Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not be Infringed

The right to carry, possess, and to transport firearms is built into the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which is the first 10 Amendments to our Constitution. While there are a variety of renditions of it, this is the actual language of the amendment as ratified by the Congress at the birth of our nation:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

In the Old West, the right to carry was never questioned. Why? If the political Left is correct and it's not a right, it's a privilege given by the State, then why on earth did the settlers and the ensuing Cowboys and Cowgirls carry without a thought? Now, there were times when a town here and there had a Marshal who was strong and good on the draw enough to require all weapons checked into his office when anyone rode into town. But for the most part, the right to carry was a given, and almost everyone carried without question or complaint.

Today: Politics and the "Right to Carry" Laws

There are millions of good American law-abiding citizens who have already obtained, or plan to obtain, a firearms concealed carry permit. For everyone who intends to carry their firearm, there are legal pitfalls that need to be addressed.

If you have carefully read (and re-read) the gun laws of your state of residence, you still may not have identified the many ways and situations that could sucker you into committing a felony offense... many of which apply even if you do not draw your weapon. You must accept the fact that you will be walking a legal tightrope when you carry.

And waiting until you are already in trouble to call a lawyer is very poor planning. I have the benefit of having the resources of a legal defense team on call 24/7, who also keep me well informed of state and national gun issues every week. There are several good legal protection services out there, and no matter which one you choose, the investment is well worth the money. Mine runs about $180/yr.

With that protection, they provide (if necessary): a prominent pro-Second Amendment layer, bail-bond, ballistics experts, forensic experts, psychology experts, compensation for work loss during trial, and many other necessities that you may never have thought of. And let's face it, when under the level of mental and physical stress that you would encounter after a shooting incident, you will not likely have the time or mental orientation to plan your legal defense. Even if you are not 'officially' placed under arrest at the scene, you still may be placed in handcuffs and put into a police car while they survey the scene and talk to witnesses. That's why it is VERY IMPORTANT that you be the FIRST party to call 911. And when you make that call, be sure to convey to the operator that you are the VICTIM! 911 dispatchers also tend to interpret that first call from a shooting incident as that of the innocent party or the victim.

Then immediately call your legal team before the police arrive. Even if you have no visible wounds, you may want to complain of chest pains or symptoms of shock. And if this is the first combat / shooting incident you have ever been involved in, those symptoms may very well be real, and you would do well to request medical attention, just in case.

Conflict between state and federal gun laws are another problem that could ruin your life... like a loaded gun within a school zone and/or premises. While Ohio has recently defined school 'premises' to end at the street side of the curb, the federal law still maintains that possession of firearms within 1,000 feet of a school is illegal, and is punishable as a felony. That means that a traffic stop in a school zone, while clearly off the defined school 'premises' in Ohio 'should' result in no more than a traffic ticket, it could turn into something else. If the cop who pulled you over wants to make an example of you, I have been told that he has the 'discretion' to charge you under the [federal] school zone statutes.

Another understandable misconception of the concealed carry law(s) is the term, “reciprocity”. Where certain states agree to honor carry permits issued in another state. Sadly, most of these states only honor the carry permit of a holder from outside that state [if] he or she has requested to become a 'resident' of that state so that they don't need to re-apply or take another CCW class when they move to that state. There is NO GUARANTEE that reciprocity allows you to start out in your home state with your old sidearm tucked away inside your waistband and then drive into or through a neighboring state that offers reciprocity. A traffic stop there could totally ruin your day.

Reciprocity is one issue that President Trump wanted to address in order to make it become universal between all the states. It would work in a similar way that the CDL license system for commercial drivers works. The licenses are issued in individual states, but with a few restrictions such as regarding fuel taxes, they are valid in every state. But woefully, with our present anti-gun Democrat-controlled Congress, this common sense idea will be set aside indefinitely.

The Gun Guy on concealed gun permits

You will also need to examine you own state gun laws to determine if you can legally carry one or more backup firearms. And that leads me to another facet of the Ohio laws (and those other states) that seems sort of strange.

Okay, so I have a CCW that evidently shows that my state trusts me to carry loaded firearms, but if the knife in my pocket does not meet certain mechanical and size qualifications, BOOM... I could get hit with a big fine or jail time. And the state of Ohio does not have a very definitive explanation of what is deemed as legal regarding knives. The law specifies that a knife cannot be 'spring assisted' or have 'serrated' edges... but the description of legal length of the blade is vague. And it mentions that each municipality [may] determine and enforce their own rules on blade length. What is legal in Akron, OH may not be legal in Mansfield or Cleveland.

Yep... it takes a lot of study and the application of good old fashioned horse sense to keep yourself within the law when you carry a firearm. And I think maybe that the best advice regarding concealed carry came from one member of my legal team. “When you are carrying a firearm, the best course of action is to do exactly what you would do if you were [not] carrying a firearm.” If you can, just walk away and let the other guy have his imagined victory, you both will be much better off. Or to put it another way, AVOID and EVADE.

The good thing about carrying a firearm is that you always have the option NOT to use it. But if you don't carry, you do NOT have the option to use it to save you from death or great bodily harm, or that of a loved one or friend who might be with you when a potentially deadly conflict occurs.

Carry Often. Carry Safe!
Gary Miller

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