Category: contributor

Let Us Sweep Our Own

Let Us Sweep Our Own

Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

It’s easy to feel discouraged and upset right now.

From Covid-19 to all the various reactions to it, from lost jobs and failed businesses to sick and dying friends, from systemic injustice to bigotry and prejudice, from unfit law enforcement officers (and the people who hire, retain, and fail to train them) to riots and fires in the streets – it seems like the list of ways the world has gone wrong is truly endless. And it feels like it’s getting worse every day.

Did you see the meme going around about how the Yellowstone Caldera is scheduled to erupt in June, a zombie uprising will happen in July, and then underground crab-monsters that eat people would be emerging in August? No…? Well, what about the one with the woman peering out a window, trying to figure out which chapter of Revelation we’ll be doing today?

Funny as such memes might be, in a bitter-laughter sort of way, they do illustrate the underlying reality that people are frightened and unhappy right now. And while we might not all agree on exactly what has gone wrong or how to fix that specific thing, I think we can all agree that it’s a scary and unhappy time.

 

But maybe there’s some cause for hope, too.

 

When the world seems to have gone off its collective rocker, what can good people do? What can we do to get our country back on track?

 

We can choose to “sweep in front of our own doors,” that’s what. We can deal fairly with the people around us. We can choose to speak up about injustices that we see, and we can choose to listen compassionately to others. We can be determined to protect ourselves and the people we care about, and also willing to give a helping hand to people who need it.

 

Want some specific ideas? I can do that – but keep in mind that my worries, my resources, and my priorities might not be the same as your worries, resources, and priorities. That’s one of the reasons specific calls-for-action don’t always get as much traction as we’d like. God gives each of us such different visions because no one of us can possibly ever see everything that needs to be done.

 

For many years, my deep vision was to help vulnerable people learn to protect themselves from violent crime. That remainsvery close to my heart especially as I see the world becoming more unsettled every day. If that’s your call too, I want to challenge you on one important thing: build your own competency first! Don’t become one of the all-too-many well meaning people who endanger others on the range or in the dojo without even realizing it. Do the work to become competent, then turn around and teach others. And if you’re not yet ready to teach, perhaps while you’re learning more you can also help people you care about get their training from qualified others.

 

Maybe you’re concerned about food security. It’s tempting to sit and worry, but maybe it would be better to pick up a packet of seeds and plant a garden, or learn how to can and preserve food. Maybe you’ll even be able to help a neighbor get started with the same skills. Or you might end up at the food bank, helping keep it organized and ready to serve your community.

 

How does your social media feed look right now? Angry, obnoxious, hopeless? Mine did, too. One day, I got truly fed up with the negative energy the computer was feeding me every day, and I decided to do something about it. I did not go on a rampage and cull everyone who disagreed with me. That might have felt temporarily satisfying (at the expense of cutting me off from people I care about and whose viewpoints I need to hear). Instead I did something that turned out much more useful in the long run: I made a quiet little commitment to myself that I would post something positive – something true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, something excellent or worth praising – every time I felt even the slightest irritation with anyone else online.

 

By the way, here’s a lovely thing I came across online one day. My friend Terry Trahan wrote,

“If you disagree with me, don’t like what I post, see the world different than I do… Do not unfriend me. We need to keep talking and communicating. We are the ones that need to Do the Work. You need to learn how my side sees, and I need to learn from you.”

 

Isn’t that beautiful? We need more of that. We’re all so worried about giving the people around us a good talking-to, but I think what most people really need more than anything else is a good listening-to.

 

If it’s your passion to help others, there’s always somewhere to pitch in. Maybe it will be the humane society or a soup kitchen, at your church or a community garden, in a senior center or at a youth sports activity or self defense classes. Maybe you’ll just be there to help a friend clean up a mess. Almost certainly,you’ll find some idea I haven’t even thought of because the limits of my vision do not define the limits of the world. Start with what you see and go from there.

 

None of this will change the entire world by itself. But when each of us do the things we know to be right – when each of us pick up a broom and help clean up the mess, rather than crying and moaning for someone else to do the work – the world does become a better place. One person, one household, one neighborhood at a time.

 

Stay safe. Help the people you love stay safe. Reach out to people you care about and help take care of your neighbors.

 

We’ll get through this.
Read History

Read History

If I held the power to save one young protestor by getting them to listen to reason, what would I say?

Read history. 

The end.

I tried to think of a means to convince someone, but I am embarrassed to say I cannot think of a single way to reason with a rioter. We are not talking about protestors. I attended, as a protestor, events on the National Mall. Not one time did we threaten the police or the vacationers going about their business. No one got arrested, we left the area cleaner than we arrived, and the mainstream media lied about the protest and us. 

Now, we view riots, and the media lie, “mostly” peaceful, which means violent and criminal. In a non-violent demonstration, no one cleans up after you. No one gets detained, and no property or people are damaged or hurt. I encourage the right to peacefully assemble and petition our government and proud to do so when I thought our president and Congress jumped the rails and welcomed all to participate. 

Before the pandemic, when our Second Amendment rights came under scrutiny by the governor and legislature in Richmond, I did not attend the protest. There were no reported assaults, no vandalism, no arrests, and not too surprising, no counter-protest either. Why, because those who want to limit our rights resort to violence, and doing so against armed citizens did not make a healthy choice and only further demonstrated the purpose of the Second Amendment. I supported them.

Why should I try to persuade someone not to question our government publicly? Or request people not to gather and ask for redress of perceived grievances. I support doing such things despite differing opinions because public decent is their legal right. 

The USA is a nation of laws. At the beginning of this article, I suggested people read history. Assuming you understand the concepts of the founding of this country and how unique the idea was in comparison to all other countries and people, rioting would be shocking to you. Our United States created the concept of individual sovereignty. Each person represents a nation in themselves with rights no one could take away. Individuals free to form groups, develop boundaries, and local, state, federal governments. Entities that did not exist to rule the population but to serve the citizens by keeping order, resolving disputes, protecting the country from invasion. Our representative on the world stage. 

To stand against legal authority is a personal choice. You identify with an issue. You speak up, defend your opinion, and address those issues to the people who represent you in the seat of power. Compare ligament public assembly to the rioter. Anonymous because his or her acts are criminal, and they do not wish to be responsible for the theft, arson, assault, murder, or terroristic actions of their own or their fellow rioters. 

We often read about the oppressed. Gandhi led them, so did Martin Luther King. Who leads the crowd in Minnesota? Should you happen to be so naive as to believe what the news reports, no one, is the answer. The busses, bricks, water, and face masks were provided as well as out of town, out of state, paid agitators. Someone is leading. Who and to what purpose? 

Read history.

A subject no longer thought necessary in schools and relegated to unimportant. Why, because if you understand what happened in the past, what you are giving up.  What you represent is someone who can use your actions for their means, to strip you of your freedom.

Read history, Lenin coined the phrase, and Hitler plagiarized the idea of, “Useful idiots” getting the mob to take risks, commit the crimes, and run the riots from a safe distance and from behind the curtain, claiming the desire for justice, for the people. Mao thought using mass hordes an excellent concept also, and in less than a century between Germany, the USSR, and Red China, they murdered around 100,000,000 citizens after they gave away their rights to safeguard themselves from the mobs. (Read history, Hitler, Lenin, and Mao all turned on the useful gang of thugs.)

There is no case to persuade the criminal to be reasonable. Afterward is too late he or she committed the crime and cannot undo their deeds. As a citizen, I lack a compelling reason to convince the legal protestor using and acting within the laws our founders set up to protect society from the government. 

Read history.

The Declaration of Independence makes a bold statement and in doing so said the signers of the document were willing to take on the strongest military in the world to end injustice and obtain self-rule. “. . . whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. . .”

Peaceful protests failed to provide for equal treatment under the existing law, and the people chose to go to war for their rights. The leaders signed their work and delivered their resolution to the King of England and Parliament. Our founding fathers threatened with hanging did not hide in an anonymous crowd. Instead, they organized a military and prepared for armed conflict. 

Read history.

Understand what was at risk. In Boston, the city got seized by British forces; anything the military did was deemed legal to cause compliance with English rule and used no existing law to quell the illegal use of force. In a short time, historically speaking, four score and seven years after forming our government, half of the states took up the words of the Declaration and went to battle again. The costliest fight in our history and the Civil War ended the most egregious wrong, conceptionally counter to the Declaration’s statement,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Compare to a single rogue officer or four officers who abused their authority, under investigation, arrested, and sent to trial with the same protections from prosecution as anyone else accused of a heinous crime imaginable. 

What started in Minnesota as a righteous, indignation in the community, quickly and expertly escalated into riots influenced by outside forces herding “useful idiots.”

Myself, I find no way to reason with terrorists or a mob. I can encourage lawful protest, and enough education, legal protestors can deduce for themselves not to become a member of the mob. 

A quote by Teddy Roosevelt sums up the reality of much of what is wrong and how we are easily transformed into a pawn in politics without realizing it.

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble,you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

Read history.

Make America Great Again, I Say Nay. Reform Yay.

Make America Great Again, I Say Nay. Reform Yay.

What do we need to get back on track as a country.

Well, I really had to think about that, especially being a 56-year-old Black man in this country.  Yes, the pandemic that we are now facing has paused the world as we knew it to be in 2019. Was is good for me, or people of color? Let us take a walk down memory lane to 2019.

The LA Times reported,

“About 1 in 1,000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police, according to a new analysis of deaths involving law enforcement officers. That makes them 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die during an encounter with cops”.

I am not sure if that is the country I would like to get back to. Police use of force iscomparatively like a cancer, as it relates to cause of death of blacks in this country. That does not seem to be in our favor either! (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Lets look at the unemployment rate in the United States of America.

There are numerous reports on a national level that show the number of unemployed blacks is double the amount of those of whites. Do not think I would like to get back to thateither. It is so clear and blatant in this country that people of color are held back in every aspect of trying to live a good life. The life that many consider the American dream.

Look at television, big screen movies and Netflix which is probably the favorite these days.

There are so many actors and actresses in this world. Why is it then that in  many movies we are hard pressed to see one person of color in the movie? If we do, they are partnered with either a white guy and black girl or a black man with another black man.

Listen, Hollywood or the powers that be are not stupid.

They know we as human beings buy into what we see and most of the images they are putting in our young people’s minds are bad.  It is like they are reading the Bible and portraying the total opposite, knowing the outcome of their actions.

For me, no I do not consider THAT getting the country back on track.

 

Let us look at our country’s leadership. As a reality show star,Trump was funny because of how rude he was with thecontestants. I also will admit that as a businessman, either he or the people he has surrounded himself with have been able to pull him out of some tough situations to keep him wealthy.

As the President of the United States, he is not worthy of running the presidential kitchen!

His actions of blatant racism has lead and allowed the country, to openly display racism against people of color, to the point where white officers feel comfortable killing a black man in the open daylight. While many of these horrific actions are being witnessed and or recorded and they dare you to try to help, knowing that if you do your life is in jeopardy as well.

So if you ask me, what do we need to do to get back on track as a country?

I would ask, have we ever been on track for people of color? For the fifty-six years I have been on this earth I have been made to feel as if I am a second or even third class citizen. I have not had the same opportunities as my white counterparts. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you have, if you’re a professional athlete, an “A list” actor or even the President of the United States. If you are black, you have a mountain to climb that thus far we have not seen the top of.

Do I want to get back to where we were, on track, making America Great Again, I would have to say a resounding NO!

What we need is for God to soften some hearts to see the truth and be willing to rebuild with us at the table, at the meeting before the multi-culturial/ethnic meeting.

 

Dr. Lionel Green Sr., D.Min,

 

Know Your Gun Rights: What Is Considered a Criminal Offence

Know Your Gun Rights: What Is Considered a Criminal Offence

Gun laws in the U.S. are a frequently discussed topic. Opinions are divided, but as things are at the moment, there are a lot of laws in place to stop people from misusing the weapons they own and prevent life-threatening situations.

Recreational use of guns, such as for hunting as an example, is commonly regarded as a legal activity. However, there are exceptions to the rules which everyone should know about.

Gun laws are in place to prevent any possible incidents, so as a gun owner, being informed should be on top of your list of priorities because a mistake involving a firearm can carry costly consequences.

Firing a Weapon Within City Limits

Using a weapon in an inhabited city area is classified as an abuse of gun rights. Discharging a firearm in such city environment is considered dangerous from obvious reason and the law states that one such act is a class 6 felony. If convicted, you are not only facing high fines and jail time but also your gun rights will be taken away.

There are, however, exceptions to this rule:

  • The gun was fired further than one mile from an inhabited area
  • The fired gun was filled with blanks
  • You hold a special permit from the chief of police
  • You are lawfully hunting during open season
  • You are using the weapon as defence from a physical threat
  • You have a permit for controlling wildlife by the relevant department in your state

Traveling With a Weapon

If you are driving cross country with a weapon, it is highly important to familiarize yourself with the gun laws of each state you will be going through. According to the McClure-Volkmer Act,you are allowed to drive with a firearm in your car as long as the weapon is cased, unloaded or locked up. This act also points out that the gun laws from the country that you reside in will apply to you if you are only passing through a different state, stopping only briefly for fuel, food or bathroom breaks. If you are staying in another state overnight then you must comply with their gun laws.

If you are under the age of 21, carrying a weapon in your vehicle is illegal and depending on the circumstances, it can be considered as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Weapon Misconduct

 

Weapon misconduct is a general term to describe the use of a firearm in a way that poses danger to the public. However, the punishment for such behavior are not fixed since circumstances can make a difference. Weapon misconduct can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. The mildest offence a person can be charged with is a class 3 misdemeanor, while the highest is a class 2 felony.

 

Some examples of weapon misconduct are the following:

  • Selling or handing a weapon to a minor without the consent of the parents
  • Selling or handing a weapon to a person who has a previous conviction of weapon misconduct and has been stripped from their gun rights
  • Defacing a deadly weapon
  • Possessing a weapon on school grounds
  • Possession of a prohibited weapon such as grenades, bombs, rockets, short barrel shotguns and nunchucks
  • Using a weapon with the intention of committing a criminal act
  • Handing a weapon to a person while being aware that they are going to use it to commit a criminal act

 

When Can You Lose Your Gun Rights?

 

If a person is found guilty of weapon misconduct, their gun rights will be cut short. The length of this ban will depend on the nature of the crime they have been convicted for.

 

A person who is convicted of felony due to their use of a weapon with the intention to cause physical harm to another person will not be eligible to have their gun rights reinstated after doing their time in prison and probation.

 

For serious offences involving weapons yet without the intention to do harm, the person can have their gun rights reinstated 10 years after successfully completing the probation period.

 

Less serious felonies which are considered not dangerous come with 2 years waiting period after the probation is completed to have the gun rights reinstated.

 

Misdemeanors do not result in loss of gun rights unless a person is convicted of domestic violence. In such cases, the person will lose their gun rights for life.

 

However, gun laws reinstating is not a simple matter and other aspects such as criminal history, the gravity of the criminal offence and the probation performance play a crucial role.

 

The gun rights in the U.S. are made so each person can feel safer knowing that they can defend themselves in a life-threatening situation. However, there is a line which must not be crossed when it comes to using your gun. If you are charged with weapon misconduct, contacting a criminal justice attorney is highly advisable so you can stand the best chances in court to go without a felony conviction and keep your gun rights.

 

 

Liz S. Coyle is the Director of Client Services for JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law. She also serves as a paralegal for the Family Law Department. She is responsible for internal and external communications for the firm.

 

Choose Well

Choose Well

Coloradoans recently experienced a (more or less) collective butt-clenching at the possibility that a crazy lady who wanted to shoot up a school might be running around loose in the state. In anticipation of this possibility, they responded by simply closing all the schools they thought might be at risk and keeping all the kids at home for the day.

Image: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

The thing is, this is precisely why an on-site armed response capability is necessary every day. Do you think that if Columbine, or Virginia Tech, or Sandy Hook had actually expected that a shooting was imminent, they’d have been open that day? I’ll guarantee that if you asked any organization which had actually experienced a mass shooting if they expected it to happen that day, every single one of them would answer “no.” If they had honestly expected something like that to happen, or even think there was a truly credible threat, they would do just what Colorado did and close the doors for the day and send everyone home. (And for the record, I find no fault in that decision. I’d do the same thing if I really thought trouble was coming.)

“So what’s your point, Dave?”

My point is that every single mass shooting at a school or business happened when it was not expected, and if one happens at your school, church, or business it will also be unexpected. Just like every other victim of a mass shooting, you will not have advance warning.

If and when that day comes, the time for avoidance and for preparation is over…you will be forced to react, right then and there. The opportunity to avoid bloodshed will have passed, and the only option remaining is whether it will be a shootout, or a massacre…and guess what? You have to make that choice in advance. Choose well.

https://fastersaveslives.org/

Image: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

 

Note:  Due to excessive spamming, comments are disabled for the time being.

If Hunting is So Bad then Why Aren’t The Stats Showing It

If Hunting is So Bad then Why Aren’t The Stats Showing It

 

American hunters started the country’s conservation practice 100 years ago. They were aware of the increasing animal population and fast industrial development. The developments brought serious risks to wildlife, and hunters found a way to protect the resources.

They created and fought for different regulations and rules that created an improved system of wildlife management that exists today. Majority of American hunters actively participate in the conservation of wildlife, but their opponents do not understand the serious threats that may turn out to be a reality if those beneficial activities stop.

 

Some Facts

The opposing side believes that if hunting stops, the wildlife will bloom, while the opposite is true.

For instance, deer population can be reduced up to 40% on a yearly basis without any threat to their existence, while hunters rarely take less than 15% of their population.

Without hunting, there would be too many deer, and other animal population would be jeopardized.

It’s not just about deer, huge animal population dies due to the lack of grasslands during winters.

Quail has a yearly mortality rate of roughly 80%, considering whether it’s hunted or not.

Furthermore, professional wildlife management makes sure that hunters only take the excess of animal population.

To be honest, it’s the unregulated/illegal hunting that’s the real problem but labeling every other hunter as the reason is you being ignorant.

Deers Are a Menace!

The sudden surge in the population of deer is worrying. As of 2017,there are 33.5 million deer as compared to 38.1 million in 2000. Thanks to the hunters who have kept the population in check. Though they need to go out and hunt more!

The absence of their natural predators like wolves and movies like Bambi is a major reason for this.

Yes, deer are cute but they are rats with hooves! Not a single land is left ungrazed, countless wildflowers are on the verge of extinction.

As ecologist Aldo Leopold once wrote about deers grazing every piece of land:

I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn.”

Deers are more of a threat to the Eastern foreststhan climate change, and no this isn’t something natural!

I’ll be waiting for a remake of Bambi from the perspective of the Songbirds and the farmer trying to save his crops.

Oh, and did I mention the number of car wrecks caused due to deers? In Virginia alone, there’s a 1 in 46 chanceof colliding your car with a deer.

If talking about the US, approx 1.5 million cars get collided with deer annuals. The damages cost a whopping billion dollars!

Wildlife Conservation

America has had wildlife protection regulations from its beginning. Connecticut, for example, forbade the export of hunting across the state borders in 1677, and Virginia prohibited hunting of female deer in 1783.

New York banned the utilization of hounds in deer harvesting in 1788 and Rhode Island established the first hunting regulation in 1846 to save waterfowl population from spring shooting.

Clearly, there have always been concerns about the wildlife protection, and it is still the same today. Everything has been done with an intention to support a normal life of the animal population.

 

Wildlife Management Hubs

Some citizens believe that wildlife agency teams intentionally promote hunting and fishing laws and regulations. But it is not true. The agencies are responsible to protect the entire animal population, not only species from the list of legally hunted ones.

The American Hunting Policy pointed out the quantity and quality of wildlife as the main factor of determination and called professional hunters to adequately manage them.

 

Funds for Conservation

The costs of wildlife management are extremely high and go up to several hundreds of millions of US dollars every year for the entire country. The biggest part of those funds come from hunting license fees, which means hunters support the federal budget with a large portion of the money for wildlife protection (it’s around $1.4 Billion per year).

Each State Takes a Part

Income from license fees and taxes are separated among fifty wildlife agencies. Each state has its own agency, and it gets funds based on the state’s land area. That money covers roughly 75% of all costs for fish and wildlife restoration projects.

 

Funds for Ducks

A part of funds goes to waterfowl protection. All waterfowlers are obligated to purchase a duck stamp. The income is later utilized by government to purchase wetlands for waterfowl. The hunter’s backing supports land buying that is later used by many other species, not just waterfowl. It is definitely a very beneficial contribution.

 

Organized Effort by Enthusiasts

National Wildlife Federation gathers various enthusiasts including bird watchers, wildlife photographers, campers and all others who care about nature. Of course, hunters and anglers are an inherent part of the community. They make an organized effort in supporting wildlife.

The Population Explosion

Many animal populations have significantly grown in numbers, thanks to the efforts of hunters.

White-Tailed Deer:

According to the 2013 report by Quality Deer Management Association, North America’s deer population was calculated at roughly 500,000 in 1900, while now it is estimated at 32 million, and that is a serious improvement.

Ducks:

According to a 2013 report by USFWS, there are 46 million ducks in America and Canada which are way more than what we had in 1901.

Wild Turkeys:

There are more than 7 million wild turkeys according to a 2013 report by National Wild Turkey Foundation. This is a huge boost in population as compared to a mere 0.1 million population during the early 1900s.

Pronghorn Antelope:

There were merely 12,000 pronghorn antelopes 50-55 years ago. According to a 2011 report by Texas Parks and Wildlife, today there are more than 1 million Pronghorn Antelopes. All thanks to the conservation programs that have helped in a boom in their population.

 

Unfortunately, the number of hunters is increasing at a very slow rate. According to Jason Stein:

Nationally, the number of hunters dropped 16 percent from 2011 to 2016, according to a national survey released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Census Bureau. The level of hunting in 2016 was the lowest measured in the past 25 years.”

The ecosystem would surely lose a balance without hunting, in fact stopping it would lead to an imbalance between the flora and fauna.

Hunters are way more involved in wildlife conservation than someone else discussing wildlife conservation while eating a roasted duck.

Hunters form the largest chunk of people donating and working for the wildlife.

Hunting is not just a hobby, it’s a tradition and brings food to the table of millions of Americans.

Enough for today, time to take some more Bambis down.

Bye Disney, shutup PETA.

 

About The Author:

A loving father, a hunter and a business owner. Greg has been in the hunting world for the last 15 years. He’s a small business owner living in the United States.  A fan of causes, volunteering, he also has quite a hobby of collecting hunting gears like scopes for his rifle collection and writes about them at PatrioticHunter.

Changing firearm practices within the state of Georgia

Changing firearm practices within the state of Georgia

 

Gun laws in the United States have changed over the years, federally and in many states including Georgia. Of course, the most famous gun law in the country is the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” However, in 1934, the first piece of legislation to control gun sales was enacted, inspired by outcries over widely-publicized shootings. Further gun control laws passed Congress in 1968, 1993, and 1994, although some major court cases did work to successfully challenge restrictive bans.

Gun control laws are becoming stricter in many parts of the country, but Georgia actually has new laws protecting gun owners’ rights in more locations in the state. Georgia follows federal gun laws, but it does not require permits for long guns or background checks for individual gun sales.

There are many active firearms owners and advocates for gun rights in Georgia, and it is important that they understand how the changing laws affect them.

One of the laws that benefits Georgia gun owners is the Stand Your Ground law. This law aims to protect people who exercise their fundamental right to protect themselves in their own homes. The law is designed to stop people from being charged criminally if they kill an attacker while protecting themselves or another person.

The principle behind the law has long roots in Georgia law. In 1898, the state Supreme Court ruled that people have a right to use deadly force if their own life is in danger. Previously they were required to attempt to escape before deadly force could legally be used.

While the principles may date back over a century, the modern Stand Your Ground law was enacted in 2006, and its constitutionality has been reviewed at a federal level.

Since the law was passed, the number of related deaths has nearly doubled, from 7 annually to 13. The laws are sometimes criticized for promoting violent confrontation rather than de-escalation. More commonly, they are criticized not for their intent but for their application, particularly allegations of racial bias directed at police and prosecutors.

The law applies to anyone who believes his or her life to be in danger. People have the right to kill to defend themselves, and the shooting can be considered a justifiable homicide. However, police and prosecutors may not side with a self-defense claim, so people still may face aggravated assault or even murder charges. The Stand Your Ground law helps criminal defense lawyers for those facing charges to present a strong defense.

Additionally, the law can help crime victims protect their rights. One famous application of the law helped a man subject to an armed carjacking protect his rights after he shot and killed the man who was threatening his life. People can feel more secure about defending themselves and their loved ones when they know there is legislation that backs up their rights.

In 2014, Georgia revised its gun laws to expand protection for gun owners who carry their firearms in public. The Safe Carry Protection Act allows gun owner to bring their firearms to bars, churches, government buildings, airports, and even schools.

Many of the rules are subject to local legislation or a building’s owner, however. In addition, the law eliminated fingerprinting as a requirement for a firearms carry license and prevented the state from maintaining a database of licensed gun owners.

The law can help people to go about their business as gun owners who regularly engage in concealed carry. Rather than needing to lock away their gun where they won’t be able to reach it in an emergency, people will be able to defend themselves during an attack in a bar. In addition, people who go to the airport and forget to leave their gun behind can pick it up later; they won’t face criminal prosecution for a simple mistake.

The most recent update to Georgia’s gun laws is HB 280, passed in 2017. The law allows gun owners to carry on the campuses of public colleges and universities in the state. Bucking the trend toward increased gun control, Georgia’s legislature backed increased rights for the state’s 1-million licensed gun owners.

While licensed owners can carry concealed guns on any university property, they’re still forbidden from carrying in dormitories, sorority or fraternity houses, gated daycare facilities, private offices, and in classrooms with high school students.

Once again, the law prevents law-abiding, gun-owning college students from facing prosecution or disciplinary charges from coming to school with their firearm. In the worst-case scenario, gun owners can use their skill and training to protect others from an armed attacker on campus.

Gun laws are always in flux, and it can be important to consult with a lawyer to better understand your rights, especially if you’ve been involved in a self-defense incident. However, Georgia continues to be a state with strong and expanding protections for the people’s right to bear arms.

 

 

J. Blake Ledbetter is a partner at the law firm of Conoscienti & Ledbetter in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Ledbetter possesses significant experience with Uber accident lawsuits and a range of legal issues involving rideshare drivers and riders. Mr. Ledbetter specializes in civil trial practice, specifically in the areas of business law, corporate law, contract law and personal injury law.

 

 

Four Rifle Marksmanship Fundamentals From a Military Perspective

Four Rifle Marksmanship Fundamentals From a Military Perspective

In my military career, I have shot the M16 more times than I care to remember. Imagine lying outside in the prone position in the rain or snow trying to shoot; miserable. Miraculously, those elements had no effect on my shooting ability. I learned that the weather, my attitude, and location would vary each time I shot, but four fundamentals stayed the same through those shooting experiences. I had established a steady position, my aim, breathe control, and trigger squeeze. These skills sound pretty simple but surprisingly many people might forget one or two of them.

Without getting too technical, I’ll cover these four basic skills mixing in my previous experience with text book answers. I truly believe everyone should understand, practice, and apply these skills on and off the firing line.

Steady Position

Pretty straight forward. The firer should assume a steady, comfortable position on the firing line. The firer is the best judge on their position, and they should be able to hold the front sight post steady during a shot.

  • Rifle Butt Position – Place in pocket of firers’ shoulder which helps reduce recoil.
  • Firing Elbow – Depending on the firing position, the firer should ensure their elbow placement allows their shoulders to stay level. For an unsupported prone positon, elbow is usually tucked close to the body. This helps keep the butt stock in the shoulder pocket.
  • Non-Firing Elbow Placement – Firmly under rifle providing a comfortable, steady position. If the firer shoots at moving or various elevated targets, this elbow supports those movements.
  • Cheek Placement – Firers’ cheek should naturally fall onto the stock, neck relaxed. This placement also reinforces a natural line of sight through the rear sight, front sight, and onto the target. Tip: To achieve the same cheek position every time, firer can use two fingers to measure between their charging handle/rear sight and cheek. This ensures the same distance used every time.

Aiming

The firer needs to align the rifle with the target the exact way every time. To do this, there are a few important sight elements that come to play.

  • Aligning The Sights – The firer needs to have the tip of the front sight post centered in the rear sight. It is critical to know that any miniscule misalignment here multiples the further the target is. A twentieth of an inch misalignment at a 25 meter target can cause the firer to miss their 300m target by about 2 feet!
  • Eye Focus/Fatigue – Unless you have experience, it is common misconception for new firers to keep one eye closed while aiming. One eye closed will actually cause very fast eye fatigue. Leaving both eyes open reduces eye fatigue which aids in keeping the same sight picture. In conjunction, the eye should be focused on the tip of the front sight post which makes the target blurry, but that is normal. This aids in proper sight alignment.
  • Sight Picture – Having the sights aligned and aiming point pinned, the firer can now take their sight picture. The target, front sight post, and rear sight post will be aligned.

Rifle Marksmanship basics

Breath Control

The firer needs to control their breathing during target engagement. Practicing on paper targets is a sure fire way of seeing if breathing is under control. If a firer’s shot group shows elevation changes (up and down variance) between shots, it is likely they need to practice breathing control.

  • Natural Exhale Pause – If engaging targets with an increased time limit or zeroing the weapon, the natural pause of exhale in a breathing cycle is when the firer needs to pull the trigger.
  • Stop Breathing – If the shooting exercise employs very limited timed targets, the firer can expect to stop their breath before squeezing the trigger.

Trigger Squeeze

 

At last, the final fundamental. The firer can have all other fundamentals perfect, but if the trigger squeeze is off, the rifle misaligns with the target at the firing moment. Dry fire training is the best way to practice and examine whether trigger squeeze is being utilized correctly. If the firer’s shot group shows wide horizontal variance between shots, this is a big indicator of trigger squeeze.

  • Surprise Shot! – Many firers overthink this one. If the firer knows when they will pull the trigger, this will activate their natural reflexes such as tensing up for the recoil which can make them miss the target. Tip: Firer should focus on their breathing. This will eliminate the anxiety of thinking about squeezing the trigger.
  • Trigger Finger – The firing hand’s index finger should have the trigger positioned between the first joint and tip of finger. Using the absolute end of the finger could result in a very slight pull/jerking motion on the trigger, resulting in rifle movement.

Wrapping Up

Shooting takes practice. Some people are naturally good shooters while others may have a few kinks to work out. These rifle fundamentals are here to instill the rifle marksmanship basics from veteran shooters down to the utmost beginner. With these marksman skills in mind, remember that it might take more than one try to get them nailed down and that is ok. Aside from these skills, always remember to practice rifle

This guest article was written by Joshua Babicz. He is the founder of a firearm blog, combated. This firearm enthusiast served 6 years Active duty Army and continues to serve as a reservist.

The Factors in Picking Between Gun Training Classes and Self-Teaching

The Factors in Picking Between Gun Training Classes and Self-Teaching

When we think about it, we all intuitively know that we learn way better with classes. They offer accountability, expert knowledge, structure, and feedback. The independence of self-teaching is enticing, especially with prolific online resources a click away, but idiosyncrasies sneak in every time, and people will learn more slowly with the result of incomplete knowledge or skills.

So why on Earth are people opting out of gun training classes?

At a time when guns are in the hot seat politically and vilified by the media more severely by the day, it seems more important than ever to know your stuff inside and out as a gun owner. Whether it’s the thrill of making that shot at a distanceyou never knew you could in competition or out hunting, or that unbeatable feeling of knowing what to do in an emergency (and how not to cause emergencies), there’s a lot to gain from learning shooting, not just teaching yourself.

Let’s look at it from the perspective of a brand new gun owner:

 

My dad taught me how to shoot when I was twelve!

We can first acknowledge that large portions of new firearms owners aren’t entirely new to firearms. They’ll be young people who were finally old enough to buy their own gun, able to save up for one, or ready to pursue EDC in their own lives. They’ll be the ones looking into classes thinking they’re too basic, or looking at the types of people who are buying guns for the first time due to fear, who are practically holding them like dirty diapers. The “some experience” types of should-be students got informal training from their parents on weekend visits to the range, hunting trips, or even working with their parents on gun maintenance. Maybe they have a healthy respect of gun safety because their dad was the very model of a modern major concealed-carry permit holder… but, then again, did they ever get dedicated, piece-by-piece instructional time? Probably not.

Guns are magic bullets that make you feel safer once you own one!

 

A large percentage of the population uses the words “feel” and “safe” in the same sentence regularly, illustrating the first problem facing a new gun owner who needs to get to a few classes. The new gun owner now has the toolto feel safe and doesn’t consider the practical skills required for that tool to actually create a safe environmentwith the everyday care and keeping of firearms, let alone when they need to use them. Leading to…

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Even if the new gun owner has studied safe gun ownership practicesand their new weapon, and even gone to the range a few times to practice, they might not know that they should practice with their holster, or secondary defensive skills (hey, bullets aren’t infinite except in Hollywood), or managing an emergency situation as a lay first responder. It’s not to discredit new gun owners, but it’s a simple fact of life that one “skill” actually involves about a thousand smaller ones. The trick is to push through the “hot button topic firewall” to get people to think carefully about the act of using their gun in real life, not just having it and occasionally visiting the range.

 

“First day of school” Anxiety

In this case, the anxiety breaks down into two main parts:

1. Finding a trustworthy class

 

We here in the gun community could be doing a better job making our own work legible to novice readers and buyers. Anybody researching a gun they might want to buy will also have to look up tons of jargon, abbreviations, and extremely technical writing.

 

After they’ve waded through that, it’s understandable how they might have diminished patience for finding a trustworthy first timer class. Ranges do not look like yoga studios or gyms, all windows and open space and smoothies. The first time someone goes, they’ll feel a bit like they’re entering a lair or a bunker. The staff is armed (smart for business, unsettling for those who aren’t used to it), the range, though well-kept, is concrete and drab at best, and it is very clearly a “tactical zone,” with lots of strict rules, standard precautions, and a somewhat intimidating atmosphere.

 

Besides the struggle of just getting to a place to practice with a weapon, someone who wants to take a class will have to try to sort out the reputable programs from the scams. From the seemingly reputable programs, they then have to decipher which classes have enough qualified instructors and holistic curriculums. You could see where it might start to read like Greek to the novice shooter.

2. Being the little fish

 

If they can push through and get to a class, the new gun owner is sure to meet at least one much more experienced gun owner, their instructor. As someone who just purchased a firearm, the student is probably still working on the “not all guns are bad” concept, especially in the context of armed, experienced shooters in the same room as them, ready to talk guns.

On top of that, newcomers to any hobby seem to think they’re starting from a lower baseline than the rest of their class (exception: the “my dad taught me how to shoot when I was twelve!” guy). They’re going to feel like they’re not prepared for even the first day, that they can’t ask questions because they should know the answer and that their classmates are way ahead of them in training.

We’ve all seen these classes and know it’s not true, but you can’t blame them for feeling that way, especially when deliberately entering into a taboo-status skill.

 

In every excuse or rationalization for not taking a gun training class as a new gun owner, we see those little endearing but infuriating quirks of the American personality: the cocky, the stick-in-the-mud, the no-patience. Finally, we see that, on average, America is still just a little bit delusional about gun ownership.

As experienced shooters and competent, responsible owners, now is a fantastic time to modernize our blogs, training course sites, and other media, to make it inviting for the people who most need to read what’s on there.

We also need to recognize that we’ve gone Deep Technical for a long time and that we can’t expect non-shooters to meet us there. While the US is fighting over gun control and flinging their misinformation all over the place, we’ve shown that we can do a lot better engaging people on an educational path rather than in a political debate and climate that isn’t going to make anybody safer or smarter.

 

7 tips on how to improve your camping experience

7 tips on how to improve your camping experience

As the summer is coming, many of us will enjoy a favorite outdoors activity – camping. It is definitely important to plan ahead, especially if you take your family with you. Nowadays, there are many ways to make your camp life easier, although some of them could cost you a lot. In this article we will share with you some ideas that will help you relax while camping, without seriously affecting your wallet.

1. Have an emergency kit with you.

It is very common to have a first-aid kit in a car, but while camping you should have a survival kit with some additional features handy, such as basic medical equipment, a whistle, a compass, flint and steel. You can create a small box out of Altoid tin which will give you enough space to fit all the necessary items.

2. Prepare your own fire starters.

Considering the changing weather conditions and potential dampness of the wood, creating your own ready-to-use fire starters could really help you avoid unnecessary stress while starting a campfire. All you have to do is to stuff a cardboard paper tube with some dry lint. 

3. Create your own lantern.

Instead of using camping lanterns, which at times can be way too bright, you can make your own lantern with less intense light. Just take a gallon of water and strap the headlamp around it. The light going through the water will be much milder. 

4. Use solar energy to have light at night.

In order to avoid getting lost at night while going to the bathroom, take advantage of solar energy. You can place some outdoor solar lights near your tent, which will definitely help you walk at night without tripping over things. 

5. Make your own mosquito-repelling bracelet.

While sometimes it is impossible to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, you can still stop a great majority of them. A Para cord bracelet infused with citronella essential oil will repel these blood-drinking insects, while a Para cord itself can be used in case of some other emergencies. 

6. Take with you ready-to-use eggs.

You can speed up the process of making scrambled eggs by simply doing some of the work at home. The eggs must be cracked into a mason jar, then you have to store them in your cooler. Don’t forget to shake the eggs before you use them.

7. Prepare “shake & pour” pancake batter.

Same as it is with the eggs, you can also make your life easier by using a “shake & pour” pancake batter. Just prepare at home the dry mix and put it in a mason jar. Once you want to make pancakes, simply add an egg and some water. Then shake the jar. 

We are sure that following these tips will save you some time while camping, which instead you can use to simply enjoy your stay in the nature. If you want to find out what else you can do to make camping easier, check outdoor gear reviews on Gear Lobo.

 

 

Disclaimer:
The opinions and or beliefs expressed in this post belong to the author, and are not endorsed or necessarily shared by Kenn Blanchard or other contributors to this site.

 

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