Today, our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in support of a challenge to the District of Columbia’s requirement that a person must demonstrate a “good reason” in order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Our brief noted that before Heller, the federal courts perpetuated the charade that the right of “the People” was a collective rather than an individual right. Now, we argued, the lower courts are perpetuating a new charade — that rights which “shall not be infringed” can indeed be infringed so long as the government strongly desires to do so, and judges believe the regulations are reasonable. Our brief argued that use of such “interest-balancing” tests permits judges to come to whatever result they prefer, as this case uniquely indicates.
Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit supporting the right of a Maryland resident to purchase and possess firearms despite a prior conviction. Hamilton had been convicted of a non-violent felony in Virginia and served his sentence. Later, Virginia restored his civil rights, and then a Virginia Court specifically restored his firearms rights.
Now living in Maryland, Hamilton has been told that Maryland will not recognize the restoration of his firearms rights by a Virginia Court. Our brief explains that under the U.S. Constitution’s “Full Faith & Credit Clause,” Maryland may not refuse to give recognition to the Virginia court’s restoration of rights, and argument that had not been made by Hamilton.
Our firm has been pleased to be co-counsel on a state constitutional challenge to the 2013 Colorado firearms gun control laws restricting possession of “high capacity” magazines and requiring background checks for private sales. The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, holding that we were entitled to a hearing on the magazine issue, but affirmed the background check issue. Notably, one of the judges filed an important dissent. Judge Graham’s opinion adopted our arguments that the Second Amendment is to be analyzed by a “text, history, tradition” analysis, not according to interest balancing tests such as in a pre-Heller Colorado case that used a “reasonableness” analysis.
Forbes contributor George Leef’s article “Justice Thomas Asks: Why are Second Amendment Rights So Easily Taken Away,” discusses Justice Thomas’ questions, and our brief in the Voisine case. (See page 2 of 3.)
In an article on Christmas Eve, Bob Unruh of World Net Daily covered our amicus brief for Gun Owners of America and others opposing the broad federal ban on most machine gun ownership.
Today we made our 10th filing in 10 years opposing various applications of what is known as the so-called “Lautenberg Amendment,” which purports to impose a lifetime ban on firearms ownership on those who commit certain misdemeanors. The anti-gun lobby seeks to strip gun ownership from as many persons as possible, even if the misdemeanor was a minor matter, involving neither firearms nor violence.
Today we filed our second brief in as many months explaining why fully automatic weapons (termed in federal law “machine guns”) are protected “arms” under the Second Amendment — in the Third Circuit. The earlier brief was Hollis v. Lynch, filed on November 2, 2015 — in the Fifth Circuit.
Today, our firm filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit an amicus brief in support of a challenge to the federal machine gun ban, ironically passed as part of the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act.
Under the Gun Control Act (“GCA”), “persons” are generally prohibited from possessing machineguns. A “person” is defined to include entities such a corporation and partnership – but the definition does not include a trust. Moreover, in 2014, ATF took the position that “unincorporated trusts are not ‘persons’ under the GCA.” Based on that understanding that trusts are not persons, the Jay Aubrey Isaac Hollis Revocable Living Trust applied to the ATF for approval to manufacture and register an M-16 machinegun. When ATF eventually revoked the application, the Trust sued, but the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed the case.
Rob Olson has called in to report that after two hours of deliberation, the jury has come back with a Not Guilty verdict on all counts.
Bob Arwardy and Richard Medrano were accused of participating in a “straw purchase” of firearms on February 27, 2014 and other firearms offenses in an eight count indictment. After significant motions practice, including work by both Rob Olson and Herb Titus of our firm, the government dropped six of the eight counts, pressing the other two counts against both defendants. Obviously, the jury was not persuaded. This case required four trips to Houston, Texas by Rob Olson, for motions practice, trial preparation, pretrial, and trial.
Today, our firm filed comments with the U.S. Department of State, Office of Defense Trade Controls Policy, on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc. and Gun Owners Foundation, regarding proposed revisions to the State Department’s International Traffic In Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). Pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act, the State Department regulates the export of “defense articles and services.” Typically, these regulations apply to businesses which manufacture weapons of war such as tanks and bombs, and there generally was no need for ordinary Americans to worry about this incredibly complex and convoluted area of the law.
On July 1, 2015, our firm again joined with co-counsel Barry K. Arrington, Esquire to file in the Colorado Court of Appeals a Reply Brief. We counter the arguments in Colorado’s brief which asked the Court to affirm the district court’s order dismissing our complaint challenging Colorado’s new gun laws.
Today, our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in support of a challenge to California’s 10-day waiting period for firearm purchases. One of the most draconian states when it comes to Second Amendment rights, California forces its residents to wait 10 days after a purchase before a lawful buyer may acquire a lawful firearm.
First, our brief dispelled the notion that California’s waiting period is “presumptively lawful” under Heller as a “condition on commercial sales of arms.” Second, our brief showed that waiting periods for firearm purchases do not fall within any of Heller’s “presumptively lawful” categories of regulations. Finally, our brief argued that, while the district court below correctly determined that the waiting period is unconstitutional, it did so for the wrong reasons. The district court based its decision not on the text and context of the Second Amendment, but on the same type of judicially-devised interest balancing test that the Supreme Court rejected in Heller.
Today our firm filed a brief supporting the right to “bear” arms in California. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit previously handed down an opinion striking down San Diego County’s policy under which “self-defense” was not considered to be a “good cause” allowing the issuance of a concealed carry permit. Now, the Ninth Circuit decided to re-hear the case en banc. The Peruta case was consolidated with another case, Richards v. County of Yolo, which challenged Yolo County’s “good cause” policy. Our brief addressed issues in both cases.
On March12, 2015, our firm joined with co-counsel with Barry K. Arrington, Esquire of Centennial, Colorado, and filed in the Colorado Court of Appeals a brief challenging the constitutionality of the recent 2013 Colorado laws banning so-called “large capacity” magazines and requiring criminal background checks for all private transfers of firearms.
In 2013, representing the National Association for Gun Rights and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, our firm challenged Colorado’s recent gun control laws in a Denver court. This suit was based exclusively on violations of the Colorado State Constitution. Interestingly, the Colorado Constitution is stronger even than the U.S. Constitution in defending gun rights. In two recent cases, Colorado courts had upheld gun rights that have been denied in the federal courts. Nevertheless, the district court dismissed the case without a hearing, not allowing us to present evidence of the flaws in the statue, nor the state’s rich history of promoting and protecting gun rights. We took an appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals.
Today, our firm filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a challenge to San Francisco’s gun storage and ammunition ordinances.
This decision comes as the latest in a long string of decisions wherein the lower federal courts simply have refused to implement the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Heller. As our amicus brief explains, the lower federal courts are in a state of open rebellion in the lower courts against Heller. Our amicus brief documents the lawless behavior of the lower federal courts, and urges the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari.
Tony Henderson was convicted in federal court of a felony drug crime. Before conviction, he had voluntarily turned over his firearms to the FBI. After conviction, knowing that, as a felon, he could no longer legally possess firearms under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1), Henderson sold his firearms to a third party. Henderson then asked the FBI to transfer his firearms to that eligible third party buyer. The FBI refused, arguing that to do so would put Henderson into temporary “constructive possession” of the firearms.
Our comments on behalf of Gun Owners America, Inc. to the Department of Health and Human Services on proposed HIPPA rules were cited in an article by Stephanie E. Pearl, “HIPPA: Caught in the Cross Fire,” published in the Duke University Law Journal, vol. 64, no. 3, p. 559, 565, n. 39 (2014).