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How Important is Training to You?

Do you take training seriously? How often does your department train? In my opinion, you can never get enough training. With shrinking budgets, departments face challenges with continued training.

Law Enforcement Today published an excellent article on training that can be found here: http://lawenforcementtoday.com/2011/11/03/how-important-is-training-to-you/

We want to hear your thoughts. How much training do you receive?

The case for self-defense

I’ve been asked by several friends about my thought on the self-defense shooting of Darren Evanovich. I’ve been soaking up the various news reports, and have some initial thoughts, but will reserve full opinion until official reports are released.

First, a little background

Darren Evanovich confronted a 53 year old woman in the parking lot of Cub Foods, on the 2800 block of 26th Avenue South, last Thursday at about 10 p.m.

The 23-year-old Evanovich, of Minneapolis, allegedly took her purse and beat her in the head with his gun.

A (so-far) unidentified man who witnessed the robbery chased Evanovich. There was then a confrontation, and shots were fired, killing Evanovich. The unidentified man then called police, and remained at the scene until they arrived. Investigators say they found Evanovich’s gun near where the shooting took place.

When police arrived, the witness told officers he had a permit to carry. Officers detained the man for questioning and then released him without charges. The case is currently in the hands of the Hennepin County attorney, who will will either decide whether or not to file charges, or impanel a grand jury to do so.

Last night, Evanovich’s sister, Octavia Marberry, was arrested and charged with aiding and abetting.

Evanovich was on probation for a 2009 attempted first degree robbery, and another simple robbery charge.

Not all of the facts are out, but there is some intense debate about whether or not the shooting is justified or not.Most of the debate seems to centered around the duty to retreat in Minnesota, and the expectation of being a “reluctant participant”.

The “duty to retreat”, and “reluctant participant” in Minnesota comes from case law (State vs. Austin, State v. Basting). It sets the precedent that law abiding citizens to retreat, if practical, to avoid a lethal confrontation. It does not require you to turn your back on an armed assailant. The expectation of “reluctant participant” is defined as the absence of aggression or provocation on the part of the defendant.

Here is a scenario where I can see self-defense being not only legal, but unavoidable.

John Doe hears a scream, looks up, and see 2 people beating a woman.  John Doe attempts to intervene, and the assailants take off.

John Doe pursues the thieves in order to identify them for police.

Evanovich then commits another felony by drawing his illegally-carried gun and threatening John Doe’s life.
In fear for his life, John Doe defends himself by drawing his legally carried gun, and firing in self defense.

Again, this is just a potential scenario that fits the facts we presently have.

As every permit holder knows, a Permit to Carry doe s NOT grant you any law enforcement powers.  You have the same rights and responsibilities as every other citizen; you have simply been permitted to have a firearm on your person.

It similarly does not remove your rights, or cripple you to inaction or apathy to injustice.

Minnesota does have a “Good Samaritan” law (604a.01), which states:

A person at the scene of an emergency who knows that another person is exposed to or has suffered grave physical harm shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to self or others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person. Reasonable assistance may include obtaining or attempting to obtain aid from law enforcement or medical personnel. A person who violates this subdivision is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

Minnesotans also have the power to make a citizen’s arrest (629.37).

A private person may arrest another:

(1) for a public offense committed or attempted in the arresting person’s presence;

(2) when the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in the arresting person’s presence; or

(3) when a felony has in fact been committed, and the arresting person has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested to have committed it.

In the scenario above, John Doe was well within his rights to make a citizen’s arrest. While many, myself included, would not risk the dangers of chasing a felon into the dark to attempt to ID or arrest, it’s not illegal.

It was not until Evanovich turned his gun on John Doe, that the situation went from identify and detain to a fight for life.

To the claims of vigilantism:

The nearly 90,000 permit holders in Minnesota are law abiding citizens. They have spent their time, their money and their effort to pass the multiple background checks, attend the rigorous training, and purchase the necessary tools and permissions to make sure they can defend themselves lawfully. They have passed local, state, and federal criminal background checks, and have no history of gang affiliation, drug abuse, or mental health dangers. Every permit applicant is verified by their county Sheriff to pose no danger to self or others.

With this exceptional background, and a high level of respect for the rule of law, it only stands to reason that permit holders are motivated to aid victims of injustice.
This is not symptomatic of vigilantism, rather concerned citizens standing up for justice.

Author: Rob Doar

Bad Cop, Good Cop: Daniel Harless v. Matt Lyons

The law enforcement community is split on right-to-carry issues, and the opinions vary greatly depending on where in the country you are…

Regardless of an officer’s personal feelings on the matter, they have a duty to uphold the law, observe citizen’s rights, and act in conduct becoming of an officer.

In Texas, odds are, you will be in good company with pro-gun-rights cops. In New York, if you are lucky enough to get a permit, you would be best to keep it on the down low. Here in Minnesota, it’s a roll of the dice, though your odds improve significantly the further from the metro you are.

This, of course, is not a hard-line rule. The following 2 videos show you what I mean…

Officer Daniel Harless: Canton, Ohio Police Department

This instance takes place in Canton, Ohio. Traditionally, Ohio is on the friendlier side towards armed citizens. Unfortunately William Barnett was not so lucky. Barnett was accosted while pulled over while in an area known for prostitution.

As you can see in the video below, Officer Harless secures the passengers, and starts searching the vehicle prior to speaking to, or securing the driver. While department policies differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, every one of my police officer friends inform me that it is department policy to question and secure the driver before searching. They also are required to ask permission (4th amendment) first, even if they have probable cause / intent to search anyway.

WARNING: There is very profane and graphic language from Officer Harless in the video. It may not be safe for work, children, etc.

As you saw in the video, Ohio’s carry law requires you to “promptly” notify an officer that you are carrying. This differs from many other states (like Minnesota) that only require you to inform the officer when asked.

In my carry classes, I have always advised my students to inform the officer right away, by saying something to the effect of, “Officer, I want you to know that I have a permit to carry, and am carrying right now on my (left hip/ right hip / pocket, etc.).” After seeing this video, I may reconsider that practice.

It appears that Barnett tried to inform the officer, but was repeatedly told to “shut-up”. It appears that Officer Harless had already decided that Barnett was a criminal. We really don’t know WHY Barnett was there. He may have had a perfectly legitimate, though probably stupid, reason for being there. The best way to avoid trouble, is to stay away from where trouble happens. My friend, the late Joel Rosenberg, frequently said:

Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people and do stupid things.

That being said, being stupid is not a crime, and is not a reason for violating civil rights, and is certainly not a reason for executing someone, as Officer Harless indicated he “should have done” (13:38 in the video).

I think Barnett handled himself pretty well in the face of anger, threats against his life, threats against felony charges, and threats of police harassment. He did not get aggressive and complied with all of the officers commands and questions. However, Barnett was aware of the statute, and should have insisted on informing Harless, despite the command to “shut-up”. Bartlett also talked WAY too much. Once you have cuffs on, it’s time to shut up. Ask any police officer how many people have talked themselves out of being arrested after he’s decided to arrest them. I have yet to hear of one.

Officer Harless was initially put on paid administrative leave, and then went on medical leave.

UPDATE:

There has apparently been a national outcry to Canton city officials, calling for them to take action. Rather than take action, Canton City Council President Allen Schulman angrily chastised conceal carry permit holders, and subtly blames them for actions of officers, like Harless.

Officer Matt J. Lyons: Oceanside, CA Police Department

Now we can take a sharp contrast over to California. California is one of the toughest places to be a gun owner. Though they have concealed carry permits, unless you are famous, a politician, a significant campaign donor, or friends with brass, you won’t get a permit. However, there IS a legal way to carry a handgun in California without a permit. The gun must be OPEN, and fully visible. The gun cannot be loaded, and any magazines for the gun must also be carried open and fully visible.

There is a growing movement in California of people exercising their right to carry the only way they can, open. Because of the frequent police interactions they tend to have, those that do carry, often have video or audio recording equipment to ensure their rights are observed, and they have a means of defending themselves against actions of Harless-type thugs.

In California an officer is allowed to do a “12031(e) check ” to see verify the firearm is unloaded. Some open carriers refuse to consent to such a search when asked, but will comply. Some officers get confused by this, and are unsure of how to handle it. Other officers are well aware of their jobs as public servants, the extent of their duties, and respect for citizen’s rights. In the video below, you can see such an encounter.

From the minute Officer Lyons comes onto the scene, he controls the situation. He knows what he has the right to do, and does not ask questions. He informs “Jeremy” that he will return the firearms shortly. When another officer is coming on scene, Officer Lyons promptly informs him “Code 4″, and that there’s not a problem. Lyons is polite, and respects “Jeremy’s” request to not further identify himself, and promptly sends him on his way. That kind of job performance is amazing in and of itself, and outstanding in California.

Semper Fi Marine… and God bless you too!

I’ve sent Officer Lyons a letter thanking him for his outstanding public service. If you would like to do the same, here is the info.

Officer Matt Lions
3855 Mission Avenue
Oceanside, CA 92054
Officer Lions’ Supervisor:
Sgt. Cosby
3855 Mission Avenue
Oceanside, CA 92054

Author: Rob Doar

Wisconsin Carry compared to Minnesota PTC

On July 8th, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed SB93 into law, which will make Wisconsin the 41st shall issue state in the union, and the 49th to allow the concealed carry of firearms effective in November.

This long overdue measure measure passed the WI state assembly in a solid bipartisan margin of 68-27.

The licenses are issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ). License fee may not exceed $37 and background check is

$13, for a total of $50. (1/2 of the maximum that MN can charge)

Renewal is every 5 years, and renewal fee cannot exceed $12, + $13 for a background check (Compared to MN’s $75 max).

Licenses are “shall-issued”, meaning that the licence cannot be denied by the DOJ unless the applicant is deemed ineligible by the criteria specified in SECTION 44. 175.60 subd. (3) of WI State Statutes.

A big question for MN permit holders is, “Will my MN carry permit be good in Wisconsin?”

Similar to Minnesota, reciprocity will be determined at the state level. Reciprocity has not been determined yet, but… according to the law, the substitute amendment requires DOJ to promulgate, by rule, a list of states that issue a permit, license, approval, or other authorization to carry a concealed weapon if the permit, license, approval, or other authorization requires, or designates that the holder chose to submit to, a background search that is comparable to the background check required to obtain a license in Wisconsin.

If Minnesota is not granted reciprocity, holders of a MN Permit to Carry would meet the requirements for a WI License.

As it stands, it looks like WI will honor MN, but I doubt that MN will honor WI, as WI does not have a live-fire requirement in their training. On this note, I would be cautious of instructors and on-line courses stating that they are “Approved for WI training”. The DOJ of WI is still ironing things out, and I would not spend any money until they do.

Licenses can be applied for in-person, or by mail, and must be issued or denied within 21 days after receiving. (For the first 5 months after the signing of the bill, DOJ is allowed 45 days to approve or deny due to the expected volume of applications).

[img w=”300″ h=”198″ align=”right”]/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/wisigninglg1-300×198.jpg[/img]Initially, the bill was a Constitutional Carry bill, meaning that no training was needed to excersize the right to carry. Governor Walker requested that mandatory training be added

Acceptable training includes DNR hunter safety, State or National orgs (Including NRA), private instructors certified by certified by a DOJ certified National or State organization. DOJ will also accept documentation of training from military, law enforcement, or private security. If you are certified to carry in another state, DOJ also accepts that as proof of training.

Here’s a brief break down of some of the similarities, and more importantly differences that you need to be aware of when carrying in Wisconsin.

Similar to MN:

Must be 21
Training required.
Can carry open or concealed.
Employers can ban employees from carrying, but cannot ban parking lot storage.
Guns banned from correctional facilities, state hospitals, k-12 schools.
Allowed in city and state parks.
Private businesses could post signs to ban guns from their buildings.
Court can be petitioned for denial appeal.
Permit holders names not be available under the state’s public records law.

Differs from MN:

Cannot carry in Law Enforcement Offices or courthouses (Exemption for judges and district Attorneys).
Cannot consume alcohol while carrying in a bar/restaurant.
Signs could also be posted in government buildings, such as city halls and the State Capitol. But guns could not be banned from government-owned grounds, meaning they could be carried on the Capitol lawn or the Milwaukee Public Zoo.
Carrying guns without a permit on your person is a misdemeanor if not produced to law enforcement within 48 hours.
No de-facto restriction on carrying in day-care centers.

It’s a long bill (40+ pages), but I think I got most of it… If you think I missed something, or got something wrong, please contact me, or leave a comment.
Congrats Wisconsin!
Stay safe.

Author: Rob Doar

Senate leadership kills Stand Your Ground

From GOCRA

We have received word that the Republican leadership in the Minnesota Senate has decided to kill The Defense of Dwelling and Person Act by not bringing it to the Senate floor for a vote.

The Senate leadership did not sacrifice SF 1357 for other priorities. They made a deliberate, political decision to refuse to put the bill on Governor Dayton’s desk.

The Senate leadership was not forced into this retreat by the DFL or anti-gun groups. They decided, unilaterally, to give up on this important civil rights legislation.

The Senate leadership did not run out of time. The Senate doesn’t have to finish before Monday at midnight. They could still hear the bill if the leadership does their job.

Please call and email the Senate leadership NOW, and respectfully demand that the bill get an immediate hearing.

You might also want to email and call your own senator, especially if he/she is a Republican, with the same message.

Tell them that Minnesota gun owners vote — and that they have very long memories.

Author: Rob Doar

Defense of Dwelling and Person Act Ready for Floor Vote

GOCRA E-Blast

The Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011 has passed through the House and Senate committees and is ready to be voted on in both chambers.

Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011 Summary

HF1467/SF1357, the Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011, brings “Stand Your Ground” protections to Minnesota, restores the presumption that a person using self defense is innocent until proven guilty, enhances Castle Doctrine, prevents the state from seizing guns during an emergency (remember Hurricane Katrina?), improves carry reciprocity with other states and requires the government to do its job to serve law-abiding citizens.

Adds Stand Your Ground
SF1357 brings “Stand Your Ground” protections to Minnesota, removing the requirement that an intended victim of violent crime must retreat from a place where he has a right to be before using deadly force in self defense.

Enhances Castle Doctrine
The bill also strengthens Minnesota’s “Castle Doctrine,” clarifying when and under what circumstances individuals can legally use deadly force to protect themselves in their homes and vehicles. In addition, it creates a presumption that, when faced with an apparent home invasion, carjacking or kidnapping attempt, a person may use deadly force in self defense.

Prevents Gun Seizures During a State of Emergency
Taking a lesson from the problems in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the bill also bans government agencies from seizing guns or ammo, revoking permits to purchase or carry, closing gun shops, or otherwise suspending our constitutional rights during a civil emergency. It also prohibits law enforcement officers from seizing a person’s gun, unless the person is arrested, or the gun is evidence of a crime.

Adds a Robust Appeals process to Purchase Permits
The bill also borrows a page from the Permit to Carry law, providing a more robust appeal process for denied purchase permits, and requiring that police chiefs and sheriffs whose purchase permit denials are overturned must pay the applicants’ legal costs.

Adds Universal Carry Permit Acceptance
Of particular interest to carry permit holders, the final article of the bill updates our carry permit reciprocity standards, allowing people holding carry permits from any other state to carry in Minnesota (under Minnesota law, of course). This should result in a large increase in the number of states where Minnesota permit holders can carry, since many states allow other states’ permit holders to carry on a reciprocal basis.

The full text of the bill can be found here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=S1357.0.html&session=ls87

Author: Rob Doar

HR1467 Hearing

This is probably the biggest leap in advancing gun owner’s rights in Minnesota since the Personal Protection Act.

Tony Cornish’s (Rep – Good Thunder) bill addresses several gaping holes in MN gun laws, and addresses real concerns that are affecting civil rights.

A note from my friends at GOCRA with email addresses is attached below, but in a nutshell, Cornish’s bill addresses the following:

Adds “Stand Your Ground”:- Removes the obligation to attempts retreat before defending yourself
Enhances “Castle Doctrine”:- Clarifies use of deadly force in your home, leaves less up for interpretation.
Prevents Gun Seizures:- Gov’t cannot seize guns, or suspend gun ownership as we saw in Katrina.
Forces MN DHS to make all records (e.g. Mental Health) available to NICS :- Strengthens NICS background Check system with current MN data.
Extended Permit to Purchase to 5 years:- Lightens the administrative burden on Police, updates time frame to coincide with “permit to carry”.
Universal Carry Permit Resiprosity:- MN will accepts all other state’s carry permits, and MN carry permit holders will be able to carry in more states.

GOCRA Eblast:

The most important piece of gun legislation since the MCPPA gets its first hearing at the Capitol next Thursday, and we need you there!

Tony Cornish’s HR1467 brings “Stand Your Ground” protections to Minnesota, enhances Castle Doctrine, prevents the state from seizing guns during an emergency (remember Hurricane Katrina?), extends purchase permits to five years and improves carry reciprocity with other states.

Here’s some more info about the bill, in case you missed it last week:

“The most important update to Minnesota gun law since the Minnesota Citizens’ Personal Protection Act.”

That’s what GOCRA president Joseph E. Olson had to say about a sweeping set of reforms introduced today in the Minnesota House.

The full text of the bill can be found here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H1467.0.html&session=ls87

The bill expands our rights in many ways. Here’s an overview.

Adds Stand Your Ground

HR1467, authored by long-time gun rights advocate Representative Tony Cornish (R – Good Thunder), brings “Stand Your Ground” protections to Minnesota, removing the requirement that an intended victim of violent crime must retreat from a place where he has a right to be before using deadly force in self defense.

Enhances Castle Doctrine

The bill also strengthens Minnesota’s “Castle Doctrine”, clarifying when and under what circumstances an individual may use deadly force to protect themselves and their homes and vehicles. In addition, it creates a presumption that, when faced with an apparent home invasion or kidnapping attempt, a person may use deadly force in self defense.

Prevents Gun Seizures During a State of Emergency

Taking a lesson from the problems in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the bill also bans government agencies from seizing guns or ammo, revoking permits to purchase or carry, or closing gun shops, during a civil emergency or for any other reason. It also prohibits law enforcement officers from seizing a person’s gun, unless for the person is arrested, or the gun is evidence of a crime.

Extends Purchase Permits to Five Years

The bill also extends the validity of handgun purchase permits from one to five years, adds an annual background check for people holding those five-year permits. It requires the Minnesota Department of Human Services and state courts to make their background check records available electronically to authorized agencies, including the National Instant Background Check system (NICS) — a process that was supposed to have been in place 16 years ago! This should reduce purchasing delays as well as ensuring that state and federal checks produce the same results.

The bill also borrows a page from the Permit to Carry law, providing a more robust appeal process for denied purchase permits, and requiring that police chiefs and sheriffs whose purchase permit denials are overturned must pay the applicants’ legal costs.

Adds Universal Carry Permit Reciprocity

Of particular interest to carry permit holders, the final article of the bill updates our carry permit reciprocity standards, allowing people holding carry permits from any other state to carry in Minnesota (under Minnesota law, of course). This should result in alarge increase in the number of states where Minnesota permit holders can carry, since many states allow other states’ permit holders to carry on a reciprocal basis.

GOCRA is proud to have worked with Representative Cornish in the creation and polishing of this bill. Joined by the NRA, we shared our advice and experience, lending a historical perspective and suggesting beneficial statutory language. This bill is an excellent example of cooperation between legislators, local activists, and our national partners to support and extend our civil rights.

We’ll be talking much more about the details of the bill in the coming days.

Author:Rob Doar