What A Coincidence

The Gun Rights Policy Conference starts on Friday evening in Phoenix. It is certainly important that all the social media accounts of sponsor Second Amendment Foundation be up and running.

It is important but yet that hasn’t stopped some nameless gnome at Twitter from suspending their account.

Dan Zimmerman at TTAG broke the story earlier today. Dan quotes Alan Gottlieb as being shocked. Alan notes that their account has never been suspended and that the timing is ” interesting that it’s happened right before the Gun Rights Policy Conference this weekend.”

My talk on Sunday at GRPC is about how we are at the mercy of the big tech oligopolies. I didn’t expect Twitter to confirm it this soon in advance.

If you have a Twitter account, you might want to tweet @jack (Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO) asking him about it. I did.

Now this all could be just a big mistake and some anti-gun Twitter techie hacked the Second Amendment Foundation account. It could be. It could also be that @Jack who was one of the CEOs who signed the letter to Mitch McConnell demanding action on “gun violence” (sic) decided that pro-2A organizations didn’t need any extra publicity.

Reactions, Pro And Con, To Connecticut Supreme Court Ruling

As you can well imagine the gun prohibitionists are ecstatic over the Connecticut Supreme Court’s constitutionally dubious ruling in Soto et al v. Bushmaster et al today. Both the Brady Campaign and the Giffords Law Center had filed amicus briefs in the case.

From the Brady Campaign which has been working hard to punch holes in the Protection of Legal Commerce in Arms Act for many years:

Justices have reversed a lower court ruling allowing the lawsuit to move forward and put the question to a jury of whether or not Remington and gun dealers can be held accountable for its role in the 2012 shooting. The lawsuit argues that the assault-style weapon used in the massacre had knowingly been marketed to the public despite being designed for military use. It is also argued that the weapon’s marketing deliberately appealed to young people, particularly those like the 20-year-old who killed 26 people in Newtown, Connecticut.


“This is a good day for justice and for victims of gun violence everywhere,” stated Brady President, Kris Brown. “The law requires everyone, particularly businesses, to operate in a way that will not cause foreseeable harm. It’s time for gun companies to be held to this same standard, and stop being allowed to put profits over people. Brady stands ready to continue our support of Sandy Hook families in their quest for justice.”


For 30 years Brady’s legal team has led the way in winning precedent setting cases that hold gun companies accountable for their role in gun crimes. These cases are reining in and challenging gun industry protection laws, and include a negligent marketing claim against the maker of an assault weapon used in a mass shooting in 1993. This case was discussed at length in today’s decision. Brady’s team provided advice and counsel to the Sandy Hook lawyers throughout the case, also filing an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs.


“We are happy that the Sandy Hook families will get the day in court they deserve. Companies that choose to market weapons of war to the public should not get a free pass from the duty to use the reasonable care that every other person or business must follow,” stated Brady’s VP of Legal, Jon Lowy. “It is unfortunate that the gun industry’s special protection law forced these grieving families to endure years of appeals to get what should be rightfully theirs — their day in court and an opportunity to prove their case. Thankfully this court recognized that if you unreasonably market weapons of war to the public, you can be held accountable for the consequences.”

Reader of this blog know that not one military in the world has adopted the semi-automatic AR-15 or its progeny for use. Calling it a “weapon of war” and “designed for military use” is an outright lie and both Brown and Lowy know it.

Likewise, the Cult of Personality’s Legal Arm otherwise known as Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has weighed in on the ruling with a comment from Adams Skaggs who is their chief counsel.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the families of Sandy Hook and a victory for the principle that no industry is above the law or above accountability. The Connecticut Supreme Court squarely rejected the idea that any industry, no matter how powerful, can slam the courthouse doors shut to the victims of their illegal marketing practices. Now, these families who suffered so much will have the day in court they rightly deserve. We look forward to working with them as this case moves forward, and to supporting all victims of American gun violence as they pursue justice.”

Understandably, those who stand for the rule of law and the recognition that the liability for the criminal misuse of any legal product lies with the criminal were not pleased with this ruling.

Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation responded strongly saying, in part:

“This ruling strains logic, if not common sense,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The court dismissed the bulk of the lawsuit’s allegations, but appears to have grasped at this single straw by deciding that the advertising is somehow at fault for what did that day in December more than six years ago.


“This is like suing Ford or General Motors because a car they sold was stolen and used to run over a pedestrian all because the car manufacturers advertised that their car had better acceleration and performance than other vehicles,” he added.


, 20, first killed his mother and took her legally-purchased Bushmaster rifle to the school, where he murdered 20 youngsters and six adults. The lawsuit contends that Remington’s advertising was designed to glorify the Bushmaster rifle and enhance its appeal to younger consumers.

Justice Richard Palmer, writing for the majority, said that the “regulation of advertising that threatens the public’s health, safety, and morals has long been considered a core exercise of the state’s police powers.”


“That is absurd in this case,” Gottlieb observed. “Did the advertising even remotely suggest that the Bushmaster is best for murdering people? It appears to me like the court was looking for a way to squeak around the provisions of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that Congress passed in 2005. After all, the court dismissed most of the allegations, but now has decided that advertising might be at fault. That’s a stretch of credulity worthy of surgical elastic.”


“There is no evidence the killer was driven by any advertising whatsoever,” he said. “This is an affront to the First Amendment as well as the Second. Even hinting that the killer was motivated in some way by an advertising message is so far out in the weeds that it may take a map for the court to find its way back.”

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is located in Newtown, Connecticut and whom is the actual lobby for the firearms industry, also disagreed with the majority’s opinion in the ruling. While a bit more circumspect that the SAF’s comment, it still expresses their displeasure.

NEWTOWN, Conn. – The Connecticut Supreme Court today reversed (4-3) a state Superior Court ruling and decided in Soto v. Bushmaster that the case can go forward based on the plaintiffs’ allegation that the defendants marketing and advertising of a legal product somehow violated Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The Court’s split decision held that CUTPA fit within an exemption to the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that permits lawsuits where the defendant violated a statute applicable to the sale of firearms. In a strongly worded and well-reasoned dissent, Chief Justice Robinson rejected the majority’s overly broad interpretation of the scope of the limited exception, which is contrary to legislative text, canons of statutory interpretation and the legislative history of the PLCAA. The majority’s decision today is at odds with all other state and federal appellate courts that have interpreted the scope of the exception. As the trade association for the firearms industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation® filed an amicus brief in support of the defendants in this case and both respectfully disagrees with and is disappointed by the court’s majority decision.

Finally, from what I can tell from an internet search, neither Cerberus Capital Management nor Remington Outdoor Company have issued statements.

Standing United

The Second Amendment community is like a family. We may squabble amongst ourselves but unite when we are attacked by outsiders. This latest release from the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms illustrates that. It takes aim at attempts by House Democrats to cripple the National Rifle Association through multiple investigations.

BELLEVUE, WA – Reports that the National Rifle Association is being engulfed in what one publication described as “a rapidly expanding tangle of congressional investigations” raise an important question that nobody has been asking: Is this a deliberate effort by anti-gun-rights Congressional Democrats to overwhelm the organization’s leadership and prevent NRA from fulfilling its mission to protect the Second Amendment?

That’s what the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms are wondering as House Democrats are pressing their gun control agenda.

“According to The Trace, which is funded by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Congress has launched six investigations of the NRA,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “With Democrats in control of the House, promising to push a full slate of gun control measures, that seems just a little curious.”

Gottlieb, who also chairs the CCRKBA, said it is fair to question an avalanche of investigations involving the NRA at a time when its attention should be focused squarely on renewed efforts to erode the Second Amendment.

“Are these investigations legitimate,” Gottlieb wondered, “or are they a deliberately choreographed attempt to distract the NRA’s focus when it needs to be concentrating on the battle now developing on Capitol Hill?

“We’ve been delighted to work with NRA on a number of efforts,” he continued, “including our successful lawsuits against the 2005 post-Katrina gun grab in New Orleans, the San Francisco gun ban, our joint challenge of Seattle’s attempted parks gun ban and our ongoing federal lawsuit against a gun control initiative in Washington State. So, when we see this kind of congressional onslaught at the same time Beltway anti-gunners are trying to ram through an aggressive gun control agenda, let’s just say our radar is up.”

Gottlieb said that if there are legitimate issues, they need to be explained to the nation’s 100 million gun owners.

“Otherwise,” he observed, “all of this may amount to a lot of smoke and mirrors designed to not simply distract NRA but to discredit it in the eyes of its members, supporters and allies when we all should be working together to defend our fundamental rights at a time when they are under unceasing attack.”

I agree with Alan that this is “curious” at a time when more and more gun control bills are being introduced in Congress. Indeed, I read a bill this morning that would put any semi-automatic rifle including Ruger 10/22s capable of accepting a magazine under the purview of the National Firearms Act. 

Linton V. Becerra – Another Second Amendment Lawsuit Against California

Chad Linton and Paul McKinley Stewart had screwed up in their younger days, paid their debt to society, and went on to lead lives in California as good, productive citizens. More importantly to our discussion here, the relevant courts in both Washington State and Arizona had explicitly expunged their non-violent felony convictions and explicitly restored their rights to own, possess, and purchase firearms. They further underwent multiple background and fingerprint checks and Linton actually had purchased firearms in California in the past. However, that is not good enough for California now. When they each went to purchase firearms starting in 2015, they were turned down the California Department of Justice and its Bureau of Firearm based upon Cal. Pen. Code §§ 29800 and §§ 30305.

Messrs. Linton and Stewart along with institutional plaintiffs the Firearms Policy Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Second Amendment Society, the Calguns Foundation, and the Madison Society Foundation filed suit in US District Court for the Northern District of California on Thursday, December 20th. The parties are represented by attorney George M. Lee of Seiler, Epstein, Ziegler & Applegate of San Francisco. They named California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Acting Chief of the Bureau of Firearms Martin Horan, and Deputy Attorney General Robert Wilson as defendants.

Mr. Linton was stationed at NAS Whidbey Island when he was stopped for a DUI and trying to elude police. He pled guilty and was sentenced to time served (7 days) and probation with the promise that his felony conviction would be downgraded to a misdemeanor if he completed his probation successfully which he did. He received a certificate of discharge stating that all of his civil rights were restored. Fast forward from 1987 to 2015. Mr. Linton attempted to buy a handgun but was denied by the State of California due to the prior felony. He hired an attorney in Washington State to reopen the proceedings, withdraw his guilty plea, and enter a not-guilty plea. The Superior Court in Washington State vacated his prior conviction, set aside his guilty plea, and restored his rights.

On April 18, 2016, the Superior Court of the State of Washington, Island County,
further issued, upon Plaintiff’s petition, an Order Restoring Right to Possess Firearms pursuant
to Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 9.41.040(4). A copy of this order is attached as Exhibit
B. As part of that petition, and order, the court found that Plaintiff Linton was qualified,
pursuant to RCW 9.41.040(4), to have the right to possess firearms restored to him, and
accordingly, ordered “that Petitioner Chad Linton’s civil rights and right to possess firearms are
FULLY RESTORED
pursuant to RCW 9.41.040(4).” (Id.) The court further ordered the
Washington State Patrol to transmit a copy of its Order to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

When later in 2016 Linton attempted to purchase a rifle the California DOJ denied it and sent him a letter stating that he was ineligible due to being a felon. His California attorney made multiple requests to the California DOJ to clear up the matter and provided them with the Washington State court orders. Linton assumed the matter had been cleared up when he went to purchase a revolver and was again denied. Soon thereafter he was visited by agents of the California DOJ’s Armed Prohibited Persons System enforcement project who seized all of his firearms including a family heirloom. Bear again in mind that he was not a prohibited person under either Washington State or Federal law. Indeed Deputy AG Robert Wilson went so far as to say that they would not honor the Washington State court’s findings and that Mr. Linton try to get a presidential pardon as that is the only thing they would accept.

Mr. Stewart made similar successful efforts to get his record expunged by the State of Arizona. In 2016 the Yuma County Superior Court specifically sent aside his conviction and restored his firearm rights. The Arizona Department of Public Safety sent Stewart more documentation indicating the felony conviction had been set aside and his records had been corrected. Notwithstanding this, like Mr. Linton, he was denied when he sought to purchase a firearm.

Count One alleges the state has violated the plaintiffs’ rights under the Second Amendment by denying them the right to possess firearms in their home for self-defense.

Notwithstanding the non-violent nature of those
convictions, and the subsequent restoration of plaintiffs’ rights, the laws and Defendants’
policies, practices, and customs described herein, as applied to Individual Plaintiffs, amount to a
total and permanent deprivation of their fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms and
ammunition, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment, and are therefore an infringement upon
those rights. The circumstances surrounding the Individual Plaintiffs’ convictions are therefore
and should be distinguishable from those persons that have been historically excluded from the right to keep and bear arms.

Count Two states that the defendants’ actions violate the Full Faith and Credit Clause of Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution. Both the Constitution and subsequent Supreme Court decisions require each state to honor the valid judgments of courts in other states. The Supreme Court said in 1998 in Baker by Thomas v. General Motors Corp, that “A final judgment in one State, if rendered by a court with adjudicatory authority over the
subject matter and persons governed by the judgment, qualifies for recognition throughout the
land.”

The third and final count states that California is violating both the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV, Section 2 and the 14th Amendment, Section 1. California law provides a process whereby someone convicted of a “wobbler” felony can get his or her firearms rights restored. A wobbler felony is one where the person could have been charged with either a felony or misdemeanor for the offense. If the person gets the felony downgraded to a misdemeanor under Pen. Code § 17(b), they would also be eligible to get their record expunged in its entirety under Pen. Code § 1203.4. Both would allow the person in question to have their firearms rights restored.

However, the State of California will only honor the reduction of these qualifying
felony convictions utilizing the statutes and the process described above. As shown throughout
this complaint, California refuses to honor the comparable process utilized by other states,
including the States of Washington and Arizona, shown above, even where the courts of those
jurisdictions expressly have set aside the felony convictions and have restored firearms rights to
such persons who have successfully completed their terms of probation. Accordingly, Defendants’ refusal to honor the set-aside or vacation of those felony convictions, and/or
restoration of firearm rights, by courts of those other states, amounts to unlawful discrimination,
favoring California’s citizens, since persons convicted of felonies in other states, in essence, have
no actual means to seek judicial restoration of their firearms rights here, or otherwise comparable
to the process of reduction under those mechanisms (including Pen. Code § 17(b)) described
above.

In essence, what you have is California saying that they will treat their restoration of rights as legitimate while that of other states as illegitimate for the purposes of firearms rights.

The plaintiffs are seeking both declaratory and injunctive relief under all counts as as applied to themselves and to others similarly situated. Of course, they are also seeking attorneys’ fees.

I’m not a judge nor a lawyer but if I had to hazzard a guess this will case will be decided on the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause. While it is obviously a denial of Second Amendment rights, the courts will go for the low-hanging fruit of Counts Two and Three.

SAF And NRA File Joint Suit Against Washington State Over I-1639

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The Second Amendment and the National Rifle Association have joined together to challenge parts of the recently passed Washington State Initiative 1639 in a federal lawsuit. The initiative contained a laundry list of gun control measures including a definition of an assault weapon (sic) that would include Ruger 10/22s, raised the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles to 21, specified waiting periods, enacted a safe storage provision, includes a $25 tax on each semi-automatic rifle sold, requires law enforcement to verify annually that owners of handguns and semi-auto rifles are legally allowed to own them, and it includes a training requirement.

The initiative was funded in great part by billionaires such as Michael Bloomberg, Nick Hanauer, and the late Paul Allen. The goal, while not state overtly, is to kill out the gun culture in Washington State by making it so onerous and creating such a slippery slope that casual gun owners will just give up. You can hear some thoughts on this from a Washington State resident in Episode 308 of The Squirrel Report podcast.

The lawsuit, Mitchell et al v. State of Washington et al, was filed on Wednesday in US District Court for the Western District of Washington. It is a complaint for both a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief based upon a claim of violations of the Commerce Clause, and the 2nd and 14th Amendment.

The plaintiffs are firearms dealers Daniel Mitchell and Robin Ball, 19 year old competitive shooter Luke Rettmer who is a member of the US Long Range Rifle Under 21 team, 19 year old Army reservist and college student Nathaniel Casey, and recreational shooters Armen Tooloee and Matthew Wald who are 20 and 19 years old respectively. The Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association are the organizational plaintiffs in the case.

The lawsuit focuses in on four aspects of I-1639 which goes into effect, in part, on January 1, 2019 with the remainder going into effect on July 1, 2019. First, it challenges Section 12 of the Initiative’s ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles to out-of-state residents on the grounds it “impermissibly burdens interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, Art. I § 8 cl. 3.”

Secondly, the lawsuit challenges Section 13 of the Initiative which raises the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles to 21. It seeks a declaration that “by preventing the sale to otherwise qualified adults under age 21 of certain rifles, impermissibly burdens their exercise of rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.” They are making this claim on behalf of both the Young Adult Plaintiffs and the Organizational Plaintiffs. It is asserted that no state interest justifies this infringement and that the ban is broader than needed to serve any “possible alleged governmental interest.”

Thirdly, the lawsuit contends that the Section 13 of the Initiative “impermissably burdens” the rights guaranteed to the Young Adult Plaintiffs under Article I Section 24 of the Washington Constitution.

Finally, the lawsuit says that the intention of Washington State Attorney General Robert Ferguson to enforce the provisions of I-1639 and will be acting under “color of law”. Thus, Ferguson will be depriving “plaintiffs of civil rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, as applied by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

The plaintiffs seek to have the challenged portions of I-1639 declared unconstitutional and to enjoin enforcement of the entire I-1639 unless the challenged parts are ruled severable, and if so, then enforcement of the challenged parts.

The complaint in its entirety can be found here.

Both the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association have issued releases regarding this lawsuit.

Alan Gottlieb of SAF had this to say:

“We are also considering additional legal challenges,” SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb confirmed. “We are disappointed that too many Evergreen State voters were fooled into supporting this 30-page gun control scheme, despite overwhelming law enforcement opposition. This initiative is an affront to the constitutional rights enshrined in the Second Amendment and the Washington state constitution, especially for young adults.

“We’re determined to fight this egregious measure because constitutionally-protected rights should never be subject to a popularity vote,” he stated. “The wealthy elitists behind I-1639 want to turn a right into a regulated privilege. This measure was only designed to have a chilling effect on the exercise of a constitutional right by honest citizens while having no impact at all on criminals, and we cannot let it go unchallenged.”

Chris Cox of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action had similar comments:

“The NRA is committed to restoring the Second Amendment rights of every law-abiding Washingtonian,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA¹s Institute for Legislative Action. “I-1639 violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts people at risk. This lawsuit is the first step in the fight to ensure that Washingtonians are free to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense.”…



“The NRA will fight to overturn this unconstitutional initiative. We will not sit idly by while elitist anti-gun activists attempt to deny everyday Americans their fundamental right to self-defense,” concluded Cox.

I, for one, am quite pleased to see the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifles Association working together on this lawsuit and not competing with one another for bragging rights. This is the way it should be.

Sharp V. Becerra – Assault Weapon Registration Lawsuit – Moved To Federal Court

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In late August, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-CA)  moved to have the lawsuit against him and the California DOJ over their ineptness implementing the new registration of bullet button weapons moved to Federal court. One would have thought that he’d want to keep a suit against the California Department of Justice in state court.
The case was moved to US District Court for the Eastern District of California and assigned to Judge Morrison England, Jr. 
Today, the plaintiffs which include a number of individuals and a number of civil rights organizations filed an amended complaint. Joining the plaintiffs is the Madison Society Foundation.  The amended complaint also adds a Section 183 claim for deprivation of due process rights.

While I might have been tempted to just say “screw it”, all the individual plaintiffs spent hours trying to comply with the law requiring registration of their firearms. Some of the plaintiffs are IT professionals and tech savvy. Nonetheless, the database system was so screwed up, most of them were not able to do so. The response of Cal DOJ was “you procrastinated, so tough”. From the complaint:

The following Monday, July 2, 2018,
Plaintiff (Terry) Jahraus contacted the DOJ for assistance, but the DOJ official told him, essentially, “it
was [his] responsibility to comply with the law [and] that he had all year to do so.” In other
words, DOJ blamed him for failing to register, even though its own statutorily-mandated
registration system was inaccessible and defective throughout the entire period he had attempted
to register it well before the deadline.

The joint release of the Second Amendment Foundation, Calguns Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, and the Madison Society Foundation is below:

SACRAMENTO, CA (September 24, 2018) — Attorneys for seven California gun owners and five advocacy organizations announced a new court filing in a now-federal constitutional rights lawsuit over the State of California’s “assault weapon” registration debacle. The case, Sharp, et al. v. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, et al., was originally filed in the County of Shasta Superior Court. But in late August it was removed to federal district court in Sacramento at the request of Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the DOJ defendants. The new court filing is online at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/sharp.

On August 24, the California Attorney General moved the case to federal court on the basis that the plaintiffs’ claims present a federal constitutional question, in addition to their state-based claims. That same day, the lawsuit was assigned to District Court Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. Two years ago, Judge England issued a bench ruling to enjoin a California statute that criminalized the use of Assembly video footage in political advertisements in a case brought by Firearms Policy Coalition and its Proposition 63 ballot initiative political committee, FPC Second Amendment Defense Committee.

“While it’s interesting that Attorney General Becerra doesn’t want his own state’s courts to hear how badly he mis-administered the mandated firearm registration program, we welcome the opportunity to show Judge England how the DOJ violated the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs and others like them,” said George M. Lee, lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “General Becerra’s actions and failures affected many gun owners from San Diego to Eureka. These law-abiding gun owners tried to register their weapons as required by law but could not do so because DOJ’s registration system was wholly inadequate to do the job. We are simply asking that those injuries be reasonably remedied so that those citizens are not subject to criminal liability for possessing illegal, unregistered weapons – solely as a result of DOJ’s failures.”

In the latest complaint, submitted last Friday, the plaintiffs added a claim for deprivation of their due process rights under Title 42, Section 1983 of the United States Code. The complaint also adds as an institutional plaintiff the Madison Society Foundation, a nonprofit organization that fights to protect the right to keep and bear arms.

The plaintiffs say that Becerra and the DOJ had a legal and constitutional duty to provide a functional registration system during the registration period, but that they were unable to exercise their own rights and legal duties “due to the Defendants’ actions and failures, including but not limited to the inaccessibility, defects, and/or non-functionality of the DOJ’s CFARS-based registration system.” The plaintiffs alleged that the DOJ’s ‘botched’ “assault weapon” registration scheme – including the error-prone Internet application for registration that often crashed completely – violated both the U.S. Constitution and California Constitution’s guarantees of due process. They also allege that the failed DOJ system violated the plaintiffs’ and other similar gun owners’ statutory rights.

“Even though the lawsuit is now in a federal district court, it’s still just a straight-forward case about how Attorney General Becerra and his DOJ didn’t do the job they were mandated to do,” explained Firearms Policy Coalition President Brandon Combs. “Their actions and failures violated the rights of thousands of California gun owners. It’s just that simple.”

Under California’s voluminous gun control laws, someone merely transporting an unregistered “assault weapon” to the shooting range – even if one believes it was legal and registered under other DOJ systems, like DROS – “is guilty of a felony” and potentially subject to a prison sentence of “four, six, or eight years.” Other crimes can be added on to that, including common separate charges like possession and manufacturing.

The complaint says the plaintiffs “seek an un-extraordinary result, compelled by the basic tenets of due process: That they simply be allowed to register their eligible firearms and comply with the law, and that the Attorney General, the DOJ, and their officers and agents similarly comply with the law by allowing such registrations and ensuring they are properly and timely processed through a functioning online database as they have been required by statute to do.”

“This unjust California government-created problem must be stopped immediately,” Second Amendment Foundation Founder and Executive Vice President, Alan Gottlieb, said in a previous statement. “Gun owners should not be put at risk due to state regulatory incompetence.”

The plaintiffs said that they would soon be asking Judge England for a preliminary injunction to protect affected gun owners’ rights and property while the case goes forward to summary judgement or trial.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys George M. Lee and Douglas Applegate of San Francisco-based Seiler Epstein Ziegler & Applegate LLP, as well as Raymond M. DiGuiseppe, a former California deputy attorney general and prosecutor. Attorneys Bradley Benbrook and Stephen Duvernay of the Sacramento-based Benbrook Law Group, who earlier this month secured a major First Amendment victory in a case that challenged a different California gun control statute that banned truthful, non-misleading speech about handguns, have been added to the legal team.

The lawsuit is backed by The Calguns Foundation (CGF), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF), and Madison Society Foundation (MSF), also institutional plaintiffs in the case.

Californians who tried to register their firearms as “assault weapons” before July 1 but were unable to, or who suffered a privacy breach at DOJ, should contact the organizations’ Legal Action Hotline immediately at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline or by telephone at 855-252-4510.

Agenda Released For 2018 Gun Rights Policy Conference

The Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms have released the tentative agenda for the 2018 Gun Rights Policy Conference. The conference is being held starting this Friday evening in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency – O’Hare Airport. While pre-registration is now closed you can register at the door.

You can find the agenda here.

There will be plenty of gun rights leaders from around the country with whom you can mix and mingle. There will also be these guys.

11:15 a.m. Using New Media to Advance Gun Rights
Charlie Cook, YouTube host, Riding Shotgun with Charlie
Don Irvine, chair, Accuracy in Media
Paul Lathrop, Polite Society Podcast
John Richardson, blogger, Only Guns and Money Blog

If you can’t make it, the Polite Society Podcast will again be livestreaming the entire conference. That can be found on the Second Amendment Foundation’s Facebook page and will be broadcast in 2 hour segments.

Parkland Kid At Gun Rights Policy Conference

OMG! A Parkland kid will be at the Gun Rights Policy Conference. What the heck?

Relax, it is one of the good ones – not “Camera” Hogg or Emma Gonzalez. The SAF just released that Kyle Kashuv will be one of the featured speakers at the Gun Rights Policy Conference. He has been a stalwart supporter of the Second Amendment and, if he keeps up his grades, will be the valedictorian of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS Class of 2019.

The Gun Rights Policy Conference will be held September 21st through 23rd at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Airport in Chicago. Attendance is free but pre-registration is requested. There will be a whole host of other speakers including the SAF’s 2017 Ray Carter Blogger of the Year (i.e., me).

33rd ANNUAL GUN RIGHTS POLICY CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO

BELLEVUE, WA – Teen Second Amendment activist Kyle Kashuv, a student survivor of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, will be a featured speaker at the 33rd annual Gun Rights Policy Conference, which will be held Sept. 21-23 in Chicago.


The conference will be held at The Hyatt Regency O’Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, IL 60018. It is co-sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA). Hundreds of Second Amendment activists and experts are expected to attend.


Kashuv is scheduled to be a keynoter during the annual Saturday awards luncheon.


Also scheduled are SAF founder and CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, plus Tom Gresham host of the nationally syndicated Gun Talk radio show and Mark Walters, host of the national radio show Armed American Radio, baseball pitching great Curt Schilling, as well as a cadre of Second Amendment attorneys will be discussing current noteworthy court cases. In addition, the Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court will be a hot agenda item.


In addition, SAF and CCRKBA leaders will be joined by representatives from Gun Owners of America, the National Rifle Association, Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, who will also be speaking.


The 2018 GRPC will feature some 70 speakers on subjects ranging from the midterm elections to personal protection. The weekend event typically attracts more than 800 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 33rd annual Gun Rights Policy Conference
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 22 & Sunday, Sept. 23
WHERE: Hyatt Regency O’Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, IL 60018

The Polite Society Podcast will be live streaming GRPC again this year. I’ll have more details on that later.

California Sued By Coalition Of Gun Rights Groups Over AWB Registration Disasters

The Second Amendment Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, and the Firearms Policy Foundation have come together to sue the California Department of Justice, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and the head of the California Bureau of Firearms. Their complaint, filed in Shasta County Superior Court, is a constitutional challenge to the bullet button registration system and a writ of mandamus requiring the state to allow people to register as required under state law. That last bit might sound confusing but people had until July 1st to register their bullet buttons. The only problem is that many people were not able to do so because the system crashed. It’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation.

From their joint release:

The lawsuit argues that DOJ’s “bullet-button assault weapon” registration system was defective, often “crashing” completely, and the various failures prevented many gun owners from complying with the laws—potentially turning people into felons overnight.

SACRAMENTO, CA (July 11, 2018) — Today, attorneys for three gun owners and four civil rights organizations filed a new lawsuit and petition for writ of mandate that claims California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his Department of Justice (DOJ) violated their civil rights protected under the state and federal constitutions. A copy of the complaint can be viewed or downloaded at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/sharp.

The lawsuit, captioned Harry Sharp, et al. v. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, et al., is supported by The Calguns Foundation (CGF), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF). Named as defendants are California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Acting Chief of the DOJ Bureau of Firearms, Brent E. Orick, and the California Department of Justice itself. The plaintiffs are represented in the case by attorneys George M. Lee and Douglas Applegate, as well as Raymond M. DiGuiseppe, a former California deputy attorney general and prosecutor.

“Many people, including our clients, did everything they could to comply with the law and avoid criminal liability,” commented Lee. “They used updated web browsers, hardware, different devices, and even did internet speed tests to make sure it wasn’t a problem on their end. The DOJ’s crashed system is a reflection of their cascading failures to build a system and allow people to register their guns before July 1 if that’s what they wanted to do.”

The complaint says the plaintiffs “seek an un-extraordinary result, compelled by the basic tenets of due process: That they simply be allowed to register their eligible firearms and comply with the law, and that the Attorney General, the DOJ, and their officers and agents similarly comply with the law by allowing such registrations and ensuring they are properly and timely processed through a functioning online database as they have been required by statute to do.”

Under California’s voluminous gun control laws, someone merely transporting an unregistered “assault weapon” to the shooting range – even if one believes it was legal and registered under other DOJ systems, like DROS – “is guilty of a felony” and possibly subject to a prison sentence of “four, six, or eight years.” Other crimes can be added on to that, including common separate charges like possession and manufacturing.

“Attorney General Xavier Becerra seems to care about everything but the constitution, the rule of law, and law-abiding California gun owners,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “If Becerra spent as much time doing his job as he does talking about his pet crusades against the federal government, hundreds of thousands of Californians would not be in legal jeopardy right now.”

“We’re suing because California DOJ’s Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS) broke down during the deadline week for people to register their firearms in accordance with new state laws,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “For a whole week the system was largely inaccessible, so people who wanted to comply with the law simply couldn’t and now they face becoming criminals because they couldn’t do what the law requires.”

“Predictably the state of California wants to take guns away from the law abiding. In this instance they couldn’t even build a working system to respect gun owners’ rights,” explained CGF Chairman Gene Hoffman. “We simply want to allow those who want to comply with the law to have more time with a working registration system.”

“It’s like a bad version of ‘Catch-22’,” Gottlieb observed. “The government required registration by the deadline, but the online registration failed and people couldn’t register. They’re required to obey the law, but the system broke down, making it impossible to obey the law. Now these people face the possibility of being prosecuted. We simply cannot abide that kind of incompetence.”

“Once again, the DOJ and Attorney General Becerra unlawfully and unconstitutionally moved the goal posts on peaceful, law-abiding gun owners,” observed FPF Vice President Jonathan Jensen. “Their failures should not result in people going to prison and losing their property.”

Combs noted that the case is not an endorsement of firearm registration, which carries its own risks, as many news reports have shown.

“Gun owners had a right to decide how they would approach these serious legal issues,” explained Combs. “Attorney General Becerra and his DOJ denied gun owners the opportunity to exercise their rights and make an informed choice, forcing them into the sights of fascist, hyper-aggressive special agents who kick in doors and put gun owners in jail. That’s completely unacceptable and totally deplorable.”

Californians who tried to register their firearms as “assault weapons” before July 1 but were unable to should contact the Legal Action Hotline immediately at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline or by telephone at 855-252-4510.

Wow! DOJ Settles With Cody Wilson And Defense Distributed

Less than 24 hours after President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice comes to an agreement with the Second Amendment Foundation regarding their lawsuit on behalf of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed. I know I say that actions have consequences but this one is a “Wow!”

From Josh Blackman’s blog with some more details:

BELLEVUE, WA – The Department of Justice and Second Amendment Foundation have reached a settlement in SAF’s lawsuit on behalf of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed over free speech issues related to 3-D files and other information that may be used to manufacture lawful firearms.

SAF and Defense Distributed had filed suit against the State Department under the Obama administration, challenging a May 2013 attempt to control public speech as an export under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a Cold War-era law intended to control exports of military articles.

Under terms of the settlement, the government has agreed to waive its prior restraint against the plaintiffs, allowing them to freely publish the 3-D files and other information at issue. The government has also agreed to pay a significant portion of the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees, and to return $10,000 in State Department registration dues paid by Defense Distributed as a result of the prior restraint.

Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber – including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms – are not inherently military.

“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.

“Under this settlement,” he continued, “the government will draft and pursue regulatory amendments that eliminate ITAR control over the technical information at the center of this case. They will transfer export jurisdiction to the Commerce Department, which does not impose prior restraint on public speech. That will allow Defense Distributed and SAF to publish information about 3-D technology.”

Blackman’s blog has all the major pleadings in this case. SAF and Wilson had submitted a petition for a writ of certiorari to the US Supreme Court after losing in the 5th Circuit. This writ had not been denied as it was still in the pleading and reply process. Cert was denied in January 2018.

This is a win for free speech, a win for gun rights, a loss for prior restraint, and a giant FU to the State of California and their paranoia over “ghost guns”.

WIRED Magazine goes into great detail about what Cody has been up to the last few years, the why of Defense Distributed, the gnashing of teeth by the antis, and the blurred line between the First and Second Amendment.