Lawsuit Filed In Colorado By 55 Sheriffs And Others

54 55 out of the 62 sheriffs in the state of Colorado filed suit in US District Court for the District of Colorado challenging the state’s recently enacted gun control laws. Joining the 54 55 sheriffs were the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Magpul, and a whole number of individuals, gun stores, and organizations.

From the NSSF release on the lawsuit:

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, has joined with 54 county sheriffs, Magpul Industries, the Colorado Outfitters Association, several firearms retailers, disabled individuals and other parties in a federal lawsuit brought today in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado in what is a broad-based challenge to Colorado’s recently enacted gun-control laws.


“In addition to Constitutional infringements and unenforceable requirements regarding magazine capacity, as the sheriffs have pointed out, we believe it will be impossible for citizens to comply with mandated firearms ‘transfers’ through federally licensed retailers,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Colorado’s federally-licensed firearms retailers are being asked to process these transfers as if they were selling from their own inventory and to monitor both seller and buyer through a state-administered check process that can take hours or even days. They will not be able to recoup the actual cost of providing the service, which is capped at $10, but they will be liable for paperwork errors and subject to license revocation. Not surprisingly, we expect few, if any licensed retailers will step forward to provide this service.”


“For this reason and the many others detailed in our joint action with our fellow plaintiffs, these laws need to be struck down,” Keane said.

 From the Independence Institute’s release published in The Outdoor Wire this morning:

Colorado Sheriffs to File Suit This Morning Against Colorado Anti-Gun Laws

Photo, Video, and Interview opportunities with plaintiffs, including Sheriffs, Disabled gun owners, Women gun owners
Legal challenge to Colorado’s new anti-gun laws begins in earnest tomorrow morning in Federal Court
Copies of the legal Complaint will be available

Contact Mary MacFarlane, 303-279-6536 x102, mary@i2i.org

Friday morning, May 17, at 10 a.m., Colorado Sheriffs and other plaintiffs will hold a press conference detailing the filing earlier that day of their federal civil rights lawsuit against House Bill 1224 (magazine ban) and 1229 (sales and temporary transfers of firearms).

The press conference will be held at the Independence Institute, 727 East 16th Ave., Denver.

The press conference will have broadcast live on KFKA radio, 1310 AM, Greeley, www.1310kfka.com

A full video will be uploaded to http://www.youtube.com/user/davekopel shortly after the conclusion of the press conference.

Sheriffs are coming from as far away as the Western Slope to participate in the press conference. Also at the press conference will be disabled citizens in wheelchairs, and representatives of Women for Concealed Carry.

After approximately 15 minutes of prepared statements by the Plaintiffs, the Plaintiffs, as well as Sheriffs’ attorney David Kopel, will take questions from the media. There will be photo and video opportunities. Plaintiffs will be available for interviews.

The complaint is not yet up on the District Court’s Pacer site. I’ll post a link when it is available.

Dave Workman has more here as does Michael Bane here.

UPDATE:  The complaint that has been filed US District Court for the District of Colorado can be found here. The case is 54 55 Sheriffs et al v. John W. Hickenlooper. The list of plaintiffs in the case runs for two pages!

The case is being brought on 2nd and 14 Amendment grounds as well as under the Americans with Disability Act. They are asking for declaratory and injunctive relief.

The press conference video is up on YouTube. I have embedded it below. Bitter at Shall Not Be Questioned has an earlier video of lead attorney Dave Kopel being interviewed about the case.

SAF Files Suit Against Housing Authority In Illinois

The Second Amendment Foundation has filed suit in US District Court for the Central District of Illinois against the Warren County (IL) Housing Authority. The WCHA bans personally owned firearms by residents in the government-subsidized housing. The suit is brought on behalf of Ronald G. Winbigler who is a disabled former police officer.

The attorney in the case is David Sigale who is the co-counsel in the Ezell case and served as co-counsel in the McDonald case.

I haven’t read the complaint yet but I do think the Second Amendment Foundation has shown brilliance in the choice of its lead plaintiffs over the years. In this case, a disabled police officer who has a need to protect himself.

From the SAF release:

SAF SUES OVER PUBLIC HOUSING GUN BAN IN WARREN CO, ILLINOIS

For Immediate Release: 4/4/2012

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against the Warren County, Illinois Housing Authority, seeking an injunction against the WCHA’s ban on personally-owned firearms by residents of government-subsidized housing.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ronald G. Winbigler, a resident of Costello Terrace in Monmouth. Mr. Winbigler is a physically disabled former police officer who wants to have a handgun in his residence for personal protection. The lawsuit seeks equitable, declaratory and injunctive relief challenging the WCHA ban. It was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Rock Island Division.

“Ron Winbigler faces the same dilemma so many other residents of government-subsidized public housing face,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “He wants a firearm for self-defense, but he risks losing a place to live because of bureaucratic political correctness. As a police officer, he consistently trained and repeatedly qualified in the safe use and handling of firearms, and because of his experience, he understands the threat of crime.”

“People do not lose their Second Amendment rights just because they are of limited means,” added attorney David Sigale, who represents SAF and Winbigler in this action. “Nobody wishes to be in need of financial assistance, but it is an indignity to make the waiver of constitutional rights a condition of government-subsidized housing. We are confident the Courts will hold that those residents have the same right to defend their families and themselves as everyone else.”

“It is astonishing that in Illinois of all places, government entities would continue to interfere with the Second Amendment rights of citizens, after our Supreme Court victory in the McDonald case almost two years ago,” Gottlieb said. “That case nullified Chicago’s handgun ban and extended Second Amendment protections against infringement by state and local governments and their agencies. Mr. Winbigler and people like him deserve the full protection of the Constitution, especially if they live in subsidized public housing.”

Commonwealth Second Amendment Sues Massachusetts In Federal Court

Commonwealth Second Amendment or Comm2A has filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts challenging the state’s use of bonded warehouses for holding confiscated firearms.

Comm2A Sues over Property Forfeiture

For Immediate Release: 3/28/2012

NATICK, MA – Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc. (Comm2A) has filed suit in federal court in Massachusetts challenging the state’s misuse of bonded warehouses to force the forfeiture of privately owned firearms in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process guarantees.

Comm2A’s lawsuit on behalf of Russell Jarvis, James Jarvis and Robert Crampton is supported in part by a grant from the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys David Jensen of New York and Patrick M. Groulx of Somerville, Massachusetts. Defendants are Village Vault, Inc. and Mary E. Heffernan, Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Complaint

Massachusetts law allows police departments to turn confiscated firearms over to unregulated bonded warehouses who then charge the firearm owners onerous and prohibitive fees for the storage and ‘administration’ of those firearms. Bonded warehouses are authorized to sell these firearms once accumulated fees are in arrears for 90 days.

Massachusetts has failed to regulate bonded warehouses allowing them to levy fees that quickly exceed the value of the confiscated property and virtually assure that confiscated property is forfeit to the bonded warehouse. In many cases gun owners are not properly notified that their property has been transferred to a bonded warehouse until fees have accumulated to a point where they exceed the value of the seized property making their recovery economically irrational.

Valuable firearms belonging to each of the individual plaintiffs were involuntarily transferred to the bonded warehouse operated by defendant Village Vault. Those firearms were subsequently sold at auction by the defendant. In no instance did the plaintiffs have any meaningful opportunity to challenge the forfeiture of their property in a court or other neutral venue. None of individual plaintiffs have ever been convicted of or charged with any crime or are otherwise disqualified from possessing firearms under state or federal law.

*****

Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A) (www.comm2a.org) is a Massachusetts based non-profit dedicated to preserving and expanding the rights of gun owners in the northeast. Our activities include educational programs designed to promote a better understanding of Massachusetts and Federal firearms laws and rights as well as legal action programs to defend and protect the civil rights of Massachusetts gun owners.

Another Chicago Lawsuit

When it rains, it pours. At least that is the way it must seem if you are Hizzoner Mayor Richard Daley. On the heels of Benson et al v. Chicago – the lawsuit the NRA and the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers is bringing – comes another case, Second Amendment Arms et al v. Chicago.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times and court filings, Joseph Franzese, owner of Second Amendment Arms, and Robert Zieman have filed suit in the US District Court against the City of Chicago, Mayor Daley, and other Chicago officials. Second Amendment Arms is seeking to open guns stores in Lincoln Park and on Michigan Avenue while Mr. Zieman is seeking restitution for handguns confiscated under the 1982 handgun ban ordinance. Second Amendment Arms has filed applications for both of these stores with the City Clerk’s Office.

Franzese wants to open “boutique” type gun stores in Lincoln Park and on Michigan Avenue downtown, according to his lawyer Walter Maksym, one of Drew Peterson’s lawyers in his pending murder case.

“It’s not going to have firearms [on display] or bullets [for sale], and you’ll have to have an FOID card to get in,” Maksym said. “There would be a secure area and after you look at some videos, you can pick out a gun you are interested in and a security guard will bring it in to view.”

Maksym noted you would need an FOID card to see and handle and guns. You would then order the gun and come back to get it later after a background check is conducted.

Here is where it gets interesting. Not only is Mr. Zieman seeking restitution for his confiscated handguns but he indicates that he will seek class action status for the lawsuit as well as restitution on behalf of all other Chicago gun owners who had handguns confiscated under the old law.

The lawsuit is being brought under the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution as well as relevant sections of the Illinois Constitution.

You can read the full complaint here.

UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune ran a story today on the Second Amendment Arms lawsuit. Various law professors and other lawyers are quoted concluding that the new law may not be “bullet proof”.