Episode 29 - When Can I Actually Use My Firearm?
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Your hosts are Bryan Abercrombie and Samuel Sanchez. Bryan has been practicing law for 18 years and his board certified that sort of legal specialization in the area of family law. Sam has been practicing for 13 years, is licensed in both Texas and Florida, and is a certified mediator. This podcast is for informational purposes only and all views are the opinion of the hosts. It's not designed to provide legal advice for your particular legal matter, and it should not replace the advice of competent counsel. Welcome. And we hope you enjoy the top Texas Lawyers podcast.
All right, welcome to the top Texas Lawyers Podcast, I'm your host, Brian Abercrombie. With me, as always, is my co-host, the power behind the throne, so to speak, Samuel Sanchez. Sam, how are you doing?
Not too bad, definitely the jalapenos to your nacho cheese.
So you dug out from under, you all thawed out from last week?
Man, what a crazy kick off the 2021 brother. I tell you, I'm thawed. The pipes are thawed. Everybody made it through. So we've got to be blessed a little bit that we made it through. It a little touch and go there. No water, no power for days. I'm sure you experience that too.
Yeah. So we want to apologize for not bringing you a podcast last week. But you know, no power means no internet means no podcast. So you can thank the fine folks at the ERCOT utility company, the utility co-op there, that manages our utilities here in Texas.
So Bam, they're doing banking business there, bang up job.
So well, we were originally going to pivot today and go on to some new, different subjects. But we've gotten such strong feedback with our our last podcast dealing with gun issues, gun laws, gun rights, all that stuff. We thought we'd hit it again and talk some more about it. I mean, we've gotten a ton of feedback from females concerning the uptick in in women buying guns. We've gotten feedback from business owners concerning their rights, gun rights know, just looking at gun sales, it's been absolutely staggering. We're going through that in a minute. But, yeah, we thought we'd go ahead and give the people what they want, so to speak, and talk some more about this issue, which is obviously gaining gaining traction with every crazy news event that comes about.
Yeah. I mean, the more we kind of go backwards in time, the more people are really concerned about do I need one of those? If I don't have one, if I have one, can I use it. When can I use it. When can I carry it.
So it's really, really been an interesting year and a half as far as how the world dynamic has really played into gun ownership and gun purchases. And so the laws that are getting people entangled.
Let's talk about this for a second. So I did a little bit of research and the uptick in gun sales. I'll give you an example. Like the uptick in background checks for people buying guns in January of 2020 was 2.7 million. In January of 2021, it was 4.3 million, so it's up over, what, 80 from where it was? We're actually more than that. And then it was up. It was up. That's up from 3.9 million in December of 2020. So overall, there were 39.7 million FBI background checks done in 2020 on gun purchases. So and it's not just the right wing nut-jobs that are buying guns. I mean, everybody is buying guns right now. The left or the right, everybody is buying guns. Everybody's you know, one of the most popular is the AR-15. Try going to find one of those at the gun store nowadays or better yet, try to go find some ammunition.
Yeah. Which is the crazy thing, obviously. You know, I mean, that's a whole other subject: is the second tier of gun control, ammo control? So we'll deal with that another day. You know, I agree with you heartedly and really those facts are pretty staggering. The statistics, when you look at why people feel that they need them and obviously they're going out and buying them, I think that raises a lot of questions that we've been seeing come in after the last couple of podcasts is what can I do with it? When can I use it? When can I carry it? Where do I store it? Other than the government, on a map. Where are you going to put it?
You know, which closet you put your gun safe.
Right, which you can draw me a map, can you please, and put an X exactly where it is and don't move it so that I can always find it if I need to know. But, you know, I mean, really, when you look at that, I mean, just taking women at the onset of this, a lot of our female listeners have been e-mailing us, contacting us and saying, like, hey, you know, I'm interested in purchasing a weapon or I own a weapon and I don't have the license to carry. And so everybody kind of understand, if you're listening to this and you're like, what the hell is he talking about? A license to carry? You know, it's basically what we used to consider a concealed handgun license, license to carry is basically just your opportunity because Texas is an open carry state. What we mean by that is that, you know, it's like the old Wild West. You want to put it on your hip and walk around and go to Chipotle and pick up your bowl. You can do it. I've seen it happen. I've seen people walking with, like, you know, ARs and AKs. And I'm like, man, they're really serious about their Chipotle. But that's what open carry means, not concealed. And what we used to call it a concealed handgun license, that transition a couple of years back to a license to carry, which is something that you have to do a class or go through like some, you know, a firing range test to get certified to be able to carry that firearm concealed, meaning that you can put it in your bag and carry it with you wherever you go. You can get inside waist holster so that you can carry that firearm with your concealed underneath your coat, wherever you want to take it, minus some exceptions. And we're going to kind of touch on a couple of those because, you know, all these business owners who we represent are like, hey, everybody carrying guns, like, can I keep them out and what do I got to do to keep them out? So I want to keep them out.
Let's go back let's go back to your Chipotle example, OK? Say I'm the proprietor of a Chipotle, and I want to you know, let's say I don't want your firearms in my shop. What do I what do I need to do?
Well, you have to post it. The postings are huge. You can if it is a a privately owned or privately run establishment, restrict the individual from bringing firearms onto your premises. Now, obviously, you know, that's a touchy subject because obviously a lot of the people, especially in a state like Texas who are pretty law abiding and probably frequent your establishments, that can have some financial ramifications. But on top of that, you know, what are you going to do? Are you going to go up and you're going to physically frisk people before they come in the door and say, hey, I want to make sure you're not packing today? You know, it's not a speakeasy in the 20's. It's Chipotle. And so most big retailers nationwide, retailers have really looked at it and said, you know, hey, we're going to put these postings up that say that you can't carry them open carry.
And so most of them haven't restricted the license to carry individuals who are able to conceal those weapons and keep them with them.
Since we live in Texas, you know, the 87th regular legislative session has begun this year, and it looks like they've got a number of different gun related proposals up in front of the legislature this time. One on proposal is a firearm law dealing with firearms during a disaster. This would remove the governor's authority to suspend or limit the sale or dispensing or transportation of firearms during a declared disaster. So the law, as it stands right now, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that the governor could decide, well, there is this riot going on or a hurricane or a massive blizzard, and since this is going on, we're going to limit an individual's right to carry a gun in this particular declared disaster county because the looting is crazy.
The whatever else is going on is going on. There's a high, high instances of crime.
We're going to limit the sale dispensing and transportation of firearms during this declared disaster.
Absolutely accurate. Now, the there's a proposal. The proposal is to eliminate the governor's authority on that. So I guess they still want you to be able to carry your what I would call "heater" during times of crisis, which makes, you know, I mean, depending on which side of the argument you're on, it makes sense.
If you're a law abiding citizen, you may need that to protect yourself. Right?
Oh probably. That's the time you'll need it most of the time when law enforcement has their hands full.
And you know, and I can't remember where I heard it, but it wouldn't necessarily be a limitation on carrying it. It looks like it would be a limitation on selling sales, correct?
So they're just basically saying gun shops are going to shut you down for right now because it's too crazy.
But I was going to walk in the streets with firearms, but as we've seen with COVID, we had a declared disaster and I don't know how many counties in 2020 and that was for months on end. So I mean that theoretically a governor could, you know, limit the sale of firearms if they were so inclined, just based on the Cuba disaster and the political disposition of your governor obviously can lend some concern behind that.
Obviously right now we're for a pretty red state, but and and a pretty gun friendly state. That doesn't mean that it'll always be the case. And obviously, trends change. Individuals who get in there and you never know. You know, you get somebody who's a little, you know, dictatorial and says, you know, I don't want them and how can I limit them?
That's one way to do it. OK, so let's talk about gun sales. There's a proposal to criminalize the sale of of the private sale of a firearm without utilizing a national instant criminal background check. Now, I've looked at you, but I don't have an ability to do it. And it's a national instant criminal background check at my house. I'm going to sell a gun to a neighbor or something like that.
I don't know if I have that capability at home.
Yeah, no. And I mean, that's pretty far reaching as well. You know, talk about like a lot of these firearms or heirlooms are handed down generation to generation. You can do a background check on your cousin, your your nephew, your, you know, turn that into the FBI. They do this for me just to make sure he's fine. But that's really kind of where they're going. They want to make sure to try to close the loophole. And that's one of them of gun ownership without registration.
And that's really, you know, how do you and there was yet another proposal is to require the sale of a private firearm to become by essentially only be able to be conducted by a federal firearms license. So a dealer.
So if I want to sell you my you know, my nine millimeter, you and I have to go down to the gun store and say gun store. I want to sell my gun to him.
And I'm I'm sure they're not going to take a middleman fee or anything like that for the sale, right? Oh, yeah, course, course not.
But this one seems pretty sensible. It's a it's a proposal that makes it a violation of Texas law to provide false or misleading information on an ATF form when you're when you're buying a gun that seems like a sensible law, their state and federal.
It's already a federal offense for sure. Let's go. And the law is all about redundancy then.
And then there's a proposal to require the gun dealer to notify law enforcement if a federal firearms transaction was denied by the FBI background check.
So, yeah, I mean, just, you know, the reporting mechanisms, I understand really kind of where they're going. It's interesting that it's every legislative session that they're going to bring in. There's always going to be new bills.
You can there's there's there's a you tell me whether any of this stuff is actually going to pass.
I mean, oftentimes there's those hundreds and hundreds of bills that are offered in a legislative session in Texas, given they only need every two years.
So very few actually get through the get through the rigmarole and trying to do a law, right?
Yeah, for sure. You know, I always try to tell people, though, you know, if you're interested, make sure you're reading them. You know, if you don't like them, make sure you contact your legislator, be active. Because it's those little small, innocuous ones that chip away at whatever you're trying to preserve, and if it's that you want to preserve that ownership and the freedom to be able to pass it on, and it you I mean, do whatever you want to it it's your property, then that's probably something you're going to want to kind of look at and follow and make sure it may not ever make it out of committee, which it probably won't, but you just never know. So you just have to be everywhere and informed. So it's good to get that kind of information.
But this is a this is one that may have a little bit closer to home for you. There's a proposal out there that would prohibit the carrying of a handgun by a license holder on a on a college campus.
And yet, you know, so that's interesting. They got a lot of beef when it first came out that, you know, that they were like, hey, look, we're not going to restrict it on college campuses. And really, I was a I served at the governor's discretion on a on a college board, the board of Regents. And we really dealt with that issue. And there was a lot of concern around the conversation of, you know, how are we going to do that? But if you look historically at where these shootings are happening, a lot of them are on campuses. I mean, you know, you can put pen dots all across the country where these things have happened. And so, I mean, I think the idea behind it was really to allow individuals who have gone through this training, who've been able to obtain the certification or that they're just, you know, keeping it in their in their car or whatever.
I guess the question I guess the question I would have for that particular particular law would be, OK, how many of these shootings are taking place by people who are licensed LTC license holders? That would be the better question.
I mean, this is a this is a restriction on a person who's already gone through a training, you know, who's got a license to carry. And ostensibly has, you know, has been through the safety training, knows how to handle the firearm, that sort of thing.
So, you know, my my concern would be, you know, it would be the person that picks up the gun somewhere and comes onto the campus.
Yeah. You know, and I mean, it's really you know, I think Texas is open. Carry position is really ideal of equalization. Right. If you equalize the playing field and it's less likely that people are going to resort to that, because if you pull it, you never know who's around the corner. That's also going to pull there's a defense of somebody else. And so I think that was really kind of the justification as they go into campuses. I understand that, you know, the hallowed halls of higher education or places that the last place you really want any type of violence to break out, especially gun violence. But these are also places that, as we're learning, people are very, very susceptible. And if you're susceptible from an outside threat and a lot of times, how do you equalize it? Well, most of these college campuses have their own police forces.
They're armed, but they don't usually typically carry those firearms with them when they're going to report to stuff. But sometimes they do.
So, you know, there's just a lot of mechanisms if they're professors. So are those professors licensed to carry? Do they keep it handy? How is that all transpiring to kind of level it out?
But I agree, and I don't know if you've noticed the trend, at least in the criminal law down here in Houston. And now it's the kind of the same in Dallas as they've had a lot of.
The new district attorney that we have in Houston has decided that there are certain offenders that get a get that, get arrested, don't need to have bail set. So they're released on paper bonds and different things. And then there's no there's no bond. They're not they're not sitting in jail. Violent crimes are happening continuously by the same offenders because they're not being locked up.
Does happen in Dallas as well. There's kind of this new bail trend, whether you agree with that or not, it's happening and whether you agree with it or not.
Know people. There has been at least one shooting of a police officer by a person who probably shouldn't have been released from jail. That was because of this new kind of trend that's trending with respect to no bail and then not keeping some of these offenders in jail for a long period of time before their trial or whatever.
I think that, you know, personally, I think that's increased the people's feelings of need for wanting to go buy a handgun because and a lot of instances, the police are sometimes 10, 15 minutes away. And whatever is going to happen is going to happen. And, you know, you may want to you may want that. You may want that weapon to defend yourself. Yeah.
And I think that's especially what I've been hearing from from a lot of the females that I've talked to is, you know, they have that they feel a little bit more secure because of the stigma, maybe a sticky situation, maybe walking to their car, going to their car from a shopping center, going from work or something where they might have to cross a dark parking lot or things like that, where they might be alone or they might be in a situation where they could get accosted. And I think that extra layer of protection gives a lot of people security.
Absolutely. It's like I told my daughter is you know, the police are for enforcing laws. They're not your bodyguards. So they're not going to follow you around and make sure that you're safe.
You have to have the ability to protect yourself and to be able to do things in a critical situation that will help yourself out of that situation to the safe zone and whether it's caring, being able to carry, being able to use a firearm, being able to use self-defense to protect yourself, because honestly, especially with COVID, you know, and I've heard this a lot and from different sources that are more detached as a society, whether it's the digital age, whether it's COVID, whether it's, you know, all these shutdowns, whatever it may be, more and more, you're seeing people get into these encounters with people who are witnessing and they're not doing anything about it. They're not coming to your aid. They're just sitting and they don't want to get involved. Or, you know what? They're fearful themselves are like, hey, I'm just going to protect me and mine. And so if you're going to count that, hey, there's going to be a police officer right next to you, something's happening, then you're probably in for a rude awakening. At some point, you really should contemplate what happens. And to your point, Brian, when you said, hey, look, emergency situations, you know, that's when things really go haywire, how many times have we seen there's no easy runs on grocery stores. Right? You know, like there's no bread, there's no milk, there's no nothing. You know, when resources get scarce, that's when people really kind of sad to say. But they don't go in like, hey, I'm going to help my neighbor. Most of the time it's like it's me and mine, not you and yours.
So they call that marauding, I think. Rodding know. But you're absolutely right. I mean, the unfortunately, the the kind of love thy neighbor in some instances you see some great acts of humanity, but in some instances it's, you know, in twenty twenty I'm hoping it was an outlier kind of year, but I think we saw more, you know, more violence and civil unrest in twenty twenty than we we've seen in, you know, a number of years for whatever reason. I mean, there was there was things happening every five seconds. There seems like there was a riot or looting or something going on. And people people see that stuff on the news and they see it reported constantly. Twenty four, seven. You know, on every news channel, there's a truck drives into a crowd.
People pull the guy out of the truck, truck hits people in the crowd, you know, all kinds of, you know, just violence. And I don't know, you know, there's no solution to it other than, you know, sometimes you got to protect yourself and some of these shop owners that we're getting the shops burned down in some of these cities. You know, the police were not available to be able to come defend their shop. And and so it gets burned to the ground. And that's just how it is, unless they're there and they have some way to protect themselves. And I'm not necessarily advocating using a weapon, using deadly force to protect property, but at the same time, you know, if you're in the store, your family is in the store, that's your livelihood. You know, you've got to do what you got to do.
I think and I think that in Texas is one of those states that really afforded the opportunity to do that. And we've talked a little bit about, you know, Texas being a stand your ground or castle doctrine state.
And it's interesting that you bring that up, because that was there was a push by one of the representatives to ask to do away with that Stand Your Ground or castle law.
And I don't think that's going anywhere.
But, you know, there's there's really a nationwide there's and I don't want to call it an undercurrent. I would say it's a it's a pretty large movement to really try to repeal these doctrines, these laws that afford individuals. Right. To not have to retreat. And we're talking about in that situation that, you know, in Texas, if somebody threatens you, there's no reason for you to run. If you feel like, hey, I'm threatened, my family is threatened and you need to take action, there's no retreat required in other states. Potentially, they'd say, hey, you know, you have to if there's a there's an exit strategy available to you where you can take it without you know, you can run and not get into a fight or get into this gun, shoot out, then you have an obligation to take it. If not, then you run the risk of potential conviction or civil liability in association with those actions. And so in Texas, we really look at it and say, like, hey, if you're threatened, then you have to stand your ground. You're able to do that. And a castle doctrine is really like in your house, right? So you have what is it if you're threatened in your home? There's a riot and people are starting to loot and, you know, people are breaking in your windows.
It seems that it seems that a lot of these gun laws are actually been filed, the bills have been filed by the same the same representative out of District one of five. It seems like a lot of these these the more restrictive gun laws have been proposed by that particular representative. And there's also looks like, you know, there's the same it seems like the same people are, whether they're for or against the gun. The gun laws, it seems like, seems to be the same the same representatives filing the pro or pro or pro-gun or anti-gun bills. And that's in the legislative sessions that looks like.
You know, which I think is interesting and obviously, you know.
Who people are listening to in their district, I'm assuming, you know, some of the more rural or more urban districts seem to want the more restrictive firearms and some of the more rural districts that are the other way around.
And, you know, a lot of people have been kind of discussing back and forth about like cattle is just coming up more and more. I think you're seeing much more of, you know, before Texas is very state and country.
Obviously, we had a lot of land and a few people. But more and more of this has become one of the more attractive states in the country to want to live in. And with that, we've had huge increases in our population statewide. So most of these municipalities that Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, you know, even some of the smaller ones, like you're looking at Lubbock and San Antonio and Austin, I mean, these have really swollen over the last few years with an influx of people from out of state for a variety of different reasons. Obviously, our economy is pretty banged up, or at least it was. But we have a we don't have personal income taxes. There's just a lot to be said for the state of Texas and living here, and especially if you're interested in, like we talked about, firearm owning firearms, being able to use firearms, carry firearms in Texas, a very friendly state. But the more that you get an influx from people from other states, you have a shift in this kind of like public mentality about what happens on layer on top of that, these mass shootings that have happened in other states. You know, when you look at all these kinds of things, people using these firearms to do just horrific things to the public at large, then it really turns to the problem is firearms. The problem is the right to bear these firearms. That's not where the problem is with each individual. But you see that permeate through these these large, densely populated areas that have an influx of people who maybe weren't raised that way, maybe don't believe that way and really want it restricted.
And so, as you see that, you're seeing this more and more from different representatives. I mean, it was we talked about in our last podcast, you know, this is a federal representative from Texas is coming in saying like, hey, guys, let's let's put all these additional restrictions on there that have never happened, you know, six, ten years ago or so.
And it just seems to me that, I mean, just to the point of personal privilege here, I guess it just seems to me that we know it seems that like this is stuff like we know we can't get around the 2nd Amendment. So we're going to use everything we can to basically legislate, legislate your ability to get a firearm out of existence, because even though you still have the right to keep and bear arms, we're going to legislate it so much around it. We're going to basically use the exceptions to swallow up the rule. Right. That's a common thing in the law, is let's use the exceptions to swallow up the rule.
I mean, I think, you know, being a Second Amendment, protecting the person myself, I just I think that.
At the end of the day, we can talk about this, we can go back and forth the if you're in a situation where you use a gun, you're going to be held accountable for it.
You're going to be held accountable for when you fire that gun, what you fired at. If someone lost their life, whether that's self-defense, whether it's not self-defense, there is going to be an accountability for it.
You know, that's that's the way our legal system works, so just because you have a law or you have a license to carry it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to be free of responsibility if something bad happens.
So if you use that weapon, so there's always a rule of reasonableness that goes along with all this stuff. If you act in a sensible, sensible way.
I mean, I understand the mass shootings are a major problem and we've got to do something about that, but. Restricting legal firearm owners who are obeying the law, I don't know that is necessarily a solution to to the gun problem.
So you're not going to get you're not going to get rid of crazy brother by getting rid of guns like you. And I both know that crazy does crazy things with swords, with bats, with pipes, car with and with a car. You can give it all that stuff. No, you know, what we're really talking about is something completely different, but they want to use it as a tool to really focus on this particular issue and say, well, this is the root of all evil. And it really is to your point. But I do want to make a quick reference back to a lot of the questions that we've been getting from our female listeners about firearms. And the license to carry is really like, what good does it do me? Right. Like where where can I carry these? Where can I take these or where? Can't I is a better, better way to ask. I always tell them it's not where you can take it to where you can't. And there's some things that are very specifically laid out in the statute that deals with that that I just want to touch on for a second. One is schools obviously want to keep firearms away from schools. So I don't care if you're licensed to carry or open carry. You know, I can take it to your kids elementary school.
So just be aware of that voting. There's some Halloween places where, you know, just having a gun, we're already pissed off when we go vote. Anyways, the last thing we want to do is somebody yelling at you. Don't bring it to the polls. Yeah, exactly. So you're not going to get their government offices. This is some places that I've represented a couple of people that have run into this issue. You know, they have it with them. They're thinking, hey, I'm just going to get my license plate renewed and that's come into office. You know, I mean, like, I might go drop off, you know, something to check at the IRS office or I'm going to the post office to drop off stuff. So, you know, these are simple places that you really just kind of have to be educated in that you're going to get that license to carry. You're going to go to a course, you're going to give you a whole mess load of documentation that tells you, hey, these are all the places that you can carry it, all the places that you can't. It's going to happen. Yeah, exactly. Banks, you know, I mean, they kind of get a little nervous when they see you walk in with that.
So just make sure I would tell you whether you're male or female or anything else, that if you're going to consider a license to carry that you really need to do a little homework, pay attention in that class, don't go in there and sleep and think like it's no big deal. Really don't need to know any of this stuff because most of those firearm instructors are pretty well versed in the federal gun law. And they're going to tell you and state law and they're going to tell you some really good things to know about where to go, where not to go when you're carrying a firearm.
So I just want to make sure you need me to make sure, like I said before, you carry strict liability on that firearm. So, you know, you really need to know the law with respect to when you're going to carry it, where you're going to carry it and don't take it to the hospital to see the you or.
I just I think but like you said, as far as our society gets, a little bit more is getting more and more disconnected from one another. I think you're seeing a lot more or less less in some cases, humanity, which creates some of some, which I think kind of permeates some of these gun issues and things like that. I mean, I think you're seeing people with think tank videos holding guns and YouTube videos and different things. I mean, having their kids hold guns and different things like that. I mean, it's just not you want to be a responsible gun owner. I think I think there's a little bit of reasonableness that goes along with this. And, you know, like I said, what we've heard from our business owners, a lot of them are very, very scared about a mass mass shooting incident or something like that that might occur. And what what is their what are their rights with respect to their guns? If they're a small business and they're about to get burned down, what is their what are their rights? I mean, can you can you protect your your business with it? With the I guess if you're in the business you can, but, you know, if your life's in jeopardy, but you can't just generally protect your business with a firearm, you know, and you do see that obviously when things get crazy, I don't know.
You and I both revolves around when back there was the riots, the riots in L.A. and all these business owners standing on the roof of their businesses, fully armed, you know, trying to say, hey, you know, you're going to have to come and take it because we're definitely going to defend it.
You know, and I think that's really the law that we started kind of talking about at the beginning of this podcast is like. You know, during these times of emergency, what can business owners do? What can individual owners do to protect their property? And I would tell you that when we talk about a castle doctrine state, it really means that you have the ability to use lethal force in certain instances to protect both person and property. OK. And then you have what you think of the castle doctrine as like your place, your home, your castle. Right. And then stand your ground. So you don't have to retreat. You don't have to back up. You don't have to run away and leave it to the wolves to have it. But to your point, Brian, you're absolutely any action that you take with a firearm and had better be well justified and well thought out because you absolutely are right about strict liability. You're going to get arrested first and foremost. If you use that weapon, just count on it. They're not going to take it from you and say, oh, you did the right thing.
Let's let you have your Silver Star. That is going to happen.
Know the police are going to take you into custody. You're going to go to jail, you're going to get booked. A D.A. is very likely going to run that through a grand jury to see whether or not your actions were justified and whether they want to indict you to have you go through trial to see if it was justified. But all that being said, if your family's safe, if you're safe because of what you had to do, that's something that you're going to have to put in front of a jury. And you really want to understand the ramifications of pulling that weapon. And that's one of the things they're going to tell you over and over again. If you pull it, you better be ready to use it, because if you don't, whoever you pull it on, it's probably going to be ready to use it on you. So, you know, these are the kinds of things that people are having to deal with as they consider a license to carry gun ownership, storing it at home. You know, how do I take your point? Do I show the children? What age do I start teaching them about firearms? You and I were both. I was introduced to it when I was whip up by five years.
First, I felt like my father was in law enforcement.
So we were we were taught about the money at a young age and how to respect it exactly.
Because it was a tool, right. A very dangerous but powerful tool. And you needed it.
And so, you know, the same thing is really conversations that families are going to wrestle with at this point. I think really across the country, but specifically in the state of Texas, the state of Florida, you know, they have to be able to address those kinds of issues. And those, I really think do that step, which is we have them. What are they used for? And if you do use them, you really got to understand, like the state's not going to look at you and, you know, like we said, say, hey, good job. They're going to look at you and say, well, now we're going to look at everything that you did to me.
Are you a criminal? Do you deserve to spend the rest of your life in prison or worse, depending on what happens now? I would encourage anybody who's curious about about firearms, things like that, or if you're totally against firearms, I would I would tell you, go to a gun range, hire one of the one of the professionals that work in the gun range. A lot of them are usually either ex military or law enforcement. Let law enforcement have them teach you about the gun, have them let you shoot the gun. Have you learn about learn about guns, learn about gun safety? I think a lot of a lot of stuff. A lot of these, you know, especially with respect to Sheila Jackson Lee, I mean, some of the comments this lady was making, I mean, it's clearly obvious he is a hell. They are 15. They're not 50 caliber weapons. And I don't know if that was a mistake.
I that was a mistake on a press conference or what.
But I mean, if you go out if you're going to be against something, you learn about the thing, go out there, get somebody to teach you about it. I mean, look, for example, in my house with me and my wife and went to a gun range, we we talked to a guy that we have him just go through it with us and say, hey, look, this is a gun. This is how you load it. This is how you are. This is how you clean it. This is you know, this is gun safety. This is this and this. And because my wife didn't know anything about guns, so I would like better better somebody that's a professional teacher than me because I don't want her to be scared of the thing. I want her to understand it and know how to use it if she has to. And so we live out in the country. So sometimes there may come a time when that's necessary. But, you know, it's important to understand the thing. If you're going to if you're going to be for it or against it, you know, go out there, take take a look and get some experience handling one and dealing with one. And and then you can decide, OK, have this is for me or not for me. And, you know, I think it's helpful personally.
Yeah. Without a doubt. It's a skill you need to have everyone in my family, obviously I'm from military, law enforcement, ranch and family. So if you can't use a gun, you're probably not from the family. But I would tell you, like, you know, it's a big responsibility, those types of conversations that you have. And to your point, Brian, there are people out there who own them that don't know anything about it. They're not a clean and they really don't know how to use them. They just think it's cool to have one. In the case that maybe they ever have to use it, hopefully they never have to.
That's probably the person who shouldn't. What if you don't know how to use it and you just think it's cool to have a Glock sitting there? That's probably why you see you jump out at me like I'll I'll shoot you like this.
You're not you're going to shoot anything. You're going to miss everybody. But, you know, I'm saying like, these are these are the individuals that we probably want to really spend some time talking about the fools who go out and waste money. But if they would, just to your point, I think gun safety and education, it's something that it's like we talk about the legislation and the law. There are a lot of people who think they know, but they don't know. And when you really dig into it and learn about it, then it's something that you improve your overall approach towards that particular issue, especially something that's potentially dangerous and deadly. So I agree with you wholeheartedly. Rather, I think that everybody should spend a little time, you know, go out. If you don't like it, that's fine. But at least you've educated yourself, you understand it, you know it. And you can really relate to the conversations that are being had by individuals who believe in it and want it and want to have it.
At least you you you know what's what's dangerous about and what's not dangerous about it. Sometimes the fear of the unknown don't make a dragon out of something that's a lizard know.
But I did want to pivot a little bit and talk a little bit about this, since we've had some crazy weather in the last couple of days or last week or so, we've been getting a lot of questions from clients and different people about, you know, I had four pipes burst in my house.
You know, the utility was there was a terribly tragic story about a child in Conroe that died of hypothermia. Well, I think it's hypothermia. I'm not one hundred percent sure that that the autopsy's come back yet or anything like that. But from what I understand, a child is out playing in the snow. They have no power in the house. A child comes into the house, goes to sleep that night because the temperature was getting very low. The child died overnight, presumably of hypothermia with obviously the autopsy may not be back yet or anything like that. But that's obviously a terribly tragic, tragic and terrible situation. So what kind of liability do these utilities have? They don't. They don't. My power was out for three days and then we had a rolling blackout for a day. So, you know, if somebody dies in my neighborhood or just extensive property damage, we have you know, we have friends and neighbors who have pipes busted and insulation and roof and sheetrock coming down through there into their living room or in their bedroom and all kinds of property damage, flooding and you name it, you know, we first lose power, then we lose water. We got a lot of upset people, you know, and we got a lot of a lot of damage, a lot of money lost.
Yeah. You know, the big problem with that, Brian, too, is like we've had those conversations with clients and they're they're hard because you want to tell them, do you have a case? If it was just anybody other than a utility company that's basically municipality sovereign immunity in the case, that's sovereign immunity issues. And that means that they cannot be sued. What is that? They can be sued, but only with permission. Who gives the permission? Well, typically they do or the government does, you know. And so when you look at it, those are very big hurdles to leap over. And that's the frustration that people are just starting to encounter right now, is all this massive damage, all this money that's going out there, looking around, going like I shouldn't have to pay, that I didn't do this. You know, I didn't cut the power off for two days, even though they could have turned it back on. But they were playing this shell game of like, who gets it, who doesn't. And then you raise it to the level of somebody who loses a child. My God, you seem like a wrongful death suit. You're talking about hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in a situation like that. And so is the government going to sit down and say, yeah, we'll pay that claim, we're going to open them up to liability? Maybe, maybe in this situation, obviously, the governor is kind of throwing that back and forth, saying, like, if we're going to leave people out on the hook, we're going to open them up. And that's one of those things that those people who volunteered because they appear on our court not to pay pay to play board. So basically they're appointed by the governor and they don't get any compensation. I guarantee those individuals are like, holy shit, you know, the last thing I wanted to do was serve on a board. Right now, I have potential civil liability for actions that we took based on a decision that we thought was, hey, this board was cush. You know, nobody ever asked you who the hell you are caught.
You know, a year ago fact anyone could have mentioned what could have explained to us. But we did two weeks ago. I think you could put it on frickin Jeopardy for a million dollars.
Nobody got it. But I tell you what, like now everybody in the state, if not the country knows about our court knows about this board knows about what things that they made and everybody is scrutinizing those with the microscope. So, you know, it's a challenging wait. It's a challenging position to advise clients because you want to tell them, like, absolutely.
We can do it. Should they would your advice be if you're going to sit on a board, make sure, you know, make sure we're past one hundred? You're I smart, you know? I mean, it's so hard. I would tell you, like.
What I would recommend is obviously I've sat on the once in a hundred year, I sit on boards, yeah, I would I would tell an individual who has the opportunity to do so, to volunteer your time, your energy, your efforts, your talents to the benefit of others. Do it, but be educated about it. Right. How many times in this podcast do we talk about a do your due diligence, go out and read about it, understand the decisions that you're making, the ramifications that they potentially have before you jump off of that bridge? And that would be one that especially in a situation like this, I would let people know. But as far as suing them, I would I'll be honest with you in this situation, brother, I think more and more advising clients like, yeah, put it down, let's take our shot. Maybe they say we're not going to open it up, but if they do, you're in line at least to try to get some compensation for what's happened.
But more importantly, I think more importantly than even just trying to pin the liability on the utility, which I'm not saying there's not a lot of fault to go around there. But let's talk about making your insurance claim. Oftentimes, you know, the insurance companies are and may not necessarily pay you what your what the value is of the state of the property loss and the damage that was done. So, you know, a lot of people are reaching out to lawyers because, heck, I mean, my insurance company is only willing to pay me X number of dollars. That's going to cost me, you know, twenty thousand dollars to fix. And they're only willing to give me fifteen. You know, things like that are even bigger issues that that people are going to be dealing with for months and months to come.
Because I mean, that happened during Harvey. That's happening now. I mean, you're talking about insurance companies trying to save a buck wherever they can and.
The largest natural disaster in the state's history, I guarantee you, there's insurance companies out there trying to figure out ways to not pay you.
That's another that's another thing you need if you need a lawyer to step in. I mean, the important thing I would tell people to do is document everything that happened. If you need to take pictures of all the damage, take pictures of all the damage, get get get multiple estimates if you can, you know, on what the repairs are going to be, get multiple evaluations of what the damage is. Because, you know, I had a client telling me that insurance adjuster standing in his house and he's saying, well, if I can't see the damage and I can't pay the claim. So, you know, they have to go rip out a wall to show the show, the insurance adjuster, that there's there's water damage behind the wall and poke a hole and let the water flow out of here so that you can see it as the spigot off.
And then we'll go ahead and write that up. That's ridiculous.
But but document everything because you can't you know, you've got to do your due diligence. And, yes, you pay insurance people to take care of you. And yes. And a lot of instances they do a very good job, but they don't always do the best job and they don't always pay you everything. And everything in this world seems to be negotiable nowadays. So you're better off having more information than being armed with more information about the about what your damages are so you can get made whole.
And not only that, but you have a dispassionate representative to kind of have those conversations because, you know, you're in that situation, you're pissed off your emotional. It's really hard to hear or see really the limitations of your policy or, you know, what your legal rights are, what potentially you might actually be able to do because you could draw a line in the sand and say, I'm not going to take any less than that. The insurance company looks at you and says, that's just not the coverage. I mean, I know what you want. You're not going to get it.
And then you're the lawsuit. You're having a lawsuit or you don't get anything.
Yeah. So you really just kind of really get some get somebody to look out for you, talk to competent counsel and have somebody really do their due diligence to help you out in that situation.
All right, Sam Simon, I am in the Woodlands, Texas, and I can be reached at the Abercrombie and Aztec's legal dot com or our website is w w w that Aztec's legal dot com for both on their our phone numbers are on there. But my direct line is two eight one three seven four four seven four one. And you can get me any time. We're going to pivot a little bit next week and go talking about go back on family law stuff because we haven't touched that in a spell.
But how do they get hold of you saying, well, you know, I'm up in North Texas, I'm in the Dallas Fort Worth area? Like Brian said, you can get all my contact information on our website at Aztec's legal dot com, or you can call me directly at eight one seven nine one four five four seven two.
We're also on Facebook and Instagram and Aztec's legal. So we post regularly. So we got to see some interesting and we see something that kind of looks interesting or something we want to post about it or your comment about we'll throw it out there so we try to bring you content that we can we can talk to you.
If you got a legal question, you got some concerns about something, we'd be happy to talk to you. So have a great weekend. Sam was good to talk to you or have a great rest of your week. And we'll talk to you soon. As always, brother, take care.
Thank you for listening, and we hope you enjoyed the Top Texas Lawyers Podcast. If you'd like to schedule a consultation with either Bryan or Sam, please call 1-888-981-7509. Or visit us on the web at astxlegal.com. Once again, that's astxlegal.com. Thank you very much.