FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Determining Lawful Reciprocal Carry and Law

I. Introduction

The foregoing chapter frames the American legal system: from policy to lawmaking, through civil and criminal enforcement.  That said, with the complexity, ambiguity and evolving nature of primary law (cases and statutes), rules and regulations, it is only possible to perhaps provide “the” answer to a precise legal issue at one specific moment in time. Inasmuch, the law cannot just be looked up in a book, including the GLBS Guide, as You will see the more You study it.

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II. How to Make a Decision

For this reason, the prudent Reader who is involved with firearms in any personal or professional capacity should not seek “the” answer in exploring reciprocal carry, generally. Instead, he or she should determine and consider a range of courses of action to address the legal need, thought best as existing on a continuum: the black (not lawful), white (lawful), or gray (maybe lawful/unlawful).

Many, if not most, courses of action, including reciprocal carry, involve the gray areas on a continuum. These gray areas allow our society to work and be flexible enough to meet the needs of the day. However, the gray areas also involve civil and/or criminal and/or administrative risk. In fact, most everyone violates some law, rule or ordinance each day.

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III. Risk Tolerance and Status

A Reader’s risk tolerance is thus a valid variable to consider, although it may be more or less unique to a profession. Most LEOs, operating under color of law, have immunity, and if he/she has reasonable suspicion to stop an individual and probable cause for arrest for a firearms violation, it is a matter of professional judgment.

The obvious proof of an improper analysis by a LEO, and such arrest, is dismissal of a case. For the civilian, the risk (and tolerance thereof) may be quite different, as violation may result in arrest and prosecution.

This is the workplace of lawyers, and it consumes a great deal of time for other professionals. Depending upon the Reader’s perspective, and risk tolerance, there are a number of ways to reach a decision about a proposed act or omission within this gray area of the continuum, presupposing understanding of the controlling law. Remembering, however, everyone is accountable for his/her personal and/or professional acts.

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IV. Weighing the Risks

After the legal analysis is completed, such as researching the issues under the topical coverage of the GLBS Guide, and a course of action is cross-checked through multiple sources, the course of action, if any, might be selected based on answers to these three (3) threshold questions:

  • Is the proposed reciprocal carry within the black areas and clearly impermissible? If so, this is generally the end of the analysis. The proposed course of action may not be engaged in.
  • Is the proposed reciprocal within the white areas and clearly permissible? If so, this is generally the end of the analysis. The proposed course of action may be engaged in.
  • Is the proposed reciprocal carry within the gray zone? This creates the need for a second level of analysis.

Thus, if the answer or proposed course of reciprocal carry is “gray” and undetermined, the answers to a number of questions may direct the course to be taken, if any, as follows:

  • Is the proposed reciprocal carry worth the loss of freedom if it is criminal?
  • Is the proposed reciprocal carry worth the payment of money or administrative action if civil action results?
  • What is the objective of the proposed reciprocal carry? Is the objective important, relevant to the risk? If this is self-defense, does the analysis change if You are visiting a crime-laden place versus an area with a very low violent crime rate? Only You can decide.
  • What is the political climate at the particular moment in time?
  • Are there professional ramifications for the decision?
  • How much will it cost for a criminal and/or civil defense, even if the act or omission in connection with the reciprocal carry is ultimately deemed not criminal, under the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, or deemed not rising to the level of civil liability, generally under the standard of a preponderance of the evidence?
  • Is there ambiguity as to the controlling law and/or its application?

If these questions do not direct a clear determination of a course of action, the Reader is well-advised to seek the opinion of counsel and/or continue the legal inquiry.

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V. Conclusion

Ultimately, Readers are assessing the matter much like an insurance company would do. There may well be states where the political climate and penalty is too great to accept. Insurers do not insure in those states, and You may choose to not carry even with reciprocity. In the balance of the case, the risk will be evaluated and a reasoned decision made, not based on urban legend or a guess, but on real information and data.

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More