by Marty Hayes, J.D.
This is a message I had hoped not to have to write. You see, the Network has lost its fight against the WA Office of Insurance Commissioner (OIC) with whom we have been battling since 2020 for the right to enroll new Network members who reside in Washington. At the beginning, after unsuccessfully appealing to the state insurance commissioner’s hearing officer, we appealed to the Lewis County Superior Court, which deferred to the government bureaucracy on the issue and affirmed their order. We next appealed to the Washington Court of Appeals, which ruled against us. Finally, we filed for discretionary review with the State Supreme Court.
Now, the Washington State Supreme Court has refused to take up our request for review of the Court of Appeals’ decision, which called what we do insurance. The bottom line is we are out the original $50,000 fine which we previously paid, and legal fees of over $140,000 (thank you very much to those who assisted with donations to defray the legal expenses). Worse, we remain unable sell new Network memberships in WA State. Members sometimes exclaim, “Why don’t you just move out of Washington?” without understanding that we would still be prohibited from enrolling new members from this state.
Okay, we grudgingly accept this outcome, although we firmly believe the courts are wrong. Here is why. If one uses force in self defense, choosing to engage in an act of use force is an intentional act. One cannot unintentionally act in self defense. Washington State’s definition of insurance is: Insurance is a contract whereby one undertakes to indemnify another or pay a specified amount upon determinable contingencies. We argued that because the act of self defense is an intentional act, it cannot be a contingent act. The OIC argued that the determinable contingency is the situation which presented itself which caused the individual to act.
I believed the concept that self defense is an intentional act was pretty simple to grasp. Nonetheless, we found out that when one of the parties is the State, and in our situation, the decidedly anti-gun WA State government, we simply never had a chance to get a fair and unbiased decision. Our appellate court and supreme court judges and justices are all elected. Two of Washington’s three appellate courts are located within the Western Washington liberal population base, as is the WA State Supreme Court.
We have fought this three-plus-year battle to the bitter end in pursuit of enrolling new members who live in WA. The restriction is only against recruiting and serving new members; we remain allowed to renew memberships for Washingtonians who joined Network before the end of March 2020, the date the cease-and-desist order was issued.
Okay, moving on to something more positive. What is next for Washington State?
We are moving forward to bring out a solution for Washington State armed citizens, which we are not yet ready to publicly announce. Until we do, there are two current providers here in WA, both of which have problems. US Law Shield is a no-starter for me, because in order to get permission from WA OIC to sell policies, they had to include a “recoupment clause” meaning that the USLS insurance underwriter, Lyndon Southern, can require you pay them back ALL the money they spent on your defense IF you are found guilty of any crime associated with the incident. That means if you plead guilty to ANY crime associated with the event, you can be forced to pay back the insurance company. That’s why it is a no-starter for me.
The second choice for WA residents is the law firm Attorneys for Freedom’s Attorneys on Retainer program. They have a high-profile presence on YouTube, where you can find out all about them. I have scrutinized their program and see only one problem with them: THE COST! They require a monthly payment of $35 per month, which shakes out to $400 per year. The other less bothersome, but thumbs-down factor for me, is they do not offer any documentable training like the Network does. We know the key to winning in court is training, and without the training to rely upon and bring up in court, your chances of acquittal diminish considerably. Maybe the Network should offer our educational package to AoR members. They would then have a very similar program, although at a much higher cost.
The Network on YouTube
We have been enjoying stretching our wings a little and branching out more frequently into streaming media at https://www.youtube.com/@armedcitizenslegaldefensen4041. Gila has been conducting interviews of industry influencers, and I have been doing talking head topics. Together, we have also held a couple of live streams where we answered member questions. It’s kind of fun. Our next live stream will be Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. Eastern when I will come out with a look at the industry of “self-defense insurance.” If you have been watching us, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and give us a “Like.”
Are you going to the NRA Annual Meeting?
The Network will be in Dallas May 17-19 for the NRA Annual Meeting, of course, where we hope to meet many members, and perhaps even sign up a few new ones. Our booth number is 8247. As you likely know, Wayne La Pierre has resigned, but word from the trenches is that the likely replacement will be one of the current board members. Meanwhile, Andrew Arulanandam, who has been employed by the NRA for 26 years will become the interim CEO so I would be surprised if things in the administration of the NRA changes much. But that doesn’t mean we cannot support the organization by attending the convention and supporting the businesses that shell out hard-earned money to connect with their customers. See you there!