by Marty Hayes, J.D.
What did you do on October 13, the announced “Global Day of Jihad?” (For those of you out of the know, that was the announced day when America was to be attacked by all the terrorists who have come illegally over the border.) Did you decide it might be a good idea to put a gun on that day? Or did you grab a second magazine, or slip a J-frame revolver into your pocket as a back-up? Did you decide to open the safe and grab an AR, load it, and keep it within reach in the house just in case? All would be prudent moves in my opinion, but they should not have been necessary.
You see, a well-prepared individual should have already been ready to handle whatever came to you. On December 2nd, 2015, two committed Jihadists attacked their co-workers at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, CA. That was the day I committed to do two things.
The first was to start teaching courses entitled Active Shooter Interdiction at my school, The Firearms Academy of Seattle. While I have since sold the school, I know they carry on teaching the same curriculum under the new owners.
The second commitment was to carry a full-size pistol 24/7/365. You see, I had fallen into the trap of carrying a 5-shot revolver in my pocket a lot of the time. After the 2015 attack, and I asked myself, “Is that enough gun to stop a couple of committed terrorists?” My honest answer to myself did not please me. So, the J-frame revolver became my back-up gun, and I started carrying a full-sized 1911, in either .45 ACP or 10mm. Recently, I have donned my Smith and Wesson Mod 13 3”, loaded with full-house .357s, all capable of center hits on a man-sized target at 50+ yards.
In a perfect world, we would spend our lives in free societies where gun possession and carrying guns are not criminal acts. Unfortunately, that is not reality. This leads us to a quandary. Do we remain capable of stopping a criminal attack or terrorist attack or do we acquiesce to the unconstitutional (more on this later) politically inspired malum prohibitum statutes? Well, I can’t answer that for you, because every one of us has a multitude of competing issues to weigh.
If you are discovered carrying a concealed handgun in a sensitive place, do you have the finances to fight that legal battle? Can you afford the days off work if you end up convicted and sentenced to jail? Will you even have a job when the ordeal is over? It is also very likely you’ll lose your concealed weapons permit. Will you always be looking over your shoulder when out in public when you are carrying?
These are real world problems. Contrast these problems with the unlikely (but never zero) risk of REALLY needing a concealed weapon at any given time, having been singled out for violent crime, or even being caught up in an active shooter event or the very unlikely chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, being present during a terrorist attack.
The Supreme Court in N.Y.S.R.P.A. v. Bruen and D.C. v. Heller raises some serious questions about the constitutionality of such malum prohibitum laws such as blanket laws outlawing concealed carry. I have included these links instead of writing an analysis of what these rulings mean.
What does this mean for Network members?
Since our inception in 2008, we have said if a member was carrying the gun illegally or was prohibited from possessing firearms, we could not extend Network benefits if the member was involved in a self-defense incident. We have recently relaxed that policy and have removed all language from our website and other communications related to illegally carrying a gun and being involved in a self-defense incident. (We have kept in place the prohibited person language). To clarify, the Network will not withhold assistance with the legal aftermath of a self-defense incident if you were also cited for a violation of a gun-free zone, but we will not assist a member who is solely charged with a statuary violation of a gun law. If we did this, we could be accused of enabling people to violate the law. In addition, a caveat. Be sure you know the seriousness of any statutory violation you might encounter. A felony violation would be possibly life altering.
Why the change in policy? First, Bruen, the latest concealed carry ruling by the USSC states:
Held: New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.
This ruling will be the basis for all challenges to restrictive concealed carry laws for the foreseeable future.
The second reason for our change in policy is to counter Hamas’ stated threat to bring terrorist attacks to the American homeland. I am reminded of the saying attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto: “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” While that quote is unsubstantiated, it certainly would have been true. An armed America is critical for avoiding war in our homeland.
Consider now the current situation: politicians passing unconstitutional laws that create “safe zones” for terrorists. In Israel, the music festival where so many were killed by para-gliding, AK-47 wielding terrorists was a “safe zone” where possession of guns was not allowed. It is not lost on me that the “no guns” policy in Israel was eased in light of the attack (https://reason.com/2023/10/13/israel-eases-guns-restrictions-amidst-security-failures/).
By writing these words, please understand that I am not suggesting you start violating the law. What I am saying is the Network will not refuse to assist a Network member after an act of self defense if they do decide to carry a gun for self defense in contravention of their local gun restrictions.