Pebble in a Pond
by Gila Hayes
I’d like to start a ripple in the pond and spread word about an excellent article I recently read addressing a problem that gives enormous traction to anti-gun forces. That problem is use of firearms in suicides and in atrocities. Although addressing obtaining guns to commit suicide, the principal of individual interdiction instead of government restriction is expressed so clearly, I just had to share it with you.
You’ll find this powerful column about guns and suicide by Network Advisory Board Member Massad Ayoob in the May/June 2015 issue of Backwoods Home at http://backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob153.html. Read it and glean strategies for productive responses to a disturbed person wanting to buy or borrow a firearm.
Ralph Mroz, in addition to being a well-recognized writer and trainer, is a Network Affiliated Instructor. He recently emailed to bring his new blog site to my attention, so I clicked over to https://thestreetstandards.wordpress.com to check it out. It is full of great information leavened with Ralph’s trademark sense of humor. In fact, his post about fighting the flinch starts, “My name is Ralph and I flinch. I know I’m not supposed to, and I try really hard not to, but Satan will have his due. The devil makes me do it.” It just gets better from there–including useful practice tips for the rest of us who need to go to Flincher’s Anonymous meetings, too. I’ve added his blog to my “check in regularly” reading list. You should, too!
Another very interesting resource is Kenn Blanchard’s podcasts at http://www.blackmanwithagun.com. Regular readers may remember when we reviewed the second edition of Kenn’s book, Black Man With A Gun, and how enjoyable it was. Kenn recently engaged in a debate on Fox News about pastors armed for defense of their church congregations. The transcript is at http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/06/21/should-clergy-be-armed-guns-after-charleston-church-shooting. Kenn does a great job of representing armed citizens. Don’t miss it!
Always curious about the world around him, Kenn hits a lot of interesting topics in his podcasts. A recent sampling of podcasts, shows him studying how the gun industry tries to use sex to sell equipment, responses for getting out of an active shooter situation, carrying a gun in the restroom, police and the armed citizen, just to cite a few. If you’ve not been a regular listener, give a listen at Black Man With a Gun.
If you don’t already read the Tactical Professor blog by Claude Werner, you should! The most recent had an exceptionally insightful commentary on interacting with an assailant and the human instinct to try to move in and control at close proximity. On June 23rd, Werner wrote:
“It’s very common to see in news reports where Armed Citizens have pursued criminals after the criminal has broken off from the crime. Pursuit is fraught with hazards, both legal and tactical. Dependent on the laws of the particular State, pursuing a robber or attacker could result in losing the ‘mantle of innocence.’ This could result in charges being brought against the original victim. It also could put you in a position leading to becoming the victim of a mistaken identity shooting by a responding police officer. Keep in mind that although you know the victim/aggressor roles of the parties involved, the police have to sort that out upon arrival and it’s not always easy.”
See the rest of the post at https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/closing-with-the-enemy/. It is very good.
Areas of Expertise
“I am sorry, sir, we cannot give you legal advice about your state’s gun possession laws.” We fielded a couple of calls last week from a self-proclaimed TN redneck who wanted us to confirm that it was lawful for him to open carry his black powder pistol. Unsatisfied when we suggested he contact a leading attorney in his state on whom he could rely for an authoritative answer to his question, he phoned back several times, growing increasingly strident.
We simply are not privy to enough facts to provide an opinion–even if it was prudent to try to do so, which it is not. We get a lot of very similar emails, and it is frustrating because giving legal advice or explaining specific state laws is not the purpose for which we formed the Network. Had that been our wish, we would have set up a pre-paid legal program.
Every hour I spend on Internet research trying to figure out where these callers and correspondents can find answers to their questions, I am not answering questions about Network membership benefits from potential members, promoting membership and increasing Network growth, developing meaningful content for this journal, helping current Network members locate the Network Affiliated Attorneys closest to them or working to affiliate more attorneys with the Network. Calls and emails asking for legal advice are extremely frustrating because the Network office staff really cannot provide the assistance requested. But wait! There are several good alternatives.
Both Andrew Branca at The Law of Self-Defense (http://lawofselfdefense.com) and Mitch Vilos, author of Self-Defense Laws of All 50 States (https://www.gunswestpublishing.com) have made a specialty of understanding and explaining gun and self-defense law, and both have books written on these very topics. In addition, Andrew has a lot of these details on his website. Within the individual states, many of our Affiliated Attorneys and other authorities have also written handbooks explaining their state’s laws (Bloomfield Press is a good resource for state gun law books http://gunlaws.com/books.htm#gloa). Yes, I realize you will need to do some study, but know what? When we are asked these questions, we do, too! We have never sold the Network as a one-stop legal knowledge resource. It is not.
I also realize that not all of the laws make sense when you read them. This is where an attorney’s opinion is needed, so if you’ve read the law and still do not know where you stand, you need to call an attorney. I am sorry, folks, the Network cannot substitute for your attorney. Network members who don’t know an attorney can log in and view the list of our Affiliated Attorneys by state at http://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/affiliated-attorneys. Please bear in mind that attorneys need to be paid for their time, so you need to be ready to spend some money to get answers to questions you cannot research yourself.
Don’t want to spend money? Start research at websites like those cited above, as well as https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws.aspx and https://www.atf.gov/questions-and-answers/firearms-qas, for example. You might be surprised how much you can learn when you look for answers for yourself!
Updating Affiliated Attorney Data
We are smack in the middle of a big project to contact all 390 of our affiliated attorneys to be sure we have the most current information available for our members. If you are reading this and you are an affiliated attorney, watch your mail for your letter asking you to confirm your mailing address, office address, and contact information. We have found a few websites no longer valid and some new firm names. Congratulations on the new partnerships, new offices, and to those of you going out solo.
If you are a member, know that we are hard at work making sure that you have the most up-to-date attorney information available. We do urge you to make contact with an attorney long before you ever need one and once you have had a consultation with your chosen attorney, make sure you write the attorney’s telephone number on the back of your membership card with a permanent marker.
No Membership Details Online
Every month I am contacted by members who instead of just calling or emailing, searched the Network’s website to no avail looking for their membership expiration date or the date they joined. I understand that it is common to be able to access subscriptions and other services that are paid in advance for a specific period of time online.
For gun owners, however, I do not believe it is wise to store any more information on a website than is absolutely necessary to accomplish the regular flow of business. Since a Network membership account includes your name, email, phone number, mailing address and other details, do you really want all that stored on a website that obviously caters to gun owners? I didn’t think so.
Click here to return to July 2015 Journal to read more.
[End of July 2015 eJournal.
Please return for our August edition.]