Wednesday, July 28, 2021

BATFE & Texas H.B. 957

As with the Texas Constitutional Carry, the number of questions surrounding the new Texas Suppressor law have been numerous! I, too, have been wondering about what the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE or more commonly "ATF") thought of and, more importantly, how they would respond to the passage by the Texas Legislature and signing by the Texas Governor of Texas House Bill 957 (aka "Firearm Supressor Regulation"). Today, the ATF transmitted an open letter to all Texas based Federal Firearms Licensees, reminding us of our obligations and responsibilities, and informing us of the BATFE position on the new Texas law that goes into effect on September 1, 2021.

Bottom line for the Federal entity that provides oversight for FFLs nationwide is that H.B. 957 DOES NOT supercede existing federal laws and regulations concerning the manufacture, sale and/or possession of a firearm supressor.  Shocking, right?

Although the purpose of this open letter is stated as a "reminder of obligations", it is clear that Texas FFLs are now on notice that should a federally licensed dealer/manufacturer subordinate federal law and regulations in favor of state law regarding supressors, doing so could put their licenses at risk of being revoked.

So, while Texas law enforcement entities have not voiced their take on the prospective challenges of the new law, don't be surprised if FFL's, who rely on their license for their income, ask to see the federal Tax Stamp for your supressor.

Monday, June 21, 2021

CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY

 Like many of my fellow Texas citizens, I watched, with interest, the progress of Texas House Bill 1927 (aka "The Firearm Carry Act of 2021" and "Constitutional Carry") through the Texas Legislature during the 2021 bi-annual legislative session.

Many, MANY of my clients and friends have asked my opinion of Constitutional Carry and, honestly, I was hesitant to offer my thoughts, concerns, hopes, etc. Not because I didn't have any thoughts, concerns, hopes, etc., but because my previous experiences in federal and state government made me wise to the fact that, until the bill passes both houses in the legislature and is signed by the governor, as they said in the old Saturday morning School House Rock videos, "it's just a bill." Until it was final, there was no cause to get excited or riled about it.

Now that Governor Abbott has signed the bill into law, there's actually something to digest.

First, as with most Texas laws, it will not take effect until the first day of the state's fiscal year, which is September 1st. That's VERY important to understand because until Wednesday, 9/1/2021, the changes brought about by this law are not in effect.

So, when the law DOES go into effect, how will it change the current Texas License to Carry Handgun? From what I've read, that program will remain unchanged.

So why would someone want to go to the trouble of getting a license to carry handgun when you don't need one in Texas? One benefit is the background investigation and subsequent license card exempts the holder from having to wait for the results of a National Instant Criminal Background Check before being allowed to take possession of a firearm purchased from a retailer. For many people that's a big benefit. Licensed carriers also have exposure to some level of instruction on the legal ramifications of presenting and/or firing a firearm in self defense. There is also the benefit of being able to carry in states that have a reciprocity agreement with Texas and recognize the Texas License to Carry Handgun as equal to the license those states issue allowing the holder to carry in those states as well without further endorsement.

So, what about this law concerns me? Well, the law itself doesn't concern me. But...

(1) Firearm owners with limited understanding of the legal ramifications of presenting or firing a firearm in public was a problem before this law. The law removes the requirement to receive even rudimentary legal instruction to be able to carry a firearm. This places the burden entirely  on gun owners to understand the legal aspects of gun ownership and could put some gun owners at risk of run-ins with the criminal justice system unexpectedly. So taking the initiative to educate yourself on the legal consequences of presenting or firing a gun in self defense is more important than ever. For that reason, I recommend exploring a gun owner legal protection plan. For an annual fee, members can receive the benefit of legal defense in the event a gun owner is arrested as a result of using their firearm for self defense. Most plans offer videos on specific topics and some host events where members gather to hear a lawyer's perspective and have questions answered. "I didn't know," won't cut it in the court room. IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NOT A VALID DEFENSE!

(2) I also worry that some people will use this law as an excuse to wantonly antagonize gun control advocates by flaunting an openly carried loaded firearm unnecessarily to provoke an argument. I have had a license to carry handgun for years, and I can honestly say that I have not felt compelled to carry every single day to every single place I go. I choose not to open carry because I feel it draws unnecessary attention and makes me more of a target. I don't begrudge those who carry openly, but I do have to wonder, sometimes, about the motivation of some who open carry. Is openly carrying solely to prove that you can, as a 1st amendment statement, in the best interest of defending the 2nd amendment? I'm pretty sure I can win a 2nd amendment debate with even the most rabid gun control activist with my mind without having to show them that I'm carrying a firearm.

My usual response to the question of what I think about "Contitutional Carry" is that the "defund the police" movement meshed with "The Firearm Carry Act of 2021",  will make me  feel more inclined to carry than before...which is sad.

For a more objective legal perspective on what Constitutional Carry means and some of the potential legal pitfalls that lay in wait for those who don't inform themselves, check out this info published by US Law Shield.



Tuesday, April 20, 2021

CMP Warns of Ammunition Limits for US Rifles M1903, 1903A3, & M1

The Civilian Marksmanship Program has updated the ammunition section of the handbook that accompanies Model 1903, 1903A3, and M1 Garands they sell warning not to use .30-06 Springfield ammunition that is loaded beyond 50,000 Copper Units of Pressure (CUP) and has a bullet weight more than 172-174 grains. Even with replacement barrels, the majority of the parts in these rifles are at least 70 years old and are not designed for maximum loads and super heavy bullets. 

Always wear hearing and eye protection when firing a M1903, 1903A3, and/or M1 garrand rifle.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Get A "New" Gun for Christmas?

 So, the quotes around the word new were intentional.  Sometimes guns are bought new in box. But many times, guns are bought used. So, while a gun may be new to you, it could be that it is pre-owned.  Whether it is new or used, there are things you want to be sure of before taking any gun to a range and shooting for the first time.

1. Read and understand the owner's manual. Every owner's manual has important safety information specific to that particular firearm. It also contains instructions for how to properly disassemble, clean, reassemble and lubricate the firearm. It should also contain information about the kind of ammunition to use with the firearm. Finally, the manual will contain the procedure for how to perform a function check to verify that the firearm is working properly. If you don't have the owner's manual for the firearm, my web site contains links to most manufacturers' sites where you can download the manuals for most firearms. Just look on the right side of my seb site and scroll down.

2. Disassemble, inspect, clean, reassemble, lubricate and function check the firearm according to the manufacturer's recommendations. If you are not comfortable with or able to do this, then take the gun to a qualified professional gunsmith who will be happy to show you how or do it for you.

3.  If you are new to shooting, or the firearm is one that you have never fired before, it is a good idea to get some instruction from a NRA certified instructor.

4. Know the basic safety rules that apply to handling all firearms, and be sure of the range's rules BEFORE you go to the range.

The more you know about it, the safer you will be with your "new" firearm, and the more fun you will have participating in indoor and outdoor shooting sports.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

NEW!! SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT ON-LINE

 I was a "Geek" in the Army, and as my business evolves and grows, I try to leverage technology, when it makes sense, to help ease distractions. Once such distraction is answering phone calls that are simply questions about when I am available to receive a gun for repair, or to pick up a firearm that has been fixed.

SO...I am providing the option to schedule appointments on-line. You will notice below my Business Hours (to the right ----->) that a new option appears the allows customers to click on and schedule an appointment. Each link is for one of the three typical appointments I am asked about and displays only the time frames I have open schedule and appointment. 

I may be a Geek, but I'm well aware that not everyone is comfortable with technology. If you need to call me, I'll still answer (if my hands and attention aren't too deep inside a complicated repair). This is just another way for folks to get on my calendar and their and receive reminders.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Friday, October 16, 2020

BEFORE GOING THE DIY ROUTE...

I can't tell you how many times I've started off a conversation with a gun owner saying, "I took my gun apart and can't get it back together."

Many a gunowner has girded their loins and braved the task of trying to disassemble their firearm for the first time and put it back together. I mean, YouTube makes it look so easy, right? 

Believe it or not, fighting with a gun that won't go back together, or worse, getting it back together and finding that you have an "extra" part that you don't remember where it came from is a challenge even professional gunsmiths have to work through.

But professional gunsmiths have things to help make the challenge less scary...experience and LOTS of tools!

The link below is a NRA article that provides some tips to help avoid turning what seems a simple task into "the walk of shame"...going to the gunsmith with a bag full of parts.

DIY GUNSMITHING MISTAKES

Friday, July 31, 2020

BUYING A FIREARM

I am often asked, "What do you think of [insert obscure make and model of a firearm here]?", or "Should I buy a pistol, a revolver or a shotgun for personal protection?"

To the first question:  as a gunsmith, most of the firearms that I put my hands on, other than FFL transfers that I process for customers, come to me because there is problem. And usually, the problem is something that could have been avoided by reading the owner manual. But I digress. Gunsmiths typically focus on the system a particular firearm uses to operate.  For example, 1911 pistols use a link to pivot the barrel out of the lock position after firing, whereas a Beretta or Glock use a cam, and most smaller .22 pistols don't lock at all before firing and use all of the energy of the fired charge behind the bullet to "blow back" the bolt. The point here is, when talking to a gunsmith, the better question is, "What kind, or how many problems have you seen with [insert firearm make and model here]?" Opinions are a dime a dozen, but most gunsmiths are better prepared to recall from their data instances and circumstances they have worked on a particular firearm which is much more meaningful inormation than a personal opinion.

To the question of the best firearm for personal protection, there are WAY too many variables to say what is "best" for everyone. Best for me may not be best for a first-time gun buyer. Below is a link to a great video produced by Brownells that goes through the important things a first time gun buyer should think about to aid in having an informed conversation with a sales representative who can help narrow the search for what is right for you.

https://youtu.be/WpLU24sgqG8