Saturday, February 21, 2015

Contact ATF before March 16, 2015 -- on this important issue on rifle ammo

BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives) is reacting to political pressure from our friends in the White House and Justice Department to limit ammo for the AR platform rifle.  They've done this because there are now AR style "pistols" that shoot rifle ammunition, and so they want to ban that ammo as "armor piercing" because it can now be used in a "pistol".   I put "pistol" in quotes because an AR style pistol resembles a short barrel rifle more than a pistol -- and is something few people will ever be able to conceal in a pocket or waistband.  In other words -- it is just one more attempt to restrict the Second Amendment.

Because it would change current federal regulations -- the public has a right to comment to BATFE on this issue. And yes -- they actually listen to these comments and consider them -- especially with a Republican majority in Congress.  


So -- it is important you email BATFE.   You do that by sending an email to apacomments@atf.gov in a similar format to the email I just sent, which appears below.   You may also find a more complete story on this subject on the National Shooting Sports Federation site at http://www.nssfblog.com/oppose-atf-556-m855-ball-ammunition-ban.   There is a full report on the ATF proposed action on ATF's website.  The NSSF has a link to it.


Here's a copy of my email:

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Re:  BATFE seeking comments on proposed reclassification of 5:56mm in M855 cartridges to non-sporting ammunition, and thus making it "armor piercing" ammo.

Your contact person:  Denise Brown, Enforcement Programs & Services, Office Reg. Affaires

Gentlemen and Ladies:

Please accept my following comments regarding the above matter, and my strong opposition to any reclassification of 5.56mm ammo as "non-sporting".   While I understand that BATFE's position is that because there are now AR style pistols that will shoot this round -- my opinion is that this changes nothing.  The AR style  "pistols" you talk of are not of typical handgun size or weight. They are not concealable in the ordinary sense of a pistol due to the extreme added size and weight.  They cannot be fired with one hand with any accuracy or repeatability without a brace.  And, likewise, the weapon of choice of criminals will continue to be cheaper, smaller handguns that are easily concealed in a pocket or waistband that do not draw attention.  For at least the past ten years the AR platform continues to be America's #1 sporting purpose platform -- both for hunting, target practice, competition, and collection.  Restrictions on this ammo make little sense in today's world.  If you wanted to restrict it in the sense Congress may have initially intended, perhaps it would be more appropriate to restrict it being loaded in any firearm that qualifies as a "handgun" rather such a broad restriction that reduces the available ammo for AR rifles, and thereby adversely implicates both the Second Amendment, and sporting use availability.  Citizens have rights, as well as the police. My understanding is that the Constitution controls the interpretation of law -- not the other way around.

Moreover,  I am offended by what I consider pure "speculation" in your written background analysis that an AR style pistol has a primary use other than a sporting purpose, I think BATFE has a constitutional duty to back that up with statistics showing it is not just some anti-gun political rhetoric.  Likewise,  your complete absence of any explanation of why the Second Amendment is not implicated by your proposal shows an astounding lack of constitutional insight.

Respectfully,
Jon H. Gutmacher
Satellite Beach, Florida

Monday, January 26, 2015

A quick comment on steering wheel holsters

I just did an article for the Florida Association of State Troopers on steering wheel holsters, and was thinking -- why would anyone really want one?

Now . . .  I know there are several reasons it seems like a great idea.  Hidden from view.  (mostly) Very quick draw.  Impresses all your friends, and looks great on a truck . . . but besides that . . . why not the console (assuming you've got one)?  Hidden.  Quick.  Very legal.  Stock.

OK . . . so you know my preference in life -- now here comes my warning and "fix" on steering wheel holsters.  They're not "securely encased" unless the gun is strapped inside one.  Since most of these don't come with a strap -- you better add one.  Velcro should be easy.  All you need is a good quality outdoor glue, and a pair of scissors -- and you're in business!   On the other hand -- noisy when you open the damn thing, and if you use the industrial strength -- you may be in for a big surprise when you try to get it open.

On the other hand -- you reply:  "Who cares?   I have my CWL!   I don't need to be securely encased!"

Well, Big Kahuna . . .  partially correct.

You see -- if any part of the firearm can be seen from outside the vehicle -- it's probably "open carry".  Certainly,  at least a question of fact that could result in your arrest.  If it was "securely encased" -- it could be open -- as long as strapped.  So -- score one for Gutmacher.

Next problem -- since the access to the gun is way too damn fast -- and since there is a real good chance any officer stopping your vehicle who sees it will go instantly ballistic because of that proximity and accessibility -- it is not the safest place to have a firearm unless your hands are placed firmly on top of the steering wheel with your license, etc -- when the officer approaches.

We're talking about practicalities here.  I am a very practical person.  I want to survive.  Far too many cops shooting unarmed civilians due to the crazy lunatics we have running around today!  Believe me, these officers are stressed out on what some people are doing -- and since they have no idea if you're one of the good guys, or the bad guys when they stop you -- I go for safety first.

That being said -- you're gonna do whatever you're gonna do.  At least now -- you know the law, and the risks.   Have a great day!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Guns by CWL holders at colleges and universities in Florida

Talk about coincidence,  and thinking of the same problems at the same time -- my last post was a substantial bitch about not being able to carry with a CWL on the premises of a college, university, or especially vocational school -- especially at night.

WHAMMO!!!  

And then came HB 4005 -- a bill just proposed in the Florida Legislature -- that needs your support (post it on Facebook,  urge folks to write their Florida legislators).   The bill eliminated subsection  790.06(12)(a)(13) that prohibits carry at colleges and universities.

Now,  while you would think that takes care of the problem -- it doesn't.

Why?

Well, because the bill does not have a "preamble" that actually states the legislative purpose -- it leaves the legislative purpose up for interpretation by the courts.  Unless they find that the legislative purpose is clearly to allow CWL holders to carry at these locations -- F.S. 790.115 will still control, and prohibit such carry.  Which brings up the next point -- Do you want to be the "test case" facing a third degree felony if the decision goes the other way?

Of course not!  

So,  what's the fix?

Well, the fix is really easy -- plus,  I highly recommend adding "vocational schools" into the bill, because those often take place at night in not the best places in town, with mostly adult students.
So, I have two possible fixes -- the simple one being a preamble inserted at the very beginning of the bill, with no other changes:

"Whereas the Florida Legislature believes it is in the best interest of the public that persons holding valid Concealed Weapon Licenses pursuant to section 790.06 or 790.015 of  the Florida Statutes not be prohibited from lawful possession on the premises of colleges, universities, and  adult vocational schools,  therefore"  [be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida] . . . .

The more complex fix is by renumbering subsection (2) of the bill as subsection (3), and inserting a new subsection (2), as follows:

"section (2), paragraph (2)(a) of section 790.115, is amended by adding sub-subsection (4) to read:  (4):  On the premises of any college, university, or adult vocational school, by a person holding a valid Concealed Weapons License pursuant to section 790.06, or 790.015.

So -- if you think my idea is a good one -- or you just support allowing a CWL holder to have a concealed firearm on a university, college, or vocational school campus -- send a letter to your local rep at the Florida House and Florida Senate -- and include a copy of this blog post, and let your friends on Facebook and elsewhere know -- this is a really important bill to actively support.  Give em my blog post address so they can read it for themselves:  http://orlandocriminallawyer.blogspot.com/2015/01/guns-by-cwl-holders-at-colleges-and.html

Alabama and Georgia already have this -- and it's working fine.  It will here, as well.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Florida's lack of common sense on adult school classes. etc

I recently started taking a evening class at a local private college in an area that is not the best in town.  Of course -- no guns allowed inside by Florida law, even with a CWL -- even if the school allowed it.  No guards.  No door security beyond an 20 year old female undergrad student who I doubt could stop anything beyond a small poodle from getting in.  Not the best lighting.  Even if they had guards -- they could not be armed, because Florida law doesn't allow that.  Same with administrators and professors.  So, here I am -- the "gun expert" in Florida -- a lousy walking target with zero method of practical defense if anything happens -- and to boot, the FBI is warning everyone of "terror threats" -- with schools and colleges being among the softest targets around -- especially private!

So, realizing I am not paranoid, but just have too much damn training so that I realize I really AM in possible danger . . .  I ask myself what the hell I'm doing walking to class in the pitch dark at "terror central"?  And, that's totally discounting any local or international terrorists -- because I'm not even safe from the local low life.  So --   I keep asking myself -- what the hell is the problem with the Florida Legislature?  Why can't a private school or college hire armed security guards if they want?   Why can't the State allow a CWL carry to an adult education class at night or weekends when they are the most likely to wind up as a victim?  Why can't teachers and administrators be armed if they take special training?  Georgia has no problem with it -- and no problems because of it.  So do some of our other neighboring states.  The only thing history has taught us (really -- just read the news) -- is that laws preventing CWL's from carrying just about anywhere -- only gives criminals more of a break.  I think it's about time we started a letter writing campaign, and wake these guys up!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Validity of out of state CWL in Florida

I had an interesting email question today from a resident of another state who had a CWL from a different state in which he did not reside.  He wondered if his out of state CWL was lawful in Florida.

My answer was that Florida Statute 790.015 requires an out-of-state CWL holder to be a resident of the State where the CWL was issued in order for it to be valid in Florida.  So --  this individual was not covered in Florida, even though his state of issuance was reciprocal.  Again -- that's because he was not a resident of that state.  On the other hand,  he could have obtained a Florida CWL under F.S. 790.06 which allows an out of state resident  to obtain a Florida CWL, no matter what state they are from.  Interesting little quirk in the law, and applies equally to several other reciprocal states if you're visiting there.  So, unless you're actually a Florida resident (which means you have the Fla drivers license or i/d card), if you visit a reciprocal state with a Florida CWL -- you might not be legal if you carry.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pistol to rifle conversion kits -- avoiding NFA.

Got an interesting question about pistol to rifle conversion kits, and whether they were NFA.  Although somewhat complicated, the entire matter is determined per ATF Ruling 2011-4, which can be found on the ATF website.  In essence, where a rifle is made from a pistol, or from a parts kit where a conversion for both pistol and rifle are intended -- as long as the rifle meets all non-NFA specs -- it is legal, and the conversion can go back and forth so long as the pistol conversion and rifle conversions are non-NFA.  On the other hand,  a pistol cannot be made from a firearm originally designed solely as a rifle.  That is NFA, and illegal no matter what!  Of course, we are talking about only rifled barrel weapons here.  Smooth bore is an entirely different explanation, as I'm sure you understand.  Hope that explains it.   Of course -- non-NFA means the firearm meets all length and other requirements so it is not a short barrel rifle, or pistol with a shoulder stock or foregrip.  You can find that info in the new 8th edition in Chapter Seven.     

Saturday, December 6, 2014

8th edition books are shipping

I began shipping individual Paypal orders of the Eighth Edition on Thursday (12/4/2014).  I received books from the printer the day before Thanksgiving, and immediately started shipping our commercial orders with individual Paypal orders scheduled for this past Monday -- but as luck would have it, I got the flu (the strain they didn't put in the flu shot), and was flat on my back for a couple of days in nah nah land.  So -- there was a four day delay in getting those orders out.    All books are shipped in individual envelopes US Post Office Media Mail -- except orders of 3 or more books which are boxed and go UPS.

I'd love to hear from anybody who has the new 8th edition -- and what they think about it.  850 hours of research, writing, and editing went into it -- so there's a lot of heart and soul in that book.  Hope you buy it -- enjoy it -- and keep out of trouble because of it.