Innocent Child vs. Neighborhood Bully

The following is a video transcript. This is a reenactment and dramatization of an actual member’s story. This video does not and is not intended to depict or replicate the actual persons, places, or circumstances involved in the incident.

Kids always manage to find a way to get into trouble. However, in this member’s story, we will see what happens when it’s the trouble that finds the kid.

Our member’s son, Sam, was riding his bike to the park to meet with his friends. The neighborhood bully whose house is along the way was outside playing basketball with another kid.

“One of the boys had called over Sam’s friend, and Sam after a few minutes went over to find out if everything was okay and needed any help.”

The bully grabbed Sam and his bike and ended up knocking Sam over. The bully ran inside and Sam hurried off to the park with his friends. The bully and his parents decided to go to the park to accuse Sam of bullying their son.

“So, my son yelled ‘bull’ and the father had approached by this time and grabbed my son. He got him in a bear hug. The father refused to let go and held on, started screaming and cursing at my son, and then the whole family was yelling at him. The boys that were with my son had called their parents, who showed up with their brothers. They had a talk with this boy’s parents, and they were able to finally get him out of there.”

Sam frantically rode home and ran inside to tell his parents.

“As the story started to unfold and I realized that my son was attacked by a full-grown man, I called the police.”

The police took a statement from Sam and his parents. Sam’s parents told the police where the other family lived, and the police left to speak with them.

Surprisingly, the police came back the next day and gave Sam a citation for assault, harassment, and trespassing.

“So, I immediately escorted them out, took the ticket and escorted them out, and called my Independent Program Attorney the next day.”

U.S. & Texas LawShield Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards got involved and immediately began his own investigation; he was able to thoroughly review the investigating officer’s bodycam footage of the interviews. He concluded that the officer clearly misinterpreted the timeline of events and that a witness from the park who was interviewed had a clear bias towards Sam.

In court, the bully’s father lost his temper during Doug’s cross-examination, showing real signs of emotional instability. The combination of these elements helped Doug successfully challenge the version of events presented by the prosecutor.

This story serves as a reminder that there are people out there who will without hesitation throw an innocent child under the bus of the criminal justice system. Fortunately, Sam’s parents had added Minor Children Coverage to their U.S. & Texas LawShield membership and the judge found Sam not guilty on all three charges.

Learn how you can add Minor Children Coverage, located in our optional Member Coverage, to your U.S. & Texas LawShield membership today.

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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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Member Story: Bad Guy Sends Good Guy to Jail With a Lie

Not all people are good people, but we tend to assume most people act with positive intent. There are people who will lie in order to inflict legal and reputational harm against you. We fought this member’s misdemeanor unlawful carry charge for over three years before it was finally dismissed. This is a prime example of how slowly the wheels of justice move, and of how much damage can be done by a simple unfounded accusation.

The Incident

Our member was driving home from work on a 2-lane back road when a man on a motorcycle initiated the confrontation. Our member engaged at first—made a few hand gestures and yelled back at him—but otherwise just went about his drive home as normal. 

As our member continued his drive home, the motorcyclist continued to follow him.  

Police Involvement

No one called 911. Why not? Because nothing had happened that was worthy of a 911 call. While the motorcyclist was following our member, they passed a police car stopped on the side of the road. The motorcyclist pulled over, flagged the officer down, and made up a story that our member had pointed a gun at him. 

The motorcyclist gave the officer a description of the member’s truck and a partial license plate number. When the police found our member, they asked him if he had been involved in a road rage altercation. At first, the member didn’t even know what the police were talking about. It was such a minor incident that he had moved on with his day and forgotten about it. Then, the member realized it must have been the motorcyclist and confirmed that they had interacted. He then gave police access to his vehicle where they located the member’s carry pistol. These two things were all the police needed to corroborate the motorcyclist’s tale and arrest our member. 

The Takeaway

This is a great example of how little evidence the state needs to place you under arrest. It only takes one person’s word to get you arrested in the state of Texas. The word of a lying bad guy is enough to put you through the wringer of the criminal justice system. Interestingly, this motorcyclist had a previous conviction for making a false police report. What did he lie to the police about in the past? He falsely accused a different man of pulling a gun on him! So, even a known, convicted liar can get you arrested. 

Thankfully, the prosecutors eventually saw through the story and all charges against the member were dropped after three years in the legal system.

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Ask an Attorney

Ask an Attorney

introducing our new member interaction series called Ask an Attorney. In this series, an Independent Program Attorney will be answering questions directly from you, our Members. What do you want to know? Comment below and watch future newsletters to see if your question is answered.

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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

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TACTICAL SLINGSHOTS ARE MORE THAN A MERE TOY

The slingshot has undergone radical improvement over the years from the days of a forked tree branch and some rubber bands to more technically advanced tactical models capable of serious damage. Some models are even used for hunting.

Modern tactical slingshots utilize ergonomic design and high-tension elastic materials to deliver high velocity and maximum force at impact with the target.

Check out these tactical slingshots that won’t break the bank.

POWER OF A SLINGSHOT VS. HANDGUN

More recently, the slingshot has undergone technological advancement to the point that it can be considered a serious, tactical weapon, beyond merely a use for hunting small game. The modern tactical slingshot is military grade and capable of providing self-defense with an almost endless supply of available ammo.

Compared to the ballistic characteristics of a handgun, a tactical slingshot is surprisingly powerful, and in some case, more powerful.

To test the force of a slingshot compared to a gun, a slingshot was put to the test against five different calibers of handgun ammunition—the .22, 9mm, 357 SIG, the .45ACP, and the .44 Magnum. The test was simple—measure the impact of a slingshot launching a 1” steel ball compared to that of the various rounds of ammunition fired from a handgun.

To see the video results of this test, click here.

The test results may surprise you. The slingshot outperformed all ammunition with the exception of the .44 Magnum. Of course, the slingshot used in this video is not one that a person would carry around for self-defense, but it is an example of what a powerful tool the right one can be.

ARE TACTICAL SLINGSHOTS LEGAL?

Not all slingshots are created equal, and therefore, not all slingshots are legal in every state.

In New York, for example, slingshots with a wrist-brace are illegal under § 265.01 of the New York Penal Code. Possession this style slingshot (often referred to as a “wrist-rocket”) is a misdemeanor, regardless of its intended use.

In New Jersey, slingshots are considered per se dangerous weapons. Title 2c – The New Jersey Code Of Criminal Justice Section 2C:39-3(e) makes possession of any type of slingshot without “any explainable lawful purpose” a felony of the fourth degree. What non-weapon, lawful use is not explained in the statute and is up to the judge.

The following are some states and cities make possession of a wrist-rocket illegal:

  • Massachusetts
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Louis, Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Knoxville & Johnson City, Tennessee
  • Salt Lake County, Utah
  • Falls Church, Virginia
  • Madison, Wisconsin

There may be other municipalities that ban possession of these devices, so it is important you check with local authorities before acquiring a slingshot with a wrist-brace.

LEGAL FOR HUNTING?

Tactical slingshots are suitable for hunting small game, but their use may be regulated by state and local laws. Some states permit their use in hunting small game and birds or non-game or unprotected species only.

Florida, for example, permits hunting non-game animals and furbearers only. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Texas, to name a few, do not permit hunting with slingshots at all.

Currently, 32 states permit hunting with slingshots in some capacity. For a summary of the laws in all 50 states, click here.

 

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Rear-Ended Then Defended

Rear-Ended Then Defended Part 1

After a busy day at work, dad Jeremy just wanted to take his son to the park to play, but things went terribly wrong after he was rear-ended at an intersection.

Watch the video below to see Member Ambassador Sherry Hale, share another amazing U.S. LawShield member’s story.

 

Sherry: “Imagine you are driving with your family during your daily routine, when all of a sudden you are rear-ended. As you attempt to exchange information, the driver and passengers behind you become hostile, surrounding your car. In this story, our member Jeremy found himself defending not only his own life, but the life of his infant son.”

 

Jeremy: “I had just picked up my son from day care. After a long day of work, I was excited to finally be able to spend some time with him and decided that we should head to the park.

Suddenly, as I stopped at an intersection, I noticed a car going a bit too fast behind me. I tried to change lanes but it was too late. The car rammed into the back of me.

Just as I was about to get out and exchange information, 3 men surrounded my car, one of them smashing my back window!

Fearing for mine and my son’s safety, I quickly grabbed my gun from the glove compartment and warned them to back off.

As they began to slowly step away, I got out of my truck and forced them into their vehicle until they left. After I called 911, I contacted the LawShield emergency hotline for immediate legal help.”

 

Sherry: “Jeremy took swift action to defend himself and his child. And after calling our emergency hotline to get immediate legal help, he was neither arrested nor charged with any crime. However, was the decision to leave his vehicle with a firearm in hand legal in your state?

Stay tuned for PART 2 when an independent program attorney will address the law where you live.”

 

Rear-Ended Then Defended Part 2

As you saw, no one was hurt, and our member Jeremy was neither arrested nor charged. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Next time, we will dive deeper into the law, where Independent Program Attorneys will explain the road rage self-defense laws from your state. Don’t miss Rear-Ended Then Defended Part 2!

 

What do you think?

Have you ever been in any sort of road-rage incident? What would you have done if you were in Jeremy’s shoes? What do you think about our Members’ Voice videos?

Let us know in the comments below, we love to hear your opinions!

 

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Our First Official Member Range Day Outside Texas 

Now Introducing Range Days in Florida

We are so excited to finally bring Member Range Days to the sunshine state!

Join Us Next Time Yourself

Don’t miss our next Member Range Day! Be sure to look out for announcements in our newsletters and on social media so that you don’t miss out. And check out our Member Perks page to see what other great deals you’re entitled to just for being a member of U.S. LawShield. 

Watch The Fun

Click the video below to see Germaine our brand ambassador have a blast at Shooter’s World in Tampa.

 

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Hurricane brings the best and worst out of people

During the recent storms that struck Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, your attorney hotline has been busy helping members that have been forced to abandon their guns as they leave their flooded homes, who were worried about the threat of gun confiscation, or have had to defend their property from looters. Texas & U.S. Law Shield was there to help.

“Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma devastated the Texas and Florida coasts causing unprecedented damage. During difficult times like these, we tend to experience the best out of people, as seen in countless heroic images of neighbor helping neighbor.

However, these events can also bring out the worst out of people, seeking to take advantage when you are the most vulnerable.

From the moment rain and wind started, calls have been pouring into our attorney answered emergency hotline from members who were forced to abandon guns in their homes overtaken by flood waters as well as members who have had to protect their property from looting. Our member, John, was one of those callers after he was forced to use his gun.  Here is his story.

During Harvey, John and his son were combatting the water that continued to rise in their home. Suddenly, John noticed a truck driving up and down the street, creating wakes. Each time the truck passed, it pushed more water into John’s home.

As the truck was coming back around, John’s son went out to confront the driver and ask him to stop. John didn’t recognize the truck as being from the neighborhood and was worried the driver might be casing the street looking for an opportunity to loot empty houses. Responsibly and legally armed, he followed his son outside.

As John walked toward the truck, the bad guy started accelerating straight at his son. John, fearing for his son’s safety, fired a single shot in order to startle the driver and give his son time to move.

When police arrived, they intended to arrest John for Deadly Conduct. He called the LawShield emergency hotline and was immediately advised by his Independent Program Attorney. After the attorney talked to the police, they determined that a crime had not been committed because John acted in lawful defense of his son.

Thank goodness John is a LawShield member and knew exactly what to do when the police arrived.  We were there for John when he needed us most and we are here for you 24/7 with our attorney-answered emergency hotline.”

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Hurricane Irma: Evacuating from Florida with Firearms?

Hurricane Irma

As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, we thought it important to remind our Members of the laws regarding firearms that may apply to them as they prepare to evacuate their homes and head to safety. In 2015, Governor Scott signed into law an “Emergency Concealed Carry” bill.

The new law is found in Florida Statutes 790.01 (3)(a) and in relevant part states that the law that makes it illegal to carry a concealed weapon without a license does not apply to:

(a) A person who carries a concealed weapon, or a person who may lawfully possess a firearm and who carries a concealed firearm, on or about his or her person while in the act of evacuating during a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency declared by the Governor pursuant to chapter 252 or declared by a local authority pursuant to chapter 870.

As used in this subsection, the term “in the act of evacuating” for Hurricane Irma means the immediate and urgent movement of a person away from the evacuation zone within 48 hours after a mandatory evacuation is ordered. The 48 hours may be extended by an order issued by the Governor.

Evacuation Ahead of Hurricane Irma

It is important to note that the law does not go into effect unless two things have happened:

1) The Governor or local authorities issue or declare a State of Emergency
2) There is a MANDATORY evacuation order issued.

If both of the above conditions have been met for Hurricane Irma, then a person who is evacuating within 48 hours of the order of evacuation may carry a weapon concealed during evacuation. The 48 hours may be extended by order of the Governor. This applies to people with or without a CWFL who have a lawful right to possess a firearm.

Getting Out Ahead of Hurricane Irma

Many of our members may be considering evacuating to a surrounding state because of Hurricane Irma.

Both Georgia and Alabama recognize Florida’s CWFL, however, the emergency evacuation law is not recognized and only a CWFL holder may lawfully carry concealed in these states subject to their laws and restrictions. Both Georgia and Alabama allow those without permits to carry in their vehicles as long as they are not a person prohibited from carrying by law. (Felony, under 21 etc.)

Georgia allows the carrying of a loaded handgun in a vehicle occupied by any who would qualify for a permit. Alabama only allows non licensed individuals to carry an unloaded handgun, cased and secured in the trunk or rear storage area. So if you do not have a CWFL and you are headed to Alabama ahead of Hurricane Irma, make sure to properly secure your unloaded firearm before you cross the state line. —by David Katz, Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield of Florida

 

An Open Letter to Our U.S. & Texas LawShield® Family

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