Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Executive Orders and Loaded Carry in Red Rock Canyon


It’s time to get loaded carry back into Red Rock Canyon. Currently, it's prohibited.

The following is my letter to the various authorities, feel free to use as a base template for your own letter.
With the "Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs" ordering for each new regulation, two must be repealed, President Trump has signaled his intention to cut down on federal regulations. One of those regulations can be the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) prohibition on loaded firearms within the boundaries of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Open and concealed carry is legal provided the gun is unloaded (chamber/cylinders empty; no magazine inserted).
Specifically, we would like the Supplementary Rules for Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, published in the Federal Register on May 21, 1993 amended to delete section 1.1 (definition of "unloaded") and amend 3.2 "Weapons" to eliminate all but the prohibition on illegal discharge of firearms. This law clashes with Nevada state law which permits loaded open carry and (licensed) concealed carry.
This regulation is anachronism, overlooked by Congress in 2009 and by the Bush Administration. It was made in a different time and seems to reflect a misunderstanding of the behavior of legally armed citizens. It even refers to Clark County’s defunct handgun registration. By repealing this regulation, not only can a confusing and often ignored rule be eliminated, we can make the legal and natural landscape a little less hazardous for Nevadans and visitors.
The Red Rock loaded carry ban was borne in the 1990s during the Clinton Administration. In 2009, President Obama signed the Credit CARD Act which, codified as 54 USC § 104906, which permits open and concealed loaded carry in National Parks in conformance to state and federal law. There are no prohibitions in National Forests or other BLM lands in Nevada. No adverse consequences have come of the National Park liberalization.
This regulation is pointless and potentially dangerous. Manipulating a gun increases the likelihood it will be unintentionally fired, possibly causing injury in a crowded parking lot or on the side of a highway. Doubtless many citizens innocently violate this obscure regulation. Finally, an unloaded gun makes it less likely a defensive gun use will be successful as fine motor skills, such as those needed to load a gun, often deteriorate under stress.

All we are requesting is that the same laws that permit open and concealed carry of loaded firearms on Nevada’s public lands apply within Red Rock, just as is the case with Lake Mead National Recreation area and Great Basin National Park.
How can this be done? First, the Nevada BLM John Ruhs could remove it via the standard regulatory process (notices and probably a hearing). Second, the BLM Director or Secretary of Interior could mandate it. Third, the president himself could direct his subordinates (see above) to make it happen. This will require public pressure and contact. It starts with your emails. I’ll be asking our partners with the NVFAC and NRA to help draft letters from the organization, but public demand is necessary for the rules to change.

I will be writing Senator Dean Heller, President Trump, and both the BLM national and state director. Will you do the same?

You can try writing your congress-critter, but our lone Republican, Mark Amodei, is in the northern half of the state, and the Democrats certainly wouldn’t be for us.


Email Contacts

John Ruhs, State Director, Bureau of Land Management
jruhs@blm.gov

Matthew Allen, Assistant Director, Communications
mrallen@blm.gov

President Trump
White House contact page (2500 character limit)

Senator Dean Heller
Contact page

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Open Carry Book Update

So the open carry book is actively progressing, however, due to the holidays and the volume of research required for the Old West portion of the book, my initial deadline slipped big time. I'm also torn on the nature of the book, which was originally intended to be very broad and in-depth. 

I do digress a lot in the Old West section, which while relevant and interesting, could be spun off into its own smaller thing. As a result, both books would be smaller in size and scope. Open Carry would be more of a focus on the truth about open carry, etc. while the Old West would cover past gun laws and how they all tie in together. Very hard to decide, but I think the only way I can really know the difference is to finish coalescing the material into a very rough first draft. 

Since most people today don't like to read or can't be bothered with it, also have a video series idea that I'm working on, probably a year out. This would be a great way to relate a lot of abstruse information in an interesting, informative way and get people the basic knowledge they need to make informed opinions. 

So as far as the book, TBD. Breaking ground is always hard work.

-G. C. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Would the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act Allow Californians to Carry In-State on an Out-of-State Permit?



Representative Richard Hudson, R-North Carolina, introduced the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which is a slight change from his 2016 act, adding recognition for permit less "constitutional carry" states.

Hudson characterized his bill as similar to one's driver license being valid in every state, which is an excellent analogy. Current recognition/reciprocity operates as basically a treaty system between states; Nevada chooses what states' permits to recognize or, as some other states do, enter into a formal agreement to recognize each other's permits. This bill would mandate recognition of any CCW permit.

Though Hudson is opaque on the subject (rightly so, as it might torpedo his bill), if one cannot get a CCW permit in his home state, then that person can carry in their home state with a non-resident permit from any state. Liberals are livid about that potential. The press release says the bill "...would allow people with a state-issued concealed carry license or permit to conceal a handgun in any other state that allows concealed carry, as long as the permit holder follows the laws of that state."

Does this mean people who live in California and have an out-of-state CCW can carry legally in California now? On the surface, yes, if you life in California and hold an Arizona, Nevada, Texas (etc.) permit, you, as a California resident, would be allowed to carry without a California-issue CCW. Here's what the Q&A says:
"Q: Will states lose their rights with concealed carry reciprocity?
A: States will still retain their authority to determine regulations for carrying within their borders and may decide where people are and are not allowed to carry concealed in their state."
This statement is pretty ambiguous and seems to be talking about local gun laws, like banning guns from government buildings. The wording of the law doesn't explicitly define what "regulations" apply. The language is difficult, but carefully parsed, seems to indicate that Rep. Hudson intended to allow out-of-state permits, held by residents. Interestingly, LEOSA has similar language (probably a source for this bill) and recent previous versions of this bill all read pretty much the same.

Section (a)

You must first not be prohibited from possessing a firearm and be carrying photo ID (a driver license). Second, you must have a CCW issued by any state, either resident or non-resident, or live in a constitutional carry state and thus doesn't have a permit, may carry a concealed handgun.

Let's break down the language. "[1.] and who is carrying a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm [2.] or is entitled to carry a concealed firearm [3.] in the State in which the person resides."

1. Clearly requires a CCW issued by "a State", not the person's state of residence. "a State" means just that; a state, not a specific one (the person's state of residence).

2. "or" separates the requirement and adds the alternative requirement of "entitled to carry a concealed firearm in the State which the person resides." This is referring to constitutional carry.

CCW "permits" and "licenses" are self-explanatory that they are authorizing the privilege to conceal one's handgun. To "entitle" someone is to give the legal right to do something, i.e. conceal a pistol, which Second Amendment does and constitutional carry states recognize. Entitlement is not permission; it's an acknowledgement that something exists. This distinction is important; by referring to privilege and to entitlement separately, the author is talking about two different subjects.

If the author meant that the person with the permit or license had to be "entitled" to carry the firearm in their state of residence, "entitle" to refer to a privilege would be the wrong word. Also, "or" would have to be subsisted with "and." The entitlement, a recognition of a right by the law, to carry a concealed handgun is the authorization to carry, not a permit or license.

3. "in the State in which the person resides" is seen only here, not in 1. meaning that the entitlement, not the permit or license, is granted by the state of residence.

Subsections (1) requires that the state in which one carries does have laws allowing residents to apply for CCW permits or license and allow concealed carry for lawful purposes; this is every state in the Union save Vermont. Subsection (2) primarily applies to Vermont, which is the original constitutional carry state, in that its laws do not prohibit concealed carry nor do they issue permits. Even Hawaii, Maryland, and New York, as restrictive as they are, have laws authorizing CCW permits (in theory) on the books. If a state outlawed concealed carry (which they could do, and force a concealed carry lawsuit, such as Peruta, to go to the Supreme Court).

On the other hand, one could say that constitutionally, while the 14th Amendment (see below) requires the recognition of things like licences/permits from state-to-state, Congress still can't force a state to allow residents to carry in their home state on an out-of-state permit. That's above my pay grade, but there may be an argument there on states' rights grounds

What It Doesn't Allow

Subsection (b) doesn't override state or local laws on where you can carry (public and private property restrictions). If school or college campuses are off-limits, sorry, they're off limits. Federal law is basically saying that your CCW or your residence in a constitutional carry state only allows you to carry concealed, as if you had a valid permit, in whatever state you are visiting. You still have to abide by the the local laws.

While there is some ambiguity, Hudson's statements indicates that local laws aren't complete invalidated. Again, the Q&A says:
"Q: Will states lose their rights with concealed carry reciprocity?
A: States will still retain their authority to determine regulations for carrying within their borders and may decide where people are and are not allowed to carry concealed in their state."
Do I Have to Follow Local CCW Restrictions? (Subsection (c))

Remember the exemption under section (a) is from a state's concealed carry without a permit laws; it's essentially an equivalent of having a state-issued permit.

You "may not be arrested or otherwise detained for violation of any law or any rule or regulation...related to the possession, transportation, or carrying of firearms" of the state you are carrying in unless you do so in violation of the bill (as in no CCW and you're not from a constitutional carry state).

The bill exempts concealed carriers from the requirement to have an in-state CCW (the "manner...provided for by this section"). By definition, one would be exempt from local CCW restrictions, such as a sheriff's condition that one could only carry to/from the bank, during certain hours, or prohibit one from carrying while in a bar. Those regulations are a condition on issuance, meaning it's an agreement between you and the state that if you don't break their rules, they'll let you carry. Sorta like mom and dad saying you can borrow the car, as long as you don't drive with friends and are home by 12; your driver license doesn't turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

The bill specifically does not exempt one from observing laws on where you can carry (subsection (b)). This would include laws that prohibit concealed carry in bars or churches (private property). Texas 30-06 signs would apply to someone from Arizona. New Mexico can't apply the terms and conditions of their license (NMAC 10.8.2.16) to your Nevada license, in that you must carry the handgun listed on your license.

So state law, yes, you must abide by it, but no, you don't have to follow local conditions of issuance that state-residents have to follow.

Unintended Consequences

A potential problem is a literal interpretation of "may not be arrested or otherwise detained for violation of any law or any rule or regulation...related to the possession, transportation, or carrying of firearms." It sounds a lot like federal preemption of local gun laws. Taken literally, as long as you lived in a constitutional carry state or had a CCW from somewhere, you cannot be arrested or detained for anything related to the possession, transportation, or carrying of firearms, excepting prohibited places (schools, parks, etc.).

This could mean that someone carrying in compliance with this section would be exempt from laws such as carrying while intoxicated. In Nevada, it's legal to carry in a bar, but if you're going to soused, you can't carry when you're drunk. It is a crime to possess a firearm while intoxicated; it's not a crime for bars to ban guns under the penalty of trespassing, etc. Heck, even 51% like those of Texas, stupid as they are, would be invalidated because the bill exempts the business's private rules, not Texas state alcoholic beverage regulations.

That's an unintended consequence and probably not the author's intention, as is implied in the Q&A document. Hudson's intent was to make it illegal for police to arrest or detain someone under state law for carrying concealed without an in-state permit. Even so, the language as-is could be interpreted to get rid of a lot of laws that keep the local drunk from fingering his Glock in the bar, etc.

Hurdles

Rep. Hudson hasn't said anything about residents of restrictive states carrying on non-residents permits; probably for good reason. This gives the left major indigestion. It would in a stroke totally invalidate the restrictive permitting systems of California et al. Someone in San Diego could carry on an Arizona permit, California law be damned.

This is likely a violation of state's rights. States have the right to set criteria for their permits ("shall not be infringed" aside). Take driver licenses for a second: you have to have a license issued in the state you live in, not some other state. Floridians can't go up to Georgia for a driver license if they can't get one in Florida. Imagine the problems if taxes were paid this way: everyone in the country would choose to pay Nevada state income tax!

What will probably happen is the wording will be amended further through the process, in committee or by the Senate, and will remove any ambiguity that would allow that to happen. It would hush up the Democrats a bit and avoid and potential state's rights challenges in court, which would probably be successful.

Some have argued that forcing states to allow residents to carry in their home state on a permit from other state would be an unconstitutional usurpation of authority and set bad precedence. While we all love the Second Amendment and can agree that states like California need their gun control schemes to be put down hard, federal legislation (this way) isn't the way to do it.

The worry is that if the federal government essentially mandate a state must allow it's residents to carry on any state's permit, the federal government could, in the future, do the opposite and mandate no state allow guns to be carried. Once Congress assumes a power, it can quickly go the other way. There is a congressional remedy though.

Section 5 of the 14th Amendment gives Congress the ability to pass legislation to enforce the provisions of the amendment, namely from Section 1: "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States..." One interpretation is that this means that the Bill of Rights applies to the states, and by extension, Congress can go after states that infringe on constitutional rights. Of course, it's an abstruse area of constitutional law and would probably go to the Supreme Court, but a law compelling all the notorious anti-gun states to fall in line would solve a lot of problems.

As for residents of anti-gun states, the only real practical, solution is a Supreme Court case finding that there is a right to concealed (and open carry) outside the home. A win in Peruta would damn the anti-gun states' schemes. Under President Trump and conservative court, this could actually happen.

Will It Pass?

Trump made it a campaign promise and he's reportedly actually progun (and a privileged New York City permittee himself). Hudsons' earlier bill, HR 986 of the 114th Congress, had 216 co-sponsors, while a similar bill in the House had 103 and senate bill 35 co-sponsors. SB 649 of 2013 got 57 yes votes (13 from Democrats). So it can happen. If it looks like it is going to happen, there will be a huge push from the NRA and every other gun rights organization under the sun to bombard Congress with requests to pass it.

Your humble editor's bet is that a version of this bill will pass, but it will likely be amended to require that one carry on a resident permit while in their home state and clarify that carriers have to play by local rules, insofar as they can logically apply.

Disclaimer: I may be reading the bill too closely.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Can President Trump Restore Loaded Carry in Red Rock?


Earlier last year, we proposed a way to get loaded carry back in Red Rock. Unfortunately, trying to defeat Question 1 took up all of the energy of the gun rights community. Now, Question 1 has been effectively nullified, but we still lost the state legislature, and considerable energy will have to be spent deflecting bad legislation by encouraging the less-liberal Democrats and Gov. Sandoval to kick gun control to the curb. Nothing good will happen in the legislature for gun rights, I can tell you that. Where we can win is by exploiting the campaign promises and Second Amendment support of President Trump.

Background

For gun owners, Red Rock is a unique carve-out in Nevada because it is the largest swath of land open to the public where carrying loaded firearms is prohibited. The red rocks and sandstone cliffs of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area that dominate the western skyline of Las Vegas is a BLM-administered area, separate from the National Park System, which does allow firearms. Long have local gun owners bemoaned the outmoded regulations without attempting to solve the problem. Congress won’t remedy this right on their own, but we can ourselves.

Readers are aware that state law prohibits local and state agencies from making their own firearm laws, including state parks, except for regulation unsafe discharge of firearms. Some may be familiar with the change to federal law under President Bush’s tenure that permitted firearms in National Parks (including recreation areas like Lake Mead) as long as the weapons are carried in accordance with state law.

Specifically, loaded firearms are prohibited in Red Rock. Ammunition and magazines/clips cannot be on or in the weapon, except for legal hunting as permitted. The excerpt regarding weapons is below, while the full Supplementary Rules are here. The penalty is up to a $1000 fine and/or 12 months in federal prison (43 CFR 8360.0-7).

How stupid is it that you can have a gun, and even carry it on your person, but it has to be unloaded? The rules will not prevent a criminal from carrying illegally or prevent illegal target shooting. There is no benefit of this rule and the few seconds spent loading a gun could be the few seconds that give a bad guy the advantage or allow a cougar to strike. On top of that, it is immoral to effectively disarm the citizens who won’t carry at all because they don’t understand the nuances of the law.

Legal basis

These rules were added shortly after Red Rock’s official inception as an NCA. The supplementary rules for Red Rock were published in the May 21st, 1993 edition of the Federal Register, which is the federal government’s journal. Federal law allows the interior secretary (via the BLM’s state director) to make supplementary rules and orders for the national conservation areas under his jurisdiction (43 USC § 1701). Often, there will be public comment periods and hearings before the agency decides on new rules, regulations, and actions.

Federal law is broken down into three main segments: The United States Code (USC), roughly analogous to the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS); The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); and internal federal agency regulations, which are published in the Federal Register. Agencies are authorized by Congress to make regulations in their area of operation, such as the ATF’s various administrative rulings. Now to make specific ‘park’ rules, based on the unique needs of the given area, the BLM’s state administrator can make supplemental rules (43 CFR 8365.1-6), as long as the public is given notice of the proposal and time to make comments.

Other places

No other federal ‘parkland’ in Nevada prohibits legally carried self-defense weapons, loaded or unloaded, including the two other conservation areas, Sloan Canyon (south of Henderson), and the Black Rock Desert. Sloan Canyon is managed by the Southern Nevada BLM office, which manages Red Rock.

Only two other Conservation areas, the Wallace Forest in Idaho and the San Pedro Riparian area in Arizona, have firearm possession prohibitions. Both are outdated as well (2000 and 1989, respectively). Even in California, the ‘Lost Coast’ conservation area allows loaded open carry under that state’s quirky carry laws. As mentioned earlier, National Parks and Wildlife Refuges allow firearms in accordance with state law (§ 512. pg. 31 “Credit CARD Act of 2009”), though guns are still prohibited inside federal facilities (18 USC § 1930).

How to remedy

The public should be allowed to carry firearms loaded for self-defense, not just in light of the Second Amendment, but because of the dangers inherent in today’s world. One should not be forced to be disarmed or carry a ‘neutered’ unloaded gun because of an outdated regulation. Heaven forbid anyone is attacked by a cougar or coyote, not to mention potentially being the victim of a crime at, or to/from, Red Rock. The right to loaded self-defense should not disappear because someone crosses an invisible line into a wild desert park. There is nothing inherent in Red Rock that makes visitors any less susceptible to danger.

Taking into consideration the state laws of Nevada and no prohibition on other federal recreational lands, Red Rock’s loaded gun ban is an anachronism. 1993 was a different time in America. Handgun ownership and self-defense carry was not nearly as popular as today and “shall issue” concealed weapon permit laws had yet to come to Nevada and sweep across the nation. As more and more people recognized the need for self-defense weapons and the attitudes in the country have changed, it is time that unusual, out-of-touch regulation disappear.

The rules are not federal law (US Code) and do not require legislation to change, which would have been a pipe dream with the former president. Even though legislation is possible now, it’s easier and more likely to get an administrative change through the Department of the Interior. President Trump’s administration seems receptive to gun rights and undoing federal regulations is one of his campaign promises.

It may be easier than petitioning Washington. A gentle campaign of public pressure through petitioning the state director John Ruhs to amend the Supplemental Rules to allow loaded firearms to be carried for self-defense. Given the administration, assistance from politicians and the White House might make the change a snap.

Congressional pressure presents a problem. The representative for the Red Rock area is Democrat Jackie Rosen, who would probably not go along with us based simply on party politics. Nevada’s sole Republican congressman is Mark Amodei who represents northern Nevada. We also have Republican Senator Dean Heller who may be of assistance.

Public pressure can change things. It may be as simple as a few nice, well-written letters. Imagine if thousands of Nevadan gun owners, hikers, bikers, and concerned citizens petitioned the BLM to restore their right to effective self-defense? A one-day coordinated campaign of three phone calls, one to the Nevada BLM headquarters, one to the White House, and one to the BLM/Interior Department in Washington combined with emails and letters might get some attention.

Currently, a case, Nesbitt v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is winding its way through federal court appealing similar regulations on US ACE lands in Idaho. This is within the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, meaning that a favorable final ruling (especially a Supreme Court ruling), un-appealed by the government, could be applied as precedence to BLM lands. However, court cases are expensive, difficult, and the justices are anti-Second Amendment.   

Notwithstanding the supplementary rules, 43 CFR 8365.1-7 says that state still law applies, meaning that Nevada’s concealed carry laws and lack of an open carry prohibition or ban on loaded handguns in cars would not be illegal. So there is recognition of state law already in place, though not as specific as one would hope.

We are asking for a small change to the law to bring Red Rock in conformity with other federal areas and the rest of Nevada. We are not asking to allow target shooting with its attendant trash and safety problems.

There will always be the leftists (often involved in environmental and outdoors groups) and anti-gunners who will ill-rationally protest the restoration of gun rights, but rights and truth win over hype and lies any day. On top if it all, guns are already allowed in Red Rock, just unloaded. Many practice ‘California open carry’ where the pistol is on one hip, the magazine on the other, and can be loaded in an emergency with a quick reload and rack of the slide. The unloaded guns haven’t hurt anyone or the wildlife; why would loaded guns make any difference?


So Nevada gun owners; are you on board?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016: 21 Defensive Gun Uses in Nevada

Source: Easy Bake Gun Club
In 2016, there were 21 verified (corroborated by the mainstream media, i.e. newspapers and TV stations) defensive gun uses (DGU). This does not include stories posted on social media that didn't make it into the papers, even though we know and trust those of you on Facebook and the forums. Except this DGU, which was reported in both places (please let Nevada Carry break the story first, then call the TV news, we need the street cred, yo).

Download Excel spreadsheet here.

I don't have access to the CDC WISQARS database at the moment (server seems to be down), so I can't verify the actual numbers myself, but one report states that about 103,000 people are killed or injured by guns every year. I'm assuming that includes murder, legal intervention, suicide, and accidents from fatal to minor. That's basically with a wash of even the most conservative estimate of 100,000 defensive gun uses a year. The vast majority of non-shooting defensive gun uses go totally unnoticed, like the a women in Las Vegas who deterred a possible kidnapping and another who prevented an altercation from devolving into a fight simply by openly carrying.

There were also several dubious DGUs. One where a would-be Good Samaritan shot at a suspect shoplifter's car (he also was carrying concealed illegally). The second involves a smoke shop clerk who shot a shoplifter during a flash-mob style robbery. Police arrested him for murder, contending that the dead thief, a 13-year old boy, was not a threat at the time. One other interesting case, that might turn out to be actual self-defense or good for at least a not-guilty verdict was in the case of a man who, during an altercation, claimed to see the victim grab a gun (later determined to be an airgun) and shot him.

Know the self-defense laws before you go, but honestly, if you're the type to read up on when you can and can't shoot someone, you're probably not the type to get into dubious shootings either. And for heaven's sake; why are you stuffing a fake gun in your pants? That's just a recipe for disaster.

As always, reporting from the provinces is spotty, so if you live in rural Nevada and we missed one, let us know. We're also open to verifiable reports not listed in the media.