CalGuns Sues California AG Kamala Harris Again Over Delays

The CalGuns Foundation has filed a Federal lawsuit against California Attorney General Kamala Harris for her policy of forbidding firearms purchasers to take possession of their lawfully-purchased firearms due to delays in the DROS background check. Current California law requires that a firearms purchaser receive their firearm at the end of a 10-day period unless they determine the purchaser is ineligible to purchase or possess a firearm. One of the plaintiffs in this lawsuit has been waiting 18 months!

CalGuns filed a similar lawsuit in state court back in April of this year.

From the CalGuns Foundation release on the lawsuit:

SAN CARLOS, CA – The Calguns Foundation filed a new federal civil rights lawsuit this morning on behalf of three California residents, naming Attorney General Kamala Harris and DOJ Bureau of Firearms Chief Stephen Lindley as defendants. The case challenges the California Department of Justice’s practice of denying individuals’ fundamental rights protected under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

The Department, through defendants Harris and Lindley, have been and continue to enforce a policy of forbidding many gun purchasers from taking possession of their lawfully-obtained firearms through what are commonly referred to as “DROS delays”, sometimes for over a year or indefinitely.

One plaintiff in the case, Darren Owen of Taft, California, has been denied his firearm for over 18 months.

“It’s the government’s responsibility to timely prove that someone has already been adjudicated and their Constitutional right to purchase and possess guns taken away through due process,” explained Gene Hoffman, the Foundation’s Chairman. “It’s not the individual’s job to prove that they have fundamental rights.”

“By shifting the burden to the individual, the DOJ is blatantly violating the Constitution and thumbing its nose at the U.S. Supreme Court’s D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago decisions.”

Victor Otten, an attorney for the plaintiffs, agrees. “Our clients are not prohibited from owning guns under state and federal law,” noted Otten. “The bottom line is that if the DOJ cannot determine that someone is ineligible to possess firearms in a timely manner with all of the databases and law enforcement resources it has at its disposal, then they have no choice but to allow our clients and other similarly-situated gun owners to take possession of their firearms.”

Under current California law, the DOJ must permit a firearm purchaser to receive their firearm at the end of the 10-day DROS background check period unless it determines that the purchaser is not eligible to possess or purchase firearms. Earlier this year, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D – San Francisco) amended his bill AB 500 to allow the Department of Justice to deny the release of firearms for up to 30 days. AB 500 is presently awaiting California Governor Jerry Brown’s action.

“We’ve received hundreds of reports like those at issue in this case and it’s a virtual certainty that there are thousands of others like the individual plaintiffs out there,” said the Foundation’s Executive Director, Brandon Combs. “The DOJ’s policy is nothing short of outrageous.”

Continued Combs, “It’s time for the DOJ to respect the Second Amendment. If the Attorney General and her staff refuse to do it voluntarily, we will not hesitate to force it in the courts. In filing this case, we seek to ensure that the Constitutionally-enshrined fundamental rights of Californians to buy and possess firearms are respected no matter how far Ms. Harris or Assemblymember Ammiano might wish the DOJ’s powers extended.”

The new federal lawsuit is entitled Darrin Owen, et. al. vs. Kamala Harris, et. al. and may be viewed or downloaded at http://ia601002.us.archive.org/8/items/gov.uscourts.caed.259271/gov.uscourts.caed.259271.docket.html.

Up, Up, And Away!

Today is the official birthday of the United States Air Force. It marks the day in 1947 that the Army Air Force was made its own branch of the armed services.

It is also, fittingly enough, the birthday of the Complementary Spouse whose father, brother, and sister-in-law have all served as US Air Force officers.

So happy 66th birthday to the USAF!

So Freaked Out By Open Carry That He Gets Arrested

I’m neither a proponent nor opponent of open carry. I don’t tend to do it because I want to keep the bad guys guessing. That said, if you want to open carry that is your option. If you do, I promise I won’t be like Robert Gursky of Glastonbury, Connecticut.

According to this story in the Hartford Courant, Mr. Gursky was so freaked out by a gentleman legally open carrying at his local bank that he slid the teller a note that said “gun”. The teller did what he or she was trained to do – they hit the silent bank robbery alarm.

Mr. Gursky was arrested for breach of peace and has to appear in court next week. And the man open carrying? He was interviewed by the cops who determined that he possessed his firearm legally and that was that.

There is something to be said for poetic justice.

H/T BearingArms.com

If I Wanted Waffles, I’d Have Gone To Waffle House

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, released an open letter yesterday requesting that Starbucks’ customers no longer carry when they visit Starbucks. It is a waffling statement meant to appease the gun prohibitionists while at the same time trying not to offend the gun culture too much. As Neville Chamberlain would ruefully attest, appeasement is never a good policy.

Mr. Schultz should realize that appeasement is never a good policy when dealing with those who would seek to curtail civil rights.

Schultz’s statement is below:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Posted by Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer

Dear Fellow Americans,

Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.

From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.

We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.

Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.

Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.

For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.

I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.

I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.

Sincerely,

Howard Schultz

I, for one, will “respect” Mr. Schultz’s request – I won’t carry, concealed or openly, in his stores. I will even go one step further and no longer patronize his stores or his products.

By the way, open carry has been legal in North Carolina without a permit since 1921. That is when the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled it was legal in State v. Kerner saying that the right to keep and bear arms under the North Carolina Constitution was “a sacred right”.

First Impact Of Illinois Supreme Court Ruling On Right To Carry

This past Thursday, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled unanimously in People v. Aguilar that the Illinois law that banned carry outside the home was illegal under the Second Amendment. Yesterday, this ruling caused Cook County Circuit Judge Ellen Mandeltort to reverse herself and drop charges against Deafalla Haddad. Mr. Haddad had been charged with the unlawful use of a weapon after he was found in possession of a handgun during a routine traffic stop.

Cook County Circuit Judge Ellen Mandeltort last week denied Deafalla Haddad’s request to drop the charges.

But the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that part of the state’s gun law was unconstitutional and advised prosecutors to drop charges in certain cases. That ruling fell in step with a federal court decision earlier this year declaring that the state’s gun laws violated the U.S. Constitution.

At Monday’s hearing, defense attorney Matt Fakhoury asked Mandeltort to reconsider the request in light of the Supreme Court decision. She agreed and found the case against Haddad violated his Second Amendment rights.

“This court finds that the charges (against Haddad) are unconstitutional,” Mandeltort said from the bench.

Fakhoury said it was the first case in Cook County to be dropped after last week’s ruling and that there could be more challenges filed.

“Basically the federal courts said one thing and the state court said another,” Fakhoury said. “But the state court is now following the federal ruling.”

Mr. Haddad, an IT professional and married father of three, obtained his FOID card and then a .45 caliber handgun after he was attacked while stopped at stop sign. Mr. Haddad also started carrying his pistol despite the general prohibition against carry by Illinois state law. This is what led to his arrest for unlawful use of a weapon.

His defense attorney, Matt Fakhoury, discusses the case in the video at this link.

Why Wait To Find Out What Happened When You Can Blame It On Gun Laws

The facts are just starting to trickle in on the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. A number of people have been wounded or killed and the police say three men in “green and khaki military style clothing” are the suspected shooters. One of the shooters is dead and the authorities are searching for the other two.

The bottom line is that we don’t know enough about what is going on to make a reasonable judgment. It could be a terrorist attack or it could be disgruntled former employees.

However, this lack of solid information does not stop Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak from condemning US gun laws and the gun culture. This in a city where the gun laws are so strict that Emily Miller got a number of columns and a whole book out of her journey to gun ownership.

Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Newtown. And now Washington.

At least 12 people were killed in a burst of gunfire at the Navy Yard on Monday morning, including one of the suspected shooters. And the toll could climb higher.

Another rampage. This one, for me, very close to home. My kids and I biked to the Navy Yard on Saturday.

How can this country tolerate another mass shooting, after we’ve endured so many others? And why have we allowed ourselves to grow accustomed to this awful bloodshed? Because that’s what these slaughters have become: practically routine.

“How many this time?” we ask as we watch the number of dead and injured climb on TV or Twitter.

 We don’t have all the details, the cops don’t have all the details, and Ms. Dvorak certainly doesn’t have all the details. But what are details and facts when you have an agenda to push?

Durbin’s “Stand Your Ground” Hearings

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. As mentioned before, he plans to hold a hearing on so-called Stand Your Ground laws. He has entitled his hearings, “‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force”. This hearing is scheduled for tomorrow at 10am.

The witness list for the hearing has been published.

Sybrina Fulton
Miami, FL


Lucia McBath
Atlanta, GA


William N. Meggs
State Attorney
Second Judicial Circuit
Tallahassee, FL


Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr.
Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Criminal Justice Institute
Harvard Law School
Cambridge, MA


John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D.
President
Crime Prevention Research Center
Swarthmore, PA


Ilya Shapiro
Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies
Cato Institute
Washington, DC

Sybrina Fulton really needs no introduction as she got more than her 15 minutes of fame during the George Zimmerman trial.

Lucia McBath was the mother of Jordan Davis who was killed in a confrontation in Jacksonville, FL by Martin Dunn. Mr. Dunn is charged with 1st Degree Murder in the case. Ms. McBath is concerned that Dunn will try to claim self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Willie Meggs is the State Attorney (or DA) for the 2nd Judicial Circuit which includes the Tallahassee area of Florida. He is a well-known opponent of the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law and has called it “the dumbest law ever put on the books.”

Ronald Sullivan is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. About the only thing I could find about regarding either Trayvon Martin or “Stand Your Ground” laws is that he spoke to a pro-Martin demonstration held by the Black Law Students Association at Harvard. He will also be a speaker on a panel  discussing “Guns, Violence, and Children” at the American Association of Law Schools conference in January 2014.

John Lott, of course, needs little introduction as he is one of the leading pro-gun researchers.

Ilya Shapiro is a Fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute. The Cato Institute has made Durbin’s enemies list. In an article posted in August, Shapiro practically demanded Durbin include him in the list of speakers at this hearing.

This is unacceptable. Senator Durbin, care to invite me to testify at your little hearing? I rather enjoyed discussing Citizens United at the kabuki theatre you ran last year—though you seemed more interested in accusing me of being a pawn of the Koch brothers (with whom I have no beef, but who were actually suing Cato at the time)—and would be happy to have another tete-a-tete with my fellow University of Chicago Law School alum.

What will make this joke of a hearing even more interesting is that the Ranking Member for the Republican side is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). While Durbin will rail on about the Koch Brothers, ALEC, and conservatives, I expect Cruz will be up to the challenge.

Gun Rights Policy Conference 2013

The time for the 2013 Gun Rights Policy Conference is fast approaching. It is scheduled for September 27th through 29th in Houston, Texas at the Marriott Hotel near the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. I had hoped to go to this year’s GRPC as I have attended the past three. However, personal finances being personal finances, I had to decide between going to GRPC or going to a conference in October that should help me business-wise.

If you are in the Houston area or within driving distance, I can recommend it. The speakers are excellent but it is really the people from around the country who are active in the gun rights movement that make the conference. I’ve made lifelong friends from the people that I’ve met at the past conferences. If you can’t swing a full weekend, go on Saturday as that is the main day.

More details below in the Second Amendment Foundation’s release:



BELLEVUE, WA – U.S. Representative Steve Stockman (R-TX) will be among the speakers later this month at the 2013 Gun Rights Policy Conference at the Marriott Hotel Houston, Tex. Airport hotel, an event that will also feature several national gun rights leaders. Congressman Stockman will speak during the annual luncheon on Sept. 28.


Also on the schedule are Emily Miller, senior opinion editor at the Washington Times and author of the just released Emily Gets Her Gun…But Obama Wants to Take Yours; attorney Alan Gura, winner of both the Heller and McDonald Second Amendment cases before the U.S. Supreme Court; John Fund, national affairs columnist at National Review Online and senior editor at The American Spectator, and John Lott, author of the landmark More Guns = Less Crime and a Fox News.com contributor.


The conference is jointly sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. This is the 28th annual GRPC.


The 2013 GRPC will feature more than 60 speakers on subjects ranging from politics to personal protection. The weekend event typically attracts more than 500 gun owners, activists and experts from across the country. Attendance is free, and on-line registration is available at www.saf.org.


WHO: National gun rights leaders


WHAT: Speaking at the 28th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference


WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013


WHERE: Marriott Hotel Houston, Tex. Airport, 18700 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Houston, Tex.


The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. In addition to the landmark McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court Case, SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; New Orleans; Chicago and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and numerous amicus briefs holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.

Online registration is available here.

And remember, the conference is free. All you have to pay is your travel and lodging.

In Des Moines On Tuesday

If you live in Iowa or will be in the Des Moines area on Tuesday, Second Amendment scholar David Young will be giving a Constitution Day speech on the Second Amendment at Des Moines Area Community College, Ankeny Campus.

From David’s blog:

It is my understanding that there will be two speakers on this date. The first, Prof. Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University, will speak at 10:30 AM in the auditorium in Building 6.

My one hour presentation will be outside the southeast facing main entrance of Building 5 on the DMACC Ankeny Campus at 11:30 AM, September 17, 2013. The presentation will emphasize Second Amendment historical development and why its purpose naturally has such an extensive impact on the current gun control controversy.

I have rarely given public presentations on this subject. My plan at Ankeny is to provide considerable time for questions and answers. For anyone interested in an eye-opening presentation on the Second Amendment’s purpose based on my most recent research into Founding Era sources, don’t miss this. Please let your friends and other interested parties know about the event.

More info and a link to a map can be found here.

I have both of David’s books and had a chance to chat with him at the Gun Rights Policy Conference held in Chicago in 2011. He is a nice guy who knows his topic. If I lived in Iowa, I’d be at that presentation.