Firearms Policy Coalition Is Preparing For Litigation On Bump Stocks

President Donald Trump, the black letter law notwithstanding, told the nation’s governors on Monday that he is “writing out” bump fire stocks.

“Bump stocks, we are writing that out. I am writing that out,” he said, addressing a group of state governors at the White House. “I don’t care if Congress does it or not, I’m writing it out myself.”

The president’s comments come after the Feb. 14 shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 students and staff dead. Last week, he directed the Department of Justice to create regulations that ban bump stocks.

Trump also said bump stocks should be put into the same category as certain firearms, making it “tough” to get them.

“You do a rule, have to wait 90 days,” he said. “That’s sort of what’s happening with bump stocks. It’s gone, don’t worry about it. It’s gone, essentially gone, because we are going to make it so tough, you’re not going to be able to get them. Nobody’s going to want them anyway.”

Now yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he thinks the Department of Justice has the legal authority to prohibit bump fire stocks.

“We believe in that, and we have had to deal with previous [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] ATF legal opinions, but our top people in the Department of Justice have believed for some time that we can, through regulatory process, not allow the bump stock to convert a weapon from a semi-automatic to a fully automatic,” Sessions told state attorneys general, according to Reuters.

ATF has previously said that it does not have the authority to regulate bump stocks, which increase the firing rate of semi-automatic rifles.

For once, I think BATFE actually got it right when they said they don’t have the authority to regulated bump fire stocks. So does the Firearms Policy Coalition.

They have retained attorneys Joshua Prince and Adam Kraut of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group to submit their response when the rulemaking is announced and to help with any litigation related to the rulemaking. They have promised to go to court if any rule banning bump fire stocks is adopted without any Congressional change in the law.

From their release sent out Monday evening:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 26, 2018) — In a press conference today, President Donald Trump
said
that, “I don’t care of Congress does it or not, I’m writing [so-called
‘bump stocks’] out myself.” In response to these troubling statements,
constitutional rights advocacy organizations
Firearms
Policy Coalition
(FPC) and
Firearms
Policy Foundation

(FPF) have announced that they have retained attorneys Joshua Prince
and Adam Kraut
of the Pennsylvania-based Firearms Industry Consulting
Group, a division of Civil
Rights Defense Firm, P.C., to submit their legal opposition to any
rulemaking and begin preparing for litigation.
 Last month,
FPC
submitted a legal letter of opposition

to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ advanced
noticed of proposed rulemaking on the “Application of the Definition of
Machinegun
to Bump Fire Stocks and Other Similar Devices.” In its comments, FPC
explained that the “DOJ and BATFE clearly lack the statutory authority
to re-define the targeted devices as ‘machineguns’,” and that these
ATF-approved and legally-possessed devices could
not be regulated firearms under the statutes.
 FPC and FPF oppose
restrictions on the acquisition, possession, carry, transportation, and
use of semi-automatic firearms, ammunition, and firearm parts and
accessories by law-abiding people.
 “We will use every resource
and remedy available to us in our ongoing defense of the Constitution,
the rights it protects, and millions of law-abiding American people”
said FPC President Brandon Combs. “While we would
prefer to block any executive action or rulemaking that would ban
currently-legal firearms parts before it becomes law, we would not
hesitate to file a federal lawsuit to protect the rights and legal
personal property of gun owners if that’s what it takes.”
 Those who wish to support
FPC and FPF’s efforts to oppose executive branch gun control and support
legal action a can make tax-deductible donation at
www.defendgunparts.com.
Individuals can become a member of FPC at
www.firearmspolicy.org/join. Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org)
is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit
organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution
of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second
Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
 Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org)
is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to
defend the Constitution
of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges and immunities
deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the
inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms.
 Firearms Industry Consulting Group
(www.firearmsindustryconsultinggroup.com) represents individuals,
organizations, firearms licensees, and others
located across the United States in all matters relating to firearms
and ATF compliance. FIGG is a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm,
P.C.
 

As an aside, the Adam Kraut mentioned in the release is the same Adam Kraut running for the NRA Board of Directors and the same Adam Kraut I have wholeheartedly endorsed. 

California Sued Over New AWB Regulations

A coalition of gun rights organizations plus three individual plaintiffs have sued California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the California Department of Justice over newly adopted regulations concerning the assault weapons ban on bullet buttons. The suit was filed in California Superior Court for the County of Riverside.

The CalGuns Foundation has this summary of the case:

Summary: Holt, et al. v. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is a constitutional, statutory, and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) challenge to the DOJ’s “bullet-button assault weapon” regulations. The DOJ’s regulations expose people to criminal liability that would not otherwise exist under the actual laws regulating firearms in California.
Individual Plaintiffs/Petitioners: George Holt, Irvin Hoff, Michael Louie, and Rick Russell are all law-abiding, tax-paying residents of California who lawfully own firearms potentially subject to the DOJ’s illegal regulatory scheme. 
Institutional Plaintiffs/Petitioners: Firearms Policy Coalition; Firearms Policy FoundationThe Calguns FoundationSecond Amendment Foundation
Defendants: Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California; Stephen J. Lindley, Chief of the Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms; the California Department of Justice; Debra N. Cornez, Director of the Office of Administrative Law; Betty T. Yee, California State Controller; Does 1-50,
Litigation Counsel: George M. Lee; Douglas A. Applegate; Raymond M. DiGuiseppe

The complaint can be found here.

The institutional plaintiffs – SAF, CalGuns Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, and Firearms Policy Foundation – released a joint statement on the lawsuit.

Gun Owners & Civil Rights Groups File Legal Challenge to California’s “Assault Weapon” Regulations

The lawsuit argues that the State’s “bullet-button assault weapon” regulations are largely unlawful, should have been subject to the Administrative Procedure Act process, waste taxpayer dollars, and should not be allowed to stand.

SACRAMENTO, CA (November 30, 2017) — Today, attorneys for four individual gun owners as well as advocacy organizations The Calguns Foundation (CGF), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) filed a new lawsuit and petition for writ of mandate that challenges more than a dozen new “assault weapon” regulations ramrodded into effect by the State of California’s Department of Justice (DOJ).

Named as defendants are California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Chief of the DOJ Bureau of Firearms Stephen Lindley, the California Department of Justice itself, Director of the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) Debra Cornez, and State Controller Betty Yee.

Plaintiffs’ attorney George M. Lee said that the lawsuit was focused on protecting law-abiding people from illegal regulatory and enforcement actions.

“By making and enforcing unlawful rules, and going around the rules to do it, the DOJ is putting tens if not hundreds of thousands of law-abiding people at risk of serious criminal liability,” said Lee. “This case seeks to make the DOJ follow the same laws they impose on others and protect law-abiding gun owners in the process.”

“The DOJ is acting like an out-of-control bullet train that’s running off the rails,” said plaintiffs’ attorney and former Deputy Attorney General Raymond DiGuiseppe. “Our plaintiffs want to get the State’s agencies back on the tracks and following the law.”

CGF Chairman Gene Hoffman notes, “The DOJ has used every trick in the book to avoid good faith rulemaking action, and we cannot allow that to go unchallenged. California laws are bad enough without piling on unlawful and harmful regulations, so we seek here to restore the rule of law—and some sanity.”

“The government agencies responsible for enforcing the law must also follow the law,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb said. “This case is an important step in protecting law-abiding gun owners from an out-of-control regulatory state.”

“The DOJ is playing a dangerous game with the law, and it needs to stop,” observed FPF Vice President Jonathan Jensen. “Tens of thousands of people could face potential felonies in just a handful of months, and meanwhile the DOJ has moved the goalposts with the registration clock ticking.”

“The State of California is nothing short of bipolar with its gun control policies,” commented FPC President Brandon Combs. “On one hand, the State is requiring people to register virtually all of their guns. On the other hand, the DOJ is doing everything it can to suppress compliance and prevent people from registering their guns.”

A copy of the complaint and petition for writ of mandate can be viewed or downloaded at http://bit.ly/holt-v-becerra.

CASE BACKGROUND:

Last July, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a number of new gun control bills into law, including two (SB 880, Hall; AB 1135, Levine) expanding the State’s ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

“The Legislature ignored every rule in the book to fast-track their civilian disarmament agenda and herd the people into a state-wide gun-free-zone,” said FPC Spokesperson Craig DeLuz in a statement at the time.

Following that, last December, the California DOJ submitted its first attempt at “assault weapons” regulations under the OAL’s “File & Print” process, which means that the DOJ claimed the regulations were not subject to the public notice or comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

However, DOJ withdrew the regulations near the end of OAL review period after receiving thousands of opposition letters from FPC members and Second Amendment supporters.

Then, in May of this year, the DOJ re-submitted regulations under the same “File & Print” process. FPC, FPF, CGF, and Craig DeLuz sued the DOJ over the Department’s actions of blocking access to public records concerning its promulgation of these regulations. The regulations were completely rejected by OAL a little more than a month later.

Following that, the DOJ submitted a virtually-identical set of regulations under the “File & Print” process, again claiming “APA-exempt” status. The OAL approved those regulations in July, allowing the DOJ to go forward with its new “assault weapon” regulatory process.

Then, just before closing doors for the Thanksgiving holiday, the DOJ notified FPC and other Institutional Plaintiffs that it had filed yet another proposed rulemaking on “bullet-button assault weapons” (that would create new 11 CCR § 5460) for the purpose of bootstrapping its prior July regulations into effect for all purposes including criminal prosecutions.

FPC published the new proposed regulations and prior regulatory updates at BulletButtonBan.com, a Web site it established in 2016 for tracking the new California assault weapon laws and regulations. Members of the public can use FPC’s Grassroots Action Tools to submit responsive written comments to DOJ regarding the new proposed regulations.

A public hearing on the new regulations is scheduled for 10 a.m. on January 8, 2018, at the Resources Building Auditorium in Sacramento.

ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL PLAINTIFFS:

Plaintiffs George Holt, Irvin Hoff, Michael Louie, and Rick Russell are all law-abiding, tax-paying residents of California who lawfully own firearms potentially subject to the DOJ’s illegal regulatory scheme. This scheme would retroactively deem their firearms “assault weapons” that either must now be registered as such through a burdensome and wasteful registration process or that cannot be registered all, effectively rendering any continued possession unlawful. The DOJ’s regulations expose them to criminal liability that would not otherwise exist under the actual laws regulating firearms in California.

The plaintiffs have joined this lawsuit to stand against the illegal regulatory actions of the DOJ and protect their rights and the rights of countless other law-abiding California gun owners being placed in jeopardy.

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS:

The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members, supporters, and the public through educational, cultural, and judicial efforts to advance Second Amendment and related civil rights.

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.

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, through advocacy, legal action, education, and outreach.

Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms.

Late Friday News No. 2 – From Firearms Policy Coalition

A coalition of firearms and civil rights groups filed an amicus brief supporting the writ of certiorari by the petitioners in Silvester et al v. Becerra. The lead organization in the brief is the Firearms Policy Coalition which was joined in the brief by the Firearms Policy Foundation, the Madison Foundation, and Gunowners of California.

From FPC:

WASHINGTON,
D.C. (October 26, 2017) — Today, counsel for civil rights advocacy
organizations Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Firearms Policy
Foundation (FPF), Madison Society Foundation (MSF) and Gun Owners of
California (GOC) filed a “friends of the court” brief with the U.S.
Supreme Court encouraging their grant of review of a 9th Circuit ruling
that upheld the state’s 10-day waiting period. 
Attorney
Raymond M. DiGuiseppe, a former California deputy attorney general,
authored the brief which argues, among other things, that Supreme Court
review is necessary “to reestablish the rule of law and halt the trend
of judicial obstructionism” that is “jeopardizing” the constitutional
protections of the Second Amendment. 
“This
is not the first time the Ninth Circuit has played ‘fast and loose’
with the Court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence to fend off
constitutional claims – nor will it be the last if this Court does not
step in,” the brief said.
“Too
many times we have seen courts like the Ninth Circuit treat the Second
Amendment is if it was an unfortunate afterthought rather than a core
part of the Bill of Rights,” noted Jonathan Jensen, FPF’s vice-chairman.
“This case exemplifies everything that is wrong with Second Amendment
jurisprudence today.”
Said
FPC Vice President Alan Normandy, “The State did not prove its case,
but the 9th Circuit jumped through hoops to give them the win anyway.
That kind of a foul ball undermines the integrity of the court system
itself.”
“As
the Supreme Court has held, the Second Amendment is not a second-class
right,” DiGuiseppe explained. “Unfortunately, some lower courts have
used their relative inaction as a signal for defining it however they
prefer, even in contravention to the Court’s precedents. That must not
be allowed to continue.”
A copy of the brief can be viewed or downloaded at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/legal 

Fruit Pickin’

Smart gardeners know that when they see low hanging fruit, it’s time to be picking the fruit. The Firearms Policy Coalition and the Firearms Policy Foundation have found that low hanging fruit in cities like Philadelphia, Tacoma, and Wilmington (Delaware). The low hanging fruit is those cities’ ban on stun guns and other electronic self-defense weapons.

It is low hanging fruit due to the US Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Caetano v. Massachusetts which found such weapons are protected by the Second Amendment. Justice Alito’s concurring decision in the case decimated the argument of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court holding that stun guns were outside the Second Amendment. Among the many excellent points he made was this one regarding the argument that stun guns are dangerous:

If
Heller tells us anything, it is that firearms cannot be
categorically prohibited just because they are dangerous.
554 U. S., at 636. A fortiori, stun guns that the Commonwealth’s
own witness described as “non-lethal force,” Tr.
27, cannot be banned on that basis.

 So far, the Firearm Policy Coalition and Firearms Policy Foundation has filed suit against the state of New York and has successfully persuaded the City of Annapolis, MD to change their ordinance banning stun guns. In this latest round of action, they have sent demand letters to Philadelphia, Tacoma, Wilmington, and Westminster (MD) saying their bans have to go and legal action would commence.

More on their “fruit pickin'” below:

SACRAMENTO, CA (April 3, 2017) — Today, attorneys for civil rights advocacy organizations Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) sent legal letters to the cities of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Tacoma, Washington; and Wilmington, Delaware demanding that they repeal their respective bans on electronic arms or face federal Second Amendment litigation. Last week, a demand was sent to the City of Westminster, Maryland, regarding its ban.

The Philadelphia Code § 10-825 states that no “person shall own, use, possess, sell or otherwise transfer any ‘stun gun’,” making a violation of the law subject to a fine of up to $300 “and/or imprisonment for not more than ninety (90) days.”

“The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms, not only the right to keep and bear firearms,” explained attorney Stephen D. Stamboulieh in the letters.

“We hope that these cities will simply choose to comply with the Second Amendment and respect the people’s fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms,” said Brandon Combs, president of the Coalition and chairman of the Foundation, “but if they don’t repeal their unconstitutional bans, we won’t hesitate to sue them in federal court if that’s what it takes to protect the rights of law-abiding people.”

In its March 2016 Caetano v. Massachusetts decision, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Massachusetts high court, which had upheld the State’s ban on electronic arms and stun guns. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, wrote separately to say that if “the fundamental right of self-defense does not protect Caetano, then the safety of all Americans is left to the mercy of state authorities who may be more concerned about disarming the people than about keeping them safe.” After Caetano was remanded back to the state court system, a trial judge found her not guilty and sealed her record, quickly ending the case before it could proceed.

On February 28, the City Council of Annapolis, Maryland, responded to a Second Amendment civil rights lawsuit brought by FPC, FPC, and a local resident by passing an ordinance repealing its total ban on the possession and carry of electronic arms, like Tasers and ‘stun guns’, in a special meeting.

FPC and FPF filed a Second Amendment challenge to the State of New York’s ban on electronic self-defense weapons in federal district court last December. That case is currently pending the trial court’s decision on two motions that were argued on March 24. The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction in that case and the State has indicated that it would defend its total ban on electronic arms and Tasers up to the Supreme Court.