Spokane Criminal Defense Law Firm

Criminal Defense. A big component of our Spokane area criminal defense practice is dedicated to restoring the right to own firearms. Up until a few years ago, the NICS did not recognize restoration of rights for non-felony domestic violence convictions entered in Washington state. With many Domestic Violence (DV) convictions, a person is still prohibitedContinue reading “Spokane Criminal Defense Law Firm”

Criminal Assault Laws, Self-Defense & Display of a Weapon With Intent to Intimidate

Display With Intent to Intimidate. The Spokane area Law Office of Mark Knapp PLLC handles many kinds of criminal defense cases. Many present issues of self-defense. The ability to claim self-defense depends on whether there is an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm. The issue of self-defense often arises when a weapon isContinue reading “Criminal Assault Laws, Self-Defense & Display of a Weapon With Intent to Intimidate”

Spokane Church & Action Training Group: Use of Force to Detain

On June 5, 2017, several members of the Action Training Group, Inc. met at Genesis Church in Spokane to discuss church security, use of force to detain and citizen’s arrest laws for church safety teams in Washington state. Rustin Rathbun, presented the information for the Genesis Safety Team and the ATG. A good discussion ofContinue reading “Spokane Church & Action Training Group: Use of Force to Detain”

The Beef in Your Marketing Arsenal?

The LAW OFFICE OF MARK KNAPP provides NFA Gun Trusts, protects the gun rights of individuals and represents those who are charged with crimes in the State of Washington; i.e., criminal defense work. We have also been very involved in forming and promoting the Action Training Group in North Idaho and the greater Spokane area.Continue reading “The Beef in Your Marketing Arsenal?”

The Lochner Era in Supreme Court History

What is Substantive Due Process? From 1897 through 1937, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a number of cases involving economic issues where the court  struck down state regulations that restricted business owners. Child labor laws and minimum wage laws, for example, were held to violate the freedom of contract, a liberty interest under theContinue reading “The Lochner Era in Supreme Court History”

Guns & Bibles: Protecting Children in Schools

“ To hear the ensuing debate about arming teachers and principals and security guards, I just want to go on the record with the board in saying I think that is one of the most irresponsible positions to take in this gun discussion.”

This what a Superintendent of schools stated after the Sandy Hook school shootings several years ago.

“I hate this conversation, I hate that it’s a necessary evil. What happened in Newtown…is just horrible. And having young children at home, and sitting and watching the TV, and seeing those photos with the names being called…with your children in the room, looking at the TV, and looking at you, and you’re fighting back the tears. You’re so thankful they’re sitting in that living room with you, and you’re not one of those parents. I can’t imagine what those parents feel like.”

Sup. Neu said the proposal to arm teachers and/or administrators was irresponsible. But who was actually being irresponsible? Under Neu’s leadership, an emotional reaction became a dangerous policy decision. His refusal to discuss all the options, however, was actually a decision. The Superintendent admitted to being paralyzed; he was unwilling to face up to the necessary responsibility of leading our community:

” But the reality is, if a gunman wants to do what these gunmen want to do…there’s little that anyone can do to stop them. Putting guns in the hands of teachers and principals, who got in this business of educating kids, and not being armed forces…It’s just not a solution, in my mind, and will not be one that comes forward as a recommendation while I’m your superintendent.”

Neu’s statement that “if a gunman wants to do what these gunmen want to do…there’s little that anyone can do to stop them” was not a true statement and invited carnage right here in Federal Way. This was an abdication of his responsibility to protect our schools. Rather than use his authority under the law, he claimed that we are helpless!

We are called then for concerned citizens to join with us for the purpose of exploring all the concerns related to armed volunteers which could include school personnel interested in a program to protect our schools with deadly force. There have been close to sixty volunteers working with the FWPD and some of them are almost full time.

About sixteen of them attended a class we provided at Federal Way City Hall and many of them were retired military with CPLs and emergency preparedness training.

The Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(q) ) is a federal United States law that prohibits any individual from knowingly possessing a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a “school zone” as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(25). The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 states in part:

(A) It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.

(B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a firearm—

(iv) by an individual for use in a program approved by a school in the school zone;

(v) by an individual in accordance with a contract entered into between a school in the school zone and the individual or an employer of the individual;
(vi) by a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity; or…

See http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922

Washington State has a similar statute which states the following in part:

RCW 9.41.280

Possessing dangerous weapons on school facilities — Penalty — Exceptions.

(1) It is unlawful for a person to carry onto, or to possess on, public or private elementary or secondary school premises, school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public or private schools:

(a) Any firearm;….

(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:

(b) Any person engaged in military, law enforcement, or school district security activities. However, a person who is not a commissioned law enforcement officer and who provides school security services under the direction of a school administrator may not possess a device listed in subsection (1)(f) of this section unless he or she has successfully completed training in the use of such devices that is equivalent to the training received by commissioned law enforcement officers;

See Washington State Gun Free School statute.

Subsection (1)(f) includes:

(f)(i) Any portable device manufactured to function as a weapon and which is commonly known as a stun gun, including a projectile stun gun which projects wired probes that are attached to the device that emit an electrical charge designed to administer to a person or an animal an electric shock, charge, or impulse; or

(ii) Any device, object, or instrument which is used or intended to be used as a weapon with the intent to injure a person by an electric shock, charge, or impulse.

Thus, carrying electronic devices requires special training for non-LEOs. The legislature has already provided that non-law enforcement personnel armed with firearms need only be involved in school district security activities; i.e., authorized to carry a weapon for security purposes.

Even though the statute does not require specialized firearms training, certain criteria should be determined by the district in conjunction with law enforcement experts and possibly others. Such unpaid personnel could be called “Special Security Officers” since they would submit to very intense training and not merely be amateurs that walk in off the street.

Ed Barney asked the Chief at one of the meetings what Chief Wilson’s opinion was about arming teachers. The Chief stated that he thinks arming teachers will distract them from educating students. Thus, Federal Way is beginning to have the discussion. Kudos to Ed and the Chief who has now moved on to better and bigger things. As has Rob Neu who left Federal Way during a mess that he allegedly helped to create and went to Oklahoma City to be their school Superintendent!

But we need to drill down and get past politically correct talk into the realities of a very fluid and disturbing situation which is beyond simple political tactics. There is an overall attack against our lives and our way of life that requires an overarching operational strategy in which firepower is embedded randomly to combat random violence. The embedded firepower needs to be prepared for deployment in such a way that an active shooter has no idea how many adults may be ready to confront him or where and how the volunteers may be placed.

Police officers are present as school resource officers at our high schools and there are also some security personnel at the middle schools. The fact that there are uniformed officers means that uniformed individuals could be the first personnel targeted by active shooters. Chief Wilson delivered a report that included many of the important things done to make sure the schools are safe.

The Chief emphasized that many of the circumstances regarding school shootings are very random and that events can begin on the other side of a campus, where the school resource officers may find it difficult to protect lives. Even if there are no teachers interested in obtaining the specialized training that could qualify personnel to carry in the schools, there are others that will do whatever it takes to become qualified. If there are ten volunteers going around to all the schools, there will certainly be the kind of deterrent effect that we have seen from having armed pilots and air marshals in the friendly skies.

There may also be maintenance staff or administrators that are willing to take some time off and pay for their own training- like commercial airline pilots can decide to do.

Deliver those who are being taken away to death,
And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.


Prov. 24:11,12

I have gone on record at school board meetings, offering to meet with the District and share ideas about protecting our schools. I have also contacted many of the school leaders via email regarding security issues.

My first Firearms Lawyer column appearing in the Mirror in July, 2008, called for armed volunteers in our schools.

Armed volunteers, including some motivated school staff trained and supervised under the oversight of law enforcement professionals, are far less expensive to place in our schools than unarmed security guards. And they can be more effective in deterring violence because there is no way for an active shooter to anticipate who will emerge to deploy unexpected deadly force.

Volunteers will also have roots in the community and can be an example and an encouragement to our youth. These could be retired military folks, those with law enforcement experience or just grandparents that can meet the qualifications including proficiency testing on the range that will be at least as rigorous as the testing under which LEOs qualify.

In other words, do not assume that a “volunteer” is just a person that walks in off the street with a CPL. The criteria will be determined by the School Board working with top law enforcement officials and security experts. The main expense may be the consultants and the insurance cost which will eventually go down if a number of school districts decide to work with armed volunteers.

Federal Way deserves better proposals from its leaders than just having unarmed, uniformed law school resource officers at our high schools and security officers armed with pepper spray at middle schools with some security roaming between the remaining elementary schools. Let’s find ways to make sure that if anything happens in any of our schools in Washington, Idaho or anywhere in the USA our students and school personnel do not have to wait for the police while witnessing carnage in a school. We owe it to everyone in our schools to make sure that they can do more than just hide from violence.

Public policy should not be determined by emotionalism even where the aftermath is shocking and gruesome. The cost of denial after what occurred in Connecticut, Columbine and other places is unthinkable. Schools will not be safe until we guard them with more than talk. Our schools need armed force that can materialize randomly- just like the violence that continues to plague our society. Maybe some Bible reading in the schools might also help? Our Idaho legislature just enacted a law permitting Bibles in schools- imagine that.


How I Came To Be The Firearms Lawyer

Now that we have called local citizens to join us in our new training group, it behooves me to tell more about myself and what we are doing. Over ten local leaders met a few weeks ago in Liberty Lake and we now have an event scheduled for 5:00 PM, Wednesday, June 15 at the Fernan Rod & Gun Club. We expect to present monthly events at local ranges.

I went to Law School in 1986-89. Within a year after graduating, I left Post Falls, Idaho to practice law in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Then I came back to North Idaho three years ago with my wife- after being away from Post Falls for almost a quarter century!

I went right to a local range and gun store in Post Falls and introduced myself as the famous Firearms Lawyer here from Seattle area. The owner of our local indoor shooting range chortled, “What the hell is a firearms lawyer? I’ve been in this business for many years and never heard of such a thing as a Firearms Lawyer!” So let me explain how I came to be the world famous firearms lawyer.

For a few years I was working as an attorney for the provider law firm for Prepaid Legal, answering questions on the phone and trying to keep body and soul together. Many folks would call asking where they could go with their CPLs and other such legal perplexities.

While talking to the PREPAID LEGAL members, I had a computer with internet access right in front of me. So I was able to easily research such questions- like can an employee of a drinking establishment carry a firearm while working and how to get gun rights restored after convictions for felonies & Domestic Violence.

Soon I was inundated with calls from folks calling to ask about such things. I soon decided to make a complete law practice out of everything that has to do with gun laws.

I created a website dealing with guns and disaster preparedness- http://www.firearmslawyer.net. Preparedness seemed politically correct. The government has spent billions starting in the 1950s to prepare the public for everything from nuclear holocaust to earthquake evacuations- especially after September 11, 2001.

In 2001, our federal government poured vast amounts of money into educating Americans about everything we need to have in case of an emergency- everything except for the most valuable item- the means for defending our families from the violence which can be the aftermath of events like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

I also reasoned that if a major disaster engulfed Seattle-Tacoma area it would make sense to let law enforcement know in advance who I was and that I was one of the good guys with no evil intentions.

Then I took all kinds of armed self-defense classes- from groups like the FIREARMS ACADEMY OF SEATTLE, Massad Ayoob and FRONT SIGHT and started teaching others what I had learned about tactical and practical defense of myself and others and the laws of armed defense. I obtained my CPL, joined the NRA and Paul Bunyan Shooting Club in Puyallup and also got involved in competitive shooting.

First I shot steel target at Paul Bunyan and then USPSA action pistol matches, then rifle & shotgun all in the same event; i.e., 3-gun matches.

Around that time the editor of our local Federal Way newspaper asked me to write a column that we called the FIREARMS LAWYER.

I was writing articles that appeared 2 or 3 times a month; thus, the Firearms Lawyer was a unique column for a weekly community newspaper. The police in Federal Way soon knew who I was. So I was on my way to achieving at least one of my objectives!

Then the editor of the Federal Way Mirror suggested I run for judge. The publisher seemed mostly Liberal and the editor apparently thought controversy would help circulation- nothing like a Constitutionalist, gun nut in a seven-way race for the municipal judgeship. Things were already very weird due to some scandals that had transpired in the Federal Way Municipal Court.

I joined the Chamber of Commerce to engage in some electioneering; several Chamber members wanted to get an indoor gun range started in Federal Way.

We started the ARMED DEFENSE TRAINING ASSOCIATION. A local businessman built a gun range in Federal Way; at about the same time. That led to the ADTA hosting shoot-on-the-move events at various locations, including the new Federal Way Indoor Range.

Most ranges don’t allow rapid shooting while moving down range. Nevertheless, the owners of several ranges agreed to let us have certain areas of the ranges to ourselves. That takes a bit of persuasion because we had to convince them that we could train inexperienced shooters with very high standards of proficiency.

None of us began with the kind of NRA credentials that are normally expected for the more advanced drills that we provided. But we grew and the ADTA is expanding to other communities in Western Washington. Some of us are now determined to create similar opportunities in Spokane Valley and North Idaho.

The ADTA group is nonprofit and all volunteer. The armed citizen group also presents educational sessions at which local law enforcement officials often appear to discuss topics of community interest. The emphasis is always on safety and getting training from professionals. The ADTA is more like a workshop for regular practice and also a place where many new shooters can get started in a user friendly atmosphere.

So my network of contacts, many with amazing leadership and business skills, opened many doors and helped us to recruit well over a hundred ADTA members- almost half of them women! Many new shooters came to us with limited or no shooting experience. The ADTA now has two clubs- we started a second chapter in Mount Lake Terrace. Another ADTA chapter is now forming in the Olympia area.

A few of us hope to start an armed citizen group like the ADTA in the Spokane area or Post Falls. We just need about five committed individuals with some basic organizational skills.

A self-defense shooting group is a great opportunity to work with your local police and other authorities. Law Enforcement will get involved just to keep an eye on what you are up to!

And when they see that you are a positive influence for good community relations, cops love to help out! There is nothing worse than having all your citizens running around with Concealed Weapons Licenses, brand new guns and no training or knowledge about the laws of armed self-defense. Not so much the case in North Idaho as it might be in Seattle!

If you are interested in experiencing a more action-oriented style of shooting, remember- we are looking for a few good men & women to make it all happen.

Veterans Administration: Obama Administration’s Strategy for Stripping Vets of Gun Rights?

It is now widely known that veterans that receive VA checks via protective payees are to be stripped of their gun rights.  There are many reasons that a veteran may have someone receiving their paychecks.  The mere inability to handle financial affairs does not indicate that veterans are a threat to themselves or others andContinue reading “Veterans Administration: Obama Administration’s Strategy for Stripping Vets of Gun Rights?”

BATF & Poorly Written NFA Gun Trust

David Goldman attended the NRA Firearms Law Seminar in Nashville. David pioneered the NFA Gun Trust. He tells us that BATF ‘s attorney, William Ryan, made some interesting comments about the ATF, NFA, Gun Control Act and Gun Trusts:

1.A trust can be a beneficiary of a will or other trust and obtain a tax free transfer using a Form 5 if the trust or will is drafted correctly.

2.A Trust can be a beneficiary of a will if there is an order from the probate court directing the distribution to a trust, otherwise one might have to transfer to an individual on a Form 5 and then pay $200 to transfer items to a trust.

3.ATF is still reviewing the 9500+ comments filed on 41P.

4.ATF is not concerned about an executor being a prohibited person. (This seems to conflict with the original reason for 41P in the first place.)

5.ATF likes lawyer drafted trusts, most trust problems are from gun store trusts, free trusts, or trust form that individuals try to create themselves.

6.ATF examiners do not know the law, and have often made mistakes that can be cleared up by having your lawyer contact their legal department.

7.ATF has seen many trusts which name the same individual as the beneficiary. It would appear that all of those people are just copying the trust from someone else. They believe that one day this random person could inherit thousands of NFA firearms.

8.Between 2003 and 2012 trust applications increased 80,000 %.

9.ATF stated that Gun Trusts can purchase and own both Title I and Title II firearms (those under the GCA and NFA).

BATF feels there will be a big business in fixing poorly written trusts like Easytrust promoted by Silencerco.

One of the worst examples of an online trust we have seen is the Easytrust. Those who have unknowingly received the free or fill in the blank trusts may have problems in the future. There may be many people who have already received these trusts which contain numerous problems. Some even have more problems than a gun trust drafted from Quicken. The list of problems is huge, but the biggest problems include:

•The trust permits NFA violations throughout the document.

•The trust permits any trustee to sell your guns without your consent.

•The Trust permits trustees to take away your gun rights if in their opinion you can’t handle your own affairs.

•The trust directs distribution to beneficiaries upon your death without any written permission (a violation of the NFA.

•The instructions incorrectly state that the trust needs to be registered in many states where it does not (seems to be similar to the problem we reported with the quicken trust).

•Directs you to obtain an EIN number for their trust when it is not necessary.

Do some research on Gun Trusts and learn why you would want a Gun trust for all your firearms and not one limited to NFA Guns like Easytrust. You need a lawyer watching your back!

I-594 and NFA Gun Trusts

It is too early to know whether a gun trust will provide any protection from charges of violating I-594. The initiative does not provide any exception for temporary sharing of firearms with trustees names in an NFA Gun Trust. The federal exception for temporary transfers of NFA restricted items to trustees has been promulgated administratively by the BATF and is not binding on Washington State.

In fact, there could be an issue as to whether even the temporary sharing of an NFA restricted item with another trustee named in your NFA gun trust violates I-594. I-594 defines a transfer as follows:

(25) “Transfer” means the intended delivery of a firearm to another person without consideration of payment or promise of payment including, but not limited to, gifts and loans.

The Initiative defines a person as follows:

(17) “Person” means any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, club, organization, society, joint stock company, or other legal entity.

Trusts are not listed as persons under the definition above but might qualify. If a trust is deemed to be a person and the trust owns the item, a transfer between co-trustees might be legal without a background check.

We are continuing to assess these and other issues regarding the new law. Please check this website and the NFA Gun Trust site.

See also Law Office of Mark Knapp PLLC.