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Gun Lawyer Episode 13 – Transcript
firearm, elvis, black powder, gun, loophole, cartridge, revolvers, new jersey, law, client, ruger, judge, exemption, lawyer, nfa, represented, federal law, permit, percussion, conversion
Evan Nappen 00:18
I’m Evan Nappen and welcome to Gun Lawyer. I really have had a lot of interesting clients and adventures in the practice of gun law. It’s rarely ever boring and that’s one of the fun things about practicing law because you never know. it’s always something different and clients sometimes are just amazing in the variety that walk through my door. It’s a big variety.
Evan Nappen 00:58
I’ve represented everyone. You name the occupation – lawyers, doctors, judges, haven’t represented an Indian Chief yet, at least not to my knowledge, but I assume that will come. But I’ll tell you one that really goes to the other extreme of clients. One time, I represented a bona fide Elvis impersonator on a possession of an assault firearm charge. Now, I gotta tell you, guys, I’m in my office. The client is an Elvis impersonator and we’re going to talk about an assault firearm charge, right?
Evan Nappen 01:38
And in walks, Elvis. The guy is in full regalia, and I’m talking 70s Elvis. I’m talking the white cape, the TCB jewelry, the rhinestones, the glasses, the whole frickin bit. I’m thinking that I’m being pranked by somebody. I’m trying to think which one of my so- called friends is doing this to me. But no, this guy walks in, and he talks like, “How you doing man?” I’m like, “Great, nice to meet you.” “I got this assault firearm charge. I need your help.” And I’m like, “Okay, please sit down.” I’m asking him the typical questions. It’s like surreal when you’re talking to Elvis across your lawyer desk, and he’s talking about his assault firearm charge. I knew Elvis personally liked guns. He was quite a gun guy. He was a gun guy. I visited Graceland, and I saw where he used to practice target shooting in one of the side garage areas. That was interesting.
Evan Nappen 02:48
But this Elvis had a so-called New Jersey assault firearm charge, and putting aside that he was Elvis, the charge was bogus. He was actually charged with having an assault firearm, and what he had was, I’m not kidding, a Ruger 10/22, folks. A Ruger 10/22 that they were somehow claiming was an assault firearm. So, the charge itself was going to go because that’s an absurdity in and of itself. But here’s poor Elvis, and he has to face these charges. I’m looking at him, and I go,”Hey, man,” I said. “Why? Why are you dressed like Elvis? I really need to know.” And he’s like, “I’m doing Elvis songs. I’m an entertainer. This is what I do.” And I said, “Oh, you’re an Elvis impersonator.” “Well, yeah, you could say that.” But the reason I could say that is he thought he really was Elvis, not an impersonator. And I said “Okay, do you have a gig later or something?” “No, no, I just stay in my character, man.” And I’m like, “Really? You like go to Walmart dressed like this, and you go out to eat, drink, go to the bank like this?” “Oh, yeah, all the time, all the time. I live it.” I said, “Well, okay, I understand maybe it’s for your act or whatever but yeah, it’s yours.” I was kind of like Oh, man, but okay. He said “So, I really need your help and want to hire you.” All right, no problem. As far as the gun charge goes, he really is yet another victim of New Jersey gun laws. He’s bona fide victim. This never should have happened and it’s another extreme anti-gun bias situation. Just charge them now, sort them out later, kind of a deal. So, he retains me, and I’m happy to represent him. We go outside, and he’s got a whole Elvis TCB truck, you know everything set up. I mean it’s Elvis all over it. Everything’s Elvis, and I’m like, oh, what is this, but all right.
Evan Nappen 04:53
So, anyway, we have our first court date, and it is set for arraignment. It never occurred to me but yes, you guessed it. He shows up to court in full Elvis regalia. Yep, 70s Elvis -white cape, rhinestones, TCB jewelry, the glasses, the sideburn deal, the whole bit. He is frickin Elvis walking the halls of Monmouth County court, and I’m his attorney. I’m like, oh my god. We get in the court. There’s a great judge, Judge Michael Farren. I love Judge Ferran. He’s the late Judge Ferran. Unfortunately, he passed away – a great judge. He was actually the judge that declared New Jersey’s assault firearm law was unconstitutional. He was a judge with balls. He knew it was wrong, knew it was unconstitutional, and declared it and we had that case. That’s what actually led to the changes in the law where we have the 1996 Attorney General opinion that had to set up what guns became lawful and how it worked, because it was found unconstitutional by Judge Ferran for vagueness.
Evan Nappen 06:09
Anyway, Judge Farren was a good guy, and I always enjoyed coming before him. But there I was there going, “Oh my god, wait till he calls this case.” He calls the case; I’ve got to walk up to the defense counsel desk with Elvis. Judge Farren is looking at me, and he’s trying his best not to laugh. I knew that he was going to bust my chops so bad in chambers. I was never going to live this down. I can tell you right now I was never gonna live it down. So, he says “Mr. Nappen, welcome back.” “Yes. Good morning, Your Honor. I’m here on this case.” He says, “Yes, I see your client dressed for court. I see.” “Yes, your Honor. My client is an entertainer” “I know, he’s a pretty famous entertainer, isn’t he counselor?” And I said, “Yeah, I guess so, Your Honor. But I didn’t realize that he would be wearing his outfit today. He must have a gig or something later.” The judge is losing it. “Well, you are entering a not guilty plea, I assume.” Yes. Enter the not guilty plea.” And he’s like, “Now I assume you’re gonna try to avoid him having to sing Jailhouse Rock, aren’t you, Counselor?” “Yes, Your Honor. Yes. You know, all that. All we can, right. And he’s looking at the charges “An assault firearm charge? I’m very familiar with that.” “Yes. Thank you, Your Honor. I know you are, and I’m looking forward to bringing a motion on this case as the others. He says “Okay, you can go now. But please speak to your client about appropriate dress.”
Evan Nappen 08:05
Remember, this is a fully packed court. All the other attorneys are there. All the clients are there. The defendants are waiting. I mean, it’s not like just me and my client. Well, no, it was a packed place. And I’m like, “Oh my god.” So, we walk out, and I go to Elvis, “Listen, man, you cannot come to court dressed like Elvis. Okay, you can’t do that. Alright? Luckily, Judge Farren is pretty cool. You know, he can hold you in contempt. You can’t do that.” “Oh, I didn’t know that, man. I didn’t know.” I go “Look you can’t. So, if you come again to court dressed like Elvis, I’m going to have to withdraw as your counsel. I mean it. You cannot do that again. I’m telling you for your own good. We can’t have this, right?” “I won’t, man. I won’t.” That’s it. All right. All right. Take care.
Evan Nappen 08:56
So sure enough, we have another court date, and I basically had the thing resolved. We’re going to knock it out. We go there and he’s, okay, he doesn’t look like 70s Elvis. He’s more like Christmas Elvis now. He still looks like Elvis, but just not as flamboyant Elvis. It wasn’t as bad, but I’m like, oh man, he still couldn’t tone it down. So anyway, we went in, and Judge Farren is still giving me the ribbing and everything else. It wasn’t as bad as the first time, but anyway, we knocked it out. We got the charge dismissed. It was a success.
Evan Nappen 09:32
So, he comes back to the office just so we can wrap a few things up. He meets me be back at the office. Now remember, my staff with Elvis in the building, you know, is a whole other deal. With Elvis in the building the first time and now the second time, my paralegal and my secretary, they’re like thinking it’s the funniest dam thing going. So, we’re standing in my lobby and he’s very happy. It’s dismisses. He’s very thankful. Nice guy, without a doubt, a nice guy. Crazy, but a nice guy. And he’s says, “You know, I really, really appreciate it, man. I so appreciate it. I want to thank you so very much.” And I said, “I’m happy to help. You were wrongly charged, without a doubt.” “So, I want to sing you a little song.” “No, no, you don’t have to do that.” “Let me sing you a little song here.” Right in the lobby of our building which is an old wooden, actually historic building from the 1850s. He gets up there, and he starts belting out this Elvis tune. I don’t remember which one. But he started singing full bore and tapping his foot, like, you know, timing his foot. So, the whole building is shaking, and he’s belting out this Elvis song. I thought my staff was gonna just fall on the ground and pee in their pants. I’m there trying to be nice. He’s just like, “Thank you. Thank you. You know, I really appreciate it.” I totally get it, we won. We knocked it out. You can keep doing your thing. And so, he did. Finally, Elvis did leave the building, and I’ll tell you what, it was quite a thing to represent Elvis. So, I’ve really represented the full gamut of many, many different individuals.
Evan Nappen 11:23
They all end up getting wrapped up in New Jersey’s ridiculous gun laws, and it’s aggressive, insane enforcement, including enforcement to the degree that it’s wrongly enforced because there’s just no limit. I’ve had many other clients through the years. Some have interesting names. At one point, I actually represented a fellow whose name was Jesse James. I thought appearing in criminal court with your client named Jesse James was interesting. At least he wasn’t there trying to really be like Jesse James. No, no, we’re gonna rob that bank after you. No, he was all cool. But it was still an interesting experience to have Jesse James as a client. It is fun. The bottom line is I’m glad that I can say that I saved Elvis. It means a lot to me to know that. I’ve always been a big fan. But there you go. So, when we get back, I’m going to talk to you about one of my favorite loopholes.
For over 30 years, Attorney Evan Nappen has seen what rotten laws do to good people. That’s why he’s dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of America’s gun owners. A fearsome courtroom litigator, fighting for rights, justice, and freedom. An unrelenting gun rights spokesman tearing away at anti-gun propaganda to expose the truth. Author of six best-selling books on gun rights, including Nappen on Gun Law, a bright orange, gun law Bible that sits atop the desk of virtually every lawyer, police chief, firearms dealer, and savvy gun owner. That’s what made Evan Nappen America’s Gun Lawyer. Gun laws are designed to make you a criminal. Don’t become the innocent victim of a vicious anti-gun legal system. This is the guy you want on your side. Keep his name and number in your wallet and hope you never have to use it. But if you live, work, or travel with a firearm, the deck is already stacked against you. You can find him on the web at EvanNappen.com or follow the link on the Gun Lawyer resource page. Evan Nappen -America’s Gun Lawyer.
You’re listening to Gun Lawyer with Attorney Evan Nappen. Available wherever you get your favorite podcast.
Evan Nappen 14:08
All right. Hey, I want to tell you about one of my favorite loopholes. The reason it’s one of my favorite loopholes is because . . . Well, first of all, let me tell you about loopholes. The loopholes are almost a little bit of a pejorative, I guess. I mean, it has a bit of a negative Oh, he found a way around the law, you know, a loophole. But really that’s not what a loophole is to me. You see a loophole is really just freedom finding a way and that’s what a loophole is. It’s freedom finding a way as the government tries to restrict our freedom. When a “loophole” in gun law is found and can be utilized, then freedom comes back. The liberty that they tried to take away is found and restored by the loophole. So, loopholes to me are always freedom finding a way. I always admire and respect loopholes because loopholes can have the effect of creating the freedom. Not only because of the loophole itself, but also getting rid of the law that prohibited it in the first place because the loophole ends up overcoming the prohibition. It makes the prohibition so irrelevant, that it no longer needs to even be on the books, and we’ve seen this happen.
Evan Nappen 15:37
We’ve seen it happen with NFA (National Firearm Act) Trusts. When you needed to get NFA paperwork to get a machine gun, a sawed off, or SBR (Short-Barreled Rifle), a suppressor, BATF used to require that you have your Chief of Police sign off on it, even though they were doing the full background check at the BATF. The problem was in the law if the chief didn’t want to sign, there was no way you could challenge him. He could just feel I don’t think anyone should own a gun. I’m not signing it, and you couldn’t overcome that. So, what happened was when you put it in a NFA Trust, you no longer needed the Chief Law Enforcement officer (CLE) to sign off on it and that avoided the whole issue. There are many other advantages to a NFA Trust but that was the main one.
Evan Nappen 16:31
By the time 10,000, plus, no exaggeration, NFA Trusts had been filed, where there’s no CLE, they finally removed it and said, guess what, you don’t need any CLE sign offs anymore at all. They just got rid of the stupid requirement. So, you don’t need it. The Chief just gets noticed, but you don’t need their approval. And that was great. So, what happened was freedom found a way with the loophole, and it was so successful that it wiped out the very prohibition that led to its creation. Isn’t that interesting? You see it over and over again.
Evan Nappen 17:11
You may know that I’ve been involved with challenging knife laws, and I am Council to Knife Rights. As many of you heard on the show with Doug Ritter, I wrote the book on U.S. Knife Laws. Since 2010, seventeen states have repealed their bans on switchblades. But do you know what helped make that happen? The loophole of assisted openers, which is not a switchblade, because to be a switchblade, you must have a button or other device in the handle. The assisted opener removes any need for that button because you push the blade itself, and the rest of the way it opens by a spring, but it’s not a switchblade. They became incredibly popular.
Evan Nappen 18:43
So, you can buy a black powder firearm with no paperwork, no background check, no nothing. They’re not regulated under Federal law in any of those ways. If you buy a, let’s say, black powder revolver, these are essentially models from before cartridges came about. Pre 1870 type firearms that were not cartridge firing. They’re normally percussion although flintlocks are still covered. With a percussion revolver, we load in the front with the powder and the ball. You put percussion caps on the nipples of the cylinder. They were very effective black powder revolvers. The 1851 Navy Colts and 1860 Army Colts put a lot of guys in the ground during the Civil War because of the effectiveness of these black powder revolvers. So, they are effective in and of their own right.
Evan Nappen 18:43
It was so important to have a one-handed, folding knife that possession of them became so broad that repealing the stupid bans on switchblades became even easier. So many people had assisted openers and other on-hand openers, who cares if it opens by a button, as opposed to one of these other methods? What are the advantages of one-handed knives? Plenty. How many times have you been holding a fishing line and needed a knife? Or you’re in a tree stand, and you don’t want to have a fixed blade because if you fall with that, it goes through your leg. A folding knife is safer, but you need to be able to open it with one hand. There’s so many great utilitarian uses, but there the loophole again impacting on liberty and freedom.
Evan Nappen 18:51
Another of my favorite loopholes is black powder firearms. I want to tell you about black powder firearms and why they’re so intriguing and interesting. There may be some things you don’t know about black powder firearms. For example, it is possible to have a cartridge-firing handgun. We’re talking like .45 long Colt, even .45 ACP handgun which are not subject to Federal regulation, for your acquisition. In other words, you can acquire it with no paper and no background check. How can that be? It’s almost like real freedom with guns. How can this be? Well, it’s because black powder firearms and antique firearms under Federal law are not considered “firearms” as regulated under the ’68 Gun Control Act. Dealers do not sell black powder firearms by way of the process that you and I would use for purchasing of a modern firearm. Black powder firearms are not regulated by Federal law.
Evan Nappen 20:37
When you look at modern black powder, there are modern reproductions of classic black powder firearms. Then there are black powder firearms that have been made to be similar to the old ones, but they’re not exactly a model that existed then. There’s a wide variety of them out there. Now, one of the best black powder revolvers ever made was made by Sturm, Ruger and Co, and it’s called the Old Army. The Ruger Old Army was made for 36 years. They discontinued making the Ruger Old Army in 2008. They made it in blue and stainless steel. It’s one of the strongest black powder revolvers ever made because the frame of the Ruger Old Army is the same frame, they use for the .44 Magnum Blackhawk. Strong as can be, and it’s made with beautiful Ruger craftsmanship.
Evan Nappen 22:45
Uberti’s are imported from Italy as are some other top makers. Uberti makes wonderful steel framed, reproductions of various revolvers, including the 1860, the 1851, Remington, etc. all made by Uberti. There are other makers as well. Pietta, Pedersoli, these are all good names that make fine black powder reproduction firearms. In the history of firearms during this period, you saw the advent particularly of the Smith and Wesson Model 3. The Smith and Wesson Model 3 was a cartridge-firing revolver. If any of you have ever seen Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood, Schofield kid had a Schofield, Smith and Wesson, and it fired cartridges. That was not a black powder percussion revolver, it was a cartridge revolver. Once you had the wonderful advantage of being able to have cartridges, then folks were like, I would really prefer that and what became invented at the time, was what was called conversions. There was a conversion if you had an old black powder percussion revolver, and you wanted to fire cartridges out of it. You could send it back to the factory, and they’d convert it to cartridge or Colt cartridge conversion revolvers. You may even see cartridge conversions in various movies. If you ever saw the movie “The Quick and the Dead” (1995), there’s a cartridge conversion that Clint Eastwood in some of his movies. Cartridge conversion were the interim period between percussion and cartridge revolvers.
Evan Nappen 24:55
You can convert modern black powder, percussion firearms to cartridge firing in the same manner, actually even better than they did in the past. There’s a number of companies that sell cartridge conversions. One of the companies is Kirst. They make a really fine product. Two other companies are Howell Arms and Taylor Company. These are available from major sellers online such Midway and Brownells. They are cartridge cylinder conversions, and they drop right in, with normally no gunsmithing required. Now you can fire centerfire cartridges out of this black powder gun. Remember, you acquired this gun under Federal law with no permit, license or background check. You are lawful under Federal law, and you’re allowed to put a conversion cylinder in it and use it as such. This opens up a world of possibilities.
Evan Nappen 26:11
If you live in certain states, they may still regulate this. Different states have different laws in how they view any cartridge firing firearm. But what’s interesting for New Jersey, in particular, is how this all works. If you don’t live in New Jersey, I think you’ll find it interesting how New Jersey actually puts in the category of firearm, antique modern and black powder. They put it all in the same category. So, New Jersey does not distinguish under state law between black powder firearms, percussion revolvers, flintlocks and modern. They’re all the same as far as New Jersey is concerned. If you’re in New Jersey and you want to buy up a black powder, percussion 1851 Navy or 1860 Army or Ruger Old Army, it’s the same paperwork, permit process as if you wanted to buy a .50 Desert Eagle semi-auto pistol.
Evan Nappen 27:15
So, you’re thinking okay, Nappen, how does that help me? That’s because you’re making the acquisition in New Jersey. But if you just cross the border into Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania does not regulate black powder firearms in any manner differently than the way the Feds do. As far as purchase and acquisition, you can buy in Pennsylvania, as a Jersey resident. So, you can go to Cabela’s in Hamburg, PA, and buy a black powder revolver. It’s perfectly lawful; no permit needed, no jersey permit, nothing. You buy it in Pennsylvania, you’re now under the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania, you’re under the jurisdiction of the federal law. You are not breaking any law. You can bring that black powder firearm back to New Jersey, because you’re going from a place of purchase back to your home. It’s an actual exemption under New Jersey law. When you come back to your home, you possess the black powder firearm in your home under the exemption, which is the same way you’d possess a handgun that you purchased with a New Jersey Pistol Purchase Permit in New Jersey, because that permit is only good for one thing – purchase. It’s not a possession permit. New Jersey doesn’t have that. So, you are either within an exemption to possess or not unless you have one of the very rare carry licenses which only less than 600 civilians have in New Jersey. So, every handgun lawfully possessed in New Jersey is possessed by way of an exemption. The number one exemption is the home exemption. So, this black powder handgun that you purchased in another state legally, and that you brought back to New Jersey, that’s yours – you don’t have to register it. Registration is voluntary in New Jersey except on an acquisition of a handgun in New Jersey. That’s why the permit says Form of Register. But you didn’t need a permit for this black powder firearm. You bought it outside New Jersey, you brought it back by way of exemption. You’re keeping it in your home by way of exemption. You can go to the target range by way of another exemption as well because the same exemptions that apply to all handguns and now apply to black powder. Remember, New Jersey doesn’t distinguish between black powder and modern firearms. So, I say why not get a conversion cylinder for it? It’s just a gun part, and they will ship it right to you. That’s not a problem. It’s just a gun part. Now you can make your percussion a cartridge firearm. Since New Jersey wants to say that black powder percussion is the same as cartridge firearms, why not oblige them? Now you have a cartridge firearm – no paper, no fuss, no muss – and it’s Jersey legal. It’s Jersey legal because you are possessing by way of the exemption. When you make the acquisition outside of the New Jersey, you’re no longer under the jurisdiction of that state. Now, look, different states have different laws. You have to check your state law. But under Federal law, there’s no question that it is lawful as the Federal gun law does not apply to it.
Evan Nappen 30:31
By the way, there is one of my favorite places to visit in Pennsylvania. This is not a plug, and I am not getting paid for this. Honestly, anytime I go to the Allentown gun show or I’m in Pennsylvania, I always want to stop at Dixon’s Muzzleloading Shop. It’s an awesome store. It’s like you walk back into the 1860s. Man, it’s so cool. They have all the great black powder firearms including antiques. Great displays of guns, and they’re real nice folks. They’re super knowledgeable. For example, the Ruger Old Army is a discontinued gun, but they even have used guns and consignment guns. Maybe you can pick up a Ruger there. They also have Uberti’s with a beautiful steel frame. The other important thing is that they’ll set up with your black powder needs. They have the right powder, and they will tell you how to do it properly. They have the balls, the wadding, everything you need. They’ll explain it all to you and set you up so you can go enjoy Muzzleloading shooting, which is a lot of fun in and of itself. Give yourself a treat, and check out Dixon’s in Kempton, PA. They’re a really fun place, and I always love visiting them. Cabela’s also sells black powder firearms in Pennsylvania. They sell them at gun shows and other stores. They’re around. This is the thing – black powder firearms, great exemption, and a wonderful loophole. And remember, loopholes are just freedom, finding a way.
Evan Nappen 32:17
Keep a fellow gun owner from becoming a law-abiding criminal. Tell them to listen to Gun Lawyer radio and visit our website at Gun.Lawyer. What I would really love is for you to take a look at our Inner Circle, on our website, at Gun.Lawyer. Sign up for the Inner Circle, and you’re going to get the inside from me, Evan Nappen. I’ll be giving you tips, tricks, insights, and always a lot of fun, be able to give me the links to the loopholes, the whole bit, sign up, it’s free, go to gun dot lawyer and join our inner circle.
Evan Nappen 32:58
Remember, this helps us communicate with you to touch base and let you know what’s going on. This is because the big tech doesn’t care about our gun rights. They kind of don’t like us, they want to shut us down and the inner circle is a way that we can stay in contact despite their efforts. And you know, we’re gonna have some big issues coming up folks, executive orders all kinds of nasty things. You’re gonna need to know what to do to protect yourself, what loopholes there might be, and what steps you’re going to need to take. I’m going to fill you in on all that. You’re going to want to know how are you going to deal with a pistol brace reg if it comes down, for example, how are you going to deal with an executive order by Biden on gun transfers? How are you going to do this? Look join the inner circle and you’ll be able to protect yourself and your rights. Please subscribe. rate the show helped me get the word out. I’m depending on you. This is Evan Nappen reminding you. gun laws don’t protect honest citizens from criminals. They protect criminals. Honest citizens.
Gun Lawyer is a CounterThink Media production. The music used in this broadcast was managed by Cosmo Music, New York, New York. Reach us by emailing Evan@gun.lawyer. The information and opinions in this broadcast do not constitute legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney in your state.
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About The Host
Evan Nappan, Esq.
Known as “America’s Gun Lawyer,” Evan Nappen is above all a tireless defender of justice. Author of eight bestselling books and countless articles on firearms, knives, and weapons history and the law, a certified Firearms Instructor, and avid weapons collector and historian with a vast collection that spans almost five decades — it’s no wonder he’s become the trusted, go-to expert for local, industry and national media outlets.
Regularly called on by radio, television and online news media for his commentary and expertise on breaking news Evan has appeared countless shows including Fox News – Judge Jeanine, CNN – Lou Dobbs, Court TV, Real Talk on WOR, It’s Your Call with Lyn Doyle, Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk, and Cam & Company/NRA News.
As a creative arts consultant, he also lends his weapons law and historical expertise to an elite, discerning cadre of movie and television producers and directors, and novelists.
He also provides expert testimony and consultations for defense attorneys across America.
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