At the 2015 Miss America pageant on Sunday, Miss South Carolina Daja Dial was asked the following question:

“America loves our Second Amendment, but gun violence continues to be a tragic problem. Do you support a ban on military-style assault weapons?”

Here is her perfect response:

“I don’t,” she replied. “If we teach people the proper way to use guns, then we will reduce the risk of having gun-related accidents. It starts with education.”

IMG_5346Florida is expanding the methods in which law abiding Floridians can apply for or renew concealed weapons permits. Cord is interviewed about this topic and the recent shooting of the reporter in Virginia below:

“Firearms Law Attorney Cord Byrd is one of the proponents of that constitutional right [the Second Amendment] and points to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s new program, partnering with tax collectors around the state to expand concealed weapons licensing services, calling it a good move.”

‘As with every tragedy our prayers are with the family. But in this situation last week with this reporter, there’s not a gun law that could be written that would have prevented that tragedy,’
Byrd said.”

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It is said that truth is treason in the empire of lies. The recent uproar over the hunting of Cecil the lion proves that the animal kingdom, or empire,  is no exception.  While the media portrays hunters as blood thirsty trophy seekers, the truth is that hunters spend more money to preserve and conserve animal habitats and species than does PETA, and it is not even close. According to PETA’s 2014 financial report its gross revenue was  $51,933,001.00 (PETA 2014 Financial Report).

In contrast, the US Fish and Wildlife Service collects nearly $200 million in hunters’ federal excise taxes  that are then distributed to State agencies to support wildlife management programs, the purchase of lands open to hunters, and hunter education and safety classes. Proceeds from the Federal Duck Stamp, a required purchase for migratory waterfowl hunters, have purchased more than 5 million acres of land that support waterfowl and many other wildlife species.

The $200 million number does not include the revenue collected by the states for hunting and fishing permits as well as other taxes and charitable contributions  paid by hunters to support wildlife conservation and habitat.

In Africa, the fees paid by hunters to harvest big game can run into the tens of thousands of dollars to hunt one animal. That money goes to support the local economies and employs the people in those communities. When large game is harvested  the majority of the meat goes to the local people and is one of the main sources of protein in their diet.

If rules were broken in the hunting of Cecil then let the offending parties be punished in accordance with the law. But the use of Cecil to further demonize and attack law abiding hunters and as an excuse to make hunting more restrictive cannot go without a strong and vocal defense from the hunting and fishing community. It is just a simple statement of fact that hunters spend more and contribute more to the preservation and conservation of wildlife and land than do the self proclaimed animal-rights activists.

Hunting and fishing are part of our heritage and traditions and make no mistake that those who seek to limit our rights and liberties do so with the purpose of fundamentally transforming America.

The vast majority of  hunters and fisherman are  “good stewards” of nature’s bounty and make a big contribution towards ensuring the future of many species of wildlife and the  habitat in which they live and flourish.

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Florida law, specifically F.S.§790.335, prohibits any state governmental agency or local government, special district, or other political subdivision or official, agent, or employee of such state or other governmental entity or any other person, public or private, from knowingly and willfully keeping or causing to be kept any list, record, or registry of privately owned firearms or any list, record, or registry of the owners of those firearms.

The Florida Legislature finds that a “list, record, or registry of legally owned firearms or law-abiding firearm owners is not a law enforcement tool and can become an instrument for profiling, harassing, or abusing law-abiding citizens based on their choice to own a firearm and exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under the United States Constitution. Further, such a list, record, or registry has the potential to fall into the wrong hands and become a shopping list for thieves.

Unfortunately,even when the law is clear and unambiguous, violations still occur. A recent case has come to my attention that violates the letter and spirit of the law as well as the express findings of the legislature. A gun owner was involved in a car accident. Before being transported to the hospital and being a responsible gun owner the victim informed the investigating officer that there were two firearms in the vehicle. Concerned that the guns would be out of his custody and control while he was at the hospital receiving treatment, the victim asked the law enforcement officer to hold the firearms for safekeeping. The victim did what any reasonable and responsible gun owner should do. What happened next should give us all cause for concern.

The law enforcement officer proceeded to prepare an incident report, listing in detail the make, model and calibers of the firearms as well as the precise number of rounds in each. Please keep in mind that the incident report also contains the name, address, date of birth and vehicle tag number of the victim. Incident reports of this nature are public record, giving inquiring minds everything they need to know about this person and their firearms. It is also important to note that the victim committed no crime and was not under an investigation for committing a crime, he was merely involved in a car accident, a foreseeable situation for any gun owner that uses a motor vehicle for transportation.

Making matters even worse, the law enforcement officer editorialized in the report that he found the victim’s possession of two guns unusual and further stated that the victim “claimed he needed [the guns] for self-defense. If this ever happened to me and the guys I hunt with we would be in big trouble as we usually have enough arms to invade a small country with us and certainly more than two.

The law enforcement agency in question refuses to redact the information despite numerous requests by the responsible gun owner who was merely exercising a constitutional right. The officer could have stated in the report that guns were taken into possession and then given the victim a property receipt identifying the specific guns but not making them available to the public.

What concerns me even more than the creation of a gun list is the officer’s attitude that having guns in the vehicle is “unusual” and that the victim “claimed” he needed them for self defense. The Florida Constitution, in the grant of the right to keep and bear arms, states that the people have a right to have weapons in defense of themselves, so why would having guns be unusual and why would the claim that they are need for self defense be suspicious? Either the officer has a personal bias against gun owners or is being trained to have a bias, neither of which is acceptable.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance and we the people must guard jealously our rights and liberties. While this story may seem like a small or trivial matter in the grand scheme of things I can assure you that it is not and it is indicative of the challenges facing law abiding gun owners in the exercise of their God given rights. If this or something similar has happened to you please contact me.

The Marchman Act is Florida’s Substance Abuse Impairment Act which is intended to get treatment for those who are suffering from an addiction. Going to treatment under the Marchman Act can be voluntary or involuntary, but just like the Baker Act if the admission will be involuntary certain criteria must be met. The Marchman Act is initiated through the court with a petition followed by a hearing. A person committed for treatment under this law can lose their right to keep and bear arms for as long as the order is in place.

A person committed under the Act can seek a judicial remedy by petitioning the court for relief from firearms disability. The Law Office of Cord Byrd prevailed in a recent Marchman Act case and was successful in having a person committed under the Act reclaim their Second Amendment rights.

These cases are fact specific, so if you or someone you know is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms due to a Marchman Act commitment know that your gun rights can be restored and call Cord.

The US Supreme Court failed to hear an appeal on Second Amendment rights, further emphasizing why citizens cannot rely on the courts or the government to protect our rights and liberties. This is the reason for the Ninth and Tenth Amendments reserving ultimate political authority to the people and to the states. The rulings in Heller and McDonald holding that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is an individual right including the right of armed self-defense have not stopped the petty tyrants in state governments and lower federal courts from doing everything in their power to diminish the Second Amendment.

San Francisco passed an ordinance requiring gun owners to keep handguns in their homes either inoperable or on their person at all times. This ordinance is in clear violation of the language of Heller and McDonald which held that the handgun is the primary self-defense weapon for individuals and making it inoperable or not readily accessible defeats the purpose of the right. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to this law refusing to follow the logic of the Supreme Court on the meaning of the Second Amendment.

Now, 7 of the 9 justices on the Supreme Court including Chief Justice Roberts, do not feel this violation of constitutional rights warrants review. Only justices Scalia and Thomas wanted to hear the case, but it takes four of the nine to grant review. If the Supreme Court is unwilling to take seriously its own rulings and admonish lower courts for refusing to follow precedent then our rights are meaningless.

At every level of the federal government the Constitution is ignored. The President, Congress and the Courts repeatedly and with impunity disregard the Constitution when it gets in the way of their power or political preference.

Nothing will change however as long as voters continue to elect people to high office who either do not understand or do not care about the Constitution. The time is coming near when we may have to follow in the Founder’s footsteps.

In a victory for property rights over the gun regulators convicted felons can now sell or transfer their firearms.

Yesterday, ruling 9-0, the US Supreme Court held that once a gun owner is convicted of a felony, his or her lawfully owned firearms can be transferred from government custody to a third party if a court is satisfied that the recipient would not give the felon control over the firearms.

The Court said the government had gone too far, stating, “What matters here is not whether a felon plays a role in deciding where his firearms should go next,” but “What matters instead is whether the felon will have the ability to use or direct the use of his firearms after the transfer.”

Providing direction the court said the guns could be turned over to a firearms dealer, or to a person “who expects to maintain custody of them, so long as the recipient will not allow the felon to exert any influence over their use.”

A court can “seek proper assurances” from the third party “to promise to keep the guns away from the felon,” in order to avoid violating the law.

This is not an all too uncommon problem, especially when a person has pawned firearms and then cannot retrieve them if they have become a prohibited person in the interim.

The next battle will be over what a court will consider “proper assurances.”

As a result of a pro-gun lawsuit filed by Cord Byrd in Palm Beach County residents there will no longer have to pay a court filing fee in certain circumstances when their guns and property are seized by law enforcement officers. In some counties law enforcement officials require a court order before guns seized or taken as evidence are returned, even when no criminal charges are filed. Many times the court filing fee exceeds the value of the gun. Knowing that some people will give up the gun rather than going to court to get it back, law enforcement agencies will use this tactic to “get guns off the streets” and boost their crime fighting statistics.

Fortunately the judge presiding over the case saw the unfairness in this tactic and the rule in Palm Beach County was changed.

Read the new Administrative Order 3.905-115

Cord Byrd and co-counsel Noel Flasterstein are defending a small business and licensed gun dealer against a lawsuit filed by the Brady Campaign. The Brady Campaign, by it’s own admission, is trying to put gun retailers out of business by bankrupting them through litigation. The Brady Campaign to put gun dealers out of business impacts everyone who cares about gun rights because it limits the choices you have to buy guns.

In this case, a person legally purchased a firearm after going through the government background check. That person then gave the gun to a criminal who used the gun to commit two murders. To the Brady Campaign the criminal who committed the murder is not to blame. In their opinion the person responsible is the “evil” gun store owner who should have read the mind of the person who legally bought the gun who then gave it to someone else who then used it to kill two innocent people.

On February 23rd the Judge in the case heard argument on Cord’s Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit. The Brady Campaign’s lawsuit contains six different theories of wrongdoing by the business owner. The Court agreed with Cord that two of the six counts were not stated with enough facts to support the claims and also agreed that a third count should be dismissed outright. Despite the Judge giving the Brady Campaign the opportunity to refile the dismissed count, in it’s Amended Complaint, Brady dropped the count altogether apparently realizing that no amount of “massaging” the facts would make the count legally viable.

This is a small but meaningful victory against the Brady bullies. It is one less allegation that our client has to defend against and one more victory for the gun rights of all Americans.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits citizens of one state from traveling to another state to purchase a handgun. This prohibition does not apply to rifles and shotguns.

Yesterday a Federal Judge in Texas declared the prohibition violates the Second Amendment and the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. In ruling for the citizens who challenged the ban, the Judge enjoined the Federal Government from enforcing the law.

The government will likely appeal the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the loser in that court will likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court so the matter is far from over. For the time being however, the ruling stands and the DOJ and ATF is prohibited from enforcing it.

It will be up to individual FFLs to decide if they want to sell handguns to out of state citizens and doing so may bring the wrath of the ATF. Dealers who do sell to out of state citizens will likely be subject to increased audits and harassment by the ATF.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the ruling is a victory for citizens and the Constitution.

Here is link to the opinion.

WARNING, the opinion contains references to the U.S. Constitution, something the politicians and federal government do not want you to know exists.