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.

The Animals Aren’t the Only Thing to Fear, Know the Law to Survive an Animal Attack – Missouri

In our last newsletter, we shared three real-life stories of people fighting off a wild bear attack. These scenarios beg the question: How can a person legally defend themselves against an attacking animal?

The answer, from a legal perspective, is more complicated than you would think. If you look through the Missouri statutes, there is no one place to find a comprehensive man vs. animal answer.  Animals, both domestic and wild, are discussed in various places in the revised statutes as well as the code of state regulations.  It would be nice if the legislature had written one clear and comprehensive statute addressing the issue of use of force against animals, but as it now stands we must look to the hodgepodge of animal laws for guidance.

Missouri law allows deadly force against animals classified as “large carnivores” under RSMo 578.608 if a person has reason to believe that the large carnivore is chasing, attacking, injuring or killing a human being, livestock, or poultry. There are some restrictions. Large carnivores are defined as “tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, snow leopard, clouded leopard, and cheetah, including a hybrid cross with such cat, but excluding any unlisted nonnative cat, or any common domestic or house cat; or a bear of a species that is nonnative to this state and held in captivity”. RSMo 578.600.

A separate distinction is made for dangerous wild animals. Dangerous wild animals may be killed when on the loose in Missouri. Dangerous wild animals are specified to include lion, tiger, leopard, ocelot, jaguar, cheetah, margay, mountain lion, Canada lynx, bobcat, jaguarundi, hyena, wolf, bear, nonhuman primate, coyote, any deadly, dangerous, or poisonous reptile, or any deadly or dangerous reptile over eight feet long. The Missouri Department of Conservation has also issued “Rules of Engagement” to assist in situations involving nuisance or dangerous animals which can be found online.

Endangered species may be subject to special protections under federal law. If you believe an animal which may be endangered is damaging your property, you should contact a Missouri Department of Conservation Officer for instructions on how to proceed. If all else fails, the Wildlife Code of Missouri includes a “trump” rule that allows landowners to protect their property by trapping or shooting some species of wildlife where local ordinances don’t prohibit these methods. On Page 4 of the Wildlife Code under 3 CSR 10-4.130, it states:

“Subject to federal regulations governing the protection of property from migratory birds, any wildlife except deer, turkey, black bears and endangered species which beyond a reasonable doubt is damaging property may be captured or killed by the owner of the property being damaged, or by his/her representative at any time and without permit, but only by shooting or trapping… Wildlife may be so controlled only on the owner’s property to prevent further damage. Wildlife so killed or captured must be reported to an agent of the department within twenty-four hours and disposed of according to his/her instructions. Deer, turkey, black bears and endangered species that are causing damage may be killed only with the permission of an agent of the department and by methods authorized by him/her.” Be mindful to follow local ordinances as local ordinances regarding the killing of animals are allowed to be more restrictive than state laws.

It is not likely that we will ever have the opportunity to be confronted with a deadly scenario dealing with a “dangerous wild animal” or other non-native wild animal, however, the real possibility exists that we could be in a position to face a dangerous domestic animal or an angry livestock animal. What happens in this situation? Well, there is no statute that provides you with the specific authorization to defend yourself or another person from an attacking animal that is not a “dangerous wild animal.”  However, Missouri law does recognize an exemption to the Missouri animal cruelty statutes which provides that “the killing of an animal by any person at any time if such animal is outside of the owned or rented property of the owner or custodian of such animal and the animal is injuring any person or farm animal but shall not include police or guard dogs while working” is an exception to the criminal penalties which would otherwise apply.

Although use of force against animals is not clearly spelled out in the statutes, Missouri’s law regarding use of force against dogs is a useful guide. A person may use deadly force against a dog if there is a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful contact by the dog against yourself or another person. You cannot, however, justify killing a dog if it is within an enclosure belonging to the owner. RSMo 273.033.1.

Until now, we have been talking about Missouri law. What about federal law? The federal law has actually had the foresight to specifically provide that a person may kill an endangered animal in self-defense, such as the regulations concerning the Mexican Wolf in 50 C.F.R. Sec. 17.84(k)(3)(xii), or the Grizzly Bear in 50 C.F.R. Sec. 17.40(b)(i)(B). Unlike the Missouri statutes, this makes the federal law clear and comprehendible.  Therefore, if you are carrying your concealed handgun in a national park and you find yourself face to face with a Grizzly Bear, you can use your gun without fear of federal prosecution.

How to Trick Out Your Gun and Not Land In Jail – Pennsylvania

In our last newsletter, you heard from Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker on what was legal and not legal to add to your gun under federal. This newsletter Independent Program Attorney Justin McShane is here to tell you what attachments are legal and not legal to add to your firearm under state law.

So attorney Walker was walking you through the federal restrictions when it comes particularly to handguns and accessories.
In Pennsylvania, it’s really simple you can do anything you want. So you can add on an RMR red dot. You can take off your sights. You can put on night sights. You can put a laser on. You can put a stroking light on. You can do just about basically anything that doesn’t turn it into an AOW (any other weapon), or turns it into anything of that type of NFA control component.
So Pennsylvania have at it. You can be as tactical as you want, put rails on top of rails on top of rails with accessories. It doesn’t matter that’s the benefit of the living in Pennsylvania.

How to Trick Out Your Gun and Not Land in Jail – Oklahoma

In our last newsletter, you heard from Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker on what was legal and not legal to add to your gun under federal. This newsletter Independent Program Attorney Robert Robles is here to tell you what attachments are legal and not legal to add to your firearm under state law. 

How to Trick Out Your Gun and Not Land in Jail – Colorado

In our last newsletter, you heard from Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker on what was legal and not legal to add to your gun under federal. This newsletter Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards is here to tell you what attachments are legal and not legal to add to your firearm under state law. 

How to Trick Out Your Gun and Not Land in Jail – Florida

In our last newsletter, you heard from Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker on what was legal and not legal to add to your gun under federal. This newsletter Independent Program Attorney James Phillips is here to tell you what attachments are legal and not legal to add to your firearm under state law. 

Hi, I’m James Philips one of Florida’s Independent Program Attorneys for U.S. LawShield. I am often asked by our members what modifications or accessories they can legally add to their firearms.
Recently, the question about whether or not one can add a laser-guided grenade launcher to their rifle came up. The ATF says you can have one so long as it’s been designed or redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device. So the launcher itself is okay, however, there is a problem when you add the grenade to the equation.
A grenade is considered a destructive device under both florida and Federal law and therefore is an ATF regulated NFA item. So you need to be careful in selecting what to launch out of your launcher.
Another accessory that has gotten a lot of recent attention, especially in Florida, is the bump fire stock. Governor Scott recently signed Florida Bill SB 7026 making it a third degree felony, punishable up to five years in prison to import, transfer, distribute, sale, keep for sale, possess, or give to another person a bump fire stock. Under Florida law, a bump fire stock is defined as any conversion kit, tool, accessory, or device that alters the rate of fire to mimic an automatic weapon fire or increase the rate of fire more than a semi-automatic firearm would fire unassisted by a kit, tool, accessory, or a device.
This law will not go into effect until October the 1st 2018

How to Trick Out Your Gun and Not Land in Jail – Missouri

In our last newsletter, you heard from Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker on what was legal and not legal to add to your gun under federal. This newsletter Independent Program Attorney John Schleiffarth is here to tell you what attachments are legal and not legal to add to your firearm under state law. 

Hi, I’m John Schleiffarth Independent Program Attorney with U.S. LawShield in Missouri.
Missouri does not add any additional restrictions on firearm accessories outside of those that the federal government has put in place. What does that mean for you?
Pay attention to the federal regulations in terms of firearm accessories. Missouri does have the power, under the Missouri State Constitution, to add additional restrictions on firearm accessories. However, they’ve chosen not to.
We want to keep it that way. Pay attention to legislative updates, but otherwise make sure you follow the federal regulations on firearm accessories.

Gun Industry Takes Another Hit as Bank of America Cuts Ties

The dominos are continuing to fall as more and more businesses are attacking gun rights by changing their business practices to place restrictions on businesses associated with firearms.

In our last newsletter, we reported on Citigroup changing their policies to force gun manufacturers and gun retailers to follow their policies and not the law.

Now, what appears to be a growing movement in the financial industry to effect gun control by imposing restrictions on businesses engaged in manufacturing or selling firearms and accessories is continuing.

Bank of America, the nation’s second-largest banking institution, has announced it will stop lending money to business clients that manufacture “military-style” weapons for civilian use.

“We want to contribute in any way we can to reduce these mass shootings,” Anne Finucane, vice chairman of the Charlotte, N.C.-based banking giant, said during a Bloomberg TV interview on April 10.

“We have just a handful of manufacturers. They know what our intentions are,” Finucane told Bloomberg. “It’s our intention not to finance these military-style firearms for civilian use.”

Manufacturers with financing through Bank of America include, Vista Outdoors Inc. and Remington.

Finucane did seem to divert from adopting a policy similar to Citigroup for the present future, telling Bloomburg a move against retailers selling “military-style” assault weapons would be a long way off and would get into issues involving “civil liberties and the Second Amendment.”

Other Dominoes Teetering?

While Citigroup and Bank of America have now made their intentions clear, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo have remained mostly silent.

During a first-quarter earnings report on Friday, April 13, JPMorgan Chase’s Chief Financial Officer Mariane Lake told reporters JP Morgan’s business relations with gunmakers “have come down significantly and are pretty limited.”

Lake would not commit to any policy changes when dealing with gun manufacturers or retailers, but also gave no indications they would not occur.

“We do have robust risk management practices and policies associated with this, and we have had (them) for a number of years,” said Lake. “We continue to always refine them and work on them.”

In a separate conference call with reporters, Wells Fargo Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry said the bank has no immediate plans to end its business dealings with its gunmaker clients.

“This requires a legislative solution,” Shrewsberry said.” “We’re not currently setting policy in our extensions of credit.”

*** UPDATE TO CITIGROUP STORY***

NOTE: As an update to our previous reporting, sixteen Republicans in Congress have asked the General Service Administration (GSA) to reevaluate a $700 billion contract with Citibank as a result of its attack on the Second Amendment.  On April 11, the congressmen sent the financial giant a letter outlining their contempt with regards to the recently announced Citigroup policy towards guns:

“This flagrant attempt to undermine our fundamental rights by caving to radicals should not be endorsed by our federal government. The federal government should instead do business with companies that respect all of our constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment. GSA should take all necessary steps to review and terminate its contract with Citibank unless they rescind their guidelines, and rebid the SmartPay 3 contract.”

We will have to wait and see what Citigroup does in response.

The Animals Aren’t the Only Thing to Fear, Know the Law to Survive an Animal Attack – Virginia

In our last newsletter, we shared three real-life stories of people fighting off a wild bear attack. These scenarios beg the question: How can a person legally defend themselves against an attacking animal?

We asked your Independent Program Attorney to answer this question for you, so you will know what to do if you are attacked by an animal.

In Virginia, the law of self-defense and defense of others applies when defend­ing against an animal attack. See Smith v. Commonwealth, 2013 Va. App. LEXIS 29 (Va. App. Ct. 2013). If you are without fault in provoking or bringing on the fight, and you reasonably fear that you are in imminent danger of being killed or in imminent danger of great bodily harm, and you use no more force than is reasonably necessary to protect yourself from the perceived harm under the circumstances as they appear to you, then your use of deadly force in self-defense is legally justified. See Virginia Model Jury Instruction 33.800. Self-Defense – Defendant Without Fault. Deadly force is also justified in the defense of another person when you reasonably believe that the person you are defending is not at fault in provoking the conflict and is in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm based on the circumstances.

Example:

Wendy the walker is taking a casual afternoon walk by herself near her home in her friendly suburban retirement community. Suddenly, a pit bull dog manages to escape its fenced property and is aggressively running toward Wen­dy. The dog is aggressively barking, growling, and showing its teeth as it is directly approaching Wendy in a very rapid pace with its ears pulled back. Wendy quickly starts to dis­tance herself from the dog’s property attempting to create as much space as possible, but it is impossible to “outrun” the dog. The dog is now 2-3 seconds from Wendy’s posi­tion as she begins to frantically scream at the dog to stay away. Wendy is 65 years old, weighs 110 pounds, and le­gally carries a pistol with her concealed handgun permit.

What is Wendy to do? Does the dog have to actually bite Wendy be­fore she can use deadly force to defend herself? What would you do?

Example continued:

Wendy fires two quick shots at the dog at the last second based on her training from her local self-defense instruc­tor. The dog later dies from the gunshot wound.

Was Wendy’s use of deadly force in self-defense justified? As we have said, events like this will be thoroughly investigated by the law enforcement community. If the law enforcement community believes that Wendy used excessive force, then they may charge her with a cruelty to animals offense. It would then be up to the judge or jury hearing the case to determine if Wendy’s fear was reasonable, under the circumstances as they appeared to her, that she was in imminent danger of being killed or that she was in im­minent danger of great bodily harm. Also that she used no more force, under the circumstances as they appeared to her, than was reasonably necessary to protect herself from the perceived harm.

Every case is different. Some judges, jurors and prosecutors may take the position that Wendy’s fear was unreasonable. Some may take the position that Wendy’s force was excessive and that she should have tried kicking the dog first before using deadly force. Others may believe that what Wendy did was justified. The purpose of this example is to bring awareness to an all too common scenario and educate the law abiding gun owner that they are permitted to use deadly force to defend against an animal attack, just like de­fending against an attack from a person, however, the use of force must still be justified.

There was a recent lawful use of deadly force case where the shooter was defending another person from a vicious dog attack in Roanoke Virginia. http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/man-who-used-gun-to-end-downtown-roanoke-dog-attack/article_fc98c1b5-5ff6-5cfe-be07-4a7216ed0609.html

Federal law determines what amount of force, if any, is permitted in self-defense and defense of others regarding attacks on federal property such as national parks, forests and wildlife refuges. In accordance with the principles of self-de­fense, deadly force can only be used against animals while on feder­al land when you reasonably believe that the animal poses an immi­nent threat of death or serious bodily injury to yourself or another. This remains true even when the animal is protected by federal law. Federal statutes expressly allow for the use of deadly force against endangered species and other protected classifications when such force is used in self-defense and defense of others. See 16 U.S.C. § 1540(b)(3) (threatened or endangered species); 50 CFR 17.21(c)(2) (endangered species); 50 CFR 17.31(a) (threatened species).

To View the law for defense against animals in other states click on the state names below:

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