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kimber_blk_logo_smallPresident elect Donald Trump has promised to do away with so-called “gun free zones.” Because of multitudinous, overlapping, Federal, state, and local statutes, ordinances and regulations, President Trump will not be able to eliminate all GFZ’s immediately. He can, unilaterally, do away with enormous swaths of them from the oval office, with a pen and a phone.

The key is to understand how these zones have been constructed. The Federal zones consist of three large pieces and a multitude of smaller chunks. The three large pieces can be eliminated by executive order and findings from the executive branch. The three large pieces are:

– Military bases and installations
– Property managed by the Army Corps of Engineers
– Post Office properties and other Federal properties and Buildings

President Trump’s executive actions will rest on a solid basis of law. The fundamental base is the Second Amendment. The next layer is the interpretation of the Second Amendment by the Supreme Court in the Heller and McDonald decisions. The third layer is precedent set in the Gun Free School Zone Act.

A key finding of the Heller and McDonald decisions is that individual bearing of arms for purposes of confrontation is protected by the Second Amendment and is a lawful purpose for carrying arms. The Gun Free School Zone Act reinforces this understanding by exempting people who have valid carry permits from the penalties of the Act.

The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) makes provisions for active duty and retired law enforcement officers to carry in most of the nation. Most Federal gun free zones are based on interpretation of 18 U.S. Code § 930 – Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal facilities.

The relevant paragraphs are (a) and (d).

(a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to—

(1) the lawful performance of official duties by an officer, agent, or employee of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof, who is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of any violation of law;

(2) the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by a Federal official or a member of the Armed Forces if such possession is authorized by law; or

(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.

President Trump can and should issue, or work with the Attorney General to have issued, a finding that the bearing of arms with a valid carry permit or under LEOSA, is a lawful purpose under paragraph (3).

This is a commonsense and clear finding that 90 percent of the nation would immediately accept as valid. It merely reinforces the Heller and McDonald decisions. It enforces existing Federal law. Very few people would argue that carrying a weapon with a valid carry permit, for defense of self and others, is not a lawful purpose.

It eliminates most of the gun free zones of the Post Office and other Federal properties and buildings.  It removes a layer of resistance from military gun free zones and Army Corps of Engineer lands.

For military installations, draft a DoD Directive to this effect:

As of (effective date) commanders shall allow persons with valid carry permits to access the same areas of military installations and lands under military control, that are available to unescorted access by armed members of local law enforcement agencies.

This takes into account sensitive areas, areas that require security clearances, and any other areas where there is a legitimate need to exclude armed members of the public, such as prisons.

The record is clear, from a number of states, that people with valid carry permits are more law-abiding than police officers.  The directive could state this fact as a valid reason for the change in policy. It could also cite the Supreme Court decisions in the Heller and McDonald cases.

A separate DoD directive should be developed for active duty military members.

The Army Corps of Engineers is partly taken care of by the actions above. The Corps of Engineers has court actions ongoing in the Ninth and Eleventh circuits.  As chief executive, President Trump could direct the Army Corp of Engineers, which falls under his command, to negotiate a Court sanctioned settlement.

The settlement would permanently prohibit the Corps of Engineers from violating the Second Amendment. Such Court sanctioned agreements have long been used to create law without congressional approval, law that is impossible to remove by regulatory means. President Trump could find, with an executive order, that such a settlement would be followed by the Corp of Engineers in all other Circuits.

If Court actions were directed against other Federal agencies under 18 U.S. Code § 930 (d) (3), President Trump could then direct negotiated settlements to the same effect as with the Army Corps of Engineers, for the entire Federal Government. Buildings directly controlled by the legislative branch and the Federal Court system would be excepted.

The executive actions could be done in a very short period of time. Except for the court negotiated settlements, they could be reversed by the next president.

Legislative action would be necessary to prevent that option. The executive action would be a positive spur to legislative action.

Donald Trump has championed the passage of National Reciprocity.  A National Reciprocity bill could include direction on all three of the Federal areas listed above. National Reciprocity is already highly popular and likely has the votes to pass.

If National Reciprocity does not pass before the 2018, President Trump can use it to push his agenda in the mid term elections. The necessity of legislative action would be a rallying cry to Second Amendment supporters across the country to push for the election of congressional allies.  Such a cause, which resonates with Trump supporters, could be critical for senators in 2018.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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21 Responses to Kimber Gun Rights Bulletin: How President Trump Can Eliminate Federal Gun-Free Zones

  1. Nice analysis. I believe you’ll see the first portion of eliminating GFZs take place within the next few months.

  2. I won’t miss Gun Free Zones. Hope POTUS-elect Trump can make this happen, and that the current POS-POTUS doesn’t do too much damage on the way out.

  3. Dean – please – work on this. Examples:

    “President Trump can and should issue, or work with the Attorney General to have issued, a finding that the bearing of arms with a valid carry permit or under LEOSA, is a lawful purpose under paragraph (3).”
    Well done. This is journalism (with a clear indication of your preference). This seems factual, researched, and is presented reasonably.

    However, the very next sentence:
    “This is a commonsense and clear finding that 90 percent of the nation would immediately accept as valid. ”
    Horsecrap. You don’t KNOW that. You have no way of knowing that “90 percent of the nation would immediately accept as valid” anything. This is the kind of thing that you do that drives me batty — it is not fact, it is your opinion and only your opinion, it’s not based on anything, it’s drawn out of thin air and then presented as if it was fact.

    You write a lot for this site. A lot of it is good. But the more I read, the more I see this, and it’s disturbing — this “presenting personal opinion as if it was fact” is the kind of “reporting” I expect from MSNBC, not from The Truth About Guns.

    You’re not far off. You just need to diligently separate out your personal musings from your reportation of actual facts. If you’d said “This is the type of finding that it’s possible a large percentage of the country might find valid”, then I’d have no problem at all. But when you go state that “90 percent of the country WOULD find it valid”, you’re presenting it as fact — and it isn’t fact at all. Please, stick to the facts, or if you’re going to editorialize, use appropriate language (should, might, “I believe”, “it is my opinion”), etc.

    • TTAG is weblog that offers a pro-gun perspective on current events, rather than a news aggregate site (think “news analysis” vs. news reading on TV).

      I do agree that throwing out percentages as a matter of opinion doesn’t really gel, but TTAG has never pretended as though they don’t have a dog in the fight– which is far better than I can say for news media who do present their opinions as simple reporting of facts.

    • I can see your objection to the 90% figure, but it is an illustration of a tautology. When 3% of the population believe in our lizard overlords, 10% believing an obvious falsehood seemed generous.

        • Yes, I see what you are saying. Another disclaimer could have been added. But it is a prediction of the future. While not as certain as saying that the sun will rise tomorrow (there is a small chance it won’t), it is has a very strong likelihood of being true. All predictions of future actions have an inherent chance of falsity.

          Would you agree that future predictions do not always have to have extra disclaimers?

          I appreciate your constructive criticism.

          Criticism at TTAG helps me improve. There is always room for improvement.

  4. I want national reciprocity to allow slave state residents to carry within their slave state using an out-of-state permit.

  5. CA will not recognize ANY state that shall issue or constitutional carry because the only requirement is to fill out a form. What is maddening is states that do not recognize CA CCW even though the required training, paperwork, and interviews required to obtain it.

    • I don’t think that’s correct. Isn’t it the case that California doesn’t honor ANY state’s CCW permit? I looked around and I can’t find anything saying that California honors any other state’s permit, no matter how stringent the requirements, they just won’t honor any non-California permits at all.

    • CA doesn’t appear to honor any state-issued CCWs (usacarry.com). Oregon is the same way. States in the northeast are stingy with their reciprocity, too. MD, NJ, CT, and RI all are very limited in their recognition of other states’ CCW, if any at all. Other states do recognize CA permits, but just as MN doesn’t recognize many other states’ permits (I think largely due to allowing 18-year old military members to CCW), other states may have a reason for not honoring CA permits, perhaps due to age, residency requirements, etc. I noticed here in the Heartland that MO, KS, AR, and OK pretty much recognize all permits (VT excepted), and it seems like we continue to get F’s from the Brady Campaign’s rating system. I am actually pretty proud of that F.

      • Some states, why do I think TX was one of them at one point, condition acceptance on reciprocity. If a state is going to be overly restrictive, then they lose the opportunity for reciprocation. The tragedy is that it feeds the restricting state’s agenda while only hurting its people.

    • I wish the Shall Issue realy meant just filling a form. Illinois has shall issue CCL – after finger printing and 16 hours of mandatory training.

      • I don’t mind the training requirement, but it should apply to all members of the militia, in keeping with equality before the law. That means every able-bodied person should have to take the course.

        But I do object to people being treated like a criminal in order to exercise an inherent right.

  6. >A separate DoD directive should be developed for active duty military members

    Hey, don’t exclude reservists and Guardsmen!

  7. I object to further establishing those with a carry permit/license as a privileged class. How about just declaring that on any federal lands with potentially dangerous wildlife, anyone can carry?

    (I note in passing that humans constitute potentially dangerous wildlife.)

  8. All of this is well and good, but I’m looking hopefully to the end of gun free school zones. It seems silly that I can normally carry to the school playground after school, but not if there is an after-school activity. Further complicating is that I can CC on the land but not the building (unless there is an activity on the land), but I cannot OC on the land at all. And before I had my permit, I had to lock up the gun to put it in my car if it was parked at the curb, but not if it was in my driveway.

    Even more confusing is when they have an activity that stretches into the neighborhood – I’m not clear on if that renders the neighborhood a prohibited area or not.

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