Currently Browsing: Carrying / Self-Defense

Winning with a Case Dismissal

From NRA today:

Earlier this year, the National Rifle Association (NRA) sponsored litigation against the state of Illinois for its unconstitutional system of denying concealed carry licenses without any notice or opportunity to be heard. Before the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) filed suit with NRA backing, many residents were denied the right to carry a firearm without any indication as to why the state had concluded they were a danger to themselves or others. Furthermore, the state of Illinois also denied these individuals any opportunity to rebut this unsubstantiated conclusion.

The ISRA, with the backing of the NRA, challenged this scheme as a violation of due process, and the State effectively conceded as much by ending this unfair treatment of law-abiding Illinois citizens. In light of this act of submission by Illinois, the current suit has been voluntarily dismissed.

Responding to Parking Lot Law Critics

Pennsylvania is pushing a parking lot law to protect employees who carry and lock their firearms in their cars while at work, and at least one newspaper editorial writer isn’t too happy with it. Rather than ignoring it, the primary sponsor, Sen. Rich Alloway, is responding directly to the criticism.

Currently, many of our friends and neighbors risk losing their jobs by carrying their firearm with them in their vehicle on their way to work. Twenty-three states have already enacted laws to protect their citizens from losing their jobs, and Pennsylvania should join them.

Today, daily commutes are punctuated by short errands.

Whether at the dry cleaners or at the grocery store, headlines remind us that crime can, and does happen anywhere. Furthermore, many work shifts are during non-traditional hours, when crimes are potentially more likely to occur.

Mr. Major dismisses these concerns as “What if factors” that needlessly frighten people. The irony is that his newspaper is regularly reporting violent crimes, that clearly demonstrate that sometimes the “What if’s” do occur.

Target’s Statement on Open Carry

From Target:

The leadership team has been weighing a complex issue, and I want to be sure everyone understands our thoughts and ultimate decision.

As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit “open carry” should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target – even in communities where it is permitted by law.

We’ve listened carefully to the nuances of this debate and respect the protected rights of everyone involved. In return, we are asking for help in fulfilling our goal to create an atmosphere that is safe and inviting for our guests and team members.

This is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.

So, they’ve made clearly that they will continue to follow local laws on the issue, and they are specifically targeting “open carry” in their statement. This goes to that carrying guns just to get attention is the problem.

It’s funny to read some of the “mommy” comments on the post. Most are pretty much in the “we’re declaring victory even though the said they would keep their same policy” category, but one woman seems to realize that the stores aren’t going to actually enact a real gun ban:

Nice request but when they show up carrying today, in droves, to protest your decision, what are you going to do? Will you ask them nicely to leave (they won’t) or will you have them removed from your private property?

UPDATE: There’s this article that notes an important statement from Target’s spokeswoman:

Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, said the retailer will not post signs at its stores asking people not to bring guns inside. “It is not a ban,” she said. “There is no prohibition.”

Fairfax County Playing Games with License Holders

Virginia gun lawyer John Frazer has information for Fairfax County concealed carry permit holders who may be facing minor misdemeanor charges that won’t impact their eligibility. According to John:

Fairfax County gun owners should be aware that the Circuit Court clerk’s office may treat concealed carry permit applications as incomplete, and forward them to a judge for review, based on disclosure of pending criminal charges. …

People whose applications are denied in this situation can either wait until their pending charge is resolved, or challenge the denial in an ore tenus (“word of mouth”) hearing in circuit court.

There’s a little more that people who might know someone in this situation should read.

When I renewed my permit there, they tried to play games with me, too. I was told that I would hear back in just beyond the deadline. I asked her if she meant to say that they would have a permit to me before the deadline, and it’s clear she was not happy about an informed applicant. I got my renewal on the last possible day.

Of course, she was also probably a little angry at me because when I said I was renewing, but the county it was issued from was Montgomery County, she went off about how it’s not a renewal from another state and how I needed to learn my new local laws, etc. When she stopped, I finally let her know that there is, in fact, a Montgomery County in Virginia that issues Virginia carry licenses. (h/t to VSSA)

Who Needs a Gun?

ChasingBearI don’t know about you, but I’d certainly feel safer with my S&W 629 on my hip, loaded with .44 Magnum soft points. I’d hate to experience this kind encounter with nothing better than frantically searching for a rock, or hoping if I couldn’t outrun the bear, I could at least outrun my jogging partner.

Sadly, a .44 revolver is not an option for Canadians. Spray would have probably been enough to dissuade this bear, in the absence of a firearm, though, and I don’t think even Canada restricts bear spray. Don’t go out into the woods unprepared.

Concealed Carry Holder Called “Hero” by Police

We’ve been busy with family lately, and we’re just now catching up on the news of the weekend. Included with that is the news of what happened in Vegas. Interestingly, catching up on the story after the police have had time to investigate a bit more, you see different information from what is often left out of “breaking” coverage. One is that the victim at Wal-Mart was a concealed carry holder who actually successfully confronted the male shooter, but didn’t realize that he had a partner in the crime.

From the report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, police say that the concealed carry holder confronted the male shooter while the female shooter was pushing a shopping cart. She then slipped behind the concealed carry holder and shot him at close range, unfortunately.

“He had no idea the wife was walking behind him,” the police official said of the murdered man. “This guy (Wilcox) was not some idiot with a gun. “He had no idea the wife was walking behind him,” the police official said of the murdered man. “This guy (Wilcox) was not some idiot with a gun. To me, he was a hero. He was trying to stop an active shooter.””

Before the Gun Bans Came the Hatpin Bans

Before women got on board with the right to defend themselves with firearms, they turned to another tool which was widely available to them and could be easily concealed while still easily accessible – the hatpin.

Smithsonian ran a feature in April about the menace of women armed with hatpins. When Leoti Blaker boarded a stage coach in NYC in 1903, an older man was next to her. She noticed that at every bump, he seemed to move closer. Finally, he ended up squeezed next to her and then suddenly moved his arm to wrap around her lower back. Needless to say, this was beyond inappropriate for the time, and the grab was not welcomed at all. So, she pulled out her hatpin and “plunged it into the meat of the man’s arm.” He withdrew his arm, suddenly found plenty of space to move away before he jumped off at the next stop.

Blaker apparently told the local paper, “I’ve heard about Broadway mashers and ‘L’ mashers, but I didn’t know Fifth Avenue had a particular brand of its own…. If New York women will tolerate mashing, Kansas girls will not.”

The piece highlights that the press went wild with stories around of women using hatpins for self-defense, and men in government did not react well. The story highlights that the Chicago Vice Commission earned the ire of women when they turned the blame for assaults on the victims and argued “that unchaperoned women should dress as modestly as possible—no painted cheeks or glimpse of ankle—in order to avoid unwanted attention.” When women objected to being told that they were to blame for attacks and promoted the idea of using self-defense by hatpin, that’s when the men decided that they had enough.

Members of the press helped push a panic on the matter. The magazine spotlights one newspaper’s sarcastic response to women thinking they can defend themselves: “We look for the new and imported Colt’s hatpin or the Smith and Wesson Quick-action Pin.” When I searched for the term in the newspaper archives online, I found plenty of other articles that could have come from today’s anti-gun op-eds. A Chicago Record Herald editorial that also ran in a 1910 copy of the Savannah Tribune (GA) argued:

People take greater risks every day of their lives from other things than hat pins. But that isn’t the point. The hat pin risk is stupid, needless and reckless. It imperils eye, and one single human eye is worth more than all the dagger hat pins in the world.

No woman with any regard for other people’s rights would wear one. No woman who does wear one is entitled to any complaint if the city finds a good legal means of stopping her.

Doesn’t that sound like the argument that you don’t “need” a semi-automatic rifle? And then they add in the public shaming by arguing that only women who don’t respect other people would wear them, and they certainly don’t deserve a voice in opposing any new laws targeting their right to hatpins and self-defense.

Only, in 1910, women didn’t have any means to stand up to these men who wanted them defenseless because women didn’t have a right to vote. Chicago was one of the higher profile cities to target women’s hat pins in 1910 when Alderman Herman J Bauler pushed an ordinance that would declare the pins a “public nuisance.” The Montgomery Advertiser (AL) reported on his comments:

Hidden in a mass of plumage or hair [the hatpin] comes under the designation of concealed weapons.

Bauler got his way. By a vote of 68-2, Chicago classified wearing any hatpin with an exposed length of more than half an inch beyond the hat in public as a misdemeanor where women were subject to arrest and fined $50 ($1231.80 in 2013 dollars, according to an inflation calculator). Women booed and hissed the vote, but what could they do?

In Missouri, lawmakers pulled victims of hatpin “accidents” out of the woodwork to promote their effort to ban the tools. They pushed the stories in the media and used the argument that making their lives easier was more important than women securing their hats or having access to these “concealed weapons.” According to the Smithsonian piece, other cities also opted to regulate hatpin use or size, including Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and New Orleans.

By 1912, the anti-hatpin hysteria in men was making the millinery trade nervous and The Millinery Trade Review ran a piece that was picked up by the Idaho Stateman stating:

The millinery trade has the opportunity of making a concession to the public that will be appreciated and that is the reducing the size of the “deadly hat pin,” as the long hat pin is now termed by the press and men folk in general. …. Importers and manufacturers should produce a shorter pin, or a cap to fit on the end of a long pin, which could be attached to the hat by a light weight chain, so as to extend to the end of the pin wherever it protrudes from the hat. By making such a concession the trade would remove the excuse for the law makers of the country passing foolish laws to regulate the size of the hat pin.

Of course, these added features would only drive the cost of hatpins up so that poor women wouldn’t have access to “legal” hatpins. One reference I found mentioned that these lower income women were forced to use things like small pieces of potato to try and comply with the law. Wow, doesn’t that sound just like the war on cheaper handguns and the effort to mandate “smart” guns that many people can’t afford?

Ultimately, the hatpin fears largely went away when World War I broke out. Afterwards, the next great female to fear wasn’t one armed with a hatpin, but flappers, according to Smithsonian.

For more information on hatpins, here’s a guide on how to wear one (mostly with later style hats, so the pins don’t need to be as long) and there is even The American Hatpin Society for collectors. (h/t to Sarah who I know from the Annual Firearms Law Seminar for linking the Smithsonian piece when it came out and recognizing the same types of comparisons to anti-gun arguments today)

When Crafting Meets Concealed Carry

Did you know that there are more than 1,300 products that show up when you search Etsy for the term “gun holster”?

I guess I should be thrilled at so many entrepreneurs entering the carry market, but I have to admit that some leave me wondering if they understand the word “concealed” or “carry” in their product description.

For example, I checked out this all lace holster wondering just how the hell there could be any retention (it’s only based on how tightly you wrap it around your body) and then noticed the video on the website where the guns were printing horribly. Not to mention, while it’s shown in a way that implies it’s safe to carry your keys alongside the gun, that’s just assuming that you don’t remove the lining of the single pocket and leave the trigger guarded by a thin piece of lace. That seems like quite the negligent discharge waiting to happen. That is certainly not the only flimsy piece of lace billing itself as a method to carry a gun available on Etsy.

Then there’s one product known as the “Rocker Gun Holster” that seems to forget that carry means carrying an actual gun. Well, until I realized the shop owner is from Europe and thought that would make a witty name for a wearable purse. Anyone want to bet that the owner has received inquiries on what size gun the “holster” fits? That would probably be a pretty funny conversation to see.

Another one that stuck out to me was a piece of vinyl-wrapped foam that’s supposed to turn every purse into a carry purse. At least it covers the trigger, but I’ll be honest and say that it doesn’t exactly look like a product that’s great for the draw.

Regardless, you have to wonder what Etsy crafters think about selling alongside the holster entrepreneurs trying to pitch their products to the masses of new gun owners.

Kathleen Kane Rescinds Utah Reciprocity

I don’t have a story to link to here, but it appears that Kathleen Kane’s office has quietly dumped our reciprocity agreement with the State of Utah. You will notice it is absent on the AG site, and if you look at handgun, it notes at the bottom that as of yesterday, “Pennsylvania NO Longer Honors Utah.” That she would do this quietly is unconscionable, because it makes it far more likely someone is going to end up in prison because they were unaware of the reciprocity change. This isn’t the first reciprocity agreement she has revoked. On July 29th of last year, the same day that Pennsylvania gained statutory reciprocity with Kansas, she rescinded our reciprocity agreement with Idaho.

The Attorney General’s office, under state law, has an duty to sign reciprocity agreements in 6109(k):

(k)  Reciprocity.–

(1)  The Attorney General shall have the power and duty to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states providing for the mutual recognition of a license to carry a firearm issued by the Commonwealth and a license or permit to carry a firearm issued by the other state. To carry out this duty, the Attorney General is authorized to negotiate reciprocity agreements and grant recognition of a license or permit to carry a firearm issued by another state.

(2)  The Attorney General shall report to the General Assembly within 180 days of the effective date of this paragraph and annually thereafter concerning the agreements which have been consummated under this subsection.

I’d argue that concurrent with that duty is not to exit reciprocity agreements that have been negotiated under this subsection. I’d note that Pennsylvanians can still carry in Utah and Idaho, because those states honor any other state permit. But residents of Utah and Idaho may no longer lawfully carry in Pennsylvania. For residents of those states, I’m very sorry, but elections have consequences, and when we elect a Bloomberg-bought Attorney General, these are the wages.

I’d really like to see NRA put some legislative muscle into fixing this problem. First suggestion would be to blow up 6106(b)(15)(ii):

(15)  Any person who possesses a valid and lawfully issued license or permit to carry a firearm which has been issued under the laws of another state, regardless of whether a reciprocity agreement exists between the Commonwealth and the state under section 6109(k), provided:

(i)  The state provides a reciprocal privilege for individuals licensed to carry firearms under section 6109.

(ii)  The Attorney General has determined that the firearm laws of the state are similar to the firearm laws of this Commonwealth.

And by clarifying 6109(k) to make clear that the Attorney General may not revise or rescind existing agreements unless the reciprocal state requests it, or there has been a change in the reciprocal state’s statutory law. Most importantly, I think we all need to work to make sure Kathleen Kane becomes a one-term Attorney General.

UPDATE: Here’s a copy of the letter sent to Utah. I thought she had tweaked all the agreements with states that issued to non-residents so that PA would not recognize non-resident permits? Why suddenly get rid of the whole thing? Also, Superior Court has already ruled that PA residents must have a PA LTC to carry in PA. This is just a way to screw us and to please her patron Bloomberg, if you ask me.

Stopping Active Shooters

Cam Edwards interviewed Dr. Eric Dietz, director of Purdue University’s Homeland Security Institute, who studied various responses to active shooters in schools. According to the research, the presence of a school resource officer improved response time by 80 percent over waiting for police, and they found that casualties could be cut by 2/3 if a school resource officer had access to a firearm during an active shooter situation.

Along these lines, NRA is actually putting up cash to help schools deal with safety concerns. Kyle Weaver, director of General Operations, announced that the School Shield program distributed over $200,000 in grants around the country this year. He said that these grant recipients and their projects would be featured on NRA News over the coming year.

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