View Full Version : SAF, Calguns Challenge Arbitrary Denial of Right to Bear Arms In California

May 5, 2009, 04:15 PM
BELLEVUE, WA and REDWOOD CITY, CA – The Second Amendment Foundation, The Calguns Foundation and three California residents today filed a lawsuit seeking to vindicate the right to bear arms against arbitrary state infringement.

Nearly all states allow qualified law-abiding citizens to carry guns for self-defense, but a few states allow local officials to arbitrarily decide who may exercise this core Second Amendment right. In the action filed today, Plaintiffs challenge the policies of two California Sheriffs, in Sacramento and Yolo counties, who reject the basic human right of self defense by refusing to issue ordinary people gun carry permits. Of course, violent criminals in the impacted counties continue to carry guns without police permission.

State scientist Deanna Sykes believes her sexual orientation and small stature makes her an appealing target for criminals, particularly as she often transports firearms as a competitive shooter and firearms instructor. “I am highly qualified to defend myself against the sort of crime that the Sheriff cannot, despite his best efforts, completely eradicate,” Sykes said. “Violent crime is a real risk in our society, but happily, we enjoy the right to defend ourselves from it.”

Andrew Witham has over 15 years experience as a police officer in Britain, and is licensed to carry a firearm while working as a private investigator and campus public safety officer. But despite having been the target of death threats stemming from his work in security, Sheriff John McGinness saw to it that Witham’s license to carry a gun while away from work was revoked upon Witham’s relocation to Sacramento.

“I’m allowed to defend other people,” said Witham, “so why can’t I defend myself, where the Bill of Rights guarantees me that right?”

Adam Richards, a Northern California attorney, would also exercise his right to bear arms in self- defense. But the Yolo County Sheriff’s policy on gun permit applications is: don’t bother. “How can the Sheriff tell whether I am capable of responsibly exercising my Second Amendment rights, when he doesn’t even acknowledge that these rights exist?”

Attorney Alan Gura, representing the plaintiffs in this case, said, “It’s a shame that these Sheriffs don’t think that self-defense is a ‘good cause’ to exercise the right to bear arms, but we’re confident the Second Amendment reflects a better policy.”

Added co-counsel Donald Kilmer, “The California carry licensing system is being abused by some officials who are hostile to self-defense rights. The police can regulate the carrying of guns, and that includes preventing dangerous people from being armed. Complete deprivation of the right to bear arms, however, is not an option under our Constitution.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision last year in the Heller case shows that there is both a right to keep arms and a right to bear arms,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “In most states, authorities do not deny a license to carry an operable firearm to any law-abiding applicant that completes training and a background check. This is also the practice throughout much of California. These two Sheriffs must respect the constitutional rights of their citizens to bear arms.”

“California is often a leader in so many ways, but our state lags badly in streamlining its firearms laws,” said Gene Hoffman, Chairman of The Calguns Foundation. “We need 21st century gun laws that respect our Constitutional rights, and adopt modern, widely accepted practices that work well throughout the United States. Hopefully this action will serve as a wake-up call to our legislators, and to those officials who stubbornly resist accommodating Second Amendment rights. If they don’t reform, reform will come through litigation.”

The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 600,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a non-profit legal defense fund for California gun owners. The Calguns foundation works to educate government and the public and protect the rights of individuals to own and lawfully use firearms in California.

A copy of the complaint is available: http://www.hoffmang.com/firearms/sykes/Sykes-v-McGinness-Complaint-2009-05-09.pdf

May 5, 2009, 06:39 PM
The man is that good.
Just a matter of time for us californio's now.

Al Norris
May 5, 2009, 07:46 PM
Normally, I would close this thread in a heartbeat for being a drive-by.

The exception here, is that this is another important piece of the puzzle, by non other than Alan Gura and Donald Kilmer.

This appears to be a second, well planned, prong of attack against the anti-gun laws of California. The time and manner of this case, coupled with the attack on the "Safe List" shows that Alan Gura had anticipated the incorporation of the 2A by the 9th Circuit and was ready to proceed to knock the ducks down, one by one.

You will note that Alan Gura, is registered with the California BAR. With these two suits, I suspect (but do not know) that there may be more in the wings.

May 5, 2009, 08:15 PM

May 5, 2009, 08:22 PM
I'm not clear as to how this could be considered a "drive-by"... it's exactly the same press release that Gene published on Calguns... which is a place that not a lot of non-CA-gunfolk monitor.

And it brings up something that a lot of us have been saying for a long time... that the fight for gun rights will not be waged in the self-righteously so-called "free states", but here in enemy territory. Gene and the Calguns Foundation are fighting a fight that will benefit everyone, and they're fighting it on ground that much of the movement wrote off years ago.

This is huge.

And note that the case was brought in Federal court. The goal is nothing less than a Federally recognized right to carry. That's got implications far beyond the borders of "Kommiefornia".

This, folks, is what happens when, instead of giving up and leaving, as we have been told over and over again to do, committed people decide to stand and fight.


maestro pistolero
May 5, 2009, 09:25 PM
Calguns... which is a place that not a lot of non-CA-gunfolk monitor.

Very true. Although I am a Nevada resident for almost ten years now, I have long been appalled at the course that the California legislature has taken with regard to 2A.

I monitor Calguns (CG) very closely for all the reasons you mention. The SAF, CG, Alan Gura, and Don Kilmer, and Gene Hoffman are really doing the heavy lifting for all of us right now. What they achieve in CA and in the 9th, directly benefit us all.

Please consider making a donation to CG. They have, and continue to earn our respect and our support.

This is the CG thread discussing this case is here: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=180923

Donate to Calguns here: http://calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/donate

May 5, 2009, 09:39 PM
Void for Vagueness? :D

Jim March
May 5, 2009, 10:19 PM
First, I want to say well done. I do have some comments :).

In no particular order:

* I'd have preferred at least one minority plaintiff, stated as such, combined with a challenge to the racial discrimination aspects to CCW. That said, the GLBT angle will probably work almost as well.

* I love seeing that phrase "arbitrary and capricious" in there. That kicks in a HUGE body of case law.

* I think they picked the right courthouse - that Federal district is about the best choice you could get in Cali, Federal or state courts. In picking the county (and one city) defendants they chose very well within that geographic limitation: City of Davis is obviously sideways with the Salute v. Pitchess decision, Yolo County is a mess and Sacramento's sheriffs have a LONG history of outright corruption that might be brought into play. I'd be very interested in seeing if the Sacramento "Sheriff's Posse" system is still in place under Sheriff McGuiness.

* A claim might have been made that the security guard could boost his income via CCW, but in this particular case that won't work because when the guy had CCW, he didn't do that. A shame, but no criticism of the lawyers or case can be made on that basis.

For those not aware, under previous sheriffs the "Posse" in that county was still granted minimal law enforcement status, likely in violation of the minimum training requirements. And they used that as a smokescreen to keep about half of the permit roster's names secret, limiting the amount of CCW-linkable campaign contributions that could be discovered.

Sure looks the same as when I looked last:


Note that Lobeer is an area attorney, and has the Posse membership roster. When I checked into this just before McGuinness took office, the Lt. in charge of the reserves didn't even have the Posse membership roster - yet I was given public records responses saying the Posse members were law enforcement therefore I couldn't have the names or other information of the Posse who held CCW.

That, folks, is a "secret police force" totally outside of any rational controls.

Even within that limitation I managed to track a hell of a lot of cash:


What else...under Craig and esp. Blanas, there was a very high rate of CCW issuance to the local Greek community of which Blanas is a member. Some hay might be made out of that.

Major bonus points if they can get the Colafrancesco Papers into play:



maestro pistolero
May 5, 2009, 10:42 PM
Here's a fun retrospective video with Dennis Henigan from the Brady bunch, having a premonition of things to come!

This is post Parker, pre-Heller. I love how they now paint the Heller decision as if the whole point of it was to allow 'reasonable restrictions.' Enjoy . . .


Al Norris
May 5, 2009, 11:05 PM

What's the definition of a drive-by post?

One that is devoid of substance ("+1" anyone?).
One that attempts to advance an agenda without intelligent back-up.
One that has no intelligent content.

What's the definition of a cut-n-paste post?

One that contains a link and little or no commentary on the link.
One that contains an article (cut-n-pasted) and little or no commentary on the article.
One that contains both a link and an article, but has little or no commentary.

The above applies equally to individual posts within a thread, or to the starting post of a thread itself.

The above is from the L&CR rules (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=313714). It is a link (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2886240&postcount=3) within those rules.

As I said, this is an exception, because the information and the implications of a (now) double attack on California gun laws are huge.

Later this month, we will have orals in McDonald v Chicago. By the end of summer we will know if yet another Circuit has bowed to the inevitable. For things in the Court System, we are moving at break-neck speed.

What's next for Gura? Define "sensitive places?" Attack the CA AWB? I don't know. But something is up for sure.

May 6, 2009, 12:25 AM
Perhaps a variance should be written in the rules for cases like this...

or perhaps you mods are doing it exactly the way you should (it's your sandbox, after all).

I guess I interpreted "drive-by" as indicating a lack of intent to inform or advance the discussion, and by those lights, this didn't qualify. It seemed like you were accusing the OP of doing what the koala said to the hooker... and it didn't feel that way to me.

Wasn't tryin' to pee in anyone's cornflakes.


May 6, 2009, 05:19 AM
Antipitas is quite right. It was a cut and paste, but exactly as said above the intent was to inform and promote useful discussion, and it achieved its purpose I believe. I would have put commentary in, but the press release itself was informative enough on its own that I didn't need to add to it. I wouldn't have posted it in the manner I did were it not of sufficient merit based upon that.

As for what's next, I'm hoping an attack on the status quo in New York.