Drones, Airspace, and the Law

So, we talked drones and privacy last week in a post and on the podcast. A NJ man used a shotgun to shoot down a privately owned drone that was hovering and taking photos of a new house that was under construction. The shooter was promptly arrested and his shotgun seized.

Needless to say, we a GOTR do not recommend shooting up into the air if you see something hovering over your yard. Deadly force should be reserved for deadly threats. Having your picture taken is not a “deadly threat” to you or your family.

The question did arise as to what are your legal rights to the airspace above your property. Well, SCOTUS laid that out in Unites States vs Causby 1946. Causby was suing the government for building a airstrip near his property, and noted his farm is in the glide path of landing planes. He said that pales flying over constituted the unlawful seizure of his property.

Causby cited an old Latin common law phrase, “Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos” (Latin for ‘whoever owns [the] soil, [it] is theirs all the way [up] to Heaven and [down] to Hell’), as a principle of property law, stating that property holders have rights not only to the plot of land itself, but also to the air above and (in the broader formulation) the ground below.

But, in 1946, SCOTUS issued a decision that “us est usque ad coelum et ad inferos” has no legal authority in the United States when pertaining to the sky. A man does not have control and ownership over the airspace of their property except within reasonable limits to utilize their property. Airspace above a set minimum height is property of the Masses and no one man can accuse airplanes or other such craft within of trespassing on what they own.

Now, it was still not a total loss for Causby. Per Wiki:
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The court noted in his specific case that Congress defined the “navigable airspace” in the public domain, as that above the “minimum safe altitude” which varies from 500 to 1000 feet depending on time of day, aircraft, and type of terrain. Since the aircraft passing over Causby’s property were at 83 feet, the court determined the flight path was an easement, a form of property right. Because the government had taken the easement through private property, Causby was owed compensation under the Takings Clause.

The court’s decision, authored by Justice William O. Douglas, could have resolved the case on a narrow ground by simply holding that there was a taking of land because the government’s flights affected the land. Justice Douglas did reach that conclusion, but then he went much further and opined on what airspace landowners do and do not own. He wrote that “if the landowner is to have full enjoyment of the land, he must have exclusive control of the immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere. Otherwise buildings could not be erected, trees could not be planted, and even fences could not be run” . . . Thus, a landowner “owns at least as much of the space above the ground as he can occupy or use in connection with the land,” and invasions of that airspace “are in the same category as invasions of the surface.”[1]

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Causby
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In the case of a drone flight, we do not have a SCOTUS opinion yet.

Since private drones typically fly below 500 ft, one could argue an intrusion… But that argument stands a better chance in court if you are not shooting up in the air. Remember, just because can, does not always mean you should.

We present this as a mere suggestion. A bit of case law that has come before. You have to make your own decision, and understand that the decision could have very negative consequences…

Stay safe.

GOTR has been a little slow lately…

We’re sure you’ve noticed but, we’ve been a little behind on activity lately at GOTR. It’s not that we haven’t had plenty to say, we just haven’t had time to say it. As many of you know, all of us in studio have lives and full-time jobs outside the show. With the holidays upon us, some of us have a little more free time and can finally start to catch up. Still we’d like to apologize for not being quite as active as we could/should be.

Bloomberg pressures donors over gun control votes – Yahoo! News

Bloomberg pressures donors over gun control votes – Yahoo! News.

Just in case you were silly enough to think Bloomberg’s organization was only against “illegal” guns, his latest push is against Democrats who actually read and upheld the US Constitution.  He’s “pressuring” donors to withhold funds from the Democrats who aren’t walking in lock-step with Obama and Biden’s attempt the gut the 2nd Amendment. So basically, Bloomberg is saying that these folks need to bow to HIS lobby instead.

-Gary

Carrying the Shield

A review of Comp-Tac’s Minotaur M-TAC holster and concealment magazine pouch

 

As summer approaches and temperatures reach new highs, many of us will transition to smaller/lighter guns for summer carry.  This is Texas. We won’t be able to get away with jackets, sweaters, or light, unbloused shirts to carry full-size guns or even mid-size guns like the venerable Glock 19.  Nope, soon we’ll be trying to get as close to naked as we can comfortably (and legally) be in an attempt to beat the heat.

To match our gun to our summer wardrobe, many of us will switch to smaller guns like the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield or some other pocket-sized gun carried in, well, a pocket.  Pocket carry; for what may be the only gun you have on you, isn’t optimal for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact the gun and magazine are typically relocated to positions inconsistent with any other time you might carry a gun.  That’s not saying I don’t carry in my pocket but, I’ve long wanted to be able to continue carrying a gun on my strong-side at the 3/4-o-clock position with at least one spare magazine on the support side at the 8/9-o-clock position while still wearing a tucked shirt.  The reason boils down to keeping the gun and ammo in as consistent a location as possible, regardless of how I dress.  We can’t all dress like contractors in Afghanistan.  Many of us have to live and work in business casual setting or aren’t willing to suffer the summer heat in anything more than cargo shorts and a golf shirt or t-shirt. So I talked to the folks at Comp-Tac about a solution to these kinds of issues. The Minotaur M-TAC holster and concealment magazine pouch came to mind.

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The Minotaur M-TAC is one of Comp-Tac’s most popular holsters and aptly named in that the construction is a hybrid of leather and Kydex. It represents an evolution of the concept behind the earlier Comp-Tac C-TAC. But rather than pressing a hard, unyielding plastic shell against your body, the Minotaur offers a leather surface that conforms to your body. The outside of the holster retains a hard plastic “body” or shell to provide positive retention of the pistol but at the same time, the shell facilitates re-holstering with one-hand by preventing the holster from collapsing the moment you draw the gun.  It’s the best of both worlds..The comfort of leather with the security and utility of Kydex.

20130511_IMG_2212The M-TAC is almost a Swiss-Army knife among IWB holsters. You can have it left or right-side carry, tucked or not.  It can be ordered to fit handguns from more than twenty major manufacturers.  The most common models from Beretta, Glock, HK, Kahr, S&W, Sig, Springfield, and common flavors of 1911 are all covered.  But, it isn’t necessary to buy 100 holsters for 100 guns. You can swap the “body” for different guns so that one holster covers them all.  The cant or angle of carry and ride height of the holster are both adjustable through a combination of mounting holes on each of the two standard ,1.5-inch belt clips that come with the holster. You can also change the standard belt clips for “V-clips” designed to fasten via Velcro to the back of an appropriately lined belt.  This effectively hides the clips for those seeking a more discreet carry option. It should be noted however that, the standard clips are available in an array of colors to match your belt and are themselves, almost unnoticeable to the casual observer.  Your friends or better half who know you carry will surely spot the clips but, few people who don’t know you and aren’t specifically looking for a man with a gun will.

20130505_IMG_2205Gregg Garrett, founder of Comp-Tac, has always stressed quality in his products.  This latest M-TAC shows the firm remains committed to maintaining the utmost quality in a holster while also constantly improving their product.  Aside from the very high quality fit and finish of this new holster, it also features a significantly improved molding process that, like their “International” holster, now includes embossing of the model name of the gun for which that holster is intended. For those of us who own several Comp-Tac holsters for several different guns, it means knowing at a glance what gun a holster fits rather than discovering the hard way that you’ve grabbed a holster for your Glock 34 when you thought you were grabbing a holster for a 1911. The new molds are more accurate with respect to the fit of the gun and providing positive retention than those Comp-Tac has used in the past.  Translation; I haven’t found a need to adjust the tension on this holster at all…It’s just right.

While we’re talking about use, I’ve only had one day on the range with the M-TAC and Shield together.  I’m not going to blow smoke up your butt and tell you I managed a 0.7-sec draw with a solid hit at 10 yards with this rig. It’s not that kind of rig and I’m above average but, I’m not that kind of shooter either. That said, I was hoping to maintain my normal draw from concealment of about 1.5 seconds with an “0-down” hit on a standard IDPA target at ten yards.  Well, I didn’t…I failed to meet that average but, that’s not unexpected because tucking your shirt in over your gun adds a step to the draw. You can certainly work to economize the motion but, no matter how you slice it, you’re adding movement and therefore, adding time. How much time added varies by the user and how much time and effort you devote to perfecting the draw.  In my case, the added step of un-tucking my shirt, with limited practice adds a full-half second to my draw. Now ask me if I care…Nope. If I need to tuck my shirt over the gun to hide it, the speed of the draw is taking a backseat to concealment. So, I’m willing to sacrifice a little time in this application.  As I said earlier, this isn’t speed rig.

20130511_IMG_2215So what’s it like to wear the M-TAC? Well, I’ve worn it for a little more than two weeks for up to sixteen hours at a time. I like it. I like it a lot. It has gotten better with each passing day.  I will likely beg to keep it but, let’s face it, if you’re carrying a gun on your body all day, you notice it.  This is not a typical between the ads, manufacturer paid review in which I claim the gun disappears and that I forgot I had it on. If you’re looking for a gun and holster that you can forget you’re wearing, go buy one of those little miniature pistols attached to a key-chain. Real guns are full of lead, copper, and steel. You’re going to notice that you’ve shoehorned a piece of dead animal hide, Kydex, and a gun into your pants along with the rest of you.  All that said, the M-TAC is quite livable and comfortable for all day carry. While the holster adds about a quarter inch to the overall width of the gun, it rides much thinner than the bulk of the material would suggest.  I find the holster works well for me configured as shipped which is mid-height with an FBI cant/angle.  Some people will prefer that the gun ride higher or lower with a different angle and as mentioned earlier, the holster allows a wide range of adjustment in that regard. While this review has been specific to the newest iteration in combination with the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, this holster is worthy of consideration for any inside the waistband application, especially with full-size handguns like the 1911 or Glock 17.

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By now, you’re probably wondering about the concealment mag pouch.  In terms of construction and overall quality, everything I’ve said about the M-TAC applies here as well.  Professional gunmen and many of us who carry concealed have been asking for this solution for years. Many manufacturers have tried and failed to make the concept work. Comp-Tac is no exception but, they went back to the drawing board several times and I have to say I’m very happy with the result. This thing rocks!

You can mount the magazine carrier at three different heights, almost anywhere you like along the belt line. Like the M-TAC, you can tuck your shirt over the top of this carrier and the result is a very well concealed magazine.  It can be hand in a variety of sizes to fit a variety of magazines but, I’d say it works best with single-stack magazines such as those of the 1911 or in this case, the Shield. I’m not sure I’d recommend it for double-stack magazines like the Glock or full-size M&P.  I also doubt many people will want to carry more than one such carrier in their pants at a time.

20130505_IMG_2170-2If I ding this design for anything it is what amounts to extra material in the “sweat shield” at the top that tends to fold over the top of shorter magazines like that of the Shield. Actually, it may not be fair to ding the design as the the pattern is meant to fit a wide variety of magazines that are similar but, vary wildly in overall length. That said, if you find that the pouch has too much material above your particular magazine, you could simply trim off the extra leather so that it cannot wrap over the top of your magazine. And as much as I like this solution; I’m not above warning you that carrying a magazine inside the waistband isn’t for everyone, even if you stick to a single-stack magazine.

“Shut up and take my money!” The M-TAC retails for $90 but, a cheaper version called the Spartan is available for $74 and offers all the same function and utility, it simply isn’t as “pretty.” The concealment mag pouch sells for $40. The company stands behind their work and they offer a wide variety of holsters and accessories to fit a wide variety of needs. If the M-TAC and concealment magazine pouch aren’t quite your speed, give Comp-Tac (comp-tac.com) a call at 281-209-3040 or toll free at 866-441-9157 to discuss their many options to help you find the right holster and accessories for your gun.

Videos like this are just the latest illustration of bias and lies in the media

I just watch the following piece from KTRK’s Ted Oberg and I honestly want to vomit. I have to give Governor Perry credit for taking the interview and handling it like a champ.  That said, struggled to hold my tongue as I listened to Oberg spew lie, after lie, after lie.

Oberg claimes a “majority” of American want to ban modern rifles.  But, it is been repeatedly demonstrated that this is not true and is based on flawed studies in which participants think they are being asked about fully-automatic firearms. And even then, few of those people realize that legal access to and ownership of those items has been tightly controlled since the National Firearms Act of 1934. Even fewer know that after McClure-Volkmer (1986), the supply of fully-automatic firearms available to civilians has been largely fixed and that fewer than a dozen NFA registered firearms have EVER been used in a crime.

Oberg goes on to claim that there are 30,000 annual “gun deaths.” We kill more people in automotive accidents, criminal recklessness, and drunk-driving annually yet, no one is talking about banning cars.  But something I find more bothersome about this number people like Oberg like to throw around is the fact that in any given year, according to both the CDC and the FBI, more than half of all deaths attributed to firearms are suicides.  There is no scientific evidence to prove that banning guns will prevent suicide.  In fact, the idea of banning guns to prevent suicide fails miserably if yo look at a country such as Japan where there is virtually no access to firearms and yet, the country has had a suicide rate that had been  almost double that of the US since the at least the 1960s. To be fair, that still means we have a little less than 15,000 deaths annually that are attributable to violent criminal acts.

When it comes to violent criminal action in this country, there is no bigger motivator than conflict over the illicit drug trade.  The biggest gangs in this country are organized for the purpose of, and funded by, the manufacture, distribution, and sale of illicit drugs.  While hundreds of millions of dollars are spent enforcing laws and incarcerating people who use, distribute, or sell drugs, almost no money is collected through taxation of the people who benefit from it. How it is that we have not applied the lessons of Prohibition to things like marijuana is beyond me but, I for one, am tired of the resulting gang wars being used, in part, as justification for limiting the rights of law abiding people.

-Gary