US LawShield seminar on New Jersey gun laws eye-opening experience

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

It’s going to be difficult to separate worlds here, as I’m talking about attending a US LawShield seminar, but only because of my history with the program attorney for my jurisdiction. I assure you my bias is stowed, and really it was my opinion of the attorney that helped cement my joining of the organization in the first place. Attorney Evan Nappen is the registered program attorney for New Jersey US LawShield members.

Nappen is known as “New Jersey’s gun lawyer”, author of several books, and successfully defended several high profile cases of injustice in the Garden State. Two of the more egregious and high profile situations were the ones that Shaneen Allen found herself in, and Gordon Van Gilder found himself in. 

Allen, a law abiding citizen from Pennsylvania and CCW holder, her case famously involved her bringing a pistol into New Jersey, unknowingly against the law, and volunteered that information to the police during a suspect traffic stop, which resulted in her arrest. 

Van Gilder’s arrest involved an 18th century antique pistol that he retrieved from across state lines because it was pawned without his permission. After a traffic stop, Van Gilder was arrested when the officers saw the blackpowder pistol wrapped in a rag in the glove box.

Nappen successfully helped these two victims of New Jersey’s gun laws, and hundreds if not thousands of others. It’s his impressive reputation that’s worth noting.

I first met Nappen in the flesh on October 17, 2014. Previous to meeting him, we spoke during a phone consultation about some transfer law related stuff, and I had met with one of his members the winter of 2013 to hash out the details of navigating New Jersey’s awful laws. When I met Nappen in 2014, it was at Gun for Hire at the Woodland Park Range, and he was giving one of his New Jersey gun law seminars. The presentation was paired with a live fire use of force class on the range with a former State Trooper, the late Sergeant Bill Feron.

From my notes that day, the first lines were:

All guns are banned 2C395B/C

All under exemption

The note referred to Section 2C:39-5 (b and c) – Unlawful possession of weapons in New Jersey. That part of the code is where it’s stated that it’s unlawful to possess a pistol without a permit to carry or a long gun without a firearms identification card. All else is under exemption.

Fast forward to the 2019 Great American Outdoor Show at the Harrisburg Farm Complex. I was cruising all the booths in what I refer to as the “gun room” (I think they call it the main hall), and stumbled upon the US LawShield representatives. I had known about US LawShield but never really acquainted myself with them or their services. They honestly won me over when they told me that Evan Nappen was their program attorney for New Jersey and I signed up on the spot.

US LawShield offers several different services. They’re not an “insurance” company per se, but a membership organization. The whole so-called “murder insurance” debate completely crushed the prospects for other groups to be accepted in the Garden State, and US LawShield is one of the few that has passed muster.

From the US LawShield website:

We believe in empowering our members through knowledge, education, and a self-defense mindset. You’ll find we challenge the status quo regarding the affordability of legal defense. And we exist to support and protect our members’ fundamental legal rights in a potentially hostile legal system. Our higher purpose is to create a united community of responsible individuals who believe in liberty and the inalienable right of self-defense. Naturally, we invite you to join our community by becoming a member.

There are a number of perks that are available to members based off of one’s membership level. This is not a sales pitch for the organization, so if you want to learn about every single aspect of what you’ll get by joining, go check out their “coverage” page.

The one perk that I am exploring though are the seminars that US LawShield hosts free of charge for their members.

Members benefit from attending seminars and hands-on workshops hosted across the U.S. nearly every single day. These live in-person sessions offer the chance to spend time and learn from experienced attorneys, firearms instructors and professionals in many different areas of self-defense.

Like most organizations, clubs, companies, etc., US LawShield sends out email notifications to update the membership on happenings. I had received several notices since joining in 2019 that Nappen was going to be delivering seminars on NJ gun law. The other month, the schedule and location worked for me and I pulled the trigger on seeing what a Nappen US LawShield seminar was all about. Why not? It is one of my membership perks, right?

The day before the seminar, around 1pm, my phone went off. I looked at the caller ID and the US LawShield contact number stored in my phone popped up. I answered the phone and said, “I never thought that US LawShield would be calling me for something,” I coyly answered, “What can I do for you?” I did not need to tap into my Physics IV class or Fundamentals of Thermodynamics class knowledge bases to figure out they were calling to remind me of the seminar the next day. The woman on the other end of the line chuckled, and wanted to make sure I knew I was registered and good to go for the event. I was actually impressed by this courtesy call as a reminder.

The seminar was hosted by Recoil shooting range in Monroe Township at the local Knights of Columbus. I walked in and took a look around the space. There was a registration table with the US LawShield people, there I checked in. Recoil had a table with a pile of swag to hand out and the owner as well as some employees were there to greet participants. The Recoil guys handed me one of those reusable shopping totes, a must in New Jersey where the pinko crunchies banned plastic and paper bags at the grocery and most retail stores. I loaded up the bag with some stickers, and other goodies from both the Recoil and US LawShield tables.

In the back, creating a triangle between the other two stations, Nappen had himself situated with a stack of books, some “Gun Lawyer Podcast” postcards, some promotional micro screwdrivers that have printed on them “Don’t get screwed by the law”, and a bunch of other cool items. Nappen’s book on NJ gun law, considered the “bright orange gun law bible” is over 500 pages, and he was signing copies for people that purchased them.

The evening was broken up into a few portions. Nappen was introduced and kicked off with his “NJ FLU SHOT”, that is New Jersey Firearm Law Update. Following Nappen’s presentation, Paul Tsitsoulas, the US LawShield Territory Manager gave a talk about the programs they offer. After a short recess, giving people a chance to have light snacks and some bottled water, Nappen opened up the floor for a Q and A. All in, the seminar was a few hours and I think it was worthwhile.

During Nappen’s “NJ FLU SHOT” presentation, he covered a myriad of topics. One of the first things he discussed was a current event of sorts, the introduction of NJ’s so-called “Gulag for Gun Owners” bill. Luckily that bill has yet to gain full traction, but as Nappen noted that evening, that bill is “public enemy number one to the law abiding citizen”. The bill proposes that any firearm offense resulting in an arrest would have a zero possibility of parole. A simple possession charge from stopping to get gas, and being arrested, even if within the exemptions of the law could bring absolute ruin (which is what New Jersey wants) to an unsuspecting gun owner. Things like this happen in New Jersey where many police officers themselves are not savvy to all the firearm related laws.

We all got to play a fun game called “Is this gun Legal?” Through the exercise, Nappen would show different firearms, and participants would take a stab at the legality or illegality of the firearm based on New Jersey’s law and case law. There were a few gotchas in there for sure!

Other topics covered how the legislation of mandatory registration leads to confiscation and ultimately extermination of people. Nappen points out that history has proved this to be a fact, which is why so-called “universal background checks” are dangerous to our liberties. They are backdoor registrations.

Red flag laws did come up and Nappen went over his “Red Flag 911 Kit”. Nappen’s advice is to be prepared prior to something happening in one’s life. The current climate, so-called red flag seizures are being inflicted on people maliciously, so having your eggs in a row is a must. A person’s kit would involve seven elements. The first of which involves the documenting of firearms that one owns. The other six, well, you’ll have to find that all out from Nappen by going to one of his seminars or maybe it’s in his book? I don’t know.

Nappen did go over all kinds of other events in the news cycle on a state and federal level. He also dove into some of the histories of the laws, as well as some case precedent he was directly involved in. To put things into perspective, I took about 6 or 7 pages of notes in a steno book, and this is after I’ve already been to one of his presentations, I tune into his weekly Gun Lawyer Podcast, and I make it a habit of constantly taking in information on New Jersey gun law. I do take in a lot about gun law, it goes with the territory I suppose.

What I can’t do is speak for all the US LawShield program attorneys or seminars they host. If I ever get a chance to go to some in other states, I sure would. Again, it may seem like there’s a bias here. Well, that’s because when Nappen aligned himself with US LawShield, I surfed on the idea that he would not put his reputation on the line unless the organization is solid. So far the company has kept me impressed and re-upping my membership.

Would I recommend going to a US LawShield seminar? Yes. Personally I’m going to go to as many of them as I can if they fit in my schedule. The Jersey seminar is important given the convoluted laws we have, but also, just getting to hear Nappen rap on is time well spent! When I chatted with Nappen, he mentioned that there are some “How to Obtain your New Jersey Carry License” seminars that are scheduled in the upcoming weeks and months, some of which are already booked to capacity.

Being a US LawShield member, the seminar I went to was free to attend, and they charged only a small fee for non-members. There’s not much skin in the game and there’s plenty to learn from the programs offered. So check ’em out in your area!

A fun recent interview with Evan Nappen can be viewed HERE or in the embed below:

 

Author’s Note: I have not been paid or coerced in any manner to write this review. Just wanted to share with the readers my experience with the company and Mr. Nappen’s services.