NY State Rife & Pistol Case Unnerves Brady Campaign

I had been waiting to see the response of the gun prohibitionists to the Supreme Court granting certiorari in NY State Rifle & Pistol v. City of New York. Jonathan Lowy, head of the Brady Campaign’s Legal Project, didn’t disappoint. A fundraising email was sent out yesterday under his signature yesterday afternoon.

He said, in part, that the stakes are high and it is a case of “life and death”.

The Supreme Court announced yesterday that, for the first time in almost a decade, it will hear a Second Amendment case – the first gun case to be decided by a Court with two Donald Trump-appointees. The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, challenges a city ordinance governing transportation of firearms. Make no mistake: the stakes could not be higher. Commonsense gun safety laws across the country are at risk. We need your support to make sure that the voices of Americans who want stronger gun regulation are heard loudly in the Supreme Court.


The stakes for this case are nothing short of life and death. Whatever the Supreme Court says in its decision will help determine whether Americans maintain the right to enact the strong, commonsense public safety laws they want and need to protect loved ones and communities from gun violence, or if judges will take this right from us. But the Framers put “well-regulated” in the Second Amendment and “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence for good reason. We are committed to making sure the Supreme Court doesn’t write the gun industry’s guns-everywhere vision into our Constitution.

 He goes on to say that the Supreme Court never meant the Second Amendment to apply outside the home as evidenced by the Heller decision. In my opinion, he has misconstrued the late Justice Scalia’s decision.

What is interesting about all of this is that none of the gun prohibitionist organizations bothered to file amicus briefs against the Supreme Court granting cert in this case. The only amicus briefs were from a coalition including GOA, another organized by the Attorney General of Louisiana on behalf of a number of states, and another from the Western States Sheriffs Association and various law enforcement groups. These all were in favor of cert being granted. I don’t know whether it was hubris or ignorance that explains the casual approach of the gun control industry to this case but I am certain they will now be submitting amicus briefs fast and furiously in support of the position of New York City.

Bad Apple Lawyers Win One In Milwaukee

The Brady Center won one this afternoon in Milwaukee. A jury decided in favor of the plaintiffs and against Badger Guns in a lawsuit that was supported by the Brady Center. The lawsuit accused Badger Guns of being negligent for allowing a straw purchase. The firearm purchased was later used to shoot two Milwaukee police officers. The jury awarded the police officers $5 million.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The high-profile case, only the second of its kind nationwide, went to the jury of eight women and four men late Monday afternoon and deliberations continued Tuesday. They deliberated for nine hours.

Officer Bryan Norberg and former Officer Graham Kunisch were shot by Julius Burton during a routine stop on Milwaukee’s near southside in June 2009. A month earlier, Jacob Collins bought the gun at Badger Guns for Burton, who was too young to buy a handgun from a store. Burton paid Collins $60. Burton is serving 80 years while Collins already finished his two years in federal prison.

Norberg and Kunisch allege in their 2010 suit that Badger Guns, its predecessor, Badger Outdoors, and the owners of both broke the law, were negligent in sales practices and conspired to keep the operation going when federal regulators recommended revoking the license.

The case is the second to make it to trial since a federal law passed granting immunity to gun dealers and manufacturers. The law has exceptions, including allowing plaintiffs to sue if they can show evidence of illegal gun sales. The first such case to go to trial ended in victory for an Alaskan gun store his summer.

The conspiracy allegation by Kunisch and Norberg is aimed at how the store went from being Badger Outdoors to Badger Guns in 2007.

Badger Guns lost its FFL in 2011 for reasons unrelated to this straw purchase.

According to a report on the case by Pierre Thomas of ABC News, the defendants do plan to appeal the verdict.

Brady Center attorneys Jonathan Lowy and Alla Lefkowitz had been forced to withdraw from this case for violating Wisconsin Supreme Court rules of conduct for attorneys.

UPDATE: A commenter on Facebook, Anthony aka The Packetman, pointed out quite correctly that the BATFE would have brought criminal charges against the owners of Badger Guns if they thought they had a winnable case. They didn’t.

It should also be pointed out that the standard of proof in a civil trial is much less than in a criminal trial. It only requires a preponderance of the evidence to win unlike in criminal cases which requires beyond a reasonable doubt.

More Problems For The King Of The Bad Apple Lawyers

Jonathan Lowy, director of the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project, has run into more problems in Wisconsin. Just last month he and fellow Brady Center attorney Alla Lefkowitz were forced to withdraw from one of their “Bad Apple” lawsuits for violating Wisconsin Supreme Court rules. These rules dealt with attorney conduct with respect to pretrial publicity.

Now it appears that he may have done it again in the other case involving Badger Guns and Badger Outdoors.

Now an attorney for Badger Guns and Badger Outdoors, the West Milwaukee gun-selling operations sued by the officers, wants the Brady attorneys off the second case, citing in a new court filing “zealous and unethical trial publicity.”

A hearing on whether the Brady attorneys will be removed from the case is set for July before Milwaukee County Circuit Judge John DiMotto, who is now presiding over both cases. This second case was filed by Officer Jose Lopez III and former Officer Alejandro Arce, who were injured in a 2007 shooting by weapons sold by the gun dealer.

Brady attorneys Jonathan Lowy and Alla Lefkowitz are not licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, but were allowed to join both cases —as they have in cases across the country litigated by Brady. Milwaukee attorney Patrick Dunphy also represents the officers and former officers.

The permission that allows an out-of-state attorney on a case can be rescinded, and the attorneys for Badger Guns and Badger Outdoors are seeking a court order withdrawing the permission.

“The Brady Center’s conduct is inexcusable,” Brookfield attorney Wendy Gunderson wrote in a brief filed earlier this month. “Attorneys appearing before Wisconsin courts are here as a matter of privilege and charged with knowing the rules. The privilege has been abused, seriously affecting not only these two cases but countless others.”

Ms. Gunderson said the material posted by Lowy on the Brady Campaign website and in fundraising letters about Badger Guns with regard to the earlier case also could serve to prejudice the jury in this case. Gunderson submitted copies of the social media and fund raising letters to the court in a sealed filing.

Jonathan Lowy is one of the attorneys that I plan to feature in my “Bad Apple Lawyers” series. I am still gathering material regarding Lowy. Given his position as head of the Legal Action Project, Lowy must be considered the King of the Bad Apple Lawyers.

If You Want To Donate, Here Are Some Better Groups

Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center recently sent out the e-mail seen below crowing about going three for three in court cases involving certain semi-automatic rifles whose cosmetics horrify the gun prohibitionists. He is referring to cases that challenged new state laws that created a magazine ban, an “assault weapons” (sic) ban, or both. The states involved were Connecticut, Maryland, and New York.

After the Sandy Hook tragedy where a gunman fatally shot 20 children and 6 adults, state lawmakers finally said ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’ and took action.


New York, Connecticut, and Maryland made it more difficult to buy military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, so these weapons of war would never again threaten lives in our homes, schools and communities.


Unfortunately, the corporate gun lobby saw a threat to their profits and went to court to challenge these laws.


At the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project, we didn’t let these attacks on our public safety go unchallenged. We filed amicus briefs and worked closely with state officials to help them defend these life-saving laws. Law firms with our national pro bono alliance, Lawyers for a Safer America, were critical to these efforts.


WE ARE 3-for-3 SO FAR. Federal trial judges in ALL 3 STATES have upheld the new laws. Your support helped us win these victories.


But our work continues — the gun lobby is appealing the rulings, which means we’re still working hard with states and filing amicus briefs to meet the challenge. On August 5, we filed a brief in the New York case. Next week we’re filing in Connecticut.


These federal appeals cases are critically important – the rulings will set far-reaching precedents on the power of states to protect their communities from gun violence.


We need your support to preserve the victories we’ve won so far and make sure the corporate gun lobby isn’t allowed to put profits over people’s lives.


Please support the Brady Center today to help us keep our winning streak going, and protect lives in our nation’s homes, schools and communities.


With gratitude,


Jonathan Lowy
Director, Brady Center Legal Action Project

I’m surprised that Mr. Lowy didn’t include the nonsensical ruling out of Colorado which upheld the Hickenlooper mag ban.

The recent decision out of Maryland does show that certain judges who are ignorant about firearms and who have a bias against them will listen to what the Brady Center puts into their amicus briefs. Even though those of us in the gun culture consider their arguments to be “authentic frontier gibberish” we still need to counter them. Thus I donate to groups like the Second Amendment Foundation, the Mountain States Legal Foundation, and the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund who will present the counter arguments to the Jonathan Lowy’s of the world.

I would encourage you to do the same if you can.