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What Happens if You’re Stopped By Law Enforcement During a Stay-At-Home Order… While Carrying…?

Written by Rob Geiger

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Each day the COVID-19 pandemic brings new challenges, and with various curfews and stay-at-home orders in place, it’s become vitally important to stay on top of your legal rights.

As of now, your Second Amendment rights haven’t changed, but there are questions to be answered as government officials ask people to limit some of their freedoms.

To be completely clear: While there are still a few states with no orders in place, many stay-at-home orders specifically include language specifying that noncompliance will be enforced through criminal or civil penalties.  The range of these penalties is broad, but can include fines up to $25,000, or even a year in prison. So far, though, law enforcement appears to be seeking compliance rather than making arrests. 

The vast majority of arrests around the country have had other mitigating factors such as the person in question was simultaneously committing other crimes, or not complying with law enforcement.

In nearly every instance, the police officers gave multiple warnings to disperse and go home before making the arrest. Most of those charged were simply cited and released.

With that in mind, it begs the question: What happens if I’m carrying while violating a stay-at-home order?

If you are stopped by police or come across a road-block checking essential worker guidelines, the pre-COVID rules pertaining to your right to carry a gun for protection and what you need to tell authorities about your firearm haven’t changed.

“This emergency situation is really a call-to-action for any member with questions to call U.S. LawShield , speak to an attorney and stay informed,” U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney Emily Taylor said. “If something does change, let’s say New Jersey passes its proposed firearm restrictions during this emergency, you need to know that information. Just because we’re in an emergency isn’t an excuse for not knowing.”

“Additionally, every state has different gun disclosure laws that have likely not changed because of the pandemic. It’s always best to check.”

That being said, things can change quickly.

“There are lawmakers who aren’t letting this crisis go to waste and we’re seeing a renewed push for gun control,” Independent Program Attorney Richard Hayes said. “We are closely monitoring everything.”

While most tend to their families, U.S. LawShield  Independent Program Attorneys like Hayes and Taylor are watching proposed legislation cropping up since the start of the pandemic.

No matter what the future brings, U.S. LawShield  remains vigilant in protecting our members.

Stay in touch and stay informed.

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