Saturday, July 9, 2016

Philando Castile case, and some advice

Philando Castile shooting and some advice:
by jon gutmacher

On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile, an African American male,  was shot four times during a routine daytime traffic stop by a police officer in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.  According to Diamond Reynolds,  the girlfriend of Mr. Castile, who was in the vehicle -- Mr. Castile had informed the officer he had a firearm and was legally licensed to carry it, and was reaching for his wallet for his driver's license in response to the officer's request.  At that point, some reports indicate the officer told Castile not to move, and Mr. Castile may have moved his hands slightly at which point the officer shot him, resulting in his death.  The story is tragic.  For CWL holders -- it is a very serious reminder that once a police officer knows there is a "gun" involved in almost any encounter -- there may be a strong possibility of an over-reaction or total misunderstanding by the police officer that results in tragedy to the civilian involved -- no matter what their race or nationality.  I have seen several other YouTube video's where an over-reaction was patent.  On the other hand,  police officers must make split second decisions where their lives are on the line -- and increasingly -- they are the targets.

For that reason,  I urge you to use great caution, and  read my earlier article on the Alton Sterling case.  No matter what the actual situation is -- things have gotten out of hand for everyone -- police and citizens.  In any encounter with police officers I have strongly recommended that before you reach for anything -- anywhere -- that you first ask the officer for permission to do so . . .  and wait for their response and OK, before doing so. My book goes into greater detail -- but this very small piece of advice may advert a tragedy -- for all involved.

And just for the record -- I don't know if the facts are as Ms. Reynolds has said, or not.  It may be entirely different.  But, it is critical for everyone -- no matter your race or nationality -- that this case be investigated before jumping to any conclusions.  Many times the reaction of the police in using deadly force -- was -- the right and proper action.  If somebody is reaching for a gun, or it really looks like it -- there's normally not much of a choice.  But again, only time will tell.  For now,  I'll wait, and repeat my warning:   DON'T REACH -- ASK FIRST!

Friday, July 8, 2016

With deepest sympathy for to the officers who lost their lives in Dallas

With deepest sympathy to the families of the officers injured, and who lost their lives last night in the Dallas sniper shootings.  They Serve and Protect -- and in so doing, paid the ultimate sacrifice doing their duty.  We are humbled by their service, and pray for their families.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Alton Sterling shooting in Baton Rouge on July 5, 2016

Some Comments on the Alton Sterling shooting

Knowing me, you're probably thinking "Gutmacher is gonna say this was a justified shooting -- he was going for his gun".   But, Gutmacher isn't gonna say that.  What I'm going to say is very different, and an important warning to anybody -- any color -- who comes in contact with the police:

Obey their instructions to the letter!

Don't argue!   Don't question!   (at least not until the situation has fully stabilized)

You could get shot if you don't!

Here's what I glean from the few seconds of video available and some of the witness accounts:

Alton Sterling had a firearm for self protection.  He had some type of verbal confrontation with another individual, and displayed the fact he was carrying a pistol.  Probably by pulling away his shirt and showing it.  He was likely justified in doing so.  However, no matter what -- the other individual called the police that he was threatened by a guy in the parking lot with a gun -- and they responded.

The police arrive, and Sterling is either confused by their commands, or didn't respond fast enough -- or maybe he even had the gaul to ask them what they were messing with him for.  They took that as "resistance", and Tasered him. They then do a take down.  Did the Taser work???   I don't know.  Was he confused by the Taser?  Probably.   Does he reach for his gun, or is he just moving around because two guys are sitting on him, physically causing him pain???  Again -- I don't know.  I really couldn't tell that from the video I saw.  But . . .  I will tell you the following:

When police respond to a gun incident -- they are on a HIGH LEVEL of caution!  The problem being:  lots of cops are being shot these days -- and most incidents (if you actually take the time to study them) transpire in seconds or fractions of seconds.  It can take less than two seconds to draw and fire a weapon -- depending where it is.  I've seen the videos, and read the reports.  Shit happens, and it happens amazingly fast.  Cops know that better than anyone.

So,  the cops arrive -- almost for sure on a high level of awareness -- ready for anything.   If Sterling was really just an innocent guy who happened to legally show a gun to avoid a more serious confrontation -- he is probably confused by their arrival, or at least thinks he can explain it away. But, that's not how it works.

The cops are likely going to shout orders at him, and maybe the orders are conflicting.  Maybe he doesn't understand them.  Maybe he is temporarily confused, and not sure what the hell to do.  Maybe he tries to explain.  Maybe he asks them why they are picking on him, or whatever.



Because as stupid as this may sound:  that is considered "resistance" by law officers.

It's not the world of twenty years ago!   You can't ask a cop to explain himself anymore.  Their training is for you to instantly obey them without question.  Many of them don't give you a chance to even mentally process what they're telling you to do.  If that's the situation -- you're in for a really bad time.  Black.  White.  Hispanic.  It doesn't matter -- suddenly their training is you're "resisting"!!!  And when you resist -- they react!


Well . . .   again . . .   welcome to the world since the 1980, and the "War on Drugs".   Because the "War on Drugs" became the war on everyone who smoked a joint,  and then a war on cops, and then . . .    well . . .  you get the point:   Shit happens!  It got worse all around.

Wake up!  It is NOT a peaceful world out there!   Cops who make mistakes get shot, or worse.   And quite frankly -- African American and Hispanics make up the majority of their incidents -- so they focus on that to that extent.  It's just common sense police work.   Unfortunately -- if you're not a criminal, and react like most normal folks would to "what's this all about" -- you are in for a world of hurt!  And many times -- had things been handled differently -- none of this shit would have happened.  On the other hand -- cops have died because of less.

Is there an answer???

Well -- besides -- freeze, or do whatever the fuck they say -- without question . . .  the answer is:

I don't know!

I've seen the video's where cops tried to be nice, and that let the bad guy get the drop on them before they could react.  More than one cop died because of that.  Some, more fortunate, were able to return fire, or defend themselves and even prevail.  But, many more were severely injured.  That's the problem!  They don't know if you're a good guy or a bad guy!

So -- should Alton Sterling have been shot?
Again -- I don't know.  But,  to be honest -- it could all have been a horrible mistake gone totally wrong.  There's got to be a better way!  I just don't know what that is.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Answers to another email (I get lots of em)

Questions with answers following:

Question:  I am wondering if you might be so kind to shed some light on 3 questions ;

1. I live in a condo with other neighbor entry doors close by - if I answer my door and DO NOT exit my doorway, can I keep my firearm on my side visible because I am still in my home?

ANSWER:  as long as not done in a threatening manner,  therefore it might be better that the gun was kept behind you.

2. I got the impression from your book that I could take my firearm out briefly to show, say a friend for a moment or 2. What I mean in detail is; can I remove my firearm from my holster to briefly show it, in my hand? Of course common sense would prevail - not in a public place or with people nearby to cause unwanted fear. But if I took it out to show a friend and someone unaware saw me and called the police - would I have a problem? 

ANSWER:  the statute allows it, but there have been reports of folks arrested for this by stupid cops.  I therefore advise against it except within your home, on the range, or some other suitable place.

3. If a dog is actually biting me - am I legal to shoot the dog ? 

ANSWER:  maybe.  A dog bite can be pretty serious, and it would depend on the nature of the attack.  You'd probably want to shoot before it bit you if it was obviously about to attack and could so some real damage.  But, again, it depends on the dog.  I don't think you'd want to shoot a Yorkie.  Quite frankly a good kick as it approaches can do wonders -- I've done it.  Pepper spray works better than the gun in many instances, especially to prevent an attack -- which is why I often carry it when walking my dog -- plus it's cheap, and very easy to carry in any type clothing.  Remember,  it is VERY important to have a non-lethal weapon to use in many instances where deadly force would be illegal or marginal.

Is the NFA trust dead?

      On July 13, 2016,  ATF Rule 41-F does into effect, and the result of this eliminates the need for a Chief Law Enforcement approval on all NFA (National Firearms Act) purchases, replacing it with a notification requirement to the Chief Law Enforcement officer, instead.  You still need a pre-approval from ATF to take possession of any NFA firearm, do the form, pay the fee, and a few other requirements that are no big deal.

      So,  do you really need an NFA trust after July 12, 2016?

      Well . . .  maybe,  if you really want a trust for estate planning purposes.  In such a situation,  you will want a complex trust plan completed by an attorney who primarily does trust, estate, and probate work. There's a Florida board certification for that -- so,  I'd be looking for that guy or gal to do it.

     Of course,  individual ownership still will allow you to specify who gets the NFA firearms in a will.  If you own them -- having even a simple will with that specification would be a very good idea, otherwise it would go into probate, and that might cause issues.  Likewise,  whoever you designate in the will should not be a "prohibited person".   Again,  a consult with a good probate/estate lawyer might be helpful.

      Personally,  I think I'd rather have individual ownership now, rather than an NFA trust.  However, that means that I must be personally present for anyone else to handle it, or shoot it.  Remember,  possession of an NFA firearm (including silencers) is a ten year felony unless you have the tax stamp, or certain other exceptions and inclusions -- all of which are out of the scope of this article.

      What you do is your business.   Likewise,  you can still obtain an NFA firearm as a partnership, or corporation, etc .

     Hope this helps.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Needed law

I just got an email from a truck driver who wanted to know what would happen if he carried in his vehicle while on Disney property.   Legally -- he can do as he wishes if securely encased -- but if Disney found out -- on any of its over fifty square miles of roads and property -- he and his business could be trespassed.  Once that trespass warning is actually made -- coming on the property then becomes a criminal trespass,  and if armed,  a felony armed trespass.   Sucks, huh?

The answer to this is to enact a law  that states as follows:

Any person, not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing firearms, may lawfully possess securely encased weapons and firearms in a private conveyance on any roads or parking areas on public or private property where the public is permitted access, even if admission, fees, or other types of licensing are charged for that access so long as any such weapons or firearms are not in open view.  A person having a valid Concealed Weapons License may also possess such firearms or weapons on his or her person within the conveyance, out of open view. Should the conveyance be parked, and not occupied by a person 18 years of age or older, then the firearms and weapons shall be kept locked within the conveyance, and out of open view.  A vehicle with all doors locked, and all windows completely closed shall constitute compliance with this requirement, as would having the firearms or weapons locked inside the trunk, glove compartment, or within a metal container physically bolted to the inside of the conveyance.  However, this section does not permit possession of a firearm or weapon within any area restricted by federal law,  or upon any road or parking area within a jail or prison facility where there is restricted access by a gated entry point where such is manned or controlled remotely.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Every Time there's a tragedy -- then what?

Every Time There's a Tragedy . . .  then what?
by jon gutmacher

I was asked by the press today if I would like to go on air and answer some questions about the proposed legislation in the aftermath of the Orlando tragedy.  After a few seconds of thought I declined -- because it would take hours of thought to really come up with some valid answers.  But, here are a few "thoughts" which I will modify or expand upon as days go by on what I am thinking:

1.  Maybe anyone who is not an actual "citizen" should not be allowed to own or possess firearms, except they may rent firearms and ammo for use "on the premises" of such range or facility.  That way, tourists can still have fun,  ranges can still make money, and private acreage that allows hunting can still do their thing.  I know we have "green card" residents -- but maybe they should become citizens first?

2.   The FBI and Homeland Security should be able to monitor social media to their heart's content, so long as anything they find is kept strictly confidential within these agencies and law enforcement, unless used in a court of law in a criminal case or deportation after being unsealed by the court upon a showing by the government of need and good cause.

3.  I also have no problem with criminal history checks on private sales BUT ONLY if  the FBI creates an adequately funded private call in system where a private person can call -- where that person has no obligation to keep records -- where there is no cost to the person calling -- and where the FBI (NICS) either OK's the sale based on current records -- or denies it -- and only the government keeps records.  Otherwise, it's a joke and a trap for the unwary -- especially as there is no current means for a private individual to sell a gun and obtain a records check unless he does so thru a gun dealer who take the gun into inventory, and then handles it as a sale by the dealer.

4.  I have no problem with a "terrorist watch list" as long as it is strictly confidential within law enforcement, and used only to track possible terrorist threats.  It should not be used for ordinary criminal enterprise unless directly connected to terrorism or its monitary support.  Whether we need it expanded to deny firearm purchases or more -- that requires hours of thought, study, and discussion.

5.  There are some serious questions about mental health and guns.  What the discussion and answers should be -- again -- require hours of thought, study, and discussion.

6.   Secret Lists:   Any "no fly" ;   "no guns" ;   no "whatever" lists -- should be kept strictly confidential from the public.  However,  if they actually effect the rights of an individual -- the government should be required to put that individual on notice they are on the list, and that individual should have a continuing availability to challenge their being on that list in a fast, and simple administrative procedure where the burden of proof is on the government.  What the standard of proof should be -- I'm not sure.  But, anytime you need to prove you are innocent -- especially when the charges are mostly speculation and innuendo -- you're gonna lose.  The burden -- should always be on the government.  If they don't have the proof -- then let them monitor you, but not affect your actual rights and actions.

So . . .   that's it for now for me.   Probably some stuff you'll agree with.  Some you won't.  Some you're not sure of.  All of -- which need more work and thought.