Parking Lot Bill

Hope that you are having a good year. It is an election year so much will go on in politics, government, and most of us will quit watching television probably in about June. Someone sent me the following and couldn’t resist passing it on.

"Ain't it funny how many hundreds of thousands of soldiers we can recruit with nerve. But we just can't find one politician in a million with backbone." --American humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935)

I sometimes wonder if it is we can’t find them or is it that we pick them to death when we do find them. However, that said, you do need to stay involved as if we aren’t the ones who are making things happen, we will lose our rights, beliefs and lifestyle. Freedom is not free and it is something that we must always be willing to stand up for.

Some of you who are hunters might be interested in commenting on the Texas Parks and Wildlife proposal on the use of suppressors in hunting activities. Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted at upcoming public meetings to be scheduled around the state, or to Robert Macdonald (contact information below). A final decision of this proposed rule will be made by TPWC at its March 28- 29 public hearing. To comment on the proposed rules, please contact:

Robert Macdonald
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas 78744
(512) 389-4775 robert.macdonald@tpwd.state.tx.us

The laws were not changed a great deal in the last legislator and the major one that affects the concealed carriers is the Employer Parking Lot bill. There are so many interpretations on that one that I am not sure how it will come down should there be a case. Some attorneys are saying that –

  • As an employee, you cannot tell your employer that you have a gun in your car even if he wants an agreement or notification that you have a handgun in your car because it is a “concealed carry license”.
  • Some employers are working under the premise that if in getting hired you have given your employers the right to make policies about your parking and job access and such, they may be able to require that you give them notice of the handgun and consent to random searches of your vehicles while in the lot and such. If your employer is one who is making these requirements or requests, I suggest that you get “good legal advice” as it may result problems with your job, your safety and all such activities.

It appears that the law omits any type of penalty if the employer does try to stop you from keeping the gun locked in your car while at work. With Texas employment law as it is, you still may be terminated with no recourse so you have to weigh your battles. The Texas State Rifle is asking that those who get such requests from their employer send them to TSRA’s Alice Tripp so they can see if something can be accomplished for you.

I am sure there will be “bugs” in the enforcement and controversies of this new area of law but hopefully the legislator will come back and help set out the parameters better in the next legislative sessions. Otherwise I guess we will have to wait until some cases are decided as to just how far this new law goes.

One area of hospitals that we want to be extremely careful of is a training hospital which may be part of an educational institution (college training such as residents and such). As an education school, they may not need the 30.06 sign necessarily. Most hospitals are signed with a legal 30.06 sign because of the requirements of the “patient’s bill of rights”. Just be careful if the sign isn’t there and be sure it is not a higher educational institution where you may be prohibited because it is a school or university.

As we get more and more agreements with other states to carry in their states, we need to pay more and more attention to the requirements to carry concealed in those states as we must meet their requirements and many of the states have different attitudes to the law. In Texas, the law is based on there being a few limited places which no weapons are carried in but most others must have a legal 30.06 sign/or notice to keep you out. Many states set out a multitude of places which you must know you cannot carry in even if they have no sign present. It is your responsibility to know where these places are if you carry in their state.

Further, Texas requires that your show your ID/Driver’s license and CHL license when an authority asks for your identification if you are carrying but many states require that your make notice that you are a concealed carry licensee as soon as possible when stopped by the authorities whether he immediately asks for your identification or not. There are several good web sites out there that go quite in detail as to requirements of other states. There are couple of good books also just be careful to check any information you get from a book with the state laws as they change from time to time and you want to have the latest information.

The new process of applying for a license online is working well. There have been a few horror stories but guess that is the name of the game. If you have any questions, call DPS about the procedure. The best number at this time is 512/424 7293. They have a bank of operators to answer the questions so normally you can talk with a real person.

Just a quick reminder that renewal students do not have to have new pictures or fingerprints unless they just can’t pull up your old ones and there have only been a very few of those that we have heard about.

If you are a third time renewal student, you do not have to complete the training or qualify on the range but every 10 years. However, you still must go in and complete your renewal application and pay DPS their fee so that a new license is issued.

Haven’t heard too many problems with carry and the authorities recently but are still having people leave a gun in their baggage, briefcase, or purse and trying to go through security at the airport. Must take the time to be sure that you don’t have anything that is a no with you when you go to the airport as even if you don’t get charged with an offense because you did not have intent, it is still very expensive – normally $2,000 to $4,000 – for representation, it is embarrassing, plus you still have to pay the administrative fine of $400 to the Feds.

Have been made aware of several problems with young policemen in Austin not really knowing what a CHL license is or why you are showing it to them. Guess they have a huge amount of licenses and such to become familiar with when starting out. It appears if you can keep your cool and help them learn, you come out pretty clean on this. Law says you must show it to them if asked for identification if you are carrying whether they know what it is or not.

Classes are going well and we are doing the Sharpening Your Shooting Abilities Class February 18. The Sharpening Your Abilities class has evolved into a lot of fun for about 4 hours that takes you to the next step of becoming aware of your surroundings, responding and making choices. John Sisemore from the Lone Star Gun Range and Ross are the instructors on this class.

NRA has said that it will appeal the decision by a federal court in Texas, which held that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect any right to keep or bear arms outside the home.

The decision came in Jennings v. McCraw challenging that the law prohibits issuance of concealed handgun licenses to persons under 21, who are treated as adults for virtually every other purpose under the law. Judge Cummings ruled that it was unnecessary to address the state’s discrimination against young adults because “the right to carry a handgun outside of the home ... seems to be beyond the scope of the core Second Amendment concern articulated in Heller [v. District of Columbia].”

Also this month, a federal judge in Chicago allowed NRA- supported plaintiffs to move ahead with a challenge to that city’s laws that ban anyone from possessing or carrying a handgun except in his or her home, and that ban possession or carrying of a long gun anywhere outside his or her home or place of business.

In Benson v. City of Chicago, the appeal challenges several of the anti-Second Amendment restrictions that were enacted days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city’s handgun ban. Other issues contested in the case include the city’s ban on nearly all firearm transfers and on the operation of gun stores, as well as its law that allows each Chicago license holder to keep only one “assembled and operable” firearm within the home.

A federal district court in Washington, D.C. issued a ruling upholding the policy that requires federally licensed firearms retailers in states bordering Mexico to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days if the rifles are larger than .22 caliber and use detachable magazines.

Plaintiffs have already filed an appeal. You should encourage your congressman to complete their actions to end this policy if you feel it is good. During consideration of the FY 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, an amendment was offered in committee to prohibit the use of funds for the unauthorized reporting plan and the amendment was passed by a vote of 25-16. Unfortunately, the Rehberg amendment did not make it through the appropriations process.

The BATFEs’ “Operation Fast and Furious,” appears to have been used as justification to force the multiple sales reporting requirement.

Last March, S. 570 was introduced -- "a bill to prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloging the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns." The bill would prohibit the use of federal money needed to fund the multiple sales reporting requirement.

You can contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to cosponsor and support S. 570. You can find contact information for your elected officials by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org, or you can call your U.S. senators at (202) 224-3121.

Gun owners today have an almost unlimited number of ways to spread information crucial to our community. An unfortunate side effect has been the fast and easy spread of rumors.

It appears that the story of the gangsters marking the license plates or wheels of vehicles parked at shooting clubs, gun stores, ranges and gun shows may be such a rumor. There do not appear to be any reported gun thefts at the 2011 National Championship a police chief in San Antonio meeting with 400 shooters to discuss the trend also appears to be false.

Gun owners want to certainly take reasonable precautions to protect their firearms from criminals. Certainly don’t want to discourage others from pursuing the activities they love and exercising their Second Amendment rights due to rampant urban legends.

Keep alert and keep us posted if you see things that might make a difference to concealed carriers.

Ross and Dottie

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