Major changes to the process for creating a gun trust have been proposed by the ATF and are highly likely to go into effect either later this year or early next year.
Firearms trusts offer individuals and families many protections for both acquiring NFA weapons and for the seamless transfer of the weapons to their heirs. The proposed changes to the trusts include requiring both trustees and beneficiaries (regardless of age) to be fingerprinted and undergo background checks. The changes will also require Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) sign off. Typically, the CLEO in your area is the local sheriff. With so many sheriffs hostile to gun ownership, their is legitimate fear that they will never sign off on the trusts thus effectively killing this legal vehicle for gun ownership and transfer.
If you have an existing trust, you will not have to do anything with the weapons in the trust, but for any new acquisitions you will be subject to the new rules. According to ATF general counsel, trusts pending review before the rule goes in to effect with be grandfathered in and will not have to go through the onerous provisions of the new rule.
If you have been thinking about obtaining a gun trust and have been putting it off, NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT! Contact me today.
Keep in mind that even after the trust is submitted to ATF it takes about 6-8 months for final approval.
Several times a week I receive inquiries from people who have had their firearms rights taken away and now desire to have them restored. In Florida, if you plead guilty to or are convicted of a felony, or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, your firearms rights are taken away. The good news is that in most cases your rights can be restored, the bad news is that the state is woefully behind in processing the applications.
After eight years from the end of any sentence or probation an individual can apply to the Office of Executive Clemency (the Governor) to have their firearms rights restored. The process includes obtaining records from the county of conviction and submitting an application. Unfortunately, the law does not require the state to process the applications in a specific time period and makes no distinction between violent and non-violent felonies. When the state would provide the information, the Governor’s office had more than 90,000 pending applications.
A common scenario is someone who did something stupid as a teenager or young adult (which of us didn’t do something dumb when we were young) who enters a guilty plea on advice of counsel to avoid the risk of going to jail. In most cases the person was not advised that they would be forfeiting their gun rights by accepting a plea deal. The person is now in their 40s or 50s, has a family and or business that they want to protect or likes to hunt or shoot for recreation. Florida law treats this person no differently than a dangerous or violent felon. This is wrong.
The problem with fixing the system is that there is no political will to do so. The issue is too easily demagogued as “giving guns to felons” so good people who have paid their debt to society are denied their constitutional rights long after their punishment has ended.
Later this year Florida will elect a new governor. All of the candidates should be asked where they stand on the issues of fundamental justice, the rule of law and redemption.
Last week at the close of the legislative session the Florida Sheriffs Association killed SB-296/HB-209 — the bill to allow citizens to carry their firearms with them (rather than leave firearms behind for looters) when they are under a mandatory evacuation during a declared state of emergency.
Be perfectly clear, this was a straight up Second Amendment issue in its purest form. And the Florida Sheriffs Association opposed your fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms at a time when you most need to be able to protect yourself and your family.
The US District Court in NC in Baseman vs. Perjure struck down emergency declaration laws like the Florida laws we were trying to fix.
The Court said:
“The problem here is that the emergency declaration statutes, are not narrowly tailored to serve the government’s interest in public safety. They do not target dangerous individuals or dangerous conduct. Nor do they seek to impose reasonable time, place and manner restrictions by, for example, imposing a curfew to allow the exercise of Second Amendment rights during circumscribed times. Rather, the statutes here excessively intrude upon plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights by effectively banning them (and the public at large) from engaging in conduct that is at the very core of the Second Amendment at a time when the need for self-defense may be at its very greatest….Consequently, the emergency declaration laws are invalid…”
Nonetheless, the Florida Sheriffs Association and a handful of Senate Republicans who joined Sen. Jack Latvala in abandoning the Second Amendment for the convenience of law enforcement, blocked restoration of your constitutional right. Knowing that if the bill were amended it would have to go back to House where it would NOT come up again, they voted 23-15 for an amendment they knew would kill the bill.
We suspect the intention, all along, of the Florida Sheriffs Association was to kill the bill. They tried to kill HB-89 the so-called “warning shot” bill but failed. They pulled out all the stops on the mandatory evacuation bill.
Make no mistake, the Florida Sheriffs Association has declared war on the Second Amendment. Their actions have made it clear their 2013 Proclamation Supporting the Second Amendment was nothing more than camouflage.
Sheriffs repeatedly made it clear that the only thing they cared about was their convenience.
There are too many sheriffs, state’s Attorneys and Republican politicians in Florida who campaign as pro Second Amendment candidates and then get in office and do everything in their power to undermine our rights. They believe that they are the only ones competent and trustworthy to possess firearms. We must hold them accountable at the ballot box.
They are not are friends and are unworthy of our votes just because they have an R next to their name on the ballot.
Florida Law permits a concealed weapon permit holder to keep a firearm in their vehicle on company property except for a few narrow exceptions. Many company firearms policies are not in compliance with the law.
The following is an excerpt from an employer handbook in a case that is soon to be in litigation;
“Associates are not allowed to have firearms, or any other dangerous weapons or instruments, concealed or otherwise, in their possession (including in their vehicles, lockers, personal belongings, etc.) while on Company business, or on Company or client property.”
This policy is illegal. You, as an employee, do not give up your Constitutional rights by merely accepting employment. Your employer’s handbook does not trump or supersede the Constitution. Unfortunately, many employers, including some of the largest employers in the state do not care about the Constitution or your rights. In fact, when this law was being considered, they actively lobbied against law abiding gun owners. Their attitude is that they will ignore the law and deal with the lawsuits as they come. I can state this with certainty because I have been told this by their legal counsel.
Check your employer’s handbook. If their firearms policy violates the law, the State Attorney General has the authority to investigate and fine the employer or you can be bring a lawsuit against them on your own. Many people have made the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms. Do not be intimidated by your employer and their policies that have a chilling effect on you exercising your Constitutional rights. If God forbid you are robbed, rapped or otherwise injured going to and from work because you could not defend yourself from an attacker, your employer will not be there to pay for your damages.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about your employer’s firearms policies.
Testifying before Congress, Attorney General Eric Holder informed Representatives that the ATF will begin using drones in their operations. ATF has already spent $600,000 of taxpayer money exploring how to utilize the technology.
Having dealt with the ATF for more than a decade, I find their use of drones not only redundant and wasteful, as other agencies already employ this technology, but it is also frightening in the potential for abuse. We are witnessing the expansion of the surveillance state which is eroding our Constitutional liberties.
The Constitution is not a buffet from which you get to pick and choose the parts you like and ignore the rest. You either support and defend all of it or none of it, until amended. Defenders of the Second Amendment need to get on board with defending the Fourth Amendment just as passionately and vociferously, or we will continue down the path we are on to becoming a corporatist surveillance state.
Yesterday, April 3, 2014, HB-89 passed the Florida Senate by a vote of 32-7.
Having previously passed the Florida House by a vote of 93-24, the bill is now making its way to the Governor’s desk.
HB-89 is a bill to stop abusive prosecutors from using 10-20-LIFE to prosecute people who, in self-defense, threaten to use deadly force against an attacker as a means to stop an attack.
Some anti-gun, anti-self-defense prosecutors have been abusing the 10-20-LIFE law to prosecute average citizens who displayed a weapon or gun in self-defense to make an attacker back off.
Average citizens who never would have been in the system if they had not been attacked and in fear for their own safety, are being persecuted and prosecuted for defending themselves.
Because citizens took responsibility for their own safety, some prosecutors treat them like criminals and make them victims of a judicial system.
10-20-Life was passed to stop prosecutors and judges from slapping gun-wielding criminals on the wrist so they could quickly clear cases.
The 10-20-Life law was never intended to be used against citizens who, in an act of self-defense, threatened the use of force to stop an attacker, including the unwise use of a warning shot. Yet, that’s what some prosecutors are doing. They are willfully and knowingly violating the intent of the law.
Call the Governor’s Office and urge him to sign the bill. (850) 488-7146
According to the military press conference following the shooting yesterday at Fort Hood, the shooter brought an unregistered gun onto the base, which is a gun free zone. When as a nation will we end the insanity of telling criminals where targets that can’t shoot back are located? And why on Earth would a military base be a “gun free zone?” Maybe things have changed, but last I knew everyone in the military is trained on how to fire both rifles and sidearms.
It is time for Congress to stop being wined and dined by lobbyists for five minutes and actually do some work for members of the military who defend the ruling elite.
If the insane policy of designated places “gun free zones” persists, why don’t we at least be honest and call them what they are “mass murder empowerment zones.”
(Starts at ~12:10)