Staying at an AirBnB. Can They Prohibit My Gun in Texas?

Summer is in full swing and many members are taking vacations. While looking for a place to stay, many are turning to Airbnb as an alternative to hotels. But a question has risen—can an AirBnB owner prohibit my gun? Watch Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker explain the law in Texas.

You may be thinking that you would rather spend your summer vacation at a quiet private residence rather than a crowded hotel, and are surfing through the available Airbnb or VRBO listings online. The issue of whether or not you can possess a firearm in another person’s house is a generally a matter of private contract law since nearly every state allows a private person to possess a firearm in a structure that is serving as their dwelling even for a short period. Be sure to review your short-term rental agreement closely to see if it restricts the possession of firearms. Further, individuals who use Airbnb are “required to provide notice of and obtain consent for any secured weapons prior to booking, and should use the messaging feature to do so.” In the event that a property owner does not want firearms brought into their homes, the host may cancel the reservation without penalty.

In some circumstances, a person’s possession of firearms on private property could be criminalized. In Texas, if a private property owner does not want an LTC holder to bring in their handgun onto the property, they must provide adequate TPC 30.06 and/or 30.07 criminal trespass notice, this could written into the rental agreement or it could be a posted sign.

Whenever and wherever you are with a firearm always be mindful of the rules and regulations of safe handling and safe storage. Be very mindful to prevent accidental discharges because of the certainty that another’s property will be damaged. Further, whether you are in Texas or another state, most of them have laws prohibiting the reckless storage of firearms where there is the possibility that children may handle them unsupervised.

Finally, one of the most common problems we hear about are folks who have accidentally forgotten to bring home their firearm after a weekend stay. Nothing causes that sinking feeling in your stomach more than a lost firearm. Even if your firearm is found by an honest person who turns it in, it is highly likely that you will have to return to the local of your vacation and prove ownership to the local police in order to have it returned.

Want to learn more information about traveling with your firearm? Download our Travel Guide now. Texas LawShield wishes you safe travels wherever and whenever you may go.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Sued for Denying Americans’ Right to Bear Arms

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Federal Bureau of Investigation Sued for Denying Americans’ Right to Bear Arms

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Attorney General, et al. have been served with a lawsuit according to a press release dated June 5th, 2018. The lawsuit alleges that the FBI actively refused to process background check appeals for  National Instant Criminal Background Check System(NICS) denials during 2016. This was only recently discovered through a freedom of information act request that uncovered this unconstitutional denial of due process.

 

“The Defendants and FBI in particular, is improperly shifting their burden to the individual to follow up with various courts or jurisdictions,” the press release explains. The government is basically using its vast and overwhelming power to discourage Americans from appealing the government’s errors when they attempt to claim their Second Amendment rights.

 

“This has been an ongoing issue with Defendants … [who were] improperly shifting the burden.” Numerous prior cases have been filed in various courts since 2016. “It is appalling that Americans should have to hire an attorney, go to court, and obtain a judgment to exercise a fundamental constitutional right” says Richard Hayes Independent Program Attorney with U.S. LawShield.

 

We can only hope that the FBI steps up their act and starts taking American’s civil rights, including the right to bear arms and the right to due process, much more seriously in the future.

 

U.S. LawShield® members enjoy hefty discounts on ammo at local gun shops and nationwide retailers as part of our Member Perks program. Sign up now to get started.

Original article can be found here.

New Jersey is Ratcheting Down Garden State Residents’ Second Amendment Rights

New Jersey Gun Rights
 

A Changing Legislative Sea for New Jersey Gun Rights

Since Chris Christie has left office the new Democratic Governor Phil Murphy has wasted no time in making New Jersey’s already draconian gun rights laws even harder to comply with for law-abiding Americans who just want to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

A legislative analysis by two New Jersey newspapers shows that the proposed changes will do little to have a real impact on anything except for lawful gun owner’s rights. This comes after nearly twenty people were injured and one shooter was killed in a two-person shootout at an overnight art festival in New Jersey last week. Both men illegally owned and carried weapons.

The Democrats in New Jersey have said that this current wave of gun legislation is “just the beginning.” Chris Christie had previously been holding back the anti-Second Amendment legislature having vetoed more than fifteen firearms related pieces of legislation during his tenure.

Assault Rifles

Although New Jersey had banned so-called “assault weapons” in 1990, they have had to continue to add weapons to the list of banned firearms. This is due to the ingenious ability of gun makers to simply make another slightly modified weapons platform that complies with state law. These weapons are often marketed online as “New Jersey Compliant.” They are similar to those weapon variants sold in California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts which have modified grips, stocks, and rail systems.

This is not to say that many unmodified weapons are not still available as the sheer number of available weapon systems and platforms do not lend themselves to banning based on features or a simple name-based list.

More Magazine Capacity Limits

New Jersey has recently lowered the capacity of magazines from fifteen round maximum capacity to a smaller ten round capacity. This will do little more than require people to buy new magazines or modify their current ones to remain legal.

Many experts concur that the concept of a magazine limit will do little to actually stop gun violence or mitigate its effects. However, Assemblyman Lou Greenwald, unfortunately, is immune to logic and reason stating, “You talk to all the experts you want” he went on to say “Those words of those people resonate with me and it makes a difference. I don’t care what anyone says. It makes a difference. And if you’re the 11th person, if you’re the 12th or 13th person, it changes your perspective.”

Additional Requirements for Additional Background Checks

Another piece of legislation snaking its way through the statehouse is A-2757 which would mandate that all gun sales require a National Instant Criminal Check System(NICS) background check. Although this is already a requirement and even at gun shows in all fifty states, the legislators at the statehouse are now demanding that it covers personal transactions between two private people. This would mean that any gun transfer would now be subject to an FFL dealer fee that ranges from $25-$75 per background check.

Assemblyman Lou Greenwald again chimed in showing ignorance of the law when he stated, “gun shows are going to be hesitant to come to New Jersey because they’re not going to want to go through this extra step.” To clarify again, it is already required that if an FFL (the people with the gun booths at the gun shows) sell a firearm, they must fill out a Form 4473 and perform a NICS background check.

Banning Armor Piercing Ammunition (Again)

As NorthJersey.com notes, “nothing would change” under A-2759 which is legislation aimed at banning armor piercing ammunition. The law simply copies the Federal language on the prohibition of armor piercing ammunition so that New Jersey can say they banned it too.

The purpose is, in the event the Federal Government ever unbans the ammunition, then New Jersey residents will still be prohibited from possessing the ammunition.


 

U.S. LawShield® members enjoy hefty discounts on ammo at local gun shops and nationwide retailers as part of our Member Perks program. Sign up now to get started.

Original article can be found here.

Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Deals Blow to Stand Your Ground Laws

A literal reading of Oklahoma’s Stand Your Ground law reveals that a person has no duty to retreat and that they may meet force with force, including deadly force, when confronted by a threat of death or grievous bodily injury, and that they can protect themselves with deadly force if they believe that their own lives are in jeopardy. It is part of the Oklahoma Firearms Act of 1971 and amplified in 21 O.S. 1289.25 of state statutes. However, in a recent decision, the Court of Criminal Appeals says that a literal reading of the law is wrong and that there is no absolute immunity in Oklahoma.

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Kids, Felons, & Storing Your Firearms: What’s Your Liability – Texas

Every responsible gun owner knows they have a responsibility to maintain and properly store their firearms. But what you may not know is you have a legal responsibility to ensure minors and felons cannot get their hands on them. Watch Independent Program Attorney Kassidy Montgomery explain the law and the potential liability you could face if a child or felon gets their hands on a gun. 

Kassidy Montgomery: Now that hunting season is coming to a close it’s almost time to put away your shotguns and rifles for a few months. We may all know the basics of gun safety, but what does the law say about storing our firearms in Texas?

There are very few laws dictating how to store firearms. First, children under Texas Penal Code section 46.13 it is a misdemeanor if a child gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm, and with criminal negligence, you fail to secure the firearm or left the firearm somewhere that you knew or should have known that the child would gain access. There are a lot of pieces to this statute so let’s break it down.

First, under this statute, a child is any person under 17 years of age, so it only applies if your children are 16 years old or younger. Next, readily dischargeable means a firearm that is loaded with the ammunition whether or not a round is in the chamber. So, keeping your firearms unloaded is a great first step to not violating the statute. Finally, the statute requires that you secure the firearm. This simply means you must take steps that a reasonable person would take to prevent a child from accessing the firearm.

So, what are those reasonable steps? You could secure it in a locking gun case or safe. You could enable a trigger lock or if your children are young enough you could simply secure it in a case at the top of your closet. Unless your child discharges the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury making your firearm accessible to a child is a Class C misdemeanor. Moving on to the next group of people, individuals convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor of family violence. While it’s not a crime on your part if you fail to make your firearm inaccessible to someone convicted of one of these crimes. It is an offense for one of these individuals to possess a firearm. 

Texas Penal Code section 40 6.04 draws a big exception to this rule. Under this statute, a person who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime of family violence may be in possession of a firearm in his or her own home once it has been five years from his or her release from confinement or community supervision. Keep in mind this is Texas law. Under federal law, a person convicted of a felony or a crime of family violence is never allowed to own or possess firearms or ammunition.

So practically speaking what does all of this mean? However, you choose to store your firearms be sure that only adults who can legally possess guns have access. Use your common sense when storing your firearms to ensure the safety of you and your family.

Buying Guns During a Government Shutdown: What You Need to Know

During the most recent government shutdown, U.S. & Texas LawShield received many calls from our members concerned on how their ability to purchase firearms was being affected. With the possibility of another shutdown coming on February 8, we asked one of our Independent Program Attorneys to answer these questions for you.

This weekend’s government shutdown may have only lasted a couple of days but it raised some important questions for gun owners. For instance, if the federal government shuts down, what does it mean for our ability to purchase firearms? To answer this question, we have to know some background information.

When you purchase a firearm through a Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer, you are required to fill out ATF Form 4473. From there, the FFL submits your 4473 to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to ensure that you are eligible to purchase firearms. The results are often immediate but can take up to three days. As long as FBI employees supporting NICS are at work, firearms purchases should be business as usual.

When Congress can’t pass a budget—as happened on January 19—federal operations cease, and federal employees deemed “nonessential” are furloughed indefinitely. “Essential” employees continue reporting to work during the shutdown (though sometimes without pay). Essential personnel are those considered necessary for the protection of life and property, including operations within law enforcement agencies such as the FBI.

According to the Department of Justice, “All operations of the FBI are directed toward national security and investigations of violations of law involving protection of life and property,” so they are considered “essential.” In fact, almost every employee that supports the NICS is deemed essential and will continue to work during a shutdown.

In addition, under the Brady Act— a handgun carry permit serves as an alternative to the background check for some states. For example, a Texas LTC qualifies for this exception. So, in the unlikely event of a NICS shutdown, your state’s handgun carry permit could take the place of an FBI background check when you’re purchasing a firearm.

A government shutdown may cause most federal operations to stop in their tracks, but the FBI will remain hard at work, and as a result, so will your Second Amendment rights. Congress’ most recent compromise will only extend through early-February so, another shutdown may be on the horizon. But, there’s no reason to worry about purchasing firearms. Those in charge of processing your Form 4473 will be working, even when other federal employees are not.

-Kassidy Montgomery, Independent Program Attorney U.S. & Texas LawShield