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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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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Justice Kennedy’s Retirement—Good News or Bad for Gun Rights?

With the announcement by Justice Anthony Kennedy that he will retire after serving on the U.S. Supreme Court for thirty years, years of uncertainty on how the nation’s highest court might decide cases involving the Second Amendment may soon become more clear.

Justice Kennedy has long been considered a ‘swing vote’ on the court, having sided on issues favorable to conservatives as well as on issues championed by liberals. That is why some court observers have speculated the Supreme Court has only taken up one gun rights case in the ten years since it issued its landmark decision in D.C. v. Heller in 2008, and that was in 2010 when it ruled in favor of the Second Amendment rights in McDonald v. City of Chicago.

In both of those cases, Kennedy sided with the majority but did not offer a written opinion in either case, leaving in question the depth of his commitment to the Second Amendment. Faced with the uncertainty as to how Kennedy may vote on gun cases, speculation is that neither the liberal nor the conservative side of the Court was eager to take up any of the dozens of cases that were presented for consideration.

Anytime a new judge is appointed to the Court, there is never a guarantee as to how the new judge will come down on any particular issue, including the Second Amendment. We can only hope that during the vetting process and the confirmation hearings that are sure to come in the next several weeks in the selection process to replace Justice Kennedy, we may be able to have at least a better shot at anticipating the new justice’s temperament.

Here are a few of possible nominees and what information we can gather regarding their position on guns and the Second Amendment, where available.

Judge Thomas Hardiman

An early front-runner appears to be United States Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman, one of President Trump’s finalists for the vacant seat on the Court that went to Neil Gorsuch last year instead. Hardiman has a second chance to be nominated by President Trump.

When it comes to the Second Amendment, Hardiman has a track record of taking an expansive as well as an originalist approach to the Second Amendment.  In two cases involving gun rights a few years ago, Hardiman explained:

“. . . the threshold question in a Second Amendment challenge is one of scope: whether the Second Amendment protects the person, the weapon, or the activity in the first place. This requires an inquiry into ‘text and history.”

“. . . the most cogent principle that can be drawn from traditional limitations on the right to keep and bear arms is that dangerous persons likely to use firearms for illicit purposes were not understood to be protected by the Second Amendment.”

Further, Hardiman staked out a strong position four years ago in favor of a 2nd Amendment right to carry a gun in public. He dissented when the 3rd Circuit upheld a New Jersey law that required people seeking a gun permit to demonstrate a “justifiable need” to be armed in the case of Drake v. Filko, writing a 40-page dissent, arguing the high court and Justice Scalia described the 2nd Amendment as protecting a right to “self-defense.”

Hardiman went on to write that because “the need for self-defense naturally exists outside and inside the home, I would hold the 2nd Amendment applies outside the home,” he wrote in Drake. In passing its law, “New Jersey has decided that fewer handguns legally carried in public means less crime,” he wrote. “It is obvious that the justifiable need requirement functions as a rationing system designed to limit the number of handguns carried in New Jersey,” he said, “but it cannot stand in the face of a 2nd Amendment challenge,” he concluded.

But Hardiman is not the only name high on Trump’s list.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 53, is rumored to be at or near the top of Trump’s list of possible nominees.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller in 2008, the District of Columbia went to work on crafting new gun regulations in light of the Heller decision, including gun registration and the ban of certain semiautomatic rifles and magazines with a capacity greater than ten rounds. Kavanaugh was on the bench in 2011 when the regulations were challenged in Heller v. District of Columbia (referred to as Heller II). In that case, the majority of the appeals court upheld the restrictions. Kavanaugh dissented.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, would have struck down regulations banning semi-automatic long guns and requiring gun registration, but he would have asked a lower court to conduct more fact-finding on whether a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips passed constitutional muster. The right to keep and bear arms, he argued, should not be subject to the balancing test adopted by the majority. Because semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines have been in common use, he argued, they should presumptively be deemed constitutional.

Kavanaugh was also a law clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Another former Kennedy law clerk has made the list as well.

Raymond Kethledge

Judge Kethledge has been serving on the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since his appointment in 2007. Kethledge was one of five appellate judges who ruled that someone previously forced into a hospital to treat mental health problems should be able to seek to have their gun rights restored, as long as they are no longer considered a threat to themselves or others.

A plus for Kethledge is that he is an avid hunter and understands and appreciates guns.

Charles Canady

Canady has been a Florida Supreme Court Judge since his appointment in 2008. He is also a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1993 to 2001. During his congressional tenure, he opposed efforts to strengthen gun regulations, voting against both the Brady bill mandating background checks for firearm purchases transacted through licensed dealers and the 1994 assault weapons ban.

Last year, he dissented when his colleagues ruled that defendants in shooting cases seeking to invoke Florida’s “stand your ground” law had to prove in a pre-trial evidentiary hearing why they shouldn’t be prosecuted. In January, a state lawmaker pointed to Canady’s dissent while arguing in support of a bill that has since passed that shifted that burden of proof to prosecutors. This has been considered a victory for self-defense rights.

Allison Eid

Judge Allison Eid was appointed by Trump to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to fill the vacancy left by Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. She previously served on the Colorado Supreme Court. In 2012 she authored a unanimous state Supreme Court opinion that opened the door to concealed firearms on Colorado’s public college and university campuses, overturning a university policy that banned handguns on campus.

Her resume also includes a stint as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

William H. Pryor Jr.

Since 2003, Pryor has been a judge on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. He also served a stint as the Alabama attorney general from 1997 to 2004.

While the Alabama AG, Pryor denounced lawsuits against gun manufacturers that had been filed by city governments and victims of violence, stating such litigation was being carried out by “leftist bounty hunters” in what amounted to an “assault on fundamental civil rights.”

As Alabama’s AG, Pryor also injected himself into the case of a Texas man who had been charged with violating the federal ban on possessing firearms while under a domestic violence restraining order. Pryor filed a brief in the Fifth Circuit case, claiming the government’s interpretation of the law “a sweeping and arbitrary infringement on the Second Amendment.”

During the nominating process for his appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals, his positions on gun rights led to questions as to whether he could be impartial on gun cases, being criticized for his opposition to gun restrictions.

Wait and See

We are in the early stages, of course, in our “Supreme Court Watch” and we will continue to monitor the developments as they occur in the wake of Justice Kennedy’s announcement.

President Trump has indicated he will be making his nomination “very quickly.”  Whoever is nominated may wind up sitting on the bench for decades. Let’s just hope that our political leaders take their time and get it right, for our generation and generations to come.

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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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ATF SAYS “NO-GO” ON AUTOGLOVE DEVICE

Photo courtesy AutoGlove

 

Recently, a small start-up company, SlideFire, decided to test the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act that made it illegal to manufacture an automatic weapon after May 19, 1986 (with an exception for samples manufactured for dealers, military, and police agencies).

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is charged with the responsibility of administering this prohibition, relying upon definitions of “machinegun” found in the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), the amended Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), and subsequent court cases.

The NFA, 26 U.S.C. § 5845(a) defines “machinegun” to mean:

“…any weapon 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 shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possessor under the control of a person.”

The ATF has successfully taken on challenges in the past by private gun makes seeking to find a way around the law.

IF THE GLOVE FITS . . .

The developers at SlideFire thought they had found a way around the law be designing and manufacturing a device that did not attach to the gun itself. It is intended to be worn by the shooter, expanding upon the concept of bump-firing (simulated full auto firing as a result of allowing the recoil of a semi=auto firearm to repeatedly activate the trigger against the shooter’s trigger finger).

The result was the “AutoGlove,” a glove worn by the shooter. But this is no ordinary glove. It is fitted with a device on the shooter’s trigger finger that sits inside the trigger guard and repeatedly activates the trigger when the shooter activates a separate on/off switch located on the middle finger of the glove. The shooter’s trigger finger is simply extended straight alongside the trigger guard, and the glove’s actuator does the rest. A separate battery pack is attached to the shooter’s wrist provides power to activate the actuator at rates beyond 1,000 rounds per minute.

There is no modification required to the firearm nor do you have to attach anything to it, which is why the developers at SlideFire thought they had found a loophole. Their device simply gave the shooter a robotic trigger finger, modifying the shooter and not the gun.

ATF GOES TRIGGER (UN)HAPPY

However, the ATF tested the device and issued a determination letter on September 11, 2017, that shot down SlideFire’s plans to produce and market their AutoGlove.

The ATF declared the device to be a “machinegun” despite the argument put forth by SlideFire that it was not permanently attached to the weapon. The ATF’s position is that nowhere in the definition of a machine gun does it require a device to be permanently attached to the weapon. In fact, in 1988 the ATF issued another determination letter regarding an electronic trigger solenoid in which it concluded that:

“. . . the term “machinegun shall also include . . . any part designed and intended solely and exclusively or combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun. Therefore, a device such as you describe would meet that definition even if it were not attached to any firearm.”

In reliance upon that 1988 determination, the ATF concluded that since the AutoGlove was designed and intended solely for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, it meets the statutory definition of “machinegun” and falls within the restrictions of the NFA and GCA.

Therefore, the ATF determined that SlideFire was not properly licensed to manufacture or sell machine guns and the AutoGlove could not be used or possessed by individuals. Faced with that ATF ruling, SlideFire was forced to cease operations and issue refunds for those that had already paid for the device.

JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU’VE HEARD IT ALL . . .

To add insult to injury, the ATF declared the AutoGlove in its possession to be an unregistered machinegun and therefore contraband. Since possession of the AutoGlove would be unlawful, the ATF refused to return the device to SlideFire and requested a voluntary forfeiture of the “unregistered machinegun.”

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Colorado: Brady Campaign Misleads Aurora Family on Gun Suit

Results from shooters who answered the Lucky Gunner online poll about where to direct recovered funds to protect the Second Amendment.
Results from shooters who answered the Lucky Gunner online poll about where to direct recovered funds to protect the Second Amendment.

 

It would be a difficult to justify suing a car dealer who sold a vehicle to someone who then intentionally used it to cause harm or death. But if the product is a gun, some believe that the manufacturer or dealer should be liable for users’ deliberate violence.

In 2012, Jessica Ghawi was shot and killed along with 11 others in an Aurora, Colo., movie theatre. The Patriot Post reports that Ghawi’s grieving parents were encouraged by the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence to launch a hopeless lawsuit against gun store Lucky Gunner and others who lawfully sold items used in the shooting.

Denver-based U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards said, “The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act specifically protects lawful firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held responsible for the criminal actions of a third party.”

Richards added, “In his decision, Senior District Judge Richard P. Matsch not only dismissed the suit, but ruled ‘Pursuant to C.R.S. §13-21-504.5, defendants Lucky Gunner and the Sportsman’s Guide are entitled to an award of reasonable attorney fees and costs to be determined after filing motions pursuant to D.C.Colo.L.Civ.R.54.3.’”

The fight’s not over yet, however. Lucky Gunner reports “The Brady Center predictably appealed the judge’s ruling and we are prepared to continue defending your rights and ours. While it is not yet clear when the $111,971.10 fee reimbursement will be paid, we are going to donate 100% of what is recovered to groups that support and defend the 2nd Amendment. We will fight to recover these funds from the Brady Center and to hold the Brady Center responsible for yet another frivolous lawsuit.”

Lucky Gunner ran an online poll to determine which groups would receive the funds.

“In short,” Richards said, “Judge Matsch ordered that the Plaintiff pay more than $110,000 in fees.”

— Warren Berg, U.S. LawShield Contributor

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Wisconsin Gun Controllers: Alive and Kicking!

The author, a Wisconsin resident, using a firearm that would be banned under Wisconsin Senate Bill 350.

 

It was widely suggested that Donald Trump’s 2016 election signaled the end of most gun-control efforts. He had campaigned on a pro-Second Amendment platform and had gained support from the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups. Plus, it meant that the Executive branch and both Houses of Congress were now in the Republican fold. 

Gun control was dead—right?

Far from it. Especially at the state level, where anti-gun politicians and groups remain active. Case in point: Wisconsin, where three state senators introduced Senate Bill (SB) 350 this July. 

Though SB 350 has received little media attention, its gun control aims are far-reaching. As the Wisconsin State Senate website noted, “This bill bans the transportation, purchase, possession, or transfer of a semiautomatic assault weapon and specifically defines “assault weapon” for the purpose of the ban. Under the bill, whoever transports, purchases, possesses, or transfers a semiautomatic assault weapon is guilty of a felony and may be fined up to $10,000, sentenced to a term of imprisonment of up to six years, or both.”

So what is considered an “assault weapon?” Following the script from the Clinton Era “Assault Weapons Ban,” it is a rifle, shotgun, or pistol with a detachable magazine and any of the following other characteristics:

–a pistol grip

–a folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock

–a second handgrip or protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand

–a bayonet mount

–a flash suppressor, muzzle brake, or muzzle compensator or a threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, muzzle brake, or muzzle compensator

An “assault weapon” under a new bill introduced in the Wisconsin State Senate.

 

This covers all AR-style rifles, most tactical shotguns, and any semi-automatic pistols with magazines holding more than seven rounds. All would be banned.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a pro-Second Amendment Republican, and both State Houses are Republican controlled; as such, legislative gun control efforts have an uphill battle in The Badger State.

At the same time, Wisconsin’s Second Amendment opponents haven’t simply gone away. As the Associated Press reported in April of this year, Democrats in the Wisconsin State Assembly “announced the creation of a new gun safety advocacy coalition…saying they can’t believe Republicans want to further relax Wisconsin’s gun regulations. Reps. Terese Berceau, Melissa Sargent and Lisa Subeck, who all hail from Madison, held a news conference at the state Capitol to announce the formation of the Wisconsin Coalition for Gun Safety. The coalition includes the Wisconsin chapters of the National Physicians Alliance and the National Association of Social Workers, the Wisconsin Council of Churches and the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, or WAVE, among other groups.”

The coalition wants Wisconsin to reinstate a 48-hour waiting period for purchasing a handgun, opposes current state efforts to expand concealed carry, and wants background checks for all gun transactions—including sales between individuals. 

Gun control in Wisconsin may be an uphill climb at the moment. But what if a relative handful of Assembly or the Senate seats changed parties, as could happen in the upcoming 2018 elections? Gun control and the Second Amendment could be right back on the firing line here.

Brian McCombie, U.S. LawShield Contributor

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Trump Administration Throttles 'Operation Choke Point'

Gun dealers might be breathing easier this week, now that the Department of Justice has confirmed the demise of Obama Administration’s Operation Choke Point.

That message arrived Aug. 16 in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd to Republican congressmen who pressed the DOJ for clarification on OCP, now that there is a new department under the Trump Administration.

Several GOP Congress members blame the Obama-era directive for denying critical financial services to law-abiding gun dealers. Among them is Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Similar letters went to Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Tom Marino (R-Penn.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), and Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.) got similar letters.

These congressmen on Aug. 10 sent their own letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticizing OCP and seeking confirmation of its demise.

“We applaud the Trump Justice Department for decisively ending Operation Choke Point,” the congressmen said Aug. 18 in a press release.

“The Obama Administration,” they added, “created this ill-advised program to suffocate legitimate businesses to which it was ideologically opposed by intimidating financial institutions into denying banking services to those businesses.”

OCP was intended to “choke” out acts of fraud by ordering the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to pressure banks into denying financing to businesses considered “high-risk.”

Operation Choke Point
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) received one of the letters.

Among them were, to name a few, payday loan companies, dating services, amusement game owners, and sellers of guns and ammunition.

But legitimate businesses were lumped together with the crooks and denied financing, the congressmen complained.

“Targeted industries, such as firearms dealers, were presumed guilty by the Obama Justice Department until proven innocent, and many businesses are still facing the repercussions of this misguided program,” the congressmen said.

In their Aug. 10 letter, the five Congress members shared how some of OCP’s victims attended a roundtable on June 22 to discuss their plights.

“They all had similar stories of long-standing banking relationships suddenly terminated without any evidence of heightened risk or wrongdoing,” the congressmen wrote.

They added, “One of the participants—a veteran and a former law enforcement professional—described how the bank came to him and said that the government ‘came in like a bunch of thugs’ and pressured them to stop serving his small firearms business. Without access to banking services, his business faltered.

Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.) was another letter recipient.

“Another participant, a firearms manufacturer who had been in business over 40 years, described that he held accounts at over 20 financial institutions and within a short period of time all were terminated.

“Participants from other industries told of losing access to banking services as recently as April 2017. In short, the ‘de-risking’ effects of Operation Choke Point continue to reverberate.”

Writing on behalf of the DOJ, Boyd agreed the directive was unfairly punitive without due process.

“We share your view that law-abiding businesses should not be targeted simply for operating in an industry that a particular administration might disfavor,” Boyd wrote. “All of the Department’s bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Choke Point are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again.”

—Bill Miller, Contributor, U.S. & Texas LawShield ® Blog

 

More information:

Choking Off ‘Choke Point’

Is ‘Operation Choke Point’ Punishing Firearms Firms?

 

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Arkansas: Confusion Abounds Over New 'Enhanced' Concealed Carry Law

 (Left to right) Sen. Trent Garner, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Rep. Charlie Collins at the governor’s announcement that he had signed the new “enhanced” concealed carry legislation. Credit Governor's Office / YouTube
(Left to right) Sen. Trent Garner, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and Rep. Charlie Collins at the governor’s announcement that he had signed the new “enhanced” concealed carry legislation. photo from: Governor’s Office / YouTube

 

Earlier this year, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) signed House Bill 1249 into law, allowing concealed-carry permit holders to apply for and receive an “enhanced” concealed carry permit.

The enhanced permit requires an additional eight hours of firearms training and allows the holder to legally carry a concealed firearm at airports, polling places, public colleges, sporting events, some state offices, and the state capitol—places where residents with a regular concealed-carry permit are prohibited from doing so.

There’s one small problem, however. While the enhanced program is slated to start on Sept. 1, 2017, the law also directed the Arkansas State patrol to devise the required eight-hour training program—but they were given a deadline of January, 2018 to do so. 

According to an article recently posted on ArkansasMatters.comthe Arkansas State patrol recently sent out a memo to all concealed carry trainers in the state, “outlining the rules of the state’s new gun laws passed this legislative session.” 

But trainer Nathan House, the owner of Arkansas Armory in Sherwood, Arkansas, apparently spoke for many trainers when he told ArkansasMatter.com:

“It’s still confusing to a lot of people. We don’t have any clue what the [training] standards are going to be yet for the enhanced carry.”

The article then states, “House said many of his customers have been trying to sign up for the new training program, only to be told it doesn’t exist yet. He’s added about 100 of them to a waiting list for it, while he evaluates if his indoor shooting range will be able to accommodate the potential requirements, like moving and shooting, moving down range and holster draw.”

Currently, nearly 200,000 Arkansas citizens hold a concealed carry permit. Among the various requirements, applicants must take an approved concealed-carry course, which lasts approximately five hours. A live-fire proficiency test is also mandated.

Although the previously mentioned memo from the State Patrol promised more information would be posted to its website this year, trainers like House have no real idea what they must teach in the enhanced course and if the various requirements must be taught in specific ways.

Also, no one apparently knows what the enhanced permit will cost or how much trainers will be charging for the added education. So, despite the new law being slated to apply starting Sept. 1, It doesn’t look like enhanced carry is actually coming to Arkansas any time soon. —By Brian McCombie, Contributor, U.S. & Texas LawShield® Blog

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