend the current law to give law enforcement agencies the option to destroy confiscated weapons rather than sell them.

Sen. Parent went on to add, “I think it’s insane. The law that requires police departments to sell weapons confiscated as part of crimes back into the public, I think, makes no sense whatsoever.”

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner refuses to auction off any of the more than 2,000 firearms it seizes on average every year, despite the current law’s obligation. Chief Turner told a CBS46 reporter that it would be catastrophic to put those firearms back on the streets of Atlanta.

The Chief is taking advantage of the fact that the law includes no penalties for non-compliance.

It’s Not the Gun’s Fault

Others disagree with Sen. Parent and the proposed bill. They argue the current law requires the firearms to be auctioned off only to licensed dealers or returned to the innocent owner, but only after another background check is completed before the transfer.

Another fact other mention is selling the weapons is a good way to supplement treasuries with the proceeds from the sales. The profits help reduce the burden on taxpayers. Atlanta, for example, can generate a lot of money if it were to sell the thousands of firearms it currently has stored in its property room.

Should local agencies allow perfectly good firearms to be destroyed rather than sell them to licensed dealers, who in turn, would sell them to law-abiding citizens after background checks are completed?

What are your thoughts? We’d like to hear from you.

Knowledge is Power

To stay up-to-date on this law or any other law in your state regarding firearms and self-defense, attend a U.S. LawShield sponsored seminar and hear directly from Independent Program Attorneys from your state. To find an event and register, call (877)448-6839 or click here.

Hawaii Starts Process to Confiscate Guns—Could Your State be Next?

medical-marijuana-card

Last August, the first medical marijuana dispensary opened in the Aloha State in Honolulu. The authorities took notice. Now the police are seeking a voluntary surrender of firearms from cannabis patients due to their medicinal status. This effort to confiscate guns is based upon federal law that prevents marijuana users, even those for medicinal purposes, from legally possessing firearms.

Under federal law, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, the same as heroin, and is, therefore, one of the disqualifying factors from possessing guns and ammunition. Hawaii’s state law prohibits possession of firearms and ammunition by anyone disqualified under federal law.

The police department in Honolulu began sending notices to medical marijuana patients on November 13, 2017, to surrender their guns and ammunition within 30 days of receipt of the notice. The letter indicates that the individual is disqualified from owning firearms and ammunition, but that disability can be removed if the individual can obtain a medical doctor’s clearance letter that the patient is no longer receiving medical marijuana.

According to the Attorney General of Hawaii, medical marijuana patients can apply for a gun permit one year after the expiration of their medical marijuana license.

Gun Owners in Over Half the States Could Be at Risk

At present, twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medicinal or recreational use. But when it comes to federal regulations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have stated there are no exceptions with regard to gun ownership for those who partake in the use of a Schedule I drug, despite state law.

When a few states started approving marijuana for medicinal purposes a few years ago, the ATF responded by sending a letter to all individuals holding a Federal Firearms License (FFL).

In the letter, the agency stated:

“Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition.”

The ATF recently amended its Form 4473, the form that all gun purchasers from a licensed gun dealer must complete and that the FFL must submit for all firearm transfers for a background check, to include the following:

“11.e. Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.

Lying on the form is a felony that carries up to a five-year prison sentence.

Federal Prohibition Challenged in Court

In 2011, a Nevada woman, S. Rowan Wilson, was denied the purchase of a handgun because she was a medical marijuana cardholder and the gun store owner refused to sell her a firearm. Wilson unsuccessfully argued that she was not a user but merely had the card as a political statement in support of liberalizing marijuana laws. The store owner was unmoved.

Wilson then filed suit, challenging the constitutionality of the prohibition as a violation of her Second Amendment rights. Her case was dismissed in the district court and appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal, ruling the federal law to be constitutional, stating in its written opinion:

“[i]t is beyond dispute that illegal drug users, including marijuana users, are likely as a consequence of that use to experience altered or impaired mental states that affect their judgment and that can lead to irrational or unpredictable behavior.”

The Court cited United States v. Carter, a case out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Virginia that referenced studies that suggested a link between marijuana use and violence. The 9th Circuit concluded that irrational behavior can be a consequence of marijuana use.

What About Privacy Rights?

Since this letter was sent, many have questioned whether it was legal for the police to have access to and search medical records database of medical marijuana patients maintained by the Hawaii State Department of Health (HSDH).

According to HSDH, a patient’s registration with Hawaii’s medical cannabis program is subject to state and federal confidentiality laws. It is legal for the police to confirm the medical cannabis status (the MMJ) of an individual in possession of marijuana by accessing HSDH’s 24-hour automated telephone confirmation system. State law allows law enforcement agencies “reasonable access” to the Hawaii Department of Health’s (DOH) medical cannabis registry to verify a person’s MMJ status and “for official law enforcement purposes.”

How can law enforcement randomly check the database in search of potential violations?

An argument put forth by the State is that it is legal for the police to check the MMJ status of a resident applying for a firearm permit as part of a standard background check, especially if the applicant indicated he or she is an MMJ patient on the permit application form. That can be seen, according to the State, as written consent to release that individual’s MMJ status.

The police have been denying firearm permits to MMJ patients for years under this approach. In fact, a few weeks ago, the firearm’s permit application was revised to specifically inquire about medical marijuana licenses.

Most people that have received medical care in the last twenty years are familiar with federal HIPPA law (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) which safeguards personal medical information privacy.

There is, however, an exception for law enforcement, upon proof of a threat to safety, evidence of a crime, a court order, or some other extenuating circumstance. It is unclear at this point if medical cannabis status is considered protected health information.

What Does that Mean for Me?

At present, the decision rendered by the 9th Circuit only applies to the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

However, courts in other circuits may look to this written opinion in deliberating any such case that may arise in their jurisdiction, though it is non-binding outside the 9th Circuit.

As it pertains to Texas, Independent Program Attorney Richard Hayes said, “While the opinion about marijuana has shifted in many places, it’s legal status in the state of Texas has not. Texans be warned if the Lone Star State legalized marijuana, gun owners and license to carry holders (LTC) could be at risk and here’s why. One eligibility requirement for a LTC is that the person is not “chemically dependent.” Additionally, a LTC can be revoked if a person becomes “chemically dependent.” Compounded with penal code violations such as unlawfully carrying a weapon while intoxicated; this topic can become even more convoluted. That is why these are critical considerations for gun owners and LTC holders alike and should not be taken lightly.”

This appears to be the first time in the country that a law enforcement agency has proactively sought out a list of state-registered marijuana patients in order to force them to surrender their weapons and ammunition.

Some states that have approved medicinal use of marijuana may have a searchable database of registered cannabis patients as does Hawaii. Other states, like Arizona, do not require a cannabis patient to register with the state.

Following the release of the notice to MMJ patients, the Honolulu Police Department is reviewing its policy.

What Should I Do?

It is essential that you know the laws in your state regarding medical or recreational use of marijuana and your rights concerning firearms possession. To learn about your state’s particular law, attend a U.S. LawShield seminar conducted by Independent Program Attorneys in your state and get the straight answer to this and many other laws regarding firearms and self-defense.

To find an event and register, call (877)448-6839 or go to www.gunlawseminar.com.

* * * UPDATE * * *

As of Tuesday, December 5, 2017 (after this article was written), the plan has been suspended.  In a news release, the Chief of Police for the Honolulu PD, Susan Ballard, announced that the department wants to review court cases and confer with other government agencies to formulate a policy that will be legally sound. Chief Ballard indicated that this review process could take some time.

We will continue to follow and report on developments in this matter.

Is an Air Rifle on Your Christmas List?

“Texan” Air Rifle by Airforce Airguns

 

As the holiday season approaches, many of us recall “A Christmas Story,” the fan-favorite classic movie set in the 1940s about a young boy named Ralphie who tried to convince his parents and Santa that a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle would make the perfect Christmas gift. Of course, the adults kept warning Ralphie “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” Well, air rifles have come a long way since the Red Ryder BB gun Ralphie so desperately wanted.

Most of us remember the Daisy BB gun we used to target practice or to plink cans as a youngster. However, several companies have taken the concept of air-powered firearms to a whole new level, developing powerful big bore rifles suitable for hunting big game. Crossman Arms and Airforce Airguns are some of the companies that have developed air rifles capable of bringing down large game animals.

Can You Hunt with an Air Rifle in Texas?

In Texas, an air gun is considered a non-powder gun. Under federal law, air guns are not considered firearms due to the fact that their projectiles are expelled by the force of air, a non-explosive force, rather than by the energy created by the explosive force of gunpowder.

Only recently did Texas Parks and Wildlife Division (TPWD) permit the use of air guns to hunt squirrels, subject to certain restrictions. The air rifle must be designed to be shot from the shoulder, expelling a projectile, bullet, or pellet of at least .177 caliber (4.5 mm) with a minimum velocity of 600 feet per second.

It is illegal to hunt game birds or game animals with an air gun in the Lone Star State. If, however, the animal is a non-game animal (non-protected), such as a bobcat, coyote, rabbit, or armadillo to name but a few, it can be hunted with an air gun. Hunting exotics and other nongame animals, such as feral hogs, is also permissible using air guns.

However, the restriction on hunting big game animals in Texas may change next year.

Meet the “Texan”

A few years ago when TPWD approved air rifles for hunting squirrels, the possibility of allowing their use for larger game was raised. About the same time as TPWD’s decision, a company introduced a .45 caliber big bore rifle. Airforce Airguns brought out its “Texan” air rifle charged with 3,000 psi of air pressure, capable of firing a 350-grain lead bullet at 500 foot-pounds of energy.

The Texan uses an external air supply to pressurize the rifle. This technology is referred to as a PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) system that releases pressurized air into the barrel to propel the bullet at a velocity up to 1,100 feet per second with 500 foot-pounds of energy, depending on pellet weight. It can be chambered in .45, .308, and .357 calibers.

The Texan proved effective in hunting feral hogs and exotic animals cleanly. In fact, the Texan was used for a demonstration of the lethal power of modern air rifles in bringing down big game for the benefit of TPWD. During the test hunt, spike bucks were harvested cleanly up to 120 yards.

Other manufacturers, began developing their own big bore air rifles. Crossman Arms developed the Bulldog .357 PCP hunting rifle ($850) capable of bringing down wild hogs, whitetail deer and “African plains game,” according to its website.

PCP air guns may cost more than a regular firearm, but the ammunition, typically cast lead, is reasonable and becoming more readily available.

Coming to a Hunt Near You?

Alan Cain, whitetail deer program leader for TPWD with a spike buck he harvested on a research hunt with an Airforce Airguns big bore air rifle. (photo courtesy Eric Henderson with Adventures Afield)

Crossman Arms petitioned TPWD to review existing regulations that limited the use of air guns for hunting with the goal of expanding the permissible game that may be legally hunted using big bore air rifles.

Today’s more powerful, big bore air rifles may find their way into the realm of acceptable firearms for hunting deer. In January of 2018, TWPD will conduct public meetings to review current restrictions on air rifles with the possibility of allowing hunting deer with big bore air rifle in the 2018 deer hunting season.

If that comes to pass, you can be assured that TPWD will impose restrictions on minimum caliber projectiles and muzzle velocity greater than is currently required for hunting squirrels with air rifles.

HunterShield Protection

One of the optional legal protection coverages available with a U.S. and Texas LawShield® legal defense program membership is HunterShield, which provides legal defense for hunters and anglers for criminal and civil violations of hunting laws. This is in addition to the “Legal Defense for Self-Defense” coverage included in the core U.S. and Texas LawShield membership.

Members with HunterShield coverage are provided access 24/7/365 to an attorney-answered emergency hotline experienced in hunting and fishing laws.

For more information or to sign up, call (877)448-6839 or click here.

Are Proposed Gun Confiscation Laws a Threat to Your Second Amendment Rights?

Last year, voters in Washington State approved a gun confiscation ballot initiative (Initiative 1491) that would allow a court to issue an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) based upon the word of a family member or others that an individual posed a risk to themselves or others. This temporary protective order would permit law enforcement to confiscate all firearms in possession of the person that is the subject of the ERPO, despite the Second Amendment.

Law enforcement agencies in the State had until June 2017 to develop policies and procedures to implement the confiscation process. To read the Seattle Police Department’s ERPO procedures, for example, click here.

The law permits the court to issue the order on a temporary basis without notifying the person that they are the subject of an ERPO petition. The first they may learn of it is when the police show up at the door with the order to confiscate all firearms. This is referred to as an ex parte order, meaning the person that is the subject of the order is not given notice nor a chance to present a defense.

However, the person is entitled to a hearing in two weeks to determine if the ERPO should be allowed to continue or not.  If so, the prohibition lasts for one year and can be renewed year after year upon evidence that the individual still remains a threat.

Government’s Gun Confiscation Scheme

Washington is not the only state with similar laws.

California became the first state to enact ERPO in 2014 to empower family members as well as law enforcement to request a judge to issue an order confiscating firearms from a person they deem to be a risk. Connecticut and Indiana already had similar laws that permit law enforcement to seek a court order to seize firearms in those circumstances.

But at what constitutes a “risk” that would enable the issuance of an order to confiscate an individuals’ firearms? That is a purely subjective standard and one ripe for abuse.

Under California law, it has to be shown by “clear and convincing evidence” that the individual poses a significant danger of personal injury to himself or others. In Washington, however, the standard is less strict. A petitioner simply has to show “by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to self or others.”

Preponderance of the evidence amounts to any probability greater than 50 percent. It is a significantly lighter burden of proof than clear and convincing evidence, which means a claim is “highly and substantially more probable to be true than not.”

In Washington, the claim is that the respondent “poses a significant danger,” a phrase not defined in the law. Whatever probability of harm amounts to “a significant danger,” the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard effectively cuts it in half.

Under this less burdensome standard, if a 10 percent risk is significant, a person can lose his Second Amendment rights even if there is a 95 percent probability that he will never use a gun to harm himself or anyone else. But how is one to go about proving that they are not a threat?

Earlier this year, prosecutors, state legislators, law enforcement, and gun-control advocates convened in New York to push ERPO laws across the country. At last count, 20 states were introducing proposals to create ERPOs laws within their state, including Alabama, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, among others.

In making its decision to grant the order or not, the court often considers the statements of family or household members, medical and mental health providers, and law enforcement regarding the individuals history of threats, attempted suicide, domestic violence, stalking, DUI, illegal drug use, animal cruelty, displaying warning signs of gun violence, brandishing, or reckless use of a firearm. And in some cases, an order may be issued without any evidence of any criminal behavior on the part of the person against whom the ERPO is issued.

An individual can lose his right to keep and bear arms indefinitely based on testimony that presents little more than the sincere but unjustified fears of people close to him.  Worse, the individual is subject to the false testimony of a vengeful ex-wife, former girlfriend, brother-in-law, or distant aunt, which may result in the issuance of an order and confiscation of all guns.

While few people would argue that keeping guns out of the hands of a person with mental problems or a history of domestic violence (federal law already prevents those convicted of a crime of domestic violence from possessing firearms), is not necessarily a bad thing. What is disturbing is that guns can be confiscated from an individual merely upon the word of someone, even someone with minimal contact with the individual, as to that individual’s state of mind without the opportunity for the accused to put forth a defense to the claims.

And this can all be done behind the accused’s back, without their knowledge. The judges are allowed to make subjective decisions on the fundamental rights of gun owners without first having heard from the accused. How can the government do that?

Constitutional Due Process Rights

“Due Process” is a judicial requirement to protect the rights of everyone, providing that laws that are passed cannot contain any provision that will result in the arbitrary, unfair, or unreasonable treatment of an individual.

Both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution contain a due process clause that acts as a safeguard from the arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the government.

The Fifth Amendment provides:

“No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . .”

Likewise, the Fourteenth Amendment contains the following:

“[N]or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . .”

The United States Supreme Court has interpreted these two clauses identically, as was noted by Justice Felix Frankfurter in his concurring opinion in Malinski v. New York, 324 U.S. 401, 415 (1945). Justice Frankfurter went so far as to state:

“due process of law” — which was one of the great instruments in the very arsenal of constitutional freedom which the Bill of Rights was to protect and strengthen.”  324 U.S. at 415.

The Supreme Court has distinguished between “procedural due process” and “substantive due process.” A substantive due process challenge seeks a particular outcome instead of merely contesting procedures, whereby the Supreme Court recognizes laws that limit a constitutionally based liberty to be unenforceable.

Procedural due process, on the other hand, requires the government follow fair procedures before it can deprive an individual of life, liberty, or property. At a minimum, due process requires the government afford a person notice and an opportunity to be heard before being deprived of a fundamental right.

Under the proposed laws being considered by the various states, guns can be confiscated without the person ever being aware of a court proceeding. The first time they may be aware of losing the right to possess a firearm may be when the police show up at their home with a court order to search and seize all firearms.

But doesn’t that violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms that the Supreme Court has ruled to be constitutional? Is the government overstepping its bounds?

Due Process and the Second Amendment

We all recognize that the Second Amendment does not create an absolute right to possess firearms that cannot be restricted under any circumstances. Convicted felons and those individuals who have been adjudicated as being mentally incompetent are prohibited from possessing firearms. But in all of these cases, the individual rights were taken away only after due process of law occurred—a criminal trial or a mental-competency proceeding.

In California, the petitioner has to show by “clear and convincing evidence” that the respondent poses a significant danger to himself or others. That particular standard of proof requires a showing that the claim is substantially more likely to be true. In Washington, the petitioner has a much lesser burden to overcome in order show that an individual poses a significant danger to themselves or other and that is “by a preponderance of the evidence.” Preponderance-of-the-evidence-standard amounts to any probability greater than 50 percent.

But in the case of an ERPO, there is no opportunity for the accused to be heard prior to an initial issuance of the order and confiscation of all firearms.  Doesn’t “due process of law” apply to the Second Amendment?

Procedural due process is meant to protect an individual from being deprived of life, liberty, or property unjustly or as the result of a mistake by allowing the person to contest the basis upon which the government seeks to deprive them of a protected interest. The individual must be afforded notice and a hearing before an impartial court to confront and cross-exam his accusers.

However, the Supreme Court has said that due process requirements depend upon the circumstances. The Supreme Court noted in Walters v. National Association of Radiation Survivors, 473 U.S. 305, 320 (1985) that due process:

“is a flexible concept—[and] the process required by the clause with respect to termination of a protected interest will vary depending upon the importance attached to the interest and the particular circumstances under which the deprivation may occur.”

In the context of domestic violence, the Supreme Court reasoned that the government’s interest in protecting the victim from harm outweighs the respondent’s property interests and therefore no notice is required prior to an order being issued.

Carrying it one step further, the Supreme Court has stated that “[T]he Second Amendment has not been incorporated through the Fourteenth Amendment, and as such is not applicable to the states.” See, e.g., Miller v. Texas, 153 U.S. 535, 538 (1894).

In effect, the Supreme Court has determined that the due process protections spelled out in the Second does not apply in actions taken by a state and not the federal government.

What About the Laws in My State?

Each state has its own law regarding restraining or protective orders and their impact on the right to possess firearms. We at U.S. and Texas LawShield® have reported on this issue previously for various states. You can read reports or watch videos from our Independent Program Attorneys by selecting a state:  Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor recently discussed ERPO laws with Sam Malone. You can listen to that report by clicking here.

To learn more about your state laws regarding firearm possession or justifiable use of force, attend one of the workshops and seminars that U.S. and Texas LawShield sponsors across the country. Hear directly from one of our network of Independent Program Attorneys in your state as they explain the laws and answer your questions.

To find and register for an event, call (877)448-6839 or go to www.gunlawseminar.com.

 

 

DREAM JOB FOR GUN OWNERS

Dear Members,

Attention Gun Owners! Do you want to make money helping protect gun owners and the 2nd Amendment? U.S. Law Shield is growing fast and looking for part-time program ambassadors to help spread the word about the nation’s leading firearms legal defense program.

Now Accepting Resumes in the following states:

  • Georgia state-wide positions available
  • New Jersey state-wide positions available
  • Florida state-wide positions available

Interested in joining our company or know someone whom you would recommend, please send resumes to me at davidd@uslawshield.com.

David Donchecz
Vice President

SHOCKING DEVELOPMENT IN NEW JERSEY!

After a 32-year ban on the possession of stun guns, residents of the Garden State will be permitted to legally buy and possess these self-defense items.

The turnaround came about as a result of a March 21, 2016, U.S. Supreme Court decision in Caetano v. Massachusetts, 136 S.Ct. 1027 (2016) that invalidated a state law prohibiting stun guns as being an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment.

In August of last year, following the Supreme Court decision, the N.J. Second Amendment Society filed suit against the State challenging the ban on stun guns. (New Jersey Second Amendment Society v. Porrino, No. 16-4906 (U.S.D.Ct.).

Recognizing that New Jersey’s law was like the one in Massachusetts the Court determined unconstitutional, the State Attorney General entered into a consent decree in April of this year acknowledging the state law was unconstitutional. The State further conceded that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

The federal judge in the case approved the consent decree on April 25, 2017, giving the State 180 days to draft regulations concerning the sale and possession of stun guns consistent with the Second Amendment and public safety.

On October 20, 2017, State Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino issued a memorandum to law enforcement officials that as of October 22, existing state law prohibiting stun guns would no longer be enforced. However, certain regulations would still be enforceable, such as prohibiting sale to or possession by minors under the age of 18, felons, and the mentally ill. Nor would it be legal to use an electronic weapon in a crime or carry on a school campus without written authorization. (Click here to read these proposed regulations).

The public comment period concerning the new regulations ends October 29, 2017.

The citizens of New Jersey will now have an additional option with which to defend themselves.

As a member of U.S. LawShield, the use of any lawful weapon in self-defense, including stun guns, would be covered under the legal defense program.

ARE CONCEALED CARRY LICENSEES REALLY TERRORISTS? 17 STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL THINK SO

Currently in Congress is legislation that has the Democrat Attorneys General from 16 states and the District of Columbia crying wolf. What has these top prosecutors all upset is HR 38/SB 446, legislation that would force states to recognize concealed carry weapon permits issued by other states.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 would allow people with concealed carry permits in one state to carry their weapon concealed in all other states. The bill already has over 200 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

The 17 Attorneys General that are all in a tizzy are from New York, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Virginia, Rhode Island, District of Columbia, Delaware, Iowa, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Washington.

“THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!”

On October 22, 2017, this gang of 17 sent a letter to Congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., warning of dire consequences should national reciprocity become the law of the land. To believe them, one would conclude the world is coming to an end.

In their letter, the AGs warned:

The result of the proposed legislation would be a proliferation of potentially dangerous or irresponsible non-residents with concealed weapons in the States, cities, and towns across America that have made local judgments that certain regulations on the carrying of such weapons are necessary to protect public safety.”

It would appear that these 17 individuals are of the opinion that the lawmakers from 34 other states, including those states’ Attorneys General, are incompetent and allow dangerous or irresponsible persons to wander their states with concealed carry permits, with little regard for public safety. They completely ignore the fact that licensees have undergone background checks and FBI statistics that indicate license holders are involved in less than 1 percent of crimes in the United States.

In fact, their letter asserts that allowing national reciprocity would inevitably

lead to the death of police officers and civilians, the proliferation of gun traffickers, and acts of terrorism and other mass violence.”

“MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING”

Their reasoning is counter to the facts. A 2016 report issued by the Crime Prevention Research Center indicates that while the number of licenses has increased 215 percent since 2007, the murder rates fell 16% between 2007 and 2015.

In fact, the report concluded that permit holders are extremely law-abiding, even when compared to police officers.  The report states that permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at less than a sixth the rate for police officers and about 1/170th the rate for the general population.

In William Shakespeare’s heralded play Much Ado About Nothing, he implies that a great fuss is made of something which is insignificant.

What do you think of the fear-mongering claims made by these 17 Attorneys General? Are they simply being Chicken Little by inferring catastrophic conclusions? Is it much ado about nothing?

ATF PUNTS BANNING BUMP STOCKS BACK TO CONGRESS

Just days after the tragedy in Las Vegas, the call went out from the media, members of Congress and even the NRA, to ban the bump stock, an accessory that uses the energy of a rifle’s recoil to activate the trigger mechanism at a high rate of speed, similar to that of an automatic weapon.

Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) suggested the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) look at regulating bump stocks as a “quick fix.” Several Republican Senators signed a letter to the ATF requesting that agency to review its position on the device, hoping the agency would regulate the devices and prevent the lawmakers from having to vote for a gun control measure.

At the same time, several members of Congress introduced or co-sponsored various pieces of legislation to ban bump stocks.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.) reintroduced the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act to ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of bump stocks and similar devices. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced the House version of Feinstein’s bill.

On at least two previous occasions under the Obama Administration, the ATF reviewed bump stocks to determine whether they fell within the purview of the AF’s regulatory authority.  The ATF adopted the position they don’t.

The ATF had written letters in 2010 and 2013 explaining how the Gun Control Act (1968) and National Firearms Act (1934) do not provide a way for the bureau to regulate bump stocks. The ATF has the authority to regulate automatic weapons, defined as firearms that are designed to discharge more than one round with a single pull of the trigger. Bump stocks do not fall within that definition as they still only allow for a single round to be discharged with each separate pull of the trigger, albeit at a high rate of speed.

In its April 2013 letter to Rep. Ed Perlmutter, ATF Assistant Director for Public and Governmental Affairs Richard Marianas wrote:

“We remain committed to the security of our Nation and the fight against violent crime. However, bump-fire stocks that do not fall within any of the classifications for firearm contained in Federal law may only be classified as firearms components. Stocks of this type are not subject to the provisions of Federal firearms statutes. Therefore, ATF does not have the authority to restrict their lawful possession, use, or transfer.”

At a briefing before Congressional leaders last week, the ATF again reiterated it does not have the authority to reclassify and regulate the devices. That, the ATF argued, falls upon the lawmakers to craft legislation to accomplish a ban or to enable the ATF to regulate bump stocks in much the same manner as it regulates automatic firearms.

It is a legislative issue, not an administrative one, best left to members of Congress to address according to the position taken by the ATF.

As it now stands, the furor over bump stocks seems to have waned and the urgency to do something to ban the devices no longer appears pressing to lawmakers.

4 MISTAKES HUNTERS SHOULD AVOID

Hunting season is upon us and it is never too late to prepare.  Many hunters are guilty of putting their rifle away after the season and not even touching it again until right before the next season begins.  The experienced shooter understands the importance of sighting-in their rifle before heading out on a hunt.

However, there are a few common sight-in mistakes shooters make which ultimately may result in a frustrating hunting experience.  These are:

1. Thinking all ammo is the same. It isn’t. All rifles display different levels of accuracy when you change brands, bullets, propellants or anything else.

One brand of ammo will generally shoot differently than another in your particular firearm.  The same is true for two different bullets of the same weight – they will not always shoot the same.  It is best to find a brand and type of ammo that you find works best in your rifle and stick with that.  Out in the field is not the time to experiment with new ammo. And it’s also not a bad idea to clean your barrel after every 5 or 6 rounds.

2. Rifle bounce. Sighting-in is generally done using a sandbag or gun rest for support.  Make certain the rest is firm but not hard.  If the rifle fore-end is sitting on a hard surface, the rifle will bounce and the shot will be high. DO NOT rest the rifle barrel itself on anything as the bounce will cause your bullets to rise and you will get a false zero. While you can use a sandbag or something as support to get you on-target, you will not have a sandbag with you in the field and your rifle will react differently when it is shot unsupported by the sandbag.  So, for the last few shots as you zero in, David E. Petzel of Field and Stream magazine recommends you rest your rifle in your hand and shoot. Although you may not get a tight grouping this way, you will get a true zero.  If you use a sling or bi-pod to shoot with, this is the time to use it.

3. Overheating the barrel. This is never a good idea. Bad things happen when your barrel overheats, one of which is the heat rising off the barrel and causing a mirage (refraction – bending of the light).  Looking through a shimmering wall of heat waves will cause you to see your target higher than it really is.

Shoot no more than three rounds at a time and let the barrel cool enough that you can hold it for a ten-count.  A quick tip is to stand the rifle on its butt with the muzzle pointed up.  This creates a smokestack effect and helps heat escape the barrel.

4. Running out of scope adjustments. A common first step in setting up your rifle is to use bore-sighting where you set the scoped rifle up on a steady rest and place a target at 100 yards. Remove the bolt, look through the chamber and move around the bore until you can see the bullseye centered in the bore. Without moving the rifle, look through the scope and note where the reticle is positioned relative to the target. If the scope reticle is not closely aligned to target center, you need to make adjustments. DO NOT use the scope windage and elevation adjustments for these pre-sighting adjustments or you will run out of adjustment for final zeroing.  Make all major bore sighting adjustments using the base mount adjustment screws. Use the scope’s internal windage and elevation screws only to make final adjustments. This will prevent running out of internal adjustments.

Here are a few more quick tips to help improve your shooting accuracy:

1. Make sure your scope is mounted properly.

2. Use consistent shoulder pressure that you use in practice.

3. Learning to press a trigger—moving it straight to the rear without disturbing the sight picture.

A lot of gun ranges offer sight-in days.  Be sure to contact the range nearest you for details.

HunterShield Protection

Are you up-to-date on the latest hunting and fishing laws? With the HunterShield add-on, gain access to educational materials on the latest fish and game laws as well as extended coverage hunting and fishing. Unsure about certain parameters of the law? No problem. Simply call the non-emergency hotline and speak to an independent program attorney who can set you on the right legal path before you hit the woods.

Click here to learn more, and add HunterShield to your U.S. and Texas LawShield membership today for peace-of-mind at home and on the hunt!

 

What are your secrets to successfully sighting-in your rifle?

Be safe and happy hunting.