By George L. Lyon, Esq.

 

My clients and students frequently request my analysis of the various self-defense insurance type products on the market, some of which are not technically insurance per se. My knowledge of this topic has benefited by Recoil magazine’s occasional comparison of these products as well as an informative video by attorney Andrew Branca, author of the highly recommended book Law of Self Defense. I will give you the results of my own review of these products below. Bear in mind, policies often change, so I recommend you perform your own due diligence at the time of your decision. I recommend my analytical framework as a guide. 

 

It is important to understand that basic homeowner’s insurance even with umbrella insurance does not cover a self-defense shooting. First, these insurance products do not defend you from a criminal prosecution, and, second, they do not cover you civilly because a self-defense shooting is considered an intentional act. Homeowner’s coverage would apply if it were alleged that you negligently shot someone on the premises of your home. Some plaintiffs have made such allegations specifically to try to get within the coverage of homeowner’s policies.


With respect to self-defense insurance or insurance like products, a number of companies offer this type of service. The ones I am going to discuss here are in alphabetical order: Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network (“ACLDN”); CCW Safe; Firearms Legal Protection (“Firearms Legal”) Second Call Defense (“Second Call”); United States Concealed Carry Association (“USCCA”) and U.S. Law Shield.

By George L. Lyon, Jr, Esq.

 

As you may have heard the Supreme Court last week dismissed as moot the New York State Rifle and Pistol case that many had hoped would clarify for the lower courts the standard court should use to review second amendment cases. While not unexpected, the 6-3 decision was still a disappointment. Justice Alito wrote a dissenting opening which Justices Thomas and Gorsuch joined arguing that the case was not moot and that the city ordinance at issue was unconstitutional. In the penultimate paragraph of his opinion, Justice Alito made the following comment:

“We are told that the mode of review [by the lower courts] in this case is representative of the way Heller has been treated in the lower courts. If that is true, there is cause for concern.”

By George L. Lyon, Jr, Esq.

 

There have been a number of important developments affecting DC Concealed Carry Licensees, and new and renewal applicants.


First, due to the Corona virus medical emergency, indoor ranges are closed and in person classes are difficult, if not impossible to conduct classes and shooting qualifications. This especially impacts persons with DC carry licenses up for renewal while the Corona virus emergency is pending.


I brought this fact up to MPD and DC City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who in turn spoke to Chief Newsome about extending the expiration date on expiring licenses. The DC council then passed legislation giving the Mayor authority to extend expiring licenses (carry as well as other licenses) through the current medical emergency. Chief Newsome then exercised that authority by extending licenses expiring during the medical emergency for the duration of the medical emergency and for an additional 45 days thereafter.

By George L. Lyon, Jr, Esq.

 

Although, the Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms, that right is not absolute. A person can lose his or her firearm rights in a number of ways. These include conviction of a felony, an involuntary commitment to a mental hospital, conviction for a domestic violence offense, or being subject to a domestic abuse restraining order. There are a number of other prohibited categories not pertinent to this discussion.

If you have been convicted of a felony by a Virginia state court or subject to an involuntary commitment to a mental health facility in Virginia, there are procedures whereby we can help you obtain your firearms rights back. We need to emphasize, however, that if you have been convicted of a felony in federal court, these procedures will not work for restoring your firearm rights. At this time only a presidential pardon can do that. Additionally, these procedures will not work for a domestic abuse conviction.


If your conviction resulted from a plea agreement, in which you pled guilty to a lesser offence in exchange for a lighter sentence, you might not have realized that you lost your Second Amendment rights as part of your plea deal. If your facing criminal charges, it’s important to be represented by competent legal counsel who is also sensitive to your wish to preserve your rights.

 

Restoring Rights from a Virginia State Felony Conviction


In Virginia, anyone convicted of a felony will lose his or her firearm rights. However, Virginia law allows restoration of firearm rights following a felony conviction. It is a two-step procedure. The first step, following service of the sentence and any period of probation, is to seek restoration of civil rights from the Governor. This can be accomplished via the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth’s web site. The applicant will be sent an executive order from the Governor restoring his or her civil rights, except for the right to possess and ship firearms. The applicant will then need to petition the Circuit Court in the county or city where he or she lives to restore his firearms rights. Arsenal Attorneys™ can assist you with this process.


We will ask to obtain records relating to your conviction and other documents supporting your rehabilitation to include in the petition, including your employment history, community involvement, and letters of recommendation from persons in the community. We then submit the petition to the court and to the local Commonwealth’s Attorneys office. Often the Commonwealth’s Attorney will agree to the proposed order to restore gun rights. If not, the Court will schedule a hearing to decide whether to grant the petition.

 

Restoring Rights from an Involuntary Mental Health Commitment


The procedure for restoration of rights from a mental health commitment is slightly different. A petition is filed with the District Court where the petitioner resides rather than the Circuit Court, and it is served on the Commonwealth’s Attorney. The Court will schedule a hearing on the petition.


The petition for restoration from a mental health commitment contains similar information as a petition for restoration from a felony conviction. But rather than providing information concerning a conviction, the petition includes information concerning the original commitment, including, if possible, notes from the treating facility. We also strongly suggest including a current evaluation from a mental health profession, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. We have doctors who are knowledgeable of gun issues to whom we refer our clients. We also recommend including other documents such as employment history, driving record, and letters of recommendation.


If you have been previously convicted of a felony in a Virginia court or involuntarily committed in Virginia and would like to explore restoration of your firearm rights, we offer a complimentary consultation to explore whether you are a good candidate to apply for restoration of your firearms rights. Please contact Arsenal Attorneys to learn how we can help you restore your rights.

Arsenal Attorneys’ George Lyon is licensed to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He was one of the plaintiffs in the Palmer v. District of Columbia case that forced DC to begin issuing concealed carry licenses and in the Heller case that legalized handguns in Washington, DC. Mr. Lyon is licensed by the Metropolitan Police Department to teach the DC concealed carry course including the renewal course and conducts the course monthly. His next class is November 16 in Arlington, Virginia. To sign up for his course, contact Mr. Lyon at gll[at]arsenalattorneys.com or at 703-291-3312.

This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.

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