The Federal Bump Stock Ban Explained

Florida and New Jersey Members: Bump stocks are already illegal under state law. For more information, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

 

The following is a video transcript.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has just signed a national ban on bump stocks, expected to go into effect on March 21, 2019. This prohibition is unlike any previous gun ban we’ve seen, in that it was neither passed by Congress, nor signed by the President. Instead, an administrative agency simply changed one of their definitions in order to institute the ban.

Bump stocks will now fall into the definition of machinegun, found in 27 C.F.R. Parts 477, 478, and 479.

Previously, this term was defined as: “[A] firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” The term also includes any part of a machinegun or anything that may convert a weapon into a machinegun.

Specifically, with regard to bump stocks, the new rule adds: “The term ‘machinegun’ includes a bump-stock-type device, i.e., a device that allows a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed, so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.”

This new definition has the effect of criminalizing the possession of all bump stocks.

The new rule has no provision to grandfather in and register the bump stocks that many citizens already own.

Without exception, before March 21, 2019, if you own a bump stock, you must either surrender it to the ATF or destroy it.

You will not be compensated for the money you spent when you legally bought this item. Failure to comply with this new rule is a federal felony, punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each bump stock in your possession.

There have already been many legal challenges filed and there will be many more to come before March 21. Most ask that the courts block this rule from going into effect so that the issue can be fully litigated before any American has to destroy their property without compensation.

Does this open the door for future regulation and re-classification of guns, ammo, and accessories?

What do you think?

If you have any questions about bump stocks or the regulatory process, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney today.

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Knock! Knock! – Show Us Your Glock

What to Expect & How to Protect Yourself from the New Jersey Murphy Magazine Ban

By U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney Evan F. Nappen

The Murphy Magazine Ban WILL be enforced. It is only a question of what degree it will be enforced against honest gun owners.

“The New Jersey State Police corresponded with Breitbart News on December 11 and refused to rule out house-to-house enforcement of the state’s “high capacity” magazine ban.”

Possession of any magazine capable of holding over 10 rounds that works in a semi-automatic firearm is now a felony-level offense with a penalty of up to 18 months in prison. There is no “grandfather clause.” If you are convicted, you lose your gun rights for the entire United States. These standard-capacity magazines, which have been turned into contraband, are commonly being called “Murphy Mags.”

There are four basic levels of potential enforcement. The question is how aggressive the anti-gun-rights Murphy administration is going to be in enforcing the Murphy Mag Ban. Here are the four possibilities:

  1. Police Raids: House-to-house searches of suspected possessors.
  2. Police Investigations: Interrogation of suspected possessors.
  3. Demand Letters: Intimidating official letters sent to suspected possessors.
  4. Random Prosecutions: Randomly prosecuting anyone caught possessing.

Police Raids

Many gun owners are very concerned that the police will be coming door-to-door and searching homes. It is unlikely to happen. The State Police claim to have “no plans” at this time to do this. However, it is not an unreasonable fear. Ultimately, New Jersey’s zealous anti-gun-rights Attorney General could order the State Police to act. To say it will never happen would be foolish. Although a search warrant is normally necessary, house-to-house searches have happened without warrants when there are “exigent circumstances.” Approximately five years ago, this was done in Boston when the police were looking for a terrorist suspect. Here are some reasons/scenarios why it might happen in New Jersey:

  1. Some highly publicized mass shooting occurs, and the knee-jerk, politically expedient reaction is to go after Murphy Mag possessors.
  2. Murphy’s failure to aggressively enforce his ban gives his political challengers the opportunity to call him out on it. There is already pressure on Murphy to explain how he intends to enforce the ban. Breitbart News also reached out to Murphy’s press secretary, Daniel Bryan, about enforcement of the ban. He confirmed that the Governor “…had not ruled out house-to-house enforcement of the ban either.”
  3. New Jersey has a computerized database of registered gun owners & their registered handguns (which includes make and model). Many of these handguns came with Murphy Mags. For example, 15-round magazines come standard with the Glock Model 19, Beretta Model 92 and SIG Model P226, just to name three commonly possessed handguns.
  4. New Jersey has a long history of abusing gun owners, creating “gun law victims” (destroying people’s lives with arbitrary gun laws) and undermining Second Amendment rights.
  5. New Jersey has an anti-gun news media which actively acts as the propaganda arm for the anti-gun-rights movement.
  6. New Jersey law enforcement will obey orders and enforce the law, rather than lose their jobs & pensions.

In 1990, the Florio Administration explored going after “Assault Firearm” owners under the newly enacted “Assault Firearm” law, which included a “large-capacity ammunition magazine” ban. They tried to quietly sneak through an Administrative Code provision requiring the filing of the Certificate of Eligibility with the police on private sales of long arms. This would have cured the break in the chain of possession. I personally helped to kill it by successfully challenging the code modification as being outside the statutory law. The Florio Administration abandoned their scheme. Since then, the Murphy Administration has eliminated private sales via newly passed legislation.

There are other important differences between the Florio Ban of 1990 & the current Murphy Mag Ban:

  1. There are substantially more, commonly possessed, standard capacity magazines that can hold over 10 rounds, than magazines that can hold over 15 rounds, that fit readily identifiable, registered handguns.
  2. There was no reliable pre-existing computer database in 1990.
  3. There was no windfall of Bloomberg money for anti-gun extremist candidates in 1990.

What to Do If the Police Raid Your Home

A right given up is a right lost. Do not consent to a search without a warrant. Never physically resist. Do not sign any documents or statements without an attorney’s advice. All citizens have a Fourth Amendment right to a warrant being issued before their person or premises are searched. Exceptions exist regarding the necessity for a warrant, and a large body of law exists as to when a law enforcement officer has probable cause for a warrantless search. However, whether probable cause for the warrantless search exists or not, one should never consent to a warrantless search. The key here is never consent.

Warning: Even if you are not home, the police can search your home based on the consent of your spouse, roommate or a guest. If a law enforcement officer insists on searching your home, do not resist the search. Just make it clear that you are not consenting to this search. Additionally, do not sign any consent form—or for that matter, any document—without the advice of your attorney. Law enforcement officers cannot get a warrant simply based on your refusal, nor can they punish you for not giving consent to search.

If a search is done in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights, the court will suppress the evidence obtained, and the State will not be able to use it against you in a criminal prosecution. When you consent to a search, anything found may be used as evidence—evidence against you—whether there was probable cause or not! Although you may feel that you have nothing to hide, consider that you may inadvertently possess contraband which you believe to be legal, or that a friend may have left contraband in your car, house, or borrowed clothing.

Police Investigations

There is a much greater chance that the police will investigate based on information gleaned from the computerized database of registered gun owners and their registered handguns. It is a relatively simple task for state or local police to look at their database of registered gun owners with their registered handguns and start knocking on doors to talk to suspected possessors of handguns with standard issue Murphy Mags (such as Glock 19, SIG P226, Beretta 92, etc.). No warrant is necessary to investigate. Talking to suspected possessors at their homes will possibly lead to more information justifying a search, seizure and arrest.

What if the Police Want to Talk to You?

If police knock on your door, do not open the door. Ask them through the closed door if they have a warrant. If they don’t have a warrant, do not allow them into your home. Do not answer any questions. Simply say “I do not want to talk to you” and do not talk to the police. The Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and against self-incrimination is one of the most important Constitutional rights. By remaining silent, a person is not assisting the State in its case against him or her. This is the purest form of self-protection. It is something everyone should do, whether the person believes him/herself innocent or not. You cannot be punished for a refusal to answer questions. Basically, only a court can order you to answer questions. Remember, anything you say can be used against you. For instance, merely affirming that you still have the registered handgun could lead to you being searched and arrested. Lying to the police is a crime, but remaining silent is not. So, stay silent!

Not giving consent is not probable cause for a search. Some people feel that if they do not consent to the search then the officer will think they are guilty of hiding something. Some people are afraid of the improper question: “What do you have to hide?” The proper question you should ask yourself is: “Why does this law enforcement officer feel it is necessary to invade my privacy and conduct a search without a warrant?” This mindset properly shifts the burden to the police. Remember, the Fourth Amendment is there to protect our privacy.

Always remain polite when asserting your rights, but the key is to assert them. Do not be embarrassed or intimidated into giving up your rights. If you give up your rights (apart from making defending you that much harder), you will have substantially increased your chance of becoming another victim of New Jersey gun law.

Intimidation Letters

Law Enforcement agencies might choose to send intimidating letters demanding information based on the computerized database of registered gun owners and their registered handguns. The letters would go to suspected possessors of handguns with standard-issue Murphy Mags. It is a simple matter today to send letters via a database. This type of intimidation letter is often used to collect taxes. Any information gleaned could then be followed up with further enforcement actions.

What if You Receive an Intimidation Letter?

Generally, you have no obligation to respond to questions in such a letter. Contact an attorney as soon as possible for specific advice regarding such a letter.

Random Prosecutions

There is no doubt that enforcement will occur by way of random prosecutions. Police will find Murphy Mags due to Red Flag Laws, Domestic Violence Laws, Duty to Warn Laws, safekeeping seizures, house fires, home inspections and the endless other ways that contraband items find their way to the authorities. You can be sure to see criminal charges on these Murphy Mags. This is the default setting for minimum enforcement.

What if You Are the Subject of a Random Prosecution?

If you are charged with Murphy Mag possession or any other criminal offense, contact an attorney as soon as possible for specific advice and representation.

Action Items:

  1. Make sure that your friends and family are aware of this potential threat.
  2. Make sure that your friends and family are aware of the implications of talking with the police and consenting to searches.
  3. Make sure that you do not have in your possession any Murphy Mags or other prohibited items.
  4. Make sure that you, your family and your friends have the mindset to stand up for your rights!
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Legislative Update: New Jersey

The following is a video transcript.

New Jersey gun owners are facing a serious threat, particularly concerning a new bill that has been signed into law by Governor Murphy (Assembly Bill No. 2761). That bill concerns so-called “large capacity magazines.”

Any magazine over ten rounds, meaning any magazine that holds 11 rounds or more, will become a felony-level offense to possess after December 10th. There is no grandfathering whatsoever for individuals. The felony-level conviction here exposes an individual to up to 18 months in state prison. Not only that, you become a convicted felon under federal law (the equivalent of), and lose your gun rights for the entire United States.

Three things that a law-abiding citizen can do:

  1. Give your magazine to a party or person that is allowed to have them. Primarily, they’re talking about turning the magazine over to a firearms dealer. But, it also means you could send them or ship them to individuals in other states—particularly states that respect the Second Amendment, unlike New Jersey—places where the magazines are not prohibited, in terms of anything over ten rounds;
  2. You are allowed to voluntarily surrender your magazine to the police. It’s not simply a matter of going to the police and saying, “Here are my magazines.” Voluntary surrender is very specific. You have to give written notice in advance of the date, time, and place, etc.; or
  3. The third option out there for a law-abiding gun owner is to permanently block your magazine. That means it cannot be temporary. Permanently blocking has not been defined specifically, but essentially, it means not readily restorable. I believe we’re looking at involving epoxy, glue, welding, or riveting—something that is going to require tools and time. It has to be permanent. There are gun dealers that are offering to professionally block magazines, which isn’t a bad idea. If you use a dealer’s services for that, make sure you get a piece of paper or receipt that says you paid and that states specifically what they did for your magazine, because that will be further proof of your compliance.

Other dealers are rendering where you can turn in your magazine to them and they will give you a credit. The best option of all is to get factory ten-round magazines, where there will be no dispute that it is strictly a ten-round magazine.

The bottom line is this: you need to take action before December 10th. If you don’t, you’re going to possess contraband, and if you’re caught, you’re going to face serious consequences. So make sure you do something before that date.

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Anti-Gunners Have Their Sights on Your Rights

The following is a video transcript.

On November 6th, 2018, voters in all 50 states will go to the polls for the mid-term elections. Every single seat in the House of Representatives and 35 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for grabs. This is a very important election for gun rights. Many people believe that the 2nd Amendment is for the courts to protect. However, every elected official is charged with upholding and protecting all constitutional rights. Your job is to make sure that you elect representatives who share your beliefs in those rights.

For example, there’s currently a bill pending in Congress that will dramatically impact gun rights. This bill is numbered H.R. 5087 and is commonly referred to as the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018. Some of you may remember the Federal Assault Weapons Ban between the years 1994 and 2004. Well, this new version is much worse. Not only does H.R. 5087 ban dozens of firearms specifically by name, including all types of AR and AK platform rifles and pistols, it also creates a catch-all description whereby most commonly owned and possessed semiautomatic rifles and handguns will be considered to be assault weapons.

Basically, if your semiautomatic rifle has a detachable magazine and a pistol grip, or collapsible stock, the two most common features on modern sporting rifles, it will be banned by H.R. 5087. If your semiautomatic handgun has a threaded barrel, or the manufacturer makes a select-fire variant of it, it will be banned by H.R. 5087.

On the state and local level, there are anti-gun laws proposed virtually every year, in every state. You may think that the courts will protect your 2nd Amendment rights from laws like H.R. 5087. However, in the years since the Heller and the McDonald cases, the Supreme Court has refused to review the decisions of the Federal Courts of Appeals that have upheld state and local restrictions on firearms, including bans on assault weapons.

Therefore, the best way to currently protect your 2nd Amendment rights is to keep these laws from being passed at all. You do this by voting for candidates who share your views on the 2nd Amendment.

Finally, it’s important to remember that when you’re going to cast your vote on November 6th, 2018, most states have specific prohibitions against carrying a firearm at a polling place. While we encourage you to do your civic duty and vote, as a responsible gun owner, make sure to follow your state’s laws and if prohibited, leave your firearm at home or in your vehicle.

If you have any questions about H.R. 5087 or prohibited places to carry your firearm, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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Are California’s Gun Confiscation Laws Coming to Missouri?

Going into this next year, there are no new laws that will affect your right to carry in Missouri. There is a bill in the House of Representatives that has gained some traction. It proposes a law that would allow citizens to have a locked firearm in their trunk, and they would have a right to have that firearm wherever they are. That is not a bill that has yet been signed into law.

There are two positive court decisions federally that have come out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals—one dealing with California, another dealing with Hawaii.

When a California state law asked for the confiscation of large capacity magazines, the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction of a lower court saying “No, you can’t do this.”

Dealing with Hawaii, the Ninth Circuit has upheld an individual’s right to carry a firearm and to do so openly outside of the home. Those are both decisions that reflect a deeper respect for gun rights within the Ninth Circuit.

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Can a Family Argument Take Away Your Gun Rights?

The General Assembly meets at the first part of every year—typically January and February. If there are new laws, they go into effect immediately upon signature by the Governor (typically on July 1st). This year, nothing new went into effect July 1st.

Are there any new Georgia gun laws on the horizon?

Let’s talk about gun violence restraining orders or what are known as extreme risk protective orders (ERPOs). Currently, more than 20 states have proposed or enacted some version of an extreme risk protective order. Some versions are much like California, Oregon, and Washington’s. In each of these states there was a version of a gun violence restraining order that allowed family members, household members, and law enforcement to obtain orders restraining individuals from possessing firearms.

Other states like Florida and Vermont have enacted extreme risk protective orders which permit only law enforcement or the State’s Attorney to obtain these extreme risk protective orders. In Florida’s case, extreme risk protective orders can be sought and obtained against an individual who does not even own a firearm.

What do you think is on the horizon in Georgia? As you and I know, Georgia has given back to its citizens many of the Second Amendment privileges and rights that were initially obtained in the Bill of Rights. Do you think this is on the horizon? Comment below if you do, and thank you.

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Important Change to Gun Law Impacting Minor Children

In 2018, there were upwards of 70 bills proposing changes to Virginia’s gun laws, but only one was passed into law. This new law change was made in Virginia Code section 18.2-308.1:3. This statute makes it illegal for any person who has been involuntarily admitted or ordered into outpatient treatment to purchase, possess, or transport a firearm. The change to the statute in the 2018 legislative session adds “minors 14 years of age or older” to this prohibition.

It is important to note that, for any person who comes under the amendment to this statute that are prohibited from purchasing, possessing, or transporting firearms under this section may, at any time following their release from involuntary admission to a facility, their release from an order or mandatory outpatient treatment, or release from voluntary admission following the issuance of a temporary detention order, petition the general district court to restore their right to purchase, possess, or transport a firearm.

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Are California’s Gun Confiscation Laws Coming to Oklahoma?

Presently, there are no California-style confiscation laws coming to Oklahoma. Some proposals from California deal with confiscating magazines in excess of 10 rounds. Other types of schemes of confiscation in California have to do with medical marijuana users who are recreational marijuana users—they could lose their rights to have firearms, and they could have their firearms confiscated.

Do these schemes impact the Second Amendment and our due process rights? Yes, they certainly do. And there are lawsuits pending trying to block the various schemes of confiscation that the California Legislature has passed.

The Oklahoma Legislature does not seem to have much support for confiscation laws. Governor Fallin signed into law several years ago anti-confiscation laws in the State of Oklahoma—Katrina-style laws, where the police could come knocking on people’s doors, asking them if they have firearms during a natural emergency,  tornado, or giant storm that would make people desperate and make them want to use their firearms.

The police cannot come to your door and confiscate your weapons. We want to give a shout-out to OK2A for their unceasing support of anti-confiscation laws.

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Are California’s Gun Confiscation Laws Coming to Texas?

After the tragedy in Santa Fe, Governor Abbott requested that the issue of school shootings be examined to see if new legislation would help prevent further terrible acts. Soon the Texas legislature will consider what proponents called “red flag protective orders.” These orders were made popular by their prominent use in California to confiscate firearms from those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Folks in support of these laws claim they simultaneously protect due process, stop mass murder, and reduce suicides. Here in Texas, the legislature decided not to pass a 2017 version of the red flag law, in a bill that would have allowed confiscation of all firearms from accused individuals. Rather than protecting our due process rights as Texans, that bill would have allowed the seizure of firearms based only on statements made by a current or former family member without the accused individual having the opportunity to be heard.

The argument by national and state gun control organizations that this type of law could prevent mass murder was not openly accepted. This is because the accused was not even required to be taken into custody. The bill simply allowed for the seizure of their firearms and sent the accused back into the world free to perpetrate mayhem by using another weapon of their choice, like a knife, bomb, or a car.

The argument by gun control advocates that this type of law could help prevent suicide and mass murder would be more believable if the legislation included any number of safeguards, including a mental health evaluation or treatment component.

With all this proposed legislation, how can you make a difference? Stay informed and make sure your voice is heard. Contact your representatives, and partner with organizations that are active in making sure legislation reflects the wants and needs of the law-abiding gun owner. A good example, by no means the only one, is the Texas State Rifle Association.

Lawmakers should do more than pay lip service to the constitutional requirement of due process, and they need to address the mental health component, including a thorough review of tools that currently exist for dealing with individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others. As always, we will keep you updated with any changes or proposed changes to our laws here in Texas.

If you have any further questions about gun laws, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney today.

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PA Lawmaker Takes Extreme Steps to Stop Gun Control Bills

One Pennsylvania lawmaker is making it his mission to derail two pieces of legislation proposed in the Pennsylvania Legislature that he believes infringe on the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, even if it meant taking extreme measures.

“We’re going to do every single thing that we can do to stop the folks in the anti-gun movement of achieving their goals of removing firearms from law-abiding citizens in Pennsylvania,” said state Rep. Aaron Bernstine, (R-10, New Beaver).

To that end, Rep. Berstine and his staff worked late into the evening on June 20 to draft 79 amendments to the two measures, and on June 21, Rep. Bernstine filed all 79 amendments.

At issue, are House Bill 1872  and House Bill 2227.

HB 1872

Introduced by state Rep. Madeline Dean, (D-Montgomery County), in October, this piece of legislation seeks to ban “multi-burst trigger activators”  such as bump stocks that allow semi-automatic rifles to mimic the firing speed of automatic weapons.

Bernstine believes banning bump stocks sets a bad precedent for the gun rights of law-abiding citizens, especially since such devices have only been used in one mass shooting ever. “We’re talking about a slippery slope where people are intending to infringe on Second Amendment rights,” he said. “I take that seriously.”

HB 2227

HB 2227 was introduced by state Rep. Todd Stephens, (R-Montgomery County), in April. Upon filing this measure, Rep. Stephens released a statement that this bill would create an extreme risk protective order  (ERPO) that a court would issue to prohibit someone from possessing guns when they pose an extreme risk to themselves or others. The bill would also require the information be forwarded to the state police to have the individual’s name listed on the prohibited person’s list for gun purchase background checks.

Under the proposed law, temporary extreme risk protective orders could be issued upon the filing of a petition by law enforcement or a family member against an individual thought to be a danger to himself or others without a hearing. But a final order would require a “full expedited hearing” within ten days, involving the subject of the order, evidence, and testimony.

What is troubling are some of the factors listed in the proposed law that the court could consider in determining whether the individual did indeed pose a threat, including abuse of alcohol, recklessly brandishing a firearm, or even the recent acquisition or attempted acquisition of a firearm, among others.

“Legislation that chips away at our Second Amendment rights will never get my support in the General Assembly, and I’ll do everything in my power to stop such attempts in their tracks,” Bernstine said.

His attempt began in earnest when he filed his 79 amendments.

“These amendments will drastically revise the original bills to ensure our constitutional right to keep and bear arms is not threatened or questioned,” he said, adding, “Our state Constitution is crystal clear when it says citizens’ Second Amendment rights ‘shall not be questioned.’ I took an oath to defend and protect our Constitution, and I take that very seriously.”

While not a filibuster, Bernstine acknowledged his tactics may have the same effect, forcing the House into lengthy debates on each amendment unless the bills were shelved.

“I’m confident that what we did will stop anti-gun legislation from moving forward,” stated Bernstine, who had vowed to “use any and all legislative tactics available to defeat these attempts to infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

Stay tuned to U.S. LawShield to stay up-to-date on these laws and more. Become a member of U.S. LawShield and you will have up-to-date information on laws affecting your gun rights, legal updates, groundbreaking education materials and 24/7 access to our Attorney-Answered Emergency Hotline.

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