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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Intuit Stops Processing Payments for Gun Companies Without Notice

intuit, payment, processor, stops, gun shop, gun dealer, payment

Intuit Stops Processing Payments for Firearms Companies Without Notice

 

A number of firearm and firearm-related businesses were cut off from their merchant services and credit card processor last week when Intuit stopped their service without warning or notice. This caused several merchants to rush to find another way to take credit and debit card payments.

This affected a number of small businesses who were left reeling after they found out the majority of businesses hit were firearms and Second Amendment related products such as coffee or pro-2A t-shirts.

In several cases, businesses learned that Intuit cut their service only after customers received refunds for merchandise and services they already received. This left many a business holding the bag for these unauthorized refunds.

A number of larger firearms wholesalers who sell only to other Federal Firearms Licensed(FFL) dealers had similar problems with Intuit claiming that it was a banking requirement that the customer be physically present to swipe their card in the store rather than allowing online ordering.

The stores selling firearms over the internet are required to ship the firearm to a local FFL who will perform a full and complete background check on the individual picking up the weapon before signing the weapon over to the buyer. This background check is the same one that is performed if the weapon was bought in the store without using any website or online dealer to purchase the weapon.

 

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Original article can be found here.

 

 

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

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

Read More…

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Financial Giant Launches New Offense on Your Gun Rights

Citibank

Citigroup announced a new policy to business partners on March 22. This new policy prohibits the sale of firearms to customers who have not passed a background check, or customers who are under the age of 21. The bank is also barring the sale of bump stocks and standard-capacity magazines.

The new policy applies to all Citigroup clients who offer credit cards backed by Citigroup, borrow money, use banking services, or raise capital through the company.

The policy will restrict businesses who use Citigroup from selling items in their store that are otherwise completely legal in most states and at the federal level, just because their bank says they can’t.

By implementing this policy, Citigroup becomes the first major U.S. bank to take a stance, or as the company calls it, “common-sense measures,” in the debate over gun control.

In a letter to company employees, CEO Michael Corbat was not concerned about the potential controversy or loss of business the new policy could have. In his letter, Corbat informed  employees the company plans to have due diligence discussions with its business partners involved with gun sales to ensure they comply with the new requirement. Corbat added, “If they opt not to [follow the policy], we will respect their decision and work with them to transition their business away from Citi.”

In his letter, Corbat also left open the possibility more changes could continue. “Best practices are going to continue to change, and we understand the limitations of our efforts. But we shouldn’t let that stops us from doing our part,” he wrote.

What’s Next?

Citigroup’s decision follows a February column in the New York Times, calling for the financial industry to take a stand against the sale of firearms if Washington won’t.

The column’s writer, Andrew Ross Sorkin, calls for the major banks (JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo), credit card companies (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express), and credit card processors (First Data) to set new rules for the sales of guns in America.

Sorkin says it will not be hard for these companies to take a stand, using the example of online processors PayPal, Square, Stripe, and Apple Pay announcing their services cannot be used for the purchase of a firearm.

He says it would be easy for a company, for example, Visa, “to easily change its terms of service to say that it won’t do business with retailers that sell assault weapons, standard-capacity magazines and bump stocks, which make semiautomatic rifles fire faster.”

Sorkin adds, “If Mastercard were to do the same, assault weapons would be eliminated from virtually every firearms store in America because otherwise the sellers would be cut off from the credit card system.”

As Sorkin points out, three major banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America) have already banned the use of their cards with a legal product, BitCoin.

Now, Citigroup is following Sorkin’s advice and is beginning to do the same with firearms.

Has the Slide Down the Slippery Slope Started?

Following the lead of Citigroup, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago announced on March 29 that he is seeking City Council approval of a measure that would require banks and financial institutions doing business with the Windy City to implement gun-control sales restriction policies of their own.

Mayor Emanuel expects these restrictions to include limiting gun sales to people 21 or older, conducting background checks on all gun sales, and banning the sale of bump stocks and magazines that hold more than ten rounds.

“The private sector has a role to play in supporting public safety,” Emanuel said in a news release. “Chicago should give our business to companies who share our values and want to be part of the solution to gun violence, not profit from it.”

How Will This Affect You?

  1. Will I still be able to buy a rifle or shotgun?

With regards to the policy restricting sales only to those individuals that pass a background check, federal (and state) laws already require licensed dealers to submit purchasers to a background check before completing the transaction, so this will not have any effect on the legal purchase of firearms from dealers. 

As for restricting sales to those under 21, the best answer is “it depends.” Several factors come into play, including the state you live in and your age, for example.

The policy may be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce in some states. Several states have laws prohibiting discrimination against certain protected groups in businesses and places that are considered “public accommodations, “ (places offering goods and services to the public).

These “public accommodation laws” are in place to protect against discrimination based on age. Therefore, if the language in your state’s public accommodation laws protects discriminating against 18-20-year-olds, the retailer may not be allowed to refuse an otherwise legal sale of a rifle to just such an individual. (Federal law already makes it illegal to sell handguns to those under 21.)

Some states with ‘public accommodation” laws, however, only ban discrimination against those 21 and older. In those states, the answer is still up in the air.

A few retailers have voluntarily restricted the sale of rifles to those under 21, including Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods. In Oregon, four lawsuits have been filed against the retail giants asserting the stores violated their civil rights by discriminating against them based on their age. Though Oregon’s public accommodation law does not specifically grant protected status to those between 18 and 21, it does prohibit discrimination against individuals who “are of age.” Oregon Labor Commissioner believes the retailers are likely engaging in discrimination, so he intends to introduce legislation next session to place guns among the products that are listed as exempt from age discrimination laws, like alcohol and tobacco.

But what if Citigroup puts pressure on the retailer to refuse to sell a rifle to an18-year-old person? If a retailer is in a state with age discrimination laws protecting 18-to-20-year-olds, the credit card companies will not be able to pressure the retailer because, in most states, it is a crime to force someone to break the law, which in effect, what Citicorp would be doing.

For example, Michigan’s Civil Rights Act (Mich. Comp. Laws. §§ 37.2301-.2304) bans age discrimination in retail sales, and § 37.2701 likewise provides that no person shall “[a]id, abet, incite, compel, or coerce a person to engage in a violation of this act” or “[w]illfully obstruct or prevent a person from complying with this act” or “interfere with a person in the exercise or enjoyment of … any right granted or protected by this act.”

So if you are between 18 and 21 and live in a state that protects against age discrimination for those between 18 and 21 and there is not a specific state law that bans the sale of rifles to those within that age group, Citicorp’s policy may not affect your ability to legally purchase a rifle. The financial giant cannot insist its business partners violate the law.

But if a state bans rifle and shotgun sales to 18-to-20-year-olds, like Hawaii or Illinois, for example, then of course stores would be required to follow Citicorp’s age restrictions by default.

  1. Can Citicorp legally prohibit my purchasing a bump stock or standard capacity magazine?

With regards to bump stocks and accessories like standard capacity magazines, it is a little more complicated.

The refusal of the retailer to sell a bump stock or standard capacity magazine would not be based upon the age of the consumer but on the item itself. If state law prohibits the sale of such items, there is no issue in the refusal by the retailer to sell you the banned item. In those states, it is not Citicorp prohibiting your purchase, but rather state law.

If, however, there is no state prohibition, a retailer can simply stop carrying bump stocks or standard capacity magazines if it wants to abide by the policy being set forth by Citicorp. It becomes a business decision.

  1. If a Citicorp business partner sells me an item in violation of Citicorp’s policy, can I be held liable, criminally or civilly?

The short answer is “No.”

The credit card issuer has no recourse against you in those situations. Their policy does not create a criminal law, nor does it create a civil liability with a card user. The policy is an agreement between the financial company and the business, not the consumer. Any complaints Citicorp has would be with the retailer, not the consumer.

Remember to continue to follow U.S. & Texas LawShield to stay up-to-date on all of the latest legal and legislative firearms news.

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Florida No More Automatic Civil Immunity

Photo – Scott KeelerTampa Bay Times

 

The Florida Supreme Court has issued a decision in a case involving a claim of civil immunity from a lawsuit for injuries sustained in what was ruled justifiable self-defense by a criminal court. The Supreme Court has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to civil immunity.  Essentially the Court said immunity from criminal prosecution does not protect a person when it comes to a civil action.

A MAN WALKS INTO A BAR . . .

In a Tampa barfight back in 2008, Nirav Patel smashed a cocktail glass into the eye of Ketan Kumar, causing permanent blindness. Patel was arrested and charged with felony battery.

Patel argued at a pretrial hearing in the circuit court that Kumar started the fight and he was merely acting in self-defense, using Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as his defense. The circuit court agreed Patel was justified in his use of force to defend himself and granted him immunity from criminal prosecution. Undeterred, that decision did not stop Kumar from later filing a civil suit against Patel for his injury sustained in the barfight.

Doesn’t the law protect you from civil suits if your actions were found to be justified in the criminal matter?

WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?

Florida’s immunity provision can be found in Title XLVI Chapter 776 of the 2017 Florida Statutes.

Section 776.032(1) states:

A person who uses or threatens to use force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in such conduct and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use or threatened use of such force by the person, personal representative, or heirs of the person against whom the force was used or threatened, . . .”

Patel sought dismissal of the civil matter based upon his having been granted immunity in the criminal matter. The circuit court denied the request, so Patel filed a petition with the Second District Court of Appeal challenging the lower court’s decision. In 2016, the appeals court ruled that state law “guarantees a single ‘Stand Your Ground’ immunity determination for both criminal and civil actions.”

End of the discussion, right?

DIFFERENT COURTS HAVE DIFFERING OPINIONS

However, that ruling conflicted with a 2014 ruling from the Third District Court of Appeal that found an immunity determination at a hearing in a criminal prosecution cannot be used in a civil matter.

The Third District based its reasoning on the doctrine of “mutuality of parties,” whereby a judicial determination generally cannot be binding upon a person not a party to the proceedings. The civil plaintiff is not a party to the criminal proceedings—the State assumes that role.

Two different appellate courts with two different interpretations of the law. So, the matter went before the Florida Supreme Court.

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SETTLES THE MATTER

On September 28, 2017, the Supreme Court issued its decision.

The Supreme Court determined that a separate immunity process is required for both criminal and civil cases. The Court based its reasoning on their view that the Florida Legislature never clearly stated that one hearing would cover both determinations in the criminal and civil matter. And since a potential civil plaintiff is not a party to the criminal proceedings, they could not be bound by any immunity determination granted a criminal defendant. The Legislature did not purport to modify this “mutuality of parties doctrine” when it passed the “Stand Your Ground” law.

Additionally, the law provides that if defendants successfully argue they acted in self-defense in a civil matter, the plaintiff must pay the defendant’s legal fees. That would seem to indicate a separate hearing must be held in civil matters, apart from any criminal proceedings.

And the third reason the Supreme Court gave for reaching its decision is that the Legislature amended the Stand Your Ground law this year to create a separate burden of proof in criminal cases, different than the burden required in a civil matter, further distinguishing the two matters as separate determinations to be made.

CIVIL IMMUNITY STILL EXISTS BUT IT IS NO LONGER AUTOMATIC

The result of the Supreme Court’s decision is that even if you successfully argue immunity from prosecution in the criminal matter based upon the “Stand Your Ground” defense, you will not be given a pass in any civil matter based upon the same incident. The findings at the criminal immunity hearing cannot be used in any subsequent civil suit immunity determination.

The effect of the Supreme Court’s ruling is that the Stand Your Ground law does not provide you with immunity from a civil suit, even if your actions were found to be justified in a criminal proceeding resulting in immunity from criminal prosecution.

Civil immunity still exists, but you will have to fight the battle on two separate fronts. In essence you will have to have a trial within a trial to establish your right to civil immunity, another reason you need to have the legal protection offered by U.S. LawShield.

U.S. LawShield has your back and will provide legal defense for the criminal and civil trials as well as all immunity proceedings at no cost to you for attorneys fees.

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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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THE SAGA OF THE S.A.G.A. ACT

Congressman Collins introduces SAGA Act – Photo: Courtesy WKBW

 

The Second Amendment is among the most cherished of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, especially to law-abiding gun owners. But lately, liberals and anti-gunners have systematically been attacking the fundamental right to bear arms as provided for in the 2nd Amendment and reaffirmed by the United States Supreme Court in recent decisions.

One U.S. Congressman is attempting to rectify that situation. Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY) introduced H.R. 3576 on July 28, 2017, and it was immediately referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. The bill, known as the “Second Amendment Guarantee Act” (S.A.G.A. Act) seeks to amend title 18, United States Code. It would limit States and municipal governments’ ability to “regulate conduct, or impose penalties or taxes, in relation to rifles or shotguns” more stringent than is provided under Federal law.

As expected, the bill has come under attack.

GOVERNOR ATTACKS BILL AS “RISK TO MILLIONS”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calls the legislation a “blatant political ploy.” He issued a statement on July 31, 2017, that said, “This disturbing bill puts New Yorkers in harm’s way — and to make it worse, there is no basis for it,” Cuomo said. “None.”

Cuomo said the bill would put millions of people at risk and that Collins was simply beholden to the gun lobby and special interest groups.

The Governor is not the only outspoken opponent to this piece of legislation. The federal policy director for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Lindsay Nichols, called S.A.G.A. extreme and that it would impact almost every state.

DEATH KNELL TO NY’S SAFE ACT?

Gov. Cuomo has threatened to file a lawsuit if Congress passes S.A.G.A. because it would effectively negate New York State’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, Cuomo’s hallmark, major gun control law enacted in 2013. Under the SAFE Act, signed into law by Gov. Cuomo, the ban on certain rifles and shotguns was expanded to include semi-automatic guns with detachable magazines and also banned magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.

Rep. Collins introduced his bill in response to the SAFE Act, stating in his press conference, “This legislation would protect the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers that were unjustly taken away by Andrew Cuomo.” Collins went on to add, “I stand with the law-abiding citizens of this state that have been outraged by the SAFE Act and voice my commitment to roll back these regulations.

The Judiciary Committee assigned the bill to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on September 6, 2017, and is one of the 254 bills presently before this committee. There has been no action taken nor any hearing set on the S.A.G.A. Act.

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Self-Defense: Florida Driver Sues Uber Over Gun Policy

A Miami-area Uber driver has sued the popular ride-share company claiming its firearms policy violates his right to self-defense under Florida law.

Jose Mejia, 28, is a concealed-carry license holder who became an Uber driver in March 2016. But in 2015, the company banned guns in cars after an Uber driver shot and wounded a gunman attacking people in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago’s north side.

In his lawsuit, shared by the Courthouse News Service, Mejia claims Florida law ensures his right to carry a concealed firearm, while the Uber policy blocks it.

“My rights are being infringed on because I’m not able to lawfully carry my firearm,” Mejia told Miami’s Channel 10 News.

“I’m not able to protect myself or defend myself,” added the part-time student. “And remember we have regular cars—there’s not a divider between us and the passenger or nothing of that nature.”

The complaint didn’t list other members of the class-action lawsuit, but the document suggests tremendous growth potential. Uber says it’s now in 633 U.S. cities.

“While the exact number of members of the Class is unknown to Plaintiff (Mejia) at this time, based on the nature of the trade and commerce involved, Plaintiff reasonably believes that there are thousands of members in the Class,” the lawyers said in the complaint.

News outlets have asked Uber for comment about the lawsuit, but the company declined.

 

Jose Mejia. Photo from Facebook.
Jose Mejia. Photo from Facebook.

Uber and guns

San Francisco-based Uber transformed the vehicle-for-hire industry in 2009 with its ride-sharing smartphone app.

The mobile technology connects riders seeking better convenience and customer service with independent drivers trying to turn their cars into cash-generating machines.

Uber’s old firearms policy said drivers were expected to follow local, state, and federal gun laws while in service, which is what driver John Hendricks did in the April 2015 Chicago incident.

State prosecutors said Hendricks faced no charges because he was licensed to carry and acted in self-defense. The gunman, Everardo Custodio, pleaded guilty to weapons charges and went to prison.

The incident became a national story and, two months later, Uber issued a new policy.

According to the company’s website, “Our goal is to ensure that everyone has a safe and reliable ride. That’s why Uber prohibits riders and drivers from carrying firearms of any kind in a vehicle while using our app. Anyone who violates this policy may lose access to Uber.”

 

Florida self-defense law for cars

uber, david katz, florida
David Katz, Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield®

David Katz, an Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield®, reviewed the class-action complaint. Katz said Mejia’s lawyers based the case on a self-defense law passed by the Legislature in 2008.

“Its official name is the ‘Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008,’” Katz said. “That’s a long title, but what it says is people may have firearms for self-defense in their vehicles while on their bosses’ property. It also outlaws job discrimination resulting from gun ownership.

“The law’s ‘Legislative Intent’ affirms that people have—and I quote—a ‘constitutional right to keep and bear arms,’ and that ‘these rights are not abrogated by virtue of a citizen becoming a customer, employee, or invitee of a business entity.’”

 

Driver acted in self-defense

Mejia reminded Channel 10 about an incident last December when an Uber driver killed another man in self-defense in Aventura, about 18 miles north of Miami.

“Imagine,” he told Channel 10, “if he had not had his weapon—he wouldn’t be alive today, the passenger wouldn’t be alive today and then what’s Uber going to do? Issue a statement of apologies, and that’s it?

“What about his family?”

 

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

 

More news from Florida:

Legislative Update—Latest Laws Affecting Florida Gun Rights

Back to School: Firearms Laws You Need to Know in Florida

 

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Pro-Gun-Rights Bills Filed Early in Florida

gun rights legislation
Florida State Sen. Greg Steube

Undeterred by recent legislative setbacks, State Sen. Greg Steube has reintroduced legislation intended to boost gun rights and public safety in Florida.

In mid-August, Steube filed Senate Bills 120, 134, 148, and 152 for the Legislature’s 2018 session. The first three mirror gun rights bills Steube filed in 2017, but they got no traction.

“It’s not surprising Sen. Steube is rebounding with a roster of pro-public safety legislation,” said David Katz, Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield®. “He has been a stalwart in the Legislature—first in the House, and now in the Senate—for protecting Floridians’ Second Amendment rights.”

SB 120 would require businesses that ban the carrying of concealed firearms, even by those with CCW permits, to be responsible for the safety of people who would otherwise legally be carrying a gun.

In comments carried by TheBlaze, via the Tallahassee Democrat, Steube said, “If a private business wants to prohibit guns in their location that’s fine. But if you’re prohibiting me from carrying, and I’m licensed to carry, then you’re assuming the responsibility to have adequate security in place to protect me.”

Under SB 134, people with concealed-carry licenses would be able to keep their guns all the way up to a courthouse security checkpoint, and temporarily surrender them there, instead of leaving them in their vehicles.

SB 120 copies 2017’s SB 610, which, along with other pro-gun bills from Steube, died while stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee when the session adjourned.

Steube, a Sarasota Republican, is the chairman of that committee.

Other Steube bills that died there tried to legalize concealed carry at airports (SB 618), school or college athletic events (SB 622), local government meetings (SB 626), career training centers (SB 640), and public meetings at the Legislature (SB 620).

Also dead in the Judiciary Committee was Steube’s bill that would have legalized concealed weapons license holders to carry handguns openly (SB 644).

The same thing happened to another gun rights bill that intended to clarify that it’s not a crime to temporarily reveal a gun that started out concealed (SB 646). That bill also would have authorized Florida Cabinet members to carry concealed firearms if they are licensed to do so and don’t have full-time security from the Department of Law Enforcement.

Also for 2018, Steube filed SB 148, which revives key parts of SB 646. The new bill provides that “a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon or firearm does not violate certain provisions if the firearm is temporarily and openly displayed, etc.”

The fourth new gun bill, SB 152, would allow the electronic handling of payments or transmittal of processing fees for criminal history checks on potential gun buyers.

Steube’s 2017 bills drew opposition in the Judiciary Committee by four pro-gun-control Democrats and one Republican, State Sen. Anitere Flores, Katz explained.

Flores is considered the second most powerful Republican in the Senate, but she doesn’t agree with Steube on his gun legislation, Katz said.

“Consequently,” Katz added, “Sen. Steube’s bills had no chance of getting out of committee, and that’s where they died when the session adjourned.”

Steube’s SB 616, the original “courthouse bill” won the Senate’s approval with a 19-15 vote. Flores did not vote either way on that issue, Senate records show. But the House never considered it, so it died too.

“Look, these are high-profile issues with strong supporters and opponents on both sides,” Katz said. “They’re bound to be contentious, and that’s why it’s important that people like Greg are still fighting. He fully understands-self defense and the Second Amendment.”

The Legislature reconvenes Jan. 9, 2018, although committees, including the Senate Judiciary, start hearing bills in mid-September, according to official schedules.

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

 

 More news from Florida:

Back to School: Firearms Laws You Need to Know in Florida

 

 

 

 

 

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