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Facebook Posts New Rules for Gun Sales

Facebook is cracking down on posts for illegal gun sales, and other social media outlets may soon follow suit. On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it would step up its enforcement efforts regarding gun sales on its social network -- especially when the seller is trying to evade the law. What are Facebook's new rules for gun sales? Stopping 'No Background Check' Gun Sales Facebook's head of global policy management, Monika Bickert, laid out several "educational and enforcement efforts" that Facebook and Instagram would be implementing as part of a shift in policy. Among those efforts is a prohibition against posting offers to sell firearms with "no background check required." Although there are some loopholes that allow private sales of guns without a background check, Bickert stated that Facebook will encourage users to follow the law. Since there are no laws requiring background checks in these "loophole" private gun sales in most states -- more than 30 states to be exact, according to Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence -- Facebook may be requiring more of sellers than their states' laws might. Facebook will also be cracking down on offers that support gun sales across state lines. These federal regulations on interstate gun transfers won out over challenges in federal court in February, and Facebook seems happy to side with them. Not Just Guns, 'Regulated' Items Covered Too Although Facebook's new rules are aimed at curtailing questionable gun sales, the new rules technically cover private sales of any "regulated items." Surprisingly, some drug dealers have taken to social media to sell their illegal wares, and Facebook and Instagram have been popular venues. Despite the sale of pot being illegal (outside of a state-licensed retail center or medical marijuana distributor) in every state in the nation, Facebook's ad policy doesn't allow advertising for any "recreational" or illegal drugs. While that may sound provincial to some, Facebook is a private company and can determine what types of content it chooses to host. When Facebook tackled hate speech last spring, it faced claims of First Amendment and free speech violations, and no doubt gun advocates will not be far behind. Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said he was not deterred by Facebook's new rules. Cox noted the NRA and its members "will continue to have a platform to exercise their First Amendment rights in support of their Second Amendment freedoms," reports Reuters. Related Resources: Facebook to delete posts for illegal gun sales (The Associated Press) NY Passes 1st New Gun Laws Since Sandy Hook (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Is It Legal to Mail Marijuana? (FindLaw's Blotter) Legal to Buy Prescription Drugs Online? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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5 Common Legal Problems With Subleasing

Subleasing might be a good option if you need to move before your lease is up, but a few legal problems can potentially arise. Subleasing, or subletting, allows the current tenant to lease the property to another person, rather than having the subtenant lease directly with the landlord. But as the original tenant, you need to be careful. Here are five legal problems that commonly occur in subleasing situations: Subletting may be illegal where you live. Before you think about subletting, you may want to check to see if it's even legal to sublet in your city or state. Some states don't allow subleases under certain conditions. For example, it's illegal in New York to rent out a single-family home, apartment, or room for less than 30 days if you aren't living there. Your lease may not allow it. Besides complying with the law, another legal problem when subleasing is whether your rental agreement allows it. Some rental agreements include a clause that limits the renter's ability to sublet or allow guests to stay for an extended period of time without the landlord's approval. So review your agreement or talk to your landlord before you sublet, otherwise you could be breaching your lease. The subtenant doesn't pay rent. Even though the subtenant is responsible for paying rent and complying with lease terms, the original tenant still ultimately responsible for the terms of the lease. So if the subtenant doesn't pay the rent, the landlord could sue you for payment. The subtenant destroys property. Just as the original tenant is still responsible for the rent if the subtenant doesn't pay, the original tenant will likely be held liabile if the subtenant damages the rental property and doesn't fix it. Security deposit issues. You may want to ask the subtenant to pay a security deposit for the property in case they don't show up or if they damage the property. Having a bad subtenant could cause you to lose your own security deposit with the landlord, so the security deposit from the subtenant could help ensure you get your deposit back from the landlord at the end of the lease. Need more legal help with subleasing your place? Consult an experienced landlord-tenant attorney for a better understanding of your legal rights. Related Resources: Legal How-To: Subletting Your Apartment (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Top 5 Airbnb Home-Rental Horror Stories (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Co-Signing a Lease? 5 Legal Considerations (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Find all of your Landlord/Tenant needs at LegalStreet (LegalStreet.com)(Disclosure: LegalStreet and FindLaw.com are owned by the same company.)
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Cyberbullying Victim? 3 Ways a Lawyer Can Help

Cyberbullying victims aren't just an invention of an overzealous news media. They're a reality. According to a new FindLaw.com survey, nearly 1 in 12 parents say their children have been targeted by cyberbullies. The survey also suggests ways that a lawyer may be able to help parents deal with the issue. Here are three ways enlisting an attorney can potentially assist a cyberbullying victim: 1. A Lawyer Can Advise You About Your Rights. Although most cyberbullying victims are children and teens, the effects of this harassment can unsettle entire families. This effect is the greatest when cyberbullying leads victims to drastic action such as committing suicide. An experienced personal injury attorney can sit down with family members and the bullying victim(s) to evaluate their case based on the facts and state and local laws. About half of the nation's states have laws specifically relating to cyberbullying, and an attorney can help explain how these laws apply to the victim's case. Even if your state lacks more focused cyberbullying legislation, a lawyer can discuss your options under a potential harassment claim. 2. A Lawyer Can Help You Communicate With Your Child's School. Sometimes parents feel just as powerless as children when reporting cyberbullying to school administrators. According to FindLaw.com's survey, three out of four parents choose to share these incidents with others, and a lawyer can help these parents effectively communicate with their children's schools. Even if it doesn't mean filing a lawsuit, a lawyer can help you draft demand letters to request changes in school policy or even monetary compensation for cyberbullying that occurred on a school's watch. An education attorney can also help parents navigate the complicated world of public school bureaucracies. 3. An Attorney Can Help Draft Legislation and Lobby Policymakers. After you've discussed your legal options, you may be unsatisfied with the protections that the current laws grant you or your child. A great way to change that is to work with grassroots anti-bullying groups to propose new cyberbullying laws or other changes in policy. It may not be surprising, but a proposed bill that has been drafted by a lawyer has a greater chance of being taken seriously than one drafted by a non-lawyer. Enlisting the help of an attorney who is well versed in state and local laws can make your proposed cyberbullying law a legal reality. Victims of cyberbullying aren't without options, and with a lawyer's help, families can explore them. Related Resources: Cyberbullying: Proposed Federal Law Aims to Define Codes of Conduct (New York City's NY1) How Common Is Cyberbullying? Survey Says... (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) FindLaw Cyberbullying Survey: A Refresher for Parents (FindLaw's Insider) Cyberbullying: A Rundown of Cyberbullying Laws (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Why Aren’t Cameras Allowed Inside the Supreme Court?

The U.S. Supreme Court has never allowed its proceedings to be recorded, but a rogue video that surfaced on YouTube this week offered rare, if shaky, moving images of the High Court at work. The video, posted Wednesday, captures a portion of October's oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC, which dealt with campaign contribution limits. The recording includes the moment when a protester disrupts proceedings, announcing that "corporations are not people." The protest has been linked to the group 99Rise, which opposes the protections afforded to corporations as the result of Supreme Court cases like Citizens United, reports The New York Times. But the incident is also brings attention to the question: Why aren't recordings allowed inside the Supreme Court chamber? How Do Justices Feel About Cameras? The U.S. Supreme Court prohibits spectators from bringing electronic devices into the courtroom, including cameras and cell phones. Visitors, including journalists, are screened with magnetometers, CNN reports. But in an age when almost every event is being captured and streamed live online, it may seem strange that some of the most important legal events in U.S. history would be closed off to video recording. Even the current Justices differ on the subject: Justice Elena Kagan told a Senate committee during her confirmation hearing in 2010 that unlike prior Justices, she thinks "it would be a terrific thing to have cameras in the courtroom," The Hill reported. Justice Samuel Alito also gave positive spin to cameras during his 2006 confirmation hearing, explaining that he argued for their use in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to SCOTUSBlog. However, Justice Antonin Scalia told C-SPAN in 2012 he was originally on the side of television in the courts, but now thinks that it would "miseducate the American people." The Court's current stance seems to be that televising its own proceedings would violate the rules laid down for federal courts. Recording in Federal Courts In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a plan by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker to televise the California Proposition 8 hearings, citing rules for televising federal court proceedings. This policy for federal courts barring all video recording remains largely the same today. However, there have been pilot programs in the last few decades designed to test video recording in the federal courts, some of which are continuing in 2014, according to USCourts.gov. The contemporary pilot program has allowed federal judges in more than a dozen district courts to approve the recording of court proceedings, but the program is set to expire in 2015. Though this seems a step in the direction of more transparency for federal courts, as of now, there are no plans by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow video recording. Related Resources: Unauthorized video of U.S. Supreme Court protest posted online (Reuters) Justice Kagan Talks Cameras in the Supreme Court, Collegiality (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog) Courtroom Cameras Coming to Western Federal Courts (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) SCOTUS to Allow Cameras in Court (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)
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How Common Is Cyberbullying? Survey Says…

A new FindLaw.com survey reveals nearly one in 12 parents say their children have felt the effects of cyberbullying. In a survey that polled hundreds of adults, FindLaw.com found that 7 percent said their children had experienced some form of cyberbullying. That suggests millions of children have dealt with the pervasive issue. Still, many more parents may not be aware of how cyberbullying may be affecting their child. Here's a general overview of what parents need to know about cyberbullying and how to deal with it: Cyberbullying Comes in Many Forms When children are harassed or victimized via the Internet or mobile technology, it's called cyberbullying. And while some are skeptical that cyberbullying is more than just a buzzword, it has been linked to several deaths. The serious and potentially criminal consequences of cyberbullying make it all the more important to understand its impact on children and their families. Key to this understanding is acknowledging its myriad forms: social media attacks, vicious texts, and even hurtful emails. Cyberbullying even can encompass disseminating sexually explicit photos of a teen in an attempt to shame or humiliate that person. Majority of Parents Report Cyberbullying Of the parents who told FindLaw.com that their children have been cyberbullied, 75 percent say they reported the bullying to others. Like other forms of bullying, cyberbullying cannot be addressed unless it is reported to someone in power to act -- like a school administrator or the police. Three out of four parents told FindLaw.com surveyers that they reported these incidents typically to "friends, school, relatives, law enforcement, and church or clergy." Reporting the incident to law enforcement may be more effective now than in previous years -- 19 states now boast cyberbullying-specific laws, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center. What Can You Do If Your Child Is a Cyberbullying Target? Aside from involving school authorities or law enforcement, parents may wonder if they can sue for cyberbullying. Although this field of law is still evolving, there are now examples of victims and their families suing cyberbullies. If you need answers about how the law can help in your personal cyberbullying case, you may want to consult an education attorney or an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options. If the results of the FindLaw.com survey are any indication, your family and your child are not alone in the struggle with cyberbullying. Related Resources: 10 Strategies for Stopping Cyberbullying (The Huffington Post) 2 Teens Cleared in Fla. Cyberbullying Case (FindLaw's Blotter) Alleged Bullies Arrested in Fla. Girl's Suicide (FindLaw's Blotter) Social Media Posts Costing Jobs: FindLaw Survey (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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