Arsenal Attorneys is a nationwide law practice with offices in Fairfax, Virginia near Washington, DC and in Rocklin, California near Sacramento. We serve large and small clients, often remotely. Depending on the client's location, our services include estate planning, civil litigation, criminal defense, business law, landlord-tenant disputes, real estate, and firearms regulations. Our team of attorneys is licensed to serve clients in over 30 states. Contact us today to discuss your goals.
DC residents and nonresidents alike will be interested to know how two recent decisions by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on July 25, 2017 upheld rights under the Second Amendment to carry concealed firearms. The two cases, Wrenn v. D.C. and Grace v. D.C., challenged DC’s may issue concealed carry licensing scheme. In a nutshell, the Court held DC’s restrictive licensing scheme unconstitutional and ordered the District Court to permanently enjoin DC from enforcing its “good cause” requirement to obtain a concealed carry license.
"Even a person residing beside a drug den or who has previously been the victim of crime, likely would not qualify for a DC carry license."
DC was first compelled to issue carry licenses because of the Palmer v. D.C. decision in 2014. Arsenal Attorneys’ George Lyon was a plaintiff in Palmer. Begrudgingly, DC implemented very strict requirements for carry license applications. The good cause standard requires a resident or nonresident applicant to show he carries cash or other valuables on his person for business or has been personally threatened or has been a victim of crime needing to carry a handgun to protect himself from apprehended danger. Simply living in a high crime area, in other words most of DC, does not qualify. Even a person residing beside a drug den or who has previously been the victim of crime, likely would not qualify for a DC carry license without proof of a current threat or an extraordinary security need. These difficult requirements enabled DC to reject all but a very few applications.
Arsenal Attorneys' George Lyon appeared on the Russian independent TV network, RTVi, to debate gun rights in Russia. Several Eastern European countries, including Russia and the Czech Republic, have taken up the debate of whether to adopt legislation similar to America's Second Amendment.
One panelist in the RTVi debate asked Mr. Lyon why he would carry a firearm everyday. "Because a cop is too heavy," he responded.
The full video can be found at this link.
Arsenal Attorneys' Firearms Technology Expert Rick Vasquez will present his highly recommended seminar, "Introduction to the National Firarms Act and Its Processes," in the Houston area on July 17. Rick will address the following topics:
To attend, contact Rick Vasquez at 540-535-6633.
In the last year, the regulation of firearms and trusts under the National Firearms Act (‘NFA’) underwent the greatest changes since the NFA’s first enactment in 1934. A trust remains the preferred solution for the lawful possession and inheritance of NFA firearms; however, most of the trusts in use today lack important protections for the new regulations. Fortunately, you can obtain a new trust or update your existing trust with the help of Arsenal Attorneys.
Even if you have a do-it-yourself trust, we can update your documents using the new design of our Arsenal Gun Trust, and, in the process, you’ll become a client of Arsenal Attorneys—with all the peace of mind that comes with using a leading national law firm in the field of firearms law and estate planning.
The new Arsenal Gun Trust minimizes the impact of the new regulations, known as 41F. Our design not only reduces the red tape of registering new NFA firearms, but there’s a more important and often overlooked benefit. The overwhelming majority of new and existing trusts would require people to provide fingerprints and photographs when they inherit your NFA firearms. You might understand NFA regulations, but will the people inheriting your gun collection understand the laws governing silencers, short barrel rifles, and machine guns?
Depending on the design of your NFA trust and state law, you and your successors can avoid these headaches. That’s why it’s important to use a lawyer, particularly from a law firm with a national practice, so you can determine how to choose the best state law available to you. Arsenal Attorneys are unique in offering direct attorney-client relationships in these matters in nearly every state where NFA firearms are owned. We use no middle man. We are not robots. We draft documents one at a time, personalized for each individual client and based on our years of experience serving thousands of gun owners nationwide. We’ve taught firearms law for the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.
For a limited time only, Arsenal Attorneys is offering a special discounted consultation with one of our lawyers for $39.95* to discuss the new NFA regulations and our new Arsenal Gun Trust design. If you become our client to obtain a new Arsenal Gun Trust or to update your existing trust to become an Arsenal Gun Trust, we’ll credit that $39.95 toward those fees.
In addition to ATF’s new regulations for NFA firearms, we can discuss your other concerns related to gun trusts. Perhaps you need to amend the trust to update your address or remove a person. By drafting what lawyers call a ‘restatement’ of your trust, we could address all your needs in a single step. Contact Arsenal Attorneys today at 703-291-3312 or using our contact form. You may also visit our Arsenal Gun Trust page to learn more about our services and to complete our online questionnaire to begin the process of obtaining or updating a trust based on our exclusive Arsenal Gun Trust design.
*Consultations are conducted by telephon only for a maximum duration of 20 minutes. A credit card number is required to schedule an appointment.
This article was written by Arsenal Attorneys' Firearms Technology Expert Rick Vasquez, for informational purposes only. Contact Arsenal Attorneys with your questions about firearms law.
For pistol grip firearms designed to fire shotgun shells, and with the invention of the arm brace designed for rifle caliber pistols such as the AK and AR pistols, there is much confusion on what is the proper classification of these firearms. Such a firearm could appear to be a “short barreled rifle” or a “short barreled shotgun”, either of which would create concerns about proper registration and handling.
To properly understand the opinions ATF has provided on these firearms, the definitions of ‘firearm’ under the Gun Control Act (GCA) and the National Firearms Act (NFA) must be studied carefully. Certain commercially-produced pistol-grip/palm-grip firearms do not fall within the definition of a “shotgun” under either the NFA or the GCA. Although these firearms shoot shotgun ammunition, their use of pistol-grips in lieu of buttstocks means they cannot be “shotguns” under the NFA or GCA because they are not designed or intended to be fired from the shoulder. Provided that the overall length remains at least 26 inches, the length of the weapon’s barrel is immaterial. Such weapons are classified simply as “firearms” and are still subject to all of the provisions of the GCA.
Under the provisions of the GCA, an individual can legally reduce the barrel length of a pistol-grip firearm of this type, to less than 18 inches, as long as the overall length of the firearm remains at least 26 inches. However, a shotgun that once had a buttstock attached but had the barrel shortened to less than 18 inches and a pistol grip added would then be classified as an NFA firearm, as a “weapon made from a shotgun.”
According to the GCA, the term “shotgun” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of an explosive to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.
As defined in the NFA, 26 U.S.C. Section 5845(a), the term “firearm” includes:
(1) a shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length;
(2) a weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length;
(3) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;
(4) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;
(5) any other weapon, as defined in subsection (e).
The term “any other weapon” (AOW) as defined in Section 5845(e) includes any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive. In terms of AOWs, ATF has a longstanding policy setting an overall minimum length of 26 inches as the determining factor on whether a weapon (other than a pistol or revolver) is capable of being concealed on a person. No such policy has been established for a minimum length standard on a barrel, even though 18 inches exists as the standard for barrels elsewhere in the GCA.
A firearm that has never had a buttstock attached and has only been assembled and distributed as a pistol-grip firearm designed to fire shotgun ammunition, can never be classified as a “short barreled shotgun” or “weapon made from a shotgun,” regardless of the modifications performed. However, this pistol-grip firearm would be properly classified as an AOW if the overall length is reduced to less than 26 inches. If only the barrel were reduced below 18 inches in length but the overall length remained more than 26 inches it would remain only a GCA firearm, and not an NFA firearm. Conversely, a pistol-grip firearm that, at some point, had a buttstock attached, is properly classified as a “weapon made from a shotgun” when either the overall length falls below 26 inches or the barrel length falls below 18 inches. This creates a situation in which legal possession of a firearm depends only upon whether that firearm has ever had a buttstock attached. See below.
• Description: Weapon originally manufactured with a pistol-grip in lieu of a buttstock
• Barrel Length: 17 inches
• Overall Length: 27.5 inches
• Classification: GCA “Firearm,” not a NFA firearm, despite the 17-inch barrel
• Description: Shotgun originally manufactured with a buttstock. The buttstock has been removed, a pistol grip added and barrel length reduced.
• Barrel Length: 17 inches
• Overall Length: 27.5 inches
• Classification: NFA “Weapon Made from a Shotgun” (barrel less than 18 inches)
A new variant is called a “Palm grip” versus a pistol grip:
AK and AR pistols (and other types) with an arm brace attached are still classified as a handgun. Through several different written opinions ATF has concluded that the arm brace is not a stock, therefore, a handgun with an arm brace is not designed to be fired from the shoulder. Consequently since it is not a butt stock, a pistol with an arm brace is classified as a handgun, not an SBR.
For the Federal Firearms Licensee, the issue now becomes how this firearm should be recorded in an A&D book and on the 4473. ATF has taken this into account and updated instructions on the 4473. Review instructions on page 4 “section B, Question 16 types of firearms”, in this instance it should be “other”. Additionally, Section D Questions 27 “Type of Firearm”; To accurately identify these firearms, entries regarding the “Type” of firearm may be recorded as “Pistol (Palm) Grip Firearm,” “PGF,” or “PG.” In addition, this firearm type may be recorded as “Other.
As of June 5, 2017, law abiding citizens of Marylanders are free to possess Tasers and stun guns. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh signed the ordinance repealing the city’s ban in response to litigation by Arsenal Attorneys.
Arsenal Attorneys initiated its lawsuit, Baran v. Baltimore, in January against the City of Baltimore as well as the Maryland counties of Howard and Baltimore. Leah Elizabeth Baran, the lead plaintiff in the case, was nearly killed by a vicious attack by a former boyfriend, who has threatened to finish the job when he is released from prison. Ms. Baran wished to possess and carry a Taser for self-defense because Maryland’s restrictive policies make it too difficult to obtain a permit to carry a firearm.
Howard and Baltimore Counties promptly repealed their electronic weapons bans earlier this year after being served with the lawsuit. Initially Baltimore City expressed its intent to oppose the litigation and Ms. Baran’s right to self-defense. At the time, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said “we are not interested in folks acquiring Tasers or guns.” Apparently the strength of Arsenal Attorneys’ case reached the Mayor, and the very next day the City agreed to repeal its ban and end enforcement of its ban pending repeal. The city also agreed to pay Arsenal Attorneys’ reasonable lawyers’ fees and costs in bringing the lawsuit. On May 20, 2017, the firm received a check from the City of Baltimore in the amount of $24,900 in settlement of the suit.
Residents and visitors to Baltimore may now carry Tasers and stun guns in the city. Electronic weapons, however, are prohibited in schools and government buildings in Baltimore. Possession is also prohibited to persons suffering from a mental disorder with a history of violence to themselves or others or persons subject to a protective order.