FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 19, 2013
The Calguns Foundation Sues California Attorney General Kamala Harris and
DOJ Firearms Bureau Chief Stephen Lindley Over Federal Civil Rights Violations
SAN CARLOS, CA – The Calguns Foundation filed a new federal civil rights lawsuit this morning on behalf of three California residents, naming Attorney General Kamala Harris and DOJ Bureau of Firearms Chief Stephen Lindley as defendants. The case challenges the California Department of Justice’s practice of denying individuals’ fundamental rights protected under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
The Department, through defendants Harris and Lindley, have been and continue to enforce a policy of forbidding many gun purchasers from taking possession of their lawfully-obtained firearms through what are commonly referred to as “DROS delays”, sometimes for over a year or indefinitely.
One plaintiff in the case, Darren Owen of Taft, California, has been denied his firearm for over 18 months.
“It’s the government’s responsibility to timely prove that someone has already been adjudicated and their Constitutional right to purchase and possess guns taken away through due process,” explained Gene Hoffman, the Foundation’s Chairman. “It’s not the individual’s job to prove that they have fundamental rights.”
“By shifting the burden to the individual, the DOJ is blatantly violating the Constitution and thumbing its nose at the U.S. Supreme Court’s D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago decisions.”
Victor Otten, an attorney for the plaintiffs, agrees. “Our clients are not prohibited from owning guns under state and federal law,” noted Otten. “The bottom line is that if the DOJ cannot determine that someone is ineligible to possess firearms in a timely manner with all of the databases and law enforcement resources it has at its disposal, then they have no choice but to allow our clients and other similarly-situated gun owners to take possession of their firearms.”
Under current California law, the DOJ must permit a firearm purchaser to receive their firearm at the end of the 10-day DROS background check period unless it determines that the purchaser is not eligible to possess or purchase firearms. Earlier this year, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D – San Francisco) amended his bill AB 500 to allow the Department of Justice to deny the release of firearms for up to 30 days. AB 500 is presently awaiting California Governor Jerry Brown’s action.
“We’ve received hundreds of reports like those at issue in this case and it’s a virtual certainty that there are thousands of others like the individual plaintiffs out there,” said the Foundation’s Executive Director, Brandon Combs. “The DOJ’s policy is nothing short of outrageous.”
Continued Combs, “It’s time for the DOJ to respect the Second Amendment. If the Attorney General and her staff refuse to do it voluntarily, we will not hesitate to force it in the courts. In filing this case, we seek to ensure that the Constitutionally-enshrined fundamental rights of Californians to buy and possess firearms are respected no matter how far Ms. Harris or Assemblymember Ammiano might wish the DOJ’s powers extended.”
The new federal lawsuit is entitled Darrin Owen, et. al. vs. Kamala Harris, et. al. and may be viewed or downloaded at http://ia601002.us.archive.org/8/ite...71.docket.html
The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org
) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members, supporters, and the public through educational, cultural, and judicial efforts to defend and advance Second Amendment and related civil rights. Supporters may visit http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/donate
to join or donate to CGF.
Please forward this official communication to all of your contacts and help us distribute this important gun rights news alert.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 12, 2013
The Calguns Foundation, 7 Californians Sue Attorney General Kamala Harris, DOJ Over Gun Delays
SAN CARLOS, CA – The Calguns Foundation has filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven California residents today against Attorney General Kamala Harris, the California Department of Justice, and DOJ Bureau of Firearms Chief Stephen Lindley. The case challenges the DOJ’s policy of requiring some firearm purchasers to prove their legal standing to take possession of acquired firearms and forcing them to wait beyond the statutory 10-day waiting period.
One plaintiff in the case, Daniel Schoepf of Long Beach, California, was denied his fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense even after DOJ told him that he was legally eligible to purchase and possess firearms.
In 1984, Schoepf was detained in Los Angeles County for having two tablets in his pocket that were later discovered to be common, non-prescription pills. The detectives subsequently released Schoepf and no charges were filed. In 2006, DOJ firearms section Program Manager Steve Buford sent Schoepf a letter stating that he was eligible to purchase and possess firearms; however, in 2012, DOJ reversed that position and instructed Schoepf’s local firearms dealer to hold back delivery of Schoepf’s gun.
“I know I’m not alone in this, that DOJ is wrongly denying many Californians their Second Amendment rights just like they are mine,” said Schoepf. “I’m not a criminal and certainly not a disqualified convict but am a law abiding citizen with my Second Amendment rights fully intact. They left me no choice but to fight this injustice in court.”
“Over the past year, the DOJ has been directing California gun dealers to delay the release of firearms to people eligible to possess them – sometimes indefinitely,“ said Jason Davis, attorney for The Calguns Foundation. “The DOJ simply has no legal authority to justify their policy.”
The DOJ claims that these delays are primarily due to lack of information in their criminal history databases. In a July 2011 Los Angeles Times article, assistant attorney general Travis LeBlanc said the DOJ’s criminal records database system was “shoddy,” with the ‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’, or ‘case dismissed’ disposition information missing for about 7.7 million of the 16.4 million arrest records entered into the database over the last decade – and presumably much more for older cases.
“In essence, the DOJ is relying upon their improperly-maintained database to deny the fundamental rights of individuals,” said Gene Hoffman, Chairman of The Calguns Foundation. “That policy is entirely unacceptable and we look forward to putting an end to it.”
The attorney for plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Victor Otten, agrees.
“Our clients follow the law and so should the DOJ,” said Otten. “The DOJ is gleefully enforcing a policy that deprives my clients of their civil rights. The arrogance of the Department to think that it can abrogate the Constitution and statutory duties set by the Legislature is very unsettling.”
“This case really underscores the value of our DOJ Watch program,” said Brandon Combs, Executive Director of The Calguns Foundation. “Attorney General Harris’s hostility towards some civil rights predictably resulted in a shift away from former Attorney General Brown’s correct application of the law – and we are here to hold her accountable.”
The lawsuit is entitled Schoepf, et. al. vs. Kamala Harris, et. al. A copy of the complaint may be viewed or downloaded at http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/wp-...-complaint.pdf
The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org
) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which serves its members and the public by providing Second Amendment-related education, strategic litigation, and the defense of innocent California gun owners from improper or malicious prosecution. The Calguns Foundation seeks to inform government and protect the rights of individuals to acquire, own, and lawfully use firearms in California. Supporters may visit http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/donate
to join or donate to CGF.