Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CLE for Virginia Gun Law

I am happy to announce that we are filling out the forms for CLE credit for Virginia. If you want to register for the October 23rd seminar, and want CLE credit for it, the fee is $125. We are submitting an application for 2.5 hours of CLE credit. Sorry, no ethics hours.

Non-attorneys are also invited, cost is $75/$65 for VCDL members.

We plan on three hours minimum of instruction, with a couple of short breaks in the middle that will boil down to 2.5 hours of credit. The outline is as follows:

  • General legal guidelines for the use of force
  • Justification versus Excuse
  • Self-defense
  • Virginia's lack of a "castle doctrine" - and why it (mostly) doesn't matter
  • Defense of Others
  • Defense of Property
  • Purchase and possession of arms in the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • What is "open carry" and what is "concealed carry" in Virginia? Not quite what you think.
  • Virginia Knife Law (a surprisingly active area of the law)
  • Interacting with Law Enforcement Officers
  • Travelling armed: planes, trains, and automobiles
  • What to do when in other jurisdictions: a practical "travelling" mode for reciprocal states
If you are interested, email me at defensivehandgun@gmail.com.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where Even Prosecutors Can't Carry

Uncle links to a story about a man who fires some warning shots because a gang of, well, gang members was threatening him. The comments discuss the wisdom of warning shots and legal implications.

Here's some additional background. The Nassau County DA's Office is reeeaaaally anti-gun. The office has a policy of barring handgun ownership by its employees. That's in great contrast with a lot of places like Virginia, where prosecutors can carry concealed anywhere, even in bars while drinking, without the training necessary for a concealed handgun permit. Because they're like you and me, only better.

Here is the application for assistant district attorney, and here is the one for interns. Note the following in background questions:

Applicant Questionnaire: Yes or No
3. Have you ever had a license to possess a firearm in this state or any other state?

And the closing (signature-required) condition:
Gun ownership: I understand that assistant district attorneys are not permitted to apply for a handgun permit nor own or possess a handgun while employed by the Nassau County District Attorney. Any exception to this policy must be in writing and approved by the District Attorney.

So, anybody think that this attitude may, even unconsciously, affect the judgment of the prosecutors in this case?

There's nothing so egregious as this in Virginia, but I discuss a lot of relevant self-defense considerations such as the standards for the use of deadly force in Virginia in my legal seminars. Next one is October 23, 2010; contact me to sign up.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Required Reading for Concealed Carry

Here is a good write-up of a self-defense shooting that went to court twice. HT Snowflakes in Hell

The defendant, Mr. Hickey, was involved in a self-defense shooting when he was attacked by three neighbors in his own driveway. He was charged with aggravated assault and spent 71 days in jail. Massad Ayoob gave expert testimony in the second trial, possibly saving Mr. Hickey's bacon.

One of the commenters notes that Mr. Hickey's wife might have been treated better by the police, and that's probably true. Hickey is a part-time firearms instructor and trains troops preparing to deploy.

The write-up is the September newsletter for the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network, an organization that provides legal assistance to members that have to defend their self-defense actions in court.

SIRT Pistol for Training

Caleb has a post up on the SIRT pistol, a dedicated dry-fire handgun that shoots a laser out the barrel whenever the gun is "fired."

While this seems like a good way to train, I'd be afraid that it would make me look for the laser and not call my shots - see the sights, take the shot, and move on knowing that I'd hit the target.

I dry-fire with a trigger kit from Southwest Shooting Authority. The kit replaces the trigger for your Glock, and automatically resets. Print out some 1/3 scale targets (available here), post them on your basement/garage wall, and dry-fire away.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Malum Prohibitum

The NY Times reports that Chicago's gun ordinance, as well as state gun laws, aren't successfully used to deter violent crime. HT Uncle.

“We do bypass our ordinance because the penalties are more serious under state laws,” Ms. Hoyle said. “But there’s this idea that we didn’t really enforce the ordinance, and that’s just not true. We prosecute people all the time.”

Those prosecutions, however, rarely result in convictions, according to the data from the clerk’s office. While the police have made 12,967 arrests since 2000, city attorneys have won just 2,068 convictions.

But these ineffective (and unconstitutional) gun laws have to be defended in court:

Charles Boesel, director of communications for the Joyce Foundation, said in a written statement that the city’s gun ordinance was worth defending regardless of how often it was enforced, because a decision to apply the Second Amendment to states and municipalities “could have profound implications for current and future gun policy in Chicago and nationwide.”

Good to know. Next time you defend a gun law on the basis that it's "for the kids," you'll just stipulate up front that they don't work, and you're just doing this because: (a) the Joyce Foundation pays you to, and (b) you think that people are better off dead and in compliance with nonsensical laws than being able to defend themselves, right?