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Each day, the COVID-19 pandemic brings new challenges, and with various curfews and stay-at-home orders in place, it has become vitally important to stay on top of your legal rights.

Your Second Amendment rights haven’t changed, but there are questions to be answered as government officials ask people to limit some of their freedoms.

To be completely clear, while there are still a few states without orders in place, many stay-at-home orders specifically include language specifying that noncompliance will be enforced through criminal or civil penalties. The range of these penalties is broad, but can include fines up to $25,000, or even a year in prison. So far, though, most law enforcement appears to be seeking compliance rather than making arrests. 

Arrests often had other aggravating factors like the defendant was simultaneously committing other crimes, or not complying with law enforcement.

Police have been seen giving multiple warnings to disperse and go home before making the arrest. Many of those charged were simply cited and released.

With that in mind, it begs the question: what happens if I’m carrying while violating a stay-at-home order?

If you are stopped by police or come across a roadblock checking essential worker guidelines, the pre-COVID rules pertaining to your right to carry a gun for protection and what you need to tell authorities about your firearm haven’t changed.  We have addressed several of the most important legal issues involved with a traffic stop in prior newsletters.  Here are the links to the articles and videos that we believe will help keep you prepared for these scenarios:

“This emergency situation is really a call-to-action for any member with questions to call U.S. LawShield, speak to an attorney, and stay informed,” U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor said. “If something does change—let’s say New Jersey passes its proposed firearm restrictions during this emergency—you need to know that information. Just because we’re in an emergency isn’t an excuse for not knowing.”

“Additionally, every state has different gun disclosure laws that have likely not changed because of the pandemic. It’s always best to check.”

That being said, things can change quickly.

“There are lawmakers who aren’t letting this crisis go to waste and we’re seeing a renewed push for gun control,” U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney Richard Hayes said. “We are closely monitoring everything.”

While most tend to their families, attorneys like Hayes and Taylor are watching proposed legislation cropping up since the start of the pandemic.

No matter what the future brings, U.S. LawShield remains vigilant in protecting our members.

Stay in touch and stay informed.

If you have any questions regarding being stopped during a stay-at-home order in your state, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.