My Gun Was Just Stolen: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

Finally, you find a great deal on a handgun you’ve been eyeing for months. Fast forward a couple of years. You walk out to your car in the morning and find that your window has been smashed, things inside your car are strewn about, and your handgun is missing. The unfortunate reality is this is one of the most common incidents we see: stolen firearms.

Here are the three critical mistakes we see folks make when it comes to stolen guns.

The first big mistake, is not keeping records of your firearms. If your firearm is stolen, you’re going to need to know the make, model, and serial number to report it stolen to the police. It’s common for people to buy a gun and never write down this information until it’s too late.

The next critical mistake we see is people not reporting the gun as stolen at the time the incident occurs. When you realize that your firearm has been stolen, the first thing to do is call the police and report it. Once it’s reported, the police will enter the firearm as stolen into a database used by law enforcement. It should stop there, but, sometimes the firearm’s not properly entered or when it’s recovered by police, you’re not notified. Many police departments will periodically follow-up with you, to make sure it’s still missing. If not, it’s smart to follow-up with law enforcement every year or so, to check on the status of your gun.

To review, the best way to ensure you either recover a stolen firearm or are not associated with any crimes committed with your lost or stolen gun, it’s important to keep the proper documentation. Report the firearm as stolen to the police at the time it’s stolen, and follow-up with law enforcement on the status of the gun, periodically.

The steps that I’ve just described are the same if your firearm happens to get lost instead of stolen. Except, when you notify law enforcement, let them know that the gun is lost and not stolen. In an upcoming video in this series, we’ll go into greater detail on what documentation to have, and how to keep this information secure.

Note: These are important tips, and steps that you can take to deal with lost or stolen firearms. Some jurisdictions have some additional legal requirements, above and beyond those described in this presentation. When you report a gun lost or stolen to your local law enforcement, it’s recommended that you ask them about any additional requirements and immediately call U.S. LawShield, and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

My Gun Was Just Stolen: 3 Mistakes to Avoid in Texas

Finally, you find a great deal on a handgun you’ve been eyeing for months. Fast forward a couple of years. You walk out to your car in the morning and find that your window has been smashed, things inside your car are strewn about, and your handgun is missing. The unfortunate reality is this is one of the most common incidents we see: stolen firearms.

Here are the three critical mistakes we see folks make when it comes to stolen guns.

The first big mistake, is not keeping records of your firearms. If your firearm is stolen, you’re going to need to know the make, model, and serial number to report it stolen to the police. It’s common for people to buy a gun and never write down this information until it’s too late.

The next critical mistake we see is people not reporting the gun as stolen at the time the incident occurs. When you realize that your firearm has been stolen, the first thing to do is call the police and report it. Once it’s reported, the police will enter the firearm as stolen into a database used by law enforcement. It should stop there, but, sometimes the firearm’s not properly entered or when it’s recovered by police, you’re not notified. Many police departments will periodically follow-up with you, to make sure it’s still missing. If not, it’s smart to follow-up with law enforcement every year or so, to check on the status of your gun.

To review, the best way to ensure you either recover a stolen firearm or are not associated with any crimes committed with your lost or stolen gun, it’s important to keep the proper documentation. Report the firearm as stolen to the police at the time it’s stolen, and follow-up with law enforcement on the status of the gun, periodically.

The steps that I’ve just described are the same if your firearm happens to get lost instead of stolen. Except, when you notify law enforcement, let them know that the gun is lost and not stolen. In an upcoming video in this series, we’ll go into greater detail on what documentation to have, and how to keep this information secure.

Note: These are important tips, and steps that you can take to deal with lost or stolen firearms. Some jurisdictions have some additional legal requirements, above and beyond those described in this presentation. When you report a gun lost or stolen to your local law enforcement, it’s recommended that you ask them about any additional requirements and immediately call U.S. LawShield, and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

Member Story: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

No good deed, or in this case, “good warning shot” goes unpunished.

Imagine spending two years of your life fighting a charge for defusing a violent fistfight in your front yard. That’s exactly what happened to one LawShield member in 2016.

One evening in the Fall of 2016, a LawShield member went out for dinner with her husband and his brother. Like any family, differences of opinion can arise, and the member’s husband and his brother began an argument on the way home. When they arrived at their residence, the member went inside the home and began to get ready for bed.

The next thing she heard was a loud argument in her front yard. She looked out of her window and saw her husband and his brother locked in a bloody fistfight. She then ran outside and pleaded with the men to stop fighting. They wouldn’t listen.

The member ran back into her bedroom, retrieved her handgun, and walked out of the front door. She again shouted, “Stop fighting.” But they continued brawling. The member, fearing the fight would escalate further, pointed her firearm down to the ground and away from the direction of the men and her neighbors’ homes. She fired directly into the soft ground.

The men immediately stopped fighting. Understandably, a concerned neighbor called the police when he heard the gunshot. The police arrived, rushed their investigation, and instead of arresting either man, arrested the member for deadly conduct; recklessly engaging in conduct that placed another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.

There was absolutely no direct, circumstantial, or forensic evidence showing that the member’s shot into the ground placed any person in imminent danger of suffering serious bodily injury. The evidence showed only that the bullet went into the ground, away from any buildings or people.

However, based on the responding officers’ assumptions and misunderstanding of the law, the member was arrested. The member’s nightmare was just beginning. Countless court settings and two years later, prosecutors finally dismissed her case because they couldn’t find any evidence to corroborate the alleged crime.

As you can see, the police and even prosecutors can sometimes misunderstand the facts and the law. Luckily, the member had an Independent Program Attorney armed with the knowledge to defend her and obtain dismissal of her criminal charge.

While this member was reasonable in her actions that night, and ultimately her case was dismissed, you should never fire a warning shot, unless you’re up for a long and hard fight for your freedom.

3D-Printed Guns: What is The Law?

3D-printed guns are a hot-button issue. The Liberator took center stage in 2013 when blueprints were released for this 3D-printed, fully-operational single-shot pistol. The inventor of the Liberator, Cody Wilson, started a company called Defense Distributed for the purpose of sharing his invention with the world. Thousands downloaded the blueprints, allowing them to print a plastic gun on a compatible 3D printer.

The federal government quickly took down the blueprints, stating that providing blueprints online was illegal trafficking of firearms. Additionally, the federal government argued that the Liberator, being that it is printed entirely from plastic, isn’t detectable by standard metal detectors, making it illegal under federal law.

Cody Wilson responded by filing a lawsuit for the violation of his First Amendment right to free speech. He argued that the source code is a form of speech and he has a right to share it with the world. Government censorship would be unconstitutional; and so, this case was settled prior to reaching the Supreme Court. Without guidance from the highest court, we may see some legal battles on the horizon.

So, are these 3D printed guns even legal to build?

Yes. Americans have always been able to manufacture their own firearms and 3D-printed guns aren’t any different. Just like machining parts to build your own AR-15, you can use the blueprints of the Liberator to print your own polymer pistol.

While federal law freely allows individuals to make firearms, for their personal use, in light of the 3D-printed gun technology, some states that embrace anti-gun laws are beginning to discuss legislation that will prevent people from building their own guns.

For example, New Jersey has drafted and passed a ban on homemade firearms that is not yet law, and California, while not prohibiting them outright, requires them to be serialized and registered. So be sure to get in touch with your state’s U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney for the current status of your state’s law.

It is important to keep in mind that these items are still firearms. Even though you can print one in the comfort of your own home, if you are disqualified from possessing a firearm you cannot possess a 3D-printed gun either.

You cannot sell these firearms as part of a commercial business without first becoming a licensed manufacturer. There is no bright line here. If you decide to manufacture 80 guns for private sale you might start to look like an unlicensed firearm dealer and you’ll find yourself subject to some unwanted legal scrutiny.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding 3D-printed guns and you will likely see headlines in the near future addressing some of the remaining legal issues. In the meantime, U.S. & Texas LawShield will always keep you informed with the latest in gun laws, safety, and stories from our members across the nation.

Employee Spotlight: Dwayne McBryde

Here at U.S. & Texas LawShield, we care about the communities we serve because we are your neighbors, your friends, and your family members. Take a look behind the scenes and meet one of the faces behind the team, starting with Dwayne McBryde, National Field Sales Operations Director.

Born in Pasadena, Texas, Dwayne attended Sam Rayburn High School in Pasadena. After serving at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, for 11 years, Dwayne went on to accept a position at The Woodlands Fire Department, serve as a Licensed Texas Paramedic and Firefighter, and return to the military as a reservist, serving as platoon corpsman for a Marine Scout Sniper unit.

Dwayne recalls the moment in his life when he first came into contact with U.S. & Texas LawShield, “After the planes hit the towers we were activated to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. I ended up doing a few tours in Iraq and would end my military service in December of 2006. Shortly afterwards I accepted a position with Blackwater USA and worked for them for over 6 years in Afghanistan for the US Department of State. I worked for U.S. & Texas LawShield part-time when the company first opened in 2009 before accepting my contract position with DoS in Afghanistan.

In 2015 I returned to U.S. & Texas LawShield to do contract work as a speaker and also helping to develop First Aid for Gunshot Wounds curriculum. Shortly I moved into Corporate Sales where I serve the company today as the National Field Sales Operations Director. What we do for our country’s gun owners is an essential part of keeping our 2nd Amendment rights.”

Traveling with Firearms: National Edition

As a member of the U.S. LawShield family, you’re undoubtedly well-versed in your state’s firearms laws, but what if you have travel plans that take you beyond the borders of your home state? If you want to bring your firearm, it’s important to take the time to understand the laws of each state you plan to travel through.

Unfortunately, even if you have a license to carry or a handgun permit issued by your home state, there’s currently no national reciprocity. It’s very important to remember, when you’re a guest in another state, all of their laws apply to you, even those that limit the Second Amendment rights you enjoy at home. There’s no standardization of gun laws within the 50 individual states, the District of Columbia, not to mention Native American reservations and lands. Even states that are thought of as gun friendly have peculiar quirks in their firearms laws.

The firearms laws of each state are as varied as the natural wonders you might find on your travels. For example, in some states, constitutional carry is in effect, which essentially allows an adult who’s not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm to carry a gun openly in many public areas without the necessity of a license or permit. In other states, it’s illegal for a nonresident to even possess a firearm in the passenger compartment of their vehicle.

To help illustrate this further, please enjoy a few gun law quirks courtesy of a couple of states here in the Union. In Montana, you’re prohibited from carrying a firearm, openly or concealed, into any establishment that serves alcohol, period. And how about New Mexico, which restricts recognized permittees from carrying more than one concealed handgun on their person outside their home or vehicle at a time.

Beyond these oddities, there are some very serious crimes you could inadvertently commit simply by traveling into a state with different laws. For example, Colorado has a maximum 15-round magazine capacity limit. If you were to travel with your AR into Colorado and encounter law enforcement with an extended or high-capacity magazine, you’d most likely be taking a trip to the local jail and facing serious criminal penalties. We all know that California law is restrictive, but did you know that it’s a serious crime to import another state’s ammunition into the Golden State?

Luckily, many states have reciprocity agreements, or at least recognize other state’s licenses and permits to carry handguns. If you have any questions about whether your license or permit is recognized by another state, you should consult with that state’s chief law enforcement agency or attorney general’s website. It’s imperative that you check the laws of that state concerning legally traveling with your firearm. Take time to know the law.

Stay tuned for future videos featuring travel tips from U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorneys from across the United States. In the meantime, if you have any questions about traveling with your firearms, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney.

Rules You Must Know When Inheriting Firearms in Colorado

I want to talk today about inheriting firearms. The question I am frequently asked is, whether or not you have to register an inherited firearm. There’s no requirement in Colorado to register firearms at all, so that would be a big no. Now, whether or not you need to have an FFL involved in the transfer is another question. In Colorado, there’s no requirement for you to use an FFL if it’s a transfer of the firearm between immediate family members—parent, child, brother, sister—that sort of thing.

Something else to keep in mind is that there are state and federal exemptions to using an FFL to assist with the transfer of a firearm following the death of a loved one. This is a very technical area of the law and is case-specific, so please reach out and talk to us before you try to do this on your own.

Now, in terms of an antique firearm, if your firearm qualifies as an antique, you don’t need to use an FFL at all. There are very specific federal requirements to determine whether or not your firearm is a relic or an antique, call my office to discuss those requirements.

The last thing to discuss is, whether or not you are prohibited from owning a firearm. You could be prohibited for a number of reasons. One, you have a prior felony conviction or a conviction for domestic violence. In those situations, there’s no way for you to get a firearm legally, unless you have a pardon, either from the President of the United States or the governor of your state, depending on where the conviction was. Two, you could be prohibited due to some sort of mental health or addiction issue. If the prohibition is due to either some sort of mental health or addiction issue, there are ways to appeal that. We’ve been successful in helping clients with that in the past, and you’re welcome to call my office to get some information on that.

Facility Spotlight: Liberty Firearms Institute

Local 2A-friendly facilities are the lifeblood of our program and our communities. These businesses and organizations provide a unique opportunity for us to meet and get to know our U.S. LawShield member family in a welcoming, responsible, gun-friendly environment. This week, we’re taking a look at Liberty Firearms Institute and what they can offer you as a local 2A leader in your community.

Liberty Firearms Institute
4990 Ronald Reagan Blvd.
Johnstown, Colorado 80534

The Gun Range

The gun range at Liberty Firearms Institute (LFI) comes in at 100,000 square feet. They offer 52 lanes, some the longest indoor ranges in northern Colorado. You can perfect your shooting skills with lanes at 25-yards, 50-yards, and 100-yards. LFI also has a live fire simulation range and a steel target bobber range.

In addition to shooting firearms, you can also hone your skills with a bow and arrow. On site, LFI has an 8-lane, 45-yard archery range equipped with 3D targets. Recurve, compound, and crossbows are welcome to use the range. If you are interested in archery, but don’t own your own bow, LFI has you covered. You can either purchase one at their pro shop or rent a recurve bow with three arrows, quiver, one target, and an optional arm guard.

The Pro Shop

Liberty Firearms Institute has the largest locally owned firearms retail space in Colorado. You will definitely be able to find what you are looking for in their 12,000 square foot space. An entire section of the store is devoted to helping you build your own customized firearm. Stock bolt carrier groups, triggers, hand-guards, and anything else you’ll need to build your own rifle or handgun are available for purchase.

A gunsmith is also available on site if you are having issues with your build or firearm. An experienced bow tech is also on site if you have any questions about archery. All of Liberty Firearms Institute’s staff members are ready and happy to help you find what you need, as well as answer any questions you may have.

Classes and Training

At Liberty Firearms Institute, you can find a class to fit your needs. They offer classes geared towards novices, experts, and every skill level in between. Concealed Carry, classes for women, couple’s classes, hunter safety classes, and classes for youth are just a few of their available classes.

Liberty Firearms is a proud friend of U.S. LawShield. They are hosting a U.S. LawShield First Aid for Gunshot Wounds Course on September 15, 2018. With the techniques presented in this course, you can help save lives. Take the next step in responsible gun ownership and register for this course here.

Supporting businesses like Liberty Firearms Institute helps promote the rights of responsible gun owners across your community. For more information about Liberty Firearms Institute, make sure to call 970-578-0717 or visit their website at https://www.libertyrange.com/.

Can I Be Arrested for Shooting an Attacking Dog in Colorado?

Doug Richards here for U.S. LawShield of Colorado. I want to talk to you today about an issue that has come up quite a bit lately and has become a problem for one of our U.S. LawShield Members in particular. That is, whether or not you can shoot a dog or another animal that is about to attack you or do you have to wait for the animal to actually attack you? It’s kind of a gray area in Colorado law.

Under Colorado law, there’s no specific statute that allows you to discharge a firearm on any animal that’s either attacking you or attacking your dog. But the law in Colorado would allow you to use self-defense, including deadly force to protect yourself or a third party from what you reasonably believe to be the use of deadly force by another person, or in this situation, an animal.

If you were walking in your neighborhood and a loose dog came out and was threatening you, you would be able to use deadly force to protect yourself against that animal, as long as it was reasonable under the circumstances. Now, you would not be able to articulate a reasonable explanation to law enforcement if you were just using deadly force or discharging your firearm to protect your own dog. However, if you could articulate that you were in fear that the attacking animal was going to turn its attention and aggression towards you, then you would be able to assert the use of deadly force in self-defense.

Now, there are other affirmative defenses you could use. There is no real necessity defense or affirmative defense in Colorado. Instead, we have something called the choice of evils. With the choice of evils defense, you’d be able to argue if you were being charged with a crime, that you really had no other choice under the circumstances but to employ the use of deadly force, or to shoot this animal that was coming after you or threatening to attack you.

In terms of what you could be charged with, there’s a litany of charges. You could be charged with illegal discharge of a firearm or displaying of a firearm. Depending on the facts, if you were displaying it to somebody else, you could potentially be charged with menacing. All of these bring either misdemeanor or felony range charges and, more importantly, as a collateral consequence you could lose your CCW privileges as result of this. And we’ve had situations where clients are acquitted or the charges are dismissed, and then we’ve got to go back to the sheriff and try to get their license back, their CCW back. And that can be more difficult than you would imagine because the sheriff isn’t necessarily bound by the same burden of proof that the DA is bound by, when they are trying to prove this. Whether or not you’ve done this or not in a criminal form.

Getting your license back with the Sheriff is an administrative process. The sheriffs in my experience, really take the offense reports and whatever’s been written in those offense reports as gospel. Make sure you contact us at U.S. LawShield or me directly at my office, always happy to talk to U.S. LawShield Members about this or anything else.

Rules You Must Know When Inheriting Firearms in Virginia

There are three things you need to know when inheriting a firearm:

First, does my inherited firearm have to be registered? In Virginia, the answer is no, unless the firearm is regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Second, can I retrieve my inherited firearm from another state? 18, United States Code, 922, shall not preclude any person, who lawfully acquires a firearm by bequest, or intestate succession, in a state other than his state of residence, from transporting the firearm into, or receiving it, in that state, if it is lawful for such person to purchase or possess such firearm in that state.

The third point, is what if you are an ineligible person, to possess a firearm? If it is illegal for you to possess a firearm under the law, then you cannot physically possess it, even though you may have inherited it.