Anyone remember the Montana man who was displaying a firearm near a school? Montana law did not exempt him from federal law.

dogtown tom

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Last August, Metcalf had been seen by numerous parents with a firearm on his property across from an elementary school. While Billings PD said he didn't violate any state law, so the feds arrested him for violating federal law.
The law being the federal Gun Free Schools Zones Act, which says possession of a firearm within 1,000ft of a school is prohibited. One of several exemptions is if the person holds a firearm permit from that state.


Metcalf admitted to leaving his property and carrying the firearm on the sidewalk, his defense being that Montana law specifically exempted every Montanan from the firearm permit requirements of the GFSZA.
The court disagreed US vs Metcalf

The intent of the GFSZA was to make it a federal crime for a drug dealer near a school who happened to be armed. Well intentioned, but terrible in execution as it makes any one of us a felon when we drive out of state and do not possess a firearm permit from that state. Reciprocity doesn't apply.

Further, Metcalf is a nutjob.
 
I would empathize with him if he were being busted just for possessing a firearm on his property, which is within 1000' of a school. However, I do believe the sidewalk is public property and that's when he foolishly placed the noose around his neck and taunted the hangman. Murphy spares no one.
 
The wording of the federal law is very specific. Here's the exception clause:

if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or political subdivision requires that, before an individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or political subdivision verify that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license;

One must be licensed by the state (or county or city) where the school is located to be exempt from the federal GFZ law. AND LE from the licensing entity must verify that the individual is qualified under law to be licensed.

He did not have a license. The law enforcement authorities therefore could not have possibly verified that he was qualified under law to receive the license.
Further, Metcalf is a nutjob.
Correct. If he hadn't gone out of his way to be a serious nuisance, the state would have never brought in the feds. Because he was, and they did, now he can never own firearms again. <<Looks like I was wrong. Metcalf apparently brought the feds in himself.>>
...it makes any one of us a felon when we drive out of state and do not possess a firearm permit from that state. Reciprocity doesn't apply.
Correct. A permit from another state can not possibly create an exception to the GFZ because the licensing MUST be done by the political entity where the school is located. A non-resident permit (for states that issue them) would qualify assuming that the permit isn't just issued to anyone who asks. LE from the licensing entity must check to see if the person is qualified under law.

It may seem like a good idea, but states with Constitutional carry put their residents in jeopardy by making it seem like it's legal for them to carry when, in reality, it's almost impossible to go anywhere without getting within 1000 feet of a school.


"Thus, hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens regularly violate the GFSZA as they go about their everyday lives in urban and suburban areas across the United States.”
Under the GFSZA, it is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison for possessing a firearm within 1,000 feet of any K-12 school, unless “licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located.”"

Worse yet, the federal GFSZA does not specify the type of firearm. If you are transporting a rifle or shotgun in your vehicle to a gunsmith or gunshow or competition then you would need to comply with the requirements of the GFSZA for transporting firearms through a GFSZ. Namely, you must unload it and lock it up, either in a lockable gun rack or a container.

Here's some more information.
 
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The wording of the federal law is very specific. Here's the exception clause:

if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or political subdivision requires that, before an individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or political subdivision verify that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license;

One must be licensed by the state (or county or city) where the school is located to be exempt from the federal GFZ law. AND LE from the licensing entity must verify that the individual is qualified under law to be licensed.

He did not have a license. The law enforcement authorities therefore could not have possibly verified that he was qualified under law to receive the license.

Correct. If he hadn't gone out of his way to be a serious nuisance, the state would have never brought in the feds.

Correct. A permit from another state can not possibly create an exception to the GFZ because the licensing MUST be done by the political entity where the school is located. A non-resident permit (for states that issue them) would qualify assuming that the permit isn't just issued to anyone who asks. LE from the licensing entity must check to see if the person is qualified under law.

It may seem like a good idea, but states with Constitutional carry put their residents in jeopardy by making it seem like it's legal for them to carry when, in reality, it's almost impossible to go anywhere without getting within 1000 feet of a school.


"Thus, hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens regularly violate the GFSZA as they go about their everyday lives in urban and suburban areas across the United States.”
Under the GFSZA, it is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison for possessing a firearm within 1,000 feet of any K-12 school, unless “licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located.”"
Even LEOSA is not exempt from the GFSZA. Heck, under LEOSA, one can't even carry in National Parks.

Only a CCW permit is exempt from the GFSZA.
 
Only a CCW permit is exempt from the GFSZA.
It must also be issued by the state/political subdivision that contains the school AND it must be one that requires LE to do a check on the licensee before it is issued.
 
Good thread and good info. Ohio passed Constitutional Carry last year. To carry a pistol in a car in Ohio in a school zone requires a state issued CCW license. Constitutional Carry in Ohio doesn't cut it in a school zone. And even then the firearm has to secured and locked in a vehicle when leaving the vehicle if in a school zone. I ponied up to money to renew my Ohio CCW license. There are some other advantages to having the state issued license. I can afford the $10.00 a year fee.
 
I believe that has changed as of Feb 2010.
Yep, Anyone can carry in a Nat'l park. Obama signed the legislation.

Not for LEOSA.

Where Can Firearms Be Carried Under LEOSA/HR 218

Federal Locations & Laws

Individuals carrying under LEOSA/HR 218 are carrying under FEDERAL Law and so must follow federal laws and federal agency policies that restrict the carrying of concealed firearms in certain federal buildings and lands (including buildings in national parks) and on airplanes. They must also follow the Gun-Free School Zone Act (GFSZA) and cannot carry a firearm within 1,000 feet of elementary or secondary schools. Although the GFSZA authorizes on-duty LEOs to carry firearms in such circumstances, off-duty and retired LEOs are still restricted from doing so unless they have a firearms license issued from the state in which they reside, which is the only state where it applies.


During a recent presentation on LEOSA at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association Conference (ILEETA), I addressed the fact that individuals carrying under LEOSA do not qualify for the same exemptions some state permit holders benefit from in terms of carrying concealed firearms in Federal Parks and Gun Free School Zones (GFSZ).


Federal Limitations on Carrying in Certain Locations

Federal laws or regulations are not superseded by LEOSA. Qualified officers may not carry concealed weapons onto aircraft under the act. They also cannot carry firearms into federal buildings or onto federal property. However, in February 2010, a federal statute took effect authorizing individuals to carry concealed weapons into national parks if they have complied with the carry concealed rules of the state or states in which the park is located.49 Of course, this federal statute will not change the fact that it is unlawful to carry a firearm into federal buildings, even in a national park.50 This would include facilities, such as visitor’s centers, museums, and restrooms.


LEOSA does not exempt one from the Federal GFSZA nor allow them to carry in National Parks.

Only a CCW exempts one from the GFSZA and state law exempts one from the ban of carrying in a National Park. Meaning as an example, if you are in a Permitless Carry State where Non-Residents are covered under the law (like Florida). You can carry there even if you're just visiting. But let's say you go to Hawaii or New York, which does not have such a law. And you're carrying in those states under LEOSA. You can't carry in the National Parks located in their borders without a Hawaii or New York issued CCW permit. LEOSA will not cover you.

The Fraternal Order of Police has actually been pushing legislation for over a decade now to expand where LEOSA allows someone to carry amd to "correct" such things like thr National Park carry and GFSZA exemption. Along other things too.
 
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My home is 450 ft from the elementary school I attended in 6th grade.

Local laws on transporting guns to and from hunting fields, rifle ranges, gun shows, gun shops, pawnshops (unloaded, cased, ammo separate container) pretty much matched the limitations of the Gun Free School Zone (GFSZ) Act for residents with homes within the GFSZ.

Metcalf left his property open carrying a firearm on the sidewalk within a GFSZ.

I'm pretty sure if I did that, I'd be in local violation even with my handgun carry permit (concealed preferred).!
 
Constitutional Carry in Ohio doesn't cut it in a school zone.
That is true everywhere in the U.S.

Constitutional/permitless carry within 1000 feet of school premises is a federal crime punishable by up to 5 years and/or up to a $5K fine everywhere in the U.S. The exception relevant here is a permit issued by the state (or city or county) in which the school zone is located AND that requires LE to do a check on the licensee to verify that they are qualified to hold the permit.

There's also an exception for being on private property within the GFSZ.

Careful readers will note that just having a state/city/county issued permit isn't enough.

1. It has to be issued by the state/city/county where the school zone is. If you are carrying out of your home state with your home state permit via reciprocity, be aware that every time you drive within 1000 feet of a school you are committing a federal crime.

2. The permit must be one that requires LE to do a check for eligibility/qualification. If your state/city/county issues permits upon request with no background check required, you are committing a federal crime any time you drive within 1000 feet of a school while carrying.
 
I would empathize with him if he were being busted just for possessing a firearm on his property, which is within 1000' of a school. However, I do believe the sidewalk is public property and that's when he foolishly placed the noose around his neck and taunted the hangman. Murphy spares no one.
What if a person's vehicle is parked on the street in front of their home and they have to cross that sidewalk?
 
What if a person's vehicle is parked on the street in front of their home and they have to cross that sidewalk?
Assuming that they don't have a qualifying license to exempt them from the GFSZA then once they are off private property, they are in violation of federal law if they are carrying a firearm that is not unloaded and locked in a container.

That would apply whether they were in the vehicle on the street, in the street on foot, or on the sidewalk.

It's not like they would be home free once they get to the vehicle unless the vehicle is on private property.

Realistically, this is unlikely to be an issue in normal situations. The feds aren't out there following Constitutional Carriers around and pouncing on them once they get into a GFSZ. In this case, Metcalf supposedly asked to speak to a federal agent and, because he didn't know federal law, gave the BATF agents who contacted him at his request, evidence that he had committed violations of the GFSZ.
"On the 17th, members of the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agency called Metcalf, after he reportedly requested to speak with a federal officer.
During that call, the ATF agents were able to conduct an interview with him and get more information, which he used to submit a request for an arrest warrant for Metcalf."

This is why it's very important for people to understand the law.
 
If he’s on a sidewalk then within his legal rights he should be given A warning
 
If he’s on a sidewalk then within his legal rights he should be given A warning
Agreed. The law is ridiculous and unconstitutional, IMHO. It makes no sense that someone who lives near a school can not take a step off of their property with an otherwise legally owned and possessed firearm without becoming a felon. I don't even know why Metcalf is being attacked by other gun owners as being an idiot when it's the law itself that should be attacked.

I would say he got what he deserved if the law was justified, fair, and logical, but I "empathize" with him because it is not.

Hopefully this case goes up the judicial ladder, and is ultimately thrown out. It would be great that, if/when it happens, the ruling only applies to everyone else other than the gun owners who were attacking him.
 
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The law is ridiculous and unconstitutional, IMHO. It makes no sense that someone who lives near a school can not take a step off of their property with an otherwise legally owned and possessed firearm without becoming a felon.
1. The law, in its current form has stood up to more than one challenge. It's possible that this case could proceed to the Supreme Court who might then declare the law in question unconstitutional. But until they do, it is a valid law and anyone who violates it and is caught can expect to be arrested and prosecuted.
2. The law doesn't have to "make sense" or be intuitive. Congress just has to pass it and the president just has to sign it and then it becomes law.
I don't even know why Metcalf is being attacked by other gun owners as being an idiot when it's the law itself that should be attacked.
Publicly and repeatedly violating a law is stupid. Requesting that federal agents contact you and then giving them all the evidence, over the phone, that they need to arrest you is stupid.

If you are going to make a repeated and public nuisance of yourself, you'd better make sure you know ALL the applicable laws and make sure you don't violate any of them. If you don't, you're behaving like an idiot. If you behave like an idiot, you can expect to be called an idiot. I'm not in favor of the GFSZA, by any means, but that doesn't make what Metcalf did any smarter.
Hopefully this case goes up the judicial ladder, and is ultimately thrown out.
Frankly, I hope so too. The GFSZA is a disaster, IMO. It would be nice to see it go away. But until it does, we need to understand what it says, what the exceptions to it are and how to stay on the right side of the law. And until it does go away, anyone who repeatedly and publicly violates it is an idiot.
If he’s on a sidewalk then within his legal rights he should be given A warning
Pretty sure there's nothing in the U.S Code that says people have a legal right to a warning on the first time they commit a federal felony.

Of course, given the genius displayed by this guy so far, maybe he could pull it off in court if he represents himself.

Metcalf: "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Yes, I admit that I was committing a federal felony by walking up and down on the sidewalk across the street from a school with a firearm. Yes, the reason I'm here is because I voluntarily gave BATF agents evidence of my crime when they called me at my request. But according to Section <mumblemumblemumble> of the US Code, since it was my first offense, I was entitled to a warning."​
Judge: "Mr. Metcalf, could you repeat the reference of the specific section of U.S. Code you paraphrased?"​
Metcalf: "Ipso facto, your Honor. Corpus delecti, coitus interruptus, quid pro quo et erat demonstrandum."​
😁

Seriously, if the law had not been published, or if some relevant government official had given him an interpretation of the law that he was relying upon, or if he had been basing his actions on an overturned law or ruling, then maybe he could argue that he shouldn't be held responsible. Otherwise, it's not really possible to use ignorance of the law as a defense.
 
Agreed. The law is ridiculous and unconstitutional, IMHO.
I agree. One would literally need a map showing the 1000 ft boundary lines. The law doesn't require it to be marked and I have a problem with that.
It was intended to have an effect on criminal activity near schools, but as with many good intentioned laws it applies to law abiding citizens as well.


It makes no sense that someone who lives near a school can not take a step off of their property with an otherwise legally owned and possessed firearm without becoming a felon.
The law doesn't do that, there are exceptions that allow a someone to legally possess a firearm when off their property but less than 1000ft from the school. Thats literally the point addressed by this case.


I don't even know why Metcalf is being attacked by other gun owners as being an idiot when it's the law itself that should be attacked.
You think it normal behavior to parade around your front yard with a firearm? This isn't a farm, his property isn't surrounded by cornfields, its a home across from a school and any parent or teacher would be rightly concerned. . Metcalf's aberrant behavior with a firearm is what attracted attention by the public. It wasn't once, wasn't twice, but several instances of attention seeking behavior.


I would say he got what he deserved if the law was justified, fair, and logical, but I "empathize" with him because it is not.
Please explain how the law is not justified, fair or logical. I'm truly interested in what argument you could present. The only unconstitutional aspect I see is it makes someone a felon merely by possession (if not exempt). As it was intended to supplement laws prohibiting drug dealing or gang activity.....it is logical. Is it "fair".....sure if it applies to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, etc. Is it justified? Well that was the point of the law....to prohibit firearms possession by those engaged in criminal activity.

My solution is make "engaged in criminal activity" the requirement before any charge under the GFSZA would be possible.


Hopefully this case goes up the judicial ladder, and is ultimately thrown out.
If you read the link in my first post you would know IT HAS "gone up the ladder. SCOTUS has ruled on it numerous times.

It would be great that, if/when it happens, the ruling only applies to everyone else other than the gun owners who were attacking him.
So......you think the current law is not "justified, fair, and logical", and if overturned, it shouldn't apply to those of us who consider Metcalf a nutjob........is that "justified, fair, and logical"?
No, it isn't.

You should hold a fundraiser for Mr Metcalf. That would be logical.
 
Seriously, if the law had not been published, or if some relevant government official had given him an interpretation of the law that he was relying upon, or if he had been basing his actions on an overturned law or ruling, then maybe he could argue that he shouldn't be held responsible. Otherwise, it's not really possible to use ignorance of the law as a defense.
I don't think the State of Montana did him any favors.
Here in Texas we have guys that really believe "made in Texas" silencer don't need a federal tax stamp. Why? Because our state legislature said so.
 
I agree. People applaud these state laws that purport to legalize federal crimes, but in practice, their main effect is to cause confusion.
 
I agree. People applaud these state laws that purport to legalize federal crimes, but in practice, their main effect is to cause confusion.
Non-enforcement of federal marijuana laws has emboldened some of these goobers. Apparently they don’t understand the fundamental difference between the feds turning a blind eye to something they approve of (recreational drug use) and something they don’t (civilian gun possession.)
 
I don't think the State of Montana did him any favors.
Here in Texas we have guys that really believe "made in Texas" silencer don't need a federal tax stamp. Why? Because our state legislature said so.

Non-enforcement of federal marijuana laws has emboldened some of these goobers. Apparently they don’t understand the fundamental difference between the feds turning a blind eye to something they approve of (recreational drug use) and something they don’t (civilian gun possession.)
Staying silent on issues results in those issues never getting challenged and overturned.

Our country was founded on the idea that we are a free people. That means challenging things. And to have standing in court, sometimes that means getting arrested. Those looking for standing take risks. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose.

The druggie opened up Pandora's box with state level legalization and the DoJ agreeing not to prosecute drug crimes in those states.

States are now challenging numerous things.
 
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I do have a question as to how this challenge will come out based on the current state of affairs post Bruen. Has anyone been able to find a historical reference backing up the gun free school zone act? That should prove to be a sticking point in a future defense.
 
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