Hurricane brings the best and worst out of people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can The Government Confiscate My Firearms During a Disaster?

firearms confiscation

During the recent disaster wrought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and the impending landfall in Florida of Hurricane Irma, many of our members have been asking if the government can confiscate their firearms if the Governor or Federal Government declare a state of emergency.

Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the New Orleans police went door to door seeking people who rode out the storm in their homes to force them to comply with the forced evacuation ordered by the government. As part of the effort, the officers were also confiscating firearms.

This created an outrage among the law-abiding gun owners of the country and resulted in the passage of state and federal laws to prevent such confiscations from occurring in the future.

In 2006, Congress passed the DISASTER RECOVERY PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT OF 2006. The law was intended to prevent the government from seizing legally owned firearms during the time of a disaster. It was incorporated as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act 2007 and signed into law on October 4, 2006.

CAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONFISCATE MY FIREARMS?

This law amended 42 U.S.C 5207 Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to add the following provision:

SEC. 706. FIREARMS POLICIES.

(a) PROHIBITION ON CONFISCATION OF FIREARMS- No officer or employee of the United States (including any member of the uniformed services), or person operating pursuant to or under color of Federal law, or receiving Federal funds, or under control of any Federal official, or providing services to such an officer, employee, or other person, while acting in support of relief from a major disaster or emergency, may–

(1) temporarily or permanently seize, or authorize seizure of, any firearm the possession of which is not prohibited under Federal, State, or local law, other than for forfeiture in compliance with Federal law or as evidence in a criminal investigation;

(2) require registration of any firearm for which registration is not required by Federal, State, or local law;

(3) prohibit possession of any firearm, or promulgate any rule, regulation, or order prohibiting possession of any firearm, in any place or by any person where such possession is not otherwise prohibited by Federal, State, or local law; or

(4) prohibit the carrying of firearms by any person otherwise authorized to carry firearms under Federal, State, or local law, solely because such person is operating under the direction, control, or supervision of a Federal agency in support of relief from the major disaster or emergency.

(b) LIMITATION- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person in subsection (a) from requiring the temporary surrender of a firearm as a condition for entry into any mode of transportation used for rescue or evacuation during a major disaster or emergency, provided that such temporarily surrendered firearm is returned at the completion of such rescue or evacuation.

Following the lead of the federal government, most state legislatures adopted their own version of this law.

TEXAS LAW ON FIREARMS CONFISCATION

In Texas, Government Code Chapter 418 (EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT) permits the Governor to declare a State of Disaster which suspends certain state laws and regulations to allow local authorities to conduct rescue and recovery operations.

However, it does not allow for the seizure of any legally owned firearms, with limited exception.

Specifically,

Sec. 418.003.  LIMITATIONS.  This chapter does not:

(5)  except as provided by Section 418.184, authorize the seizure or confiscation of any firearm or ammunition from an individual who is lawfully carrying or possessing the firearm or ammunition;

Sec. 418.184.  FIREARMS.

(a)  A peace officer who is acting in the lawful execution of the officer’s official duties during a state of disaster may disarm an individual if the officer reasonably believes it is immediately necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual.

(b)  The peace officer shall return a firearm and any ammunition to an individual disarmed under Subsection (a) before ceasing to detain the individual unless the officer:

(1)  arrests the individual for engaging in criminal activity; or

(2)  seizes the firearm as evidence in a criminal investigation.

To read Governor Abbott’s actual declaration, click here.

FLORIDA LAW ON FIREARMS CONFISCATION   

Article IV, Section 1(a) of the Florida Constitution permits the Governor to issue an Executive Order to declare a State of Emergency in times of a natural disaster, allowing him to enact provisions of the State’s Emergency Management Plan.

For Hurricane Irma, the Executive Order provides specific provisions regarding the activities permissible to state and local officials during the emergency, as provided for in  Florida Statutes beginning with Chapter 252.31  “State Emergency Management Act.”

In part, the Executive Order states:

Section 2. I designate the Director of the Division of Emergency Management as the State Coordinating Officer for the duration of this emergency and direct him to execute the State’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and other response, recover, and mitigation plans necessary to cope with the emergency. Pursuant to section 252.36(1)(a), Florida Statutes, I delegate to the State Coordinating Officer the authority to exercise those powers delineated in sections 252.36(5)-(10), Florida Statutes, which he shall exercise as needed to meet this emergency, subject to the limitations of section 252.33, Florida Statutes.

But those powers have certain limitations with regards to firearms. In particular,

Chapter 252.36(5)(h) states the Governor may:

(h) Suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles. However, nothing contained in ss. 252.31-252.90 shall be construed to authorize the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed, unless a person is engaged in the commission of a criminal act.

FINAL WORD

So, there you have it. During our times of disaster, we can all focus on recovery and not have to worry about the authorities coming along and confiscating our firearms. The Second Amendment survives disasters.

Surprising Hurricane Harvey Heroes

 

[Addendum: Due inquiries from Members, this story was updated on Sept. 7.]

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS CONFISCATING FIREARMS

On Tuesday, the island’s Governor ordered the National Guard to confiscate weapons and ammo that may be required for them to carry out their mission.  What that specifically means is unclear. Also, the U.S. Virgin Islands IS NOT governed by the U.S. Constitution, but instead by the “Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands,” a federal law approved by Congress in 1954. The island does not have its own constitution yet.

The NRA has threatened to file a lawsuit, and here is their take:

In 1997, the chairman of the House Committee on Resources asked the General Accounting Office (GAO) to clarify just how the U.S. Constitutional applies to various “U.S. Insular Areas,” including the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its findings were inconclusive and unsettling, especially to those now living under Governor Mapp’s orders. Said the report:

Under the Insular Cases and subsequent decisions, rights other than fundamental rights, even though they may be stated in the Constitution, do not apply to the territories or possessions unless the Congress makes them applicable by legislation. The Congress can by law extend the coverage of the Constitution in part or in its entirety to a territory or possession, and has done so with respect to some territories. In the absence of such congressional action, however, only fundamental rights apply.

Digging further, one finds that only parts of the Fifth Amendment are considered to be “fundamental” based on court rulings, and none of the Sixth Amendment applies. And nothing is said in the 75-page report about the Second.

If the NRA does sue and their position is sustained by the courts that people living on the island are U.S. Citizens with full protection of the U.S. Constitution, the issue will be settled. If not, or no suit is filed, those living on the island will be subjected to having their weapons confiscated by the National Guard.

Texas Game Wardens: What You Need to Know

Hi, I’m Richard Hayes, newest Independent Program Attorney with Texas LawShield®. As a former felony prosecutor, I worked closely with several game wardens and the Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife. After speaking with them and other folks, I saw there were some common re-occurring misconceptions that you need to know about. [Transcript below video.]

 

Game Wardens Are Police

First, game wardens are police. That means that they’re licensed peace officers in the State of Texas, and, arguably, they are some of the most powerful police in the state. They can inspect, search, seize, and arrest just like a regular police officer. And while most of the time they’re enforcing the Texas Parks & Wildlife Code, they have the full authority to enforce all other Texas criminal laws, including the penal code.

So, remember, when you’re dealing with a Texas game warden, you’re dealing with the police.

Game Wardens Have Broad Search Powers

Next, Texas game wardens have broad search powers.

We’re all aware of our Fourth Amendment, Constitutionally-guaranteed right against unreasonable search and seizure. But what does the Fourth Amendment mean when [you are] confronted by a Texas game warden? When can they search you or your property?game wardens

If a Texas game warden reasonably believes that you or someone else is engaged in a regulated activity, they can inspect any device used to hunt or collect a wildlife resource. Also, they can search any container or receptacle that is capable of concealing a wildlife resource or those devices. This includes vehicles, boats, game bags, freezers, coolers, or even something as small as an Altoids box that could contain a lure.

Game Wardens’ Jurisdictions?

But what about a Texas game warden’s jurisdiction? Well, just as wildlife go between city and county lines, so does the jurisdiction of a Texas game warden. Texas game wardens’ jurisdiction is statewide.

Also, they can go on to not only public, but also private, property to enforce game and wildlife laws. Texas game wardens are also one of the primary law-enforcement officers for enforcing boating laws in Texas. That means that they can board your vessel to make sure that your water-safety equipment is in compliance.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re engaged in hunting or fishing. What it comes down to is the wildlife code is complicated, and it can feel arbitrary at times. What that means is well-intentioned hunters and anglers sometimes find themselves on the wrong side of the law, as the saying goes.

The eyes of Texas are upon you, and Texas game wardens will go to great lengths to catch hunters and anglers who are hunting and fishing unlawfully.

 

Hunter Shield Protects Hunters and Anglers

Did you know that more than 16,000 violations are recorded by Texas game wardens every year? Mistakes in the woods and on water happen, and while unintentional, you could still be breaking the law.

If you have questions about year-round bird hunting regulations, Texas LawShield is here to help. Members of Texas LawShield’s HunterShield program have access to attorneys to get the answers they need concerning not only year-round game, but hunting and fishing laws in general. In addition, members are granted discounted entry to Sportsman Law Seminars. Seminars include access to former game wardens and attorneys who are also seasoned hunters. Add HunterShield to your existing Texas LawShield membership for only $2.95 per month.

Not a member of Texas LawShield? Join today to expand your education as a sportsman and ensure your hunting and fishing questions are answered by trustworthy sources who know the law.

 

Open-Carry Legal Advice in the Wake of Charlottesville

Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor addresses the legal issue of whether you can legally open carry your firearm at a demonstration in Texas—and why such an action can get you unwanted police attention.

 

Sam: Welcome to U.S. LawShield and Texas LawShield’s Live Report on Facebook Live. From the news desk in Houston, I am Sam Malone.

Let me get to Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor, a woman who can break the internet as a lawyer. How are you Emily? What’s going on?

Emily: I’m great, how are you?

Sam: Fan-tastic. After the violence that took place in Virginia, where you had members of various hate groups, and had leftist groups in there fighting, in a car and a person died. What kind of advice do you have? Let’s say something like that had — there was a rally, going to be a protest in Texas. What advice do you have on concealed carry and open carry? Obviously you want to bring your gun, because there’s a lot of thugs who have been looting and burning, and doing all kinds of bad behavior when Trump was elected, when Trump was inaugurated. We saw it happen at Berkeley, Chicago. Anyway what advice do you have for going into a crowd where there’s a lot of anger and there could be violence with an open carry or concealed carry?

Emily: Well here’s what I’ll say first. There are many states that actually have laws against carrying a firearm into a permitted protest or rally. Texas is not one of those states. So in Texas, so long as you have that license to carry, you may have your weapon with you at one of these protests or rallies.

open carry
Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor

Just because the law says its okay doesn’t mean that it is without restriction or limitation and I would just issue some words of caution which is that in these situations, which I think can get very tense, if you have a visible weapon, you’re kind of opening the door to the guys on the other side of this protest. Because they see your weapon, and you get mad, and it gets heated, and you exchange words. It is really easy for them to call the cops up and say “Hey that guy with the 1911 on his belt, pulled it, and he pointed at me.” You’re sort of giving them a head start on making up these tales, which you might think that I sound really paranoid and crazy saying that, but we say it in road rage all the time where people will just, you know, get in a road rage, look at that pickup truck, and say “I bet there’s a gun in there” and calling the police and say “oh yeah, that red pickup, the crazy guy waved a gun at me” and it’s totally illegitimate but it requires a police response.

Sam: Emily Taylor, independent program attorney, U.S. LawShield. This is why you need U.S. LawShield folks. There are so many questions and so many answers, and they’re on call, and the entire lawyer staff, Emily included, are there to help you.

 

Attorney-Answered Emergency Hotline: Your Lifeline for Self-Defense

 

AR Rifles For Deer Hunting in Texas? Of Course!

AR-10s are the bigger brothers to the smaller caliber AR-15s,AR-10s are the bigger brothers to the smaller caliber AR-15s, and the 10’s are chambered in definite big-game calibers, usually.243 Win and up.

I was deer hunting in one of my favorite places in the world, the Mississippi Delta, near Yazoo City, Mississippi. And I was using one of my favorite types of deer-hunting firearms: an AR-style rifle. In this case, my rifle was a Remington R25 GenII, Remington’s second generation of the gun maker’s AR-10, chambered in .308 Win.

A good friend of mine farms several thousand acres of the Delta, and he has extended an open invitation to me to hunt his land. So, I was in the Delta trying to fill a deer tag. I spent the first two days trying out different locations. I saw whitetails, but all does and a few young four-point bucks.

Day Three found me in a large, elevated hunting stand built between a series of defunct fish ponds. My friend had dug a number of fish ponds years ago, five- and ten-acre impoundments where they raised catfish. But the fish business went bad, and the ponds were drained out many years ago. Now, they were large depressions ten feet deep or more, and overgrown with brush and small trees.

The levees were still in place, and from the sky the ponds looked like a half-dozen large rectangles sunk into the ground. The levees are also a great place to set up a hunting stand, as they over-looked the brushy ponds, the grass-covered levees where deer liked to feed, and the stands of oak beyond the ponds.

A half dozen does and their young showed up that morning to feed on levee grass. I ate lunch around noon, and was sitting back in my chair feeling like a nap was coming on, when I thought I saw a shadowy blur moving through the trees way beyond the fish ponds, 400 yards or more to my west. Through my binoculars, I saw a stout deer body drifting through dark brush, and then a second body. But I couldn’t see any horns. They were bucks, I was sure of that, but how big? And were they legal?

In this region of Mississippi, a buck’s antlers need to have a 12-inch inside spread or a 15-inch long main beam to be legal. As I glassed them, the two bucks moved to the edge of the levee and away from the shadows. I could see antlers now, and they both appeared to be legal deer. But 400 yards?

I got down from my stand as quietly as I could, and ducked down into the nearest fish pond for cover. I hiked along the edge of the levee for a couple hundred yards, and then eased up onto the bank to peek through the brush.

The two bucks had moved onto the levee now, and they had been joined by three does. The five animals fed on grasses and slowly walked away from me. I crawled onto the levee, and found a slightly raised area, sat down and cradled the Rem R25 rifle across my knees. I glassed the deer.

The Shot

I sat about midway along the longer bottom side of the rectangular fish pond. The deer were to my left and just rounding the far corner. A huge clump of brush filled much of the corner, and when deer moved behind the brush, I got into shooting position, my elbows on my knees, and rifle held forward.

The buck I wanted was the nice eight-pointer with a good-sized body. I lined up my Trijicon VCOG scope on the brush and waited. And waited. Finally, a doe stepped out from the cover, then another one, then my buck. I had to wait for the does to separate from him, and waited another couple of minutes until he turned and gave me a solid broadside shot, my heart thumping hard the whole time.

Slow down, I told myself. Breathe.

The shot, I estimated, was 200 yards in distance. I put the VCOG’s reticle at the top of the buck’s shoulder, let out my breath, and squeezed the trigger.

Given the way all the deer scattered, I really wasn’t sure if I’d made a hit or missed the buck altogether. I sat back and waited about ten minutes, re-running the shot through my mind’s eye. It had to be a hit, I told myself, and then I was sure I’d whiffed the shot altogether. But ten minutes later, standing at the far corner of the fish pond, I spotted large drops of blood on a muddy trail leading off the levee. I found my buck about 80 yards away, lying next to a big old oak, my .308 bullet having pierced his lungs.

He was a nice deer, a solid four-year old. He also carried a unique rack, with an extra stubby beam on the left side sticking out.

Only For Varmints?

Although AR-style rifles are very popular, many hunters still think they’re only good for varmints and predators like coyote. Not true!

First, AR-10’s are the bigger brothers to the smaller caliber AR-15’s, and the 10’s are chambered in definite big-game calibers, usually from .243 Win and up. I’ve taken more than a half dozen deer with AR-10s chambered in .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win. the last several years, from hunts in Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Popular AR-10 manufacturers include Daniel Defense, DPMS, Remington, and Smith & Wesson, to name but a few. I’ve found these rifles to be more than accurate and hard-hitting enough to drop a deer out to 300 yards and better.

Okay, you say the bigger-caliber ARs can do the job for deer. But not the very popular AR-15s chambered in .223 Rem. Too small a caliber, right?

With all due respect to those who feel this way, not true. I’ve harvested more than a dozen deer in the last few years using AR-15s, and most have been one-shot kills.

AR-15s and Deer

Deer hunting with .223-caliber rifles is legal in most states. There are of course, exceptions. Pennsylvania, for example, does not allow the use of semi-automatic rifles for any big game, deer included—though you can legally use AR-15s for coyotes and other such varmints. Both Michigan and Iowa have large portions of their respective deer hunting regions restricted to shotgun-only.

A few states have caliber restrictions, including Colorado, where a big-game hunter who uses a rifle must have one that’s .24 caliber or larger—so an AR-15 chambered in .223 Rem. is not legal there, either.

Even in states where you can use an AR-15 for big-game hunting, make sure you know how many rounds your rifle can legally hold. For instance, in Missouri, “self-loading” or semi-automatic firearms can’t have more than 11 rounds in them, including the one in the chamber. AR-15s are fine for use in Oklahoma deer hunting, but your magazine can’t hold more than seven rounds.

Hunting Smarts

Now, you have to be smart about hunting deer with the admittedly smallish .223 Rem round. Certain loads will not work, including lighter varmint loads with fast-expanding bullets or rounds with full-metal-jacketed bullets.

You need to use .223 rounds packing heavier bullets—60 grains and above—that hold together and expand deeply into the animal. Most of the major ammunition manufacturers make such rounds, including:

—Federal Premium’s Vital-Shok Trophy Bonded Tip, firing a 62-grain copper bullet:

—Remington’s Hyper-Sonic round with a 62-grain Core-Lokt Ultra-Bonded bullet; and

—Winchester’s 64-grain Power-Max Bonded round.

federal trophy bonded 223 rem
Federal Premium Vital-Shok Trophy Bonded .223 Rem. with a 62-grain copper bullet

Of course, a hunter needs to place his or her shot into the animal’s heart-lung area.

With a heavier .223 bullet, accurate shooting, and a good AR-15, outdoors enthusiasts can have a freezer full of venison.

Hunter Education

“In Texas, the law only prohibits hunting deer with rimfire ammunition,” said Edwin Walker, Independent Program Attorney for U.S. & Texas LawShield. “Otherwise, there is no restriction on using .223 rounds. The law also prohibits hunting with a fully automatic rifle, but does allow hunting with an AR-15 equipped with a suppressor.”

No matter what you are hunting, make sure you first educate yourself on the applicable regulations. Take that education one step further by adding Hunter Shield to your U.S. LawShield membership. Members in Hunter Shield states have access to educational materials, legal updates, and events, all designed to keep them hunting legally. Plus, each member receives the basic legal defense coverage that’s standard with the Hunter Shield program.

Make the decision today to become a more educated and responsible gun owner and hunter by adding Hunter Shield to your U.S. Law Shield membership. Not a member of U.S. LawShield? Join our family today and add Hunter Shield! —Brian McCombie, Contributor, U.S. & Texas LawShield blog

 

Sportsman Law Seminars to Kick-off RCC Series of Events

Learn more about Sportsman Law with Texas LawShield at the Redneck Country Club

Did you know that more than 16,000 violations are recorded by Texas Game Wardens every year? Mistakes in the woods and on water happen, and while unintentional, you could still be breaking the law. Learn more about sportsman law with Texas LawShield and Hunter Shield.

Texas wildlife laws are surprisingly complicated, which is why we are partnering with our good friends at the Redneck Country Club to bring you a series of unique seminar topics, starting with a Sportsman Law Seminar on August 15.

Come join us while our guest speakers guide you through a range of subjects, such as essential law every hunter and angler needs to know, sportsman mistakes, real stories from a retired Texas Game Warden, and complex game laws that even the most avid sportsmen may not know.

With Hunter Shield, it’s always a guided hunt.

Seats are limited, so reserve your spot today by clicking the link below.

Sportsman Law Seminar

Redneck Country Club

Stafford, TX 77477

08/15/2017

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

 

Special Note: Members: Remember to check your bimonthly newsletter for all of your Texas LawShield news as well as more RCC event dates and special topics.

 

 

Thanks for Coming to the Ted Nugent Concert!

Back to School: New Firearms Laws You Need to Know in Texas

 

Edwin Walker, Independent Program Attorney for Texas Law Shield:

Well, back-to-school time is almost here, so let’s talk a little bit about the relationship between schools and guns.

I’m Edwin Walker, Independent Program Attorney for Texas Law Shield. As of August 1st, 2017, it will become legal for LTC holders to take their concealed handguns onto the campuses and inside of the buildings of public junior colleges here in the state of Texas. This has been legal to do for universities since August 1st, 2016. This has now been extended to junior colleges.

This means that an LTC holder can carry their concealed handguns into previously prohibited areas at junior colleges, which include the buildings. Now a junior college may limit certain specific areas where a license holder would not be allowed to carry a concealed handgun, but those areas must be posted or the person’s given effective trespass notice under Texas Penal Code 30.06.

 

Back to School: No open carry on college campuses

It is very important to remember that any handgun carried anywhere on a campus by an LTC holder must be concealed. There is no open carry on college campuses. Also, it must be carried concealed in areas where carrying a handgun by an LTC holder is not prohibited. Those areas include parking lots, sidewalks, walkways, and streets. Remember, carrying on a college campus is a concealed-carry-only area.

It is legal for an LTC holder to have their handgun on the sidewalks, walkways, parking lots, and parking garages of a high school, middle school, or elementary school. Now, is it legal to have a firearm in your automobile while you are picking up or dropping off a child at a high school, middle school, or elementary school? This is a very interesting question because the law would seem to stay that it is, as parking lots are exempted from being premises under the law.

However, the law does contain a provision that a person is not allowed to bring a firearm onto the grounds of a school-sponsored activity. There have been some school districts across the state that have taken the position that the pick-up and drop-off of children is a school-sponsored activity that occurs on the grounds of the school. Therefore, possession of a firearm would be prohibited in these areas.

We disagree with this interpretation, but there have been several school districts that have put it into a written policy that this is their belief. Fortunately, we are unaware of anybody who has been arrested or prosecuted under this interpretation of the law. Hopefully, nobody will before the legislature has an opportunity to redress it.

 

School-sponsored activity that occurs outside of the area of a school

Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker back to school
Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker

Now, what about carrying at a school-sponsored activity that occurs outside of the area of a school? For example, let’s say that a license to carry holder is having dinner at a Dairy Queen. The high school basketball team just happens to show up for their after-game meal. Is this LTC holder now carrying at a school- sponsored event, and therefore would be prohibited? Well, the Texas Legislature in this past session had a bill filed that would clear up this area, and it would specify that a school-sponsored activity could only occur on property that is owned by the school, therefore exempting off-premises locations such as restaurants, parks, museums, etc. However, this bill did not pass.

So, does there continue to be a risk that an individual carries at a school-sponsored activity if they just happen to lawfully be somewhere and a school-sponsored activity happens upon them. In theory, this could happen. However, we have yet to see anybody arrested or prosecuted for this, and we continue to hope that it does not happen. Obviously, the defense would be that the individual did not intend to carry a school-sponsored activity. They just happened to be in a place where they were lawful to be, and the school-sponsored activity happened upon them. They did not intend to carry at the event.

One area where the Texas Legislature did provide some clarification is that as of September 1st, 2017, a school district or open enrollment charter school cannot have an employment policy that prohibits its employees who are LTC holders from keeping firearms or ammunition in their private motor vehicles that are parked on school parking lots. Now, keep in mind that the firearm does have to be concealed, it cannot be in plain view.

What this means is that while it has never been a criminal act for an employee of a school to have a handgun in their motor vehicle on a parking lot, it now cannot be considered to be a violation of employment rules or school policy.

So now a school district cannot discipline or fire an employee who is an LTC holder who lawfully keeps a handgun concealed in their motor vehicle on a school parking lot. This is a great win for school employees who previously had been prohibited under the threat of losing their job for lawfully carrying a handgun in their motor vehicle on a school parking lot.

To learn more, we invite Members and guests to attend special legislative update workshops presented by experienced attorneys as they discuss new laws regarding the carrying of firearms including changes to campus carry, the handgun licensing process and classes, and new laws regarding knives and explosive devices. To stay on the right side of the law, it is critical you stay current on all these changes. Don’t miss this opportunity. Click Gun Law Seminar to find events while seats are still available. The special seminars are labeled “Legislative Session Results in New Laws – Get the Update.”

 

School Principal Says Students Should Use Canned Food Against Attackers

 

Coyote-Hunting Gear Top 5 Picks: Use Them to Get More Colorado ‘Song Dogs’

Any hunt where a coyote appears on the scene becomes a coyote hunt. That’s the mantra of hunters across the country, and for good reason. Coyotes may be small—around 20 to 50 pounds, depending on the region—but they are highly adaptable and opportunistic predators. Their jaws exert as much as 300 pounds of bite pressure, and although they frequently take down their prey alone, a team or pack can easily kill full-grown deer. In fact, studies show coyotes have a 50% to 85% predation rate on fawns, a truly devastating number. They do incredible damage to livestock, boldly snatch pets from the suburbs, and have even attacked and killed people. One such case took place in 1981, when a coyote entered the suburbs and dragged three-year-old Kelly Keen from the driveway of her California home. Although her father managed to rescue her, she succumbed to her injuries.

Yes, hunting coyotes is fun, but it’s more than that. It’s part of your responsibility as a hunter. Save a fawn, kill a coyote, right? However, coyotes are sharp. They’re cunning. In order to call coyotes effectively, you need the right gear. Take a look at our top five pieces of gear for honing your coyote-hunting skills.

Alps Outdoorz Horizon Hunting Stool

A successful coyote hunt requires many skills but one of the most important is the ability to hold still. It’s easier to be still with a comfortable seat, and it’s a lot easier to see what’s coming if your seat is capable of moving. Enter the Alps Outdoorz Horizon Hunting Stool.

The Horizon has a 360-degree swivel seat—a seat that’s thickly padded, a rather important detail since coyote hunting involves quite a bit of sitting and waiting. At 21-inch tall this stool has enough height to boost you and your line of sight above overgrown grass and shrubs while keeping you somewhat low to the ground. The powder-coated steel frame is dark so it will not reflect sunlight and give you away, and it’s sturdy enough to give the stool a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds. If you, like many hunters, use binoculars, a thermal monocular, or other assorted smaller pieces of gear, there’s a place to set them in this stool: the Horizon has a storage bag underneath its circular seat.

The one caveat is the stool’s total weight of 10.5 pounds; although it isn’t incredibly heavy it is rather sizeable. There is good news, though, because the team at Alps Outdoorz planned for this by designing the stool to be packable. The Horizon quickly folds flat and can then be carried using the attached padded shoulder strap. If you want a solid hunting stool this type of a design is a good option due to its ability to rotate 360 degrees, the four-sided storage area, and its durability. You can find it on Alps Outdoorz’ website here.

ICOtec GC500 E-Caller

If you intend to call coyotes, not just hope one wanders into range, you should consider a good e-caller. ICOtec is a slightly more recent arrival on the e-calling scene but they’ve proven their effectiveness time and time again. Their top-of-the-line model is the GC500, a portable, programmable predator caller with a variety of features designed to help you bring in coyotes from a distance.

The GC500 is small compared to many other e-callers—8-inchx4-inchx6-inch—and lightweight at two pounds. The unit has a flat dark earth type of finish which has blended well in terrain from the deserts of Nevada to the greenery of Wisconsin. It comes with a handheld remote that’s small enough to slip in your pocket and has raised buttons that can be operated with or without gloves. If you’re hunting at night, the remote can be backlit, a feature that’s come in handy on numerous occasions, and the antenna can be raised or collapsed as needed. As for the antenna, it’s actually one of this e-caller’s greatest features. The GC500 is listed as having a remote range of up to 300 yards but I’ve had success using the remote beyond 300 yards. Even better, it’s not a line-of-sight remote, meaning there won’t be any frantic waving or contorting so you won’t be forced to blow your cover attempting to operate the e-caller.

This model holds up to 200 calls—a number far beyond what most coyote hunters will ever use—and runs on four AA batteries. Six calls can be saved as favorites and you can name your calls whatever you wish when you program it. It’s .mp3 and .wav compatible. And if you want to use it in sync with decoys, you can, because there’s a jack on the GC500 where their AD400 Attachable Predator Decoy can be attached. The AD400 has an impressively quiet motor and a variety of speeds—and you can control those speeds with your remote. Once you’ve seen a coyote come in hard charging at that decoy, you’ll see the value of a moving, flickering object for bringing them in.

The GC500 has good sound, solid range, and portability on its side. It’s also kept running for me in sub-zero temperatures, and that’s not something every e-caller can claim. Check it out here.

Nomad Outdoor Camo

Yes, you can call coyotes wearing jeans and a tee shirt. I’ve done it, as have countless others. That said, it is true you will increase your chances of success by wearing camouflage, and not just any camouflage. Select the pattern of your camo based on the area you’re hunting so you blend in to your greatest ability. Select the brand of your camo based on its quality, comfort, and usability. That’s where Nomad comes in.

Nomad Outdoor offers a line of camo designed by guys who hunt hard and know their stuff (having seen them at it, I feel comfortable vouching for their high experience level). A favorite of mine is the Nomad Syncrate Hoodie, a midweight half-zip fleece that’s perfect for lessening the power of cutting winds. The hood can act as an additional buffer from the elements or added concealment and the wicking material provides extra comfort. It has a variety of features from pit zips to a safety harness port to a pair of zippable slash pockets. But the real reason Nomad’s jackets are a staple in my admittedly vast camo collection is that the sleeves have extended, angled cuffs to cover the backs of your hands. Even when you’re on your gun, the backs of your hands remain covered.

The team of seasoned hunters at Nomad has designed an ever-expanding line of camo for all seasons in a variety of patterns. It’s tough, well-made, and even covers the cool factor (if you care about that). Check it out here.

MFK Game Calls

Whether you prefer diaphragm calls over e-callers or simply enjoy having more than one option for calling coyotes, MFK Game Calls have you covered. If you don’t make diaphragm calls a regular part of your coyote-calling repertoire, it’s time to start. It’s a tried-and-true method for creating surprisingly realistic sounds in real time.

The guys at MFK include call maker and founder Torry Cook and pro-staffer Jason Groseclose, a pair with a long list of calling championships under their belts. They agree the MFK Pretty Deadly is a good option for new callers while remaining a great all-around choice as well. The Pretty Deadly is a single-reed caller that produces barks, whimpers, and howls. Because it’s lighter, air and tongue pressure are easier to control. Torry’s favorite is the MFK Competition Howler which is heavier and able to handle greater pressure.

Mastering mouth calls is a good idea for all coyote hunter and diaphragm calls are ideal because they’re highly portable even in larger numbers and because they allow the hunter to carefully control vocalizations. With a Pretty Deadly you can emit a quick bark to encourage a coyote to pause or howl to bring them in at which point you can make the caller’s name come true. Check out MFK here.

Hornady Superformance V-MAX

As Hornady puts it, speed kills. And when your ammo is fast—and precise—you’re more likely to drop that coyote as it sprints across your field of vision. Hornady’s Superformance V-MAX line was designed with varmint hunters in mind and comes in some of the most popular coyote-hunting calibers on the market: .223 Rem 53 grain, .222 Rem 50 grain, .22-250 50 grain, and .243 Win 58 grain. If your caliber of choice isn’t included the almost 70-year-old company manufactures other hunting rounds more than capable of getting the job done.

Hornady Superformance V-MAX holds a special place in my heart because it has proven capable of providing greater precision than most other brands of ammo in the majority of rifles I’ve reviewed (and that’s a big number). Nailing sub-half MOA five-shot groups with .223 Rem is enough to win anyone over. Although the exact velocity will vary according to your rifle’s barrel length and other factors, the .223 Rem rounds have a muzzle velocity of 3465 feet per second from a 24-inch test barrel and a muzzle energy of 1413 foot-pounds. The .22-250 rounds have a muzzle velocity of 4000 feet per second from a 24-inch test barrel.

These rounds feature polymer-tipped bullets designed for match accuracy and swift fragmentation for a clean kill. You provide the shot placement; Hornady Superformance V-MAX does the rest. Check it out here.

Bottom Line

This is just a starting point. In addition to this gear you’d be wise to invest in thermal or night vision from a reputable company such as TNVC or FLIR, a face mask or face paint, and other items. Concealment through well-made gear and holding still is your goal. Then you need a quality rifle—check out the Remington 700—and calling equipment. Sure, you could wander into a clearing in jeans and a tee shirt toting your rifle and hope for the best, but wouldn’t you rather increase your chances? May the coyote-hunting odds be ever in your favor.

Make sure you know the hunting regulations in your state. U.S. Law Shield is here to help. Members of U.S. Law Shield’s Hunter Shield program have access to attorneys to get the answers as needed not only about coyote hunting but hunting and fishing in general. Members are also granted discounted entry into U.S. Law Shield Sportsman Law Seminars. Seminars include access to former game wardens and attorneys who are also seasoned hunters, among other things. Join today and broaden your hunting education as a sportsman and ensure your hunting and fishing questions are answered by trustworthy sources who are familiar with the law.

U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Douglas Richards would like to remind you that, “Coyotes are opportunists and will prey on whatever is available. They are classified as game species and may be hunted year-round with a small game or furbearer license. If a coyote enters your property you may kill it without a license if the coyote threatens your property or livestock. However, hunting coyotes is illegal within some cities like Denver, so be sure to check your local laws or contact my office for assistance.” —by Kat Ainsworth, Contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield Blog

 

 

 

Springfield Unveils New RO Elite 1911

One of our Texas & U.S. Law Shield facilities, Defender Outdoors in Fort Worth, recently covered the introduction of several new lines of Springfield Range Officer Elite handguns in Compact, Target, Champion, and Operator series. The new Springfield Armory  1911 models are chambered in 9mm and .45 ACP. The 1911 RO Elite is Springfield’s latest addition to their growing line of handguns, including the recently released XD-E. The Geneseo, IL-based firearm manufacturer is also offering a limited-time offer that all new RO Elite 1911’s ship with a Springfield Armory range bag, four additional magazines, a Springfield Armory holster, and a double mag pouch. For more information on the RO Elite 1911 line, read on. Read More…

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