Preliminary Injunction Win In Gonzalez v. Omaha

Attorneys for the Second Amendment Foundation, the Nebraska Firearms Owners Associations, and Armando Pliego Gonzalez have won a preliminary injunction against the City of Omaha over a city ordinance that prohibits the registration of handguns in the city by legal resident aliens.

You can read earlier posts about the case here and here.

BELLEVUE, WA – A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement by the City of Omaha, NE of an ordinance that prohibits legal non-citizens from registering handguns in the city, in a case brought by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association and Armando Pliego Gonzalez.

The order was granted by U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon while the court considers whether the registration ban for legal immigrants is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

“We’re delighted with the judge’s order,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Mr. Pliego has been a legal permanent resident since 2008, and he jumped through all of the legal hoops to legally purchase a handgun to protect his family after his home was invaded and robbed in 2010.”

As it turns out, he noted, the city is currently reviewing its ordinance with an eye on amending it to allow legal immigrants to register handguns. According to the Omaha World Herald, the proposed changes have the support of Omaha Police Chief Alex Hayes, who was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, along with Mayor Jim Suttle and the city.

“We are encouraged at these developments,” Gottlieb stated. “We had a similar experience with a state law in Washington that was changed following a SAF legal action. We will oppose such discriminatory laws and regulations wherever we find them.

“Pliego Gonzalez and his wife are both legal permanent residents, and good members of the community,” he noted. “The couple has four children. It is simply wrong when a local regulation stands in the way of someone’s exercise of a constitutionally-protected, fundamental civil right, especially when the safety of his family is at stake.”

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Bernie Glaser of Lincoln, and David Sigale of Glen Ellyn, IL.

Gonzalez v. Omaha Suit Prods Omaha To Make Changes

The City of Omaha, Nebraska was sued late last month by the Second Amendment Foundation and the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association on behalf of permanent legal alien Armando Pliego Gonzalez. As a result, the City of Omaha is proposing changes to their firearms regulations regarding registration.

Andy Allen of NFOA thinks the Omaha proposals fall far short of what is required under state and federal law. He released this statement regarding the proposals:

Omaha, NE, October 5, 2011– Andreas Allen, President of the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA), welcomes the chance to address the issues that Omaha has with its firearms laws; however, the City’s proposal falls short of their stated goal of “making the Omaha Ordinances consistent with State and Federal laws”. Other than addressing the current lawsuit on legal resident aliens, the only inconsistency to State and Federal laws the City has attempted to reconcile in this proposal is creating a registration exemption for the Nebraska Concealed Handgun Permit Act. Consequently, in 2009 the Nebraska Legislature had already declared Omaha’s registration null and void for Nebraska Concealed Handgun Permit holders.

If this was a serious attempt to reconcile City, State, and Federal law, then the City should have started with their definition of a “Concealable Firearm.” Unlike Omaha’s definition of “a firearm having a barrel less than 18 inches in length,” the rest of the State and Nation define a “Concealable Firearm” to have a barrel less that 16 inches and be designed to be operated with one hand. This simple definition difference in Omaha places many common 16-inch barrel rifles into the category of a “Concealable Firearm,” and even though the Omaha Police Department does not register these rifles, a resident in possession of one of these common target or sporting rifles could be found in violation of Omaha’s registration requirements. There is also no mention of removing the obsolete requirement for a written permit from the Chief of Police to purchase a “Concealable Firearm,” even though the process for receiving such a permit has long been removed from the City’s ordinances.

“Any well thought out attempt to correct Omaha’s firearms ordinances should start with removing these unenforced portions of the law. The City’s proposal falls short of their stated goal and the only real effect it would have is creating a fifty percent increase in what many Omaha Police Officers and firearms owners call the ‘Omaha Gun Tax,'”said NFOA President Andy Allen. “Should the City decide they truly want to ‘make the Omaha Ordinances consistent with State and Federal laws’, then the NFOA is willing to assist the City in fixing the inconsistencies in Omaha’s firearms ordinances.”