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Currently Browsing: Carrying / Self-Defense

DC Gets 90 Days

We knew the District of Columbia would likely file for a stay to the ruling allowing carry, and they did yesterday near the close of business. This morning, the federal judge granted it, but only for 90 days instead of the requested 180 days. This is one reason most people were urging folks not to carry in DC while this case in process.

It will be interesting to see what happens come October 22 – the deadline. It’s clear that the DC police proved they could come up with a somewhat workable policy on the fly with multiple memos that covered most situations for lawful carry. I see no reason why the DC City Council can’t come up with a clearer policy similar to the Police Chief’s in 90 days – assuming they don’t just appeal this and hope for more favorable decisions.

The DC Firearms Carry Memo

Alan Gura posted the memo that went out the DC police officers about how to handle carry situations. He specifically posts this important detail with the memo:

The District has indicated that they will seek a stay of the decision. If a stay were to be granted, this policy would doubtless change, and I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to update this blog post in real time. So be careful out there.

Looking at the memo and the scenarios they outline, it does appear that anyone caught carrying will have all of their information taken down and the police will pursue “potential further investigation” even if they are perfectly lawful to carry at the time they stop you.

Carrying in DC

Well, we’re to Monday morning and it appears there’s no change in the situation from Saturday evening when it comes to the Washington, DC gun situation. In fact, last night Emily Miller was reporting on Twitter that the DC police have apparently conceded on the carry issue for the time being.

Dave Kopel notes that before you strap a gun on your hip and head into DC, you should probably try to find out more about this very fluid situation.

As of 1:30 a.m. ET on Monday morning, I was not able to find a copy of Chief Lanier’s order on the websites of the D.C. Police, D.C. Attorney General, or city government. It would be helpful for non-residents who seek to comply with the D.C. government’s interpretation of the current situation if the order were speedily made available to the public.

And he also reminds people that there are many laws on the books that were not invalidated by the court.

Nothing in the District Court’s opinion invalidates the D.C. ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Nothing in the opinion addresses the numerous federal and D.C. laws which prohibit carry in a huge number of locations within the District–such as most federal buildings, lots of federal property, as well as schools and colleges. (The D.C. “school” ban even encompasses a school of cosmetology whose students are all adults.)

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)

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