On March 25, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a November 2012 federal district court ruling that denied a request to block enforcement of two extreme San Francisco gun control ordinances. The San Francisco ordinances challenged in the Jackson v. San Francisco case require handguns to be kept under lock and key in the home at all times unless actually being carried, and ban the sale of all “non-sporting” and common “hollow-point” self-defense ammunition.
Because of fundamental conflicts between the court’s analysis and recent Supreme Court decisions and admonishments, the plaintiffs are seeking “en banc” review by an “en banc” panel of eleven Ninth Circuit judges, and will seek Supreme Court review after that if necessary.
Funded largely by the National Rifle Association, the Jackson case was one of many coordinated civil rights cases filed in the wake of the Heller decision in 2008. The Jackson case is being litigated by the NRA’s West Coast attorneys at Michel and Associates, along with former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement.
The Jackson decision highlights the problems with the analytical framework for considering Second Amendment challenges recently fashioned by the Ninth Circuit in the United States v. Chovan case. That subjective “intermediate scrutiny” framework allows political and personal bias to creep into the law making and judicial review process, and effectively creates a toothless and overly deferential review of government infringements on Second Amendment rights. Under this type of watered-down judicial standard of review, judges who are so inclined can find that virtually all restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms are constitutional simply by accepting post hoc government justifications uncritically, or by characterizing an infringement as “insubstantial.”
The request for en banc review or Supreme Court review will seek a standard of judicial review in Second Amendment cases that is consistent with the instructions and warnings given by the Supreme Court in the District of Columbia v. Heller case.
The Jackson case is one of two Ninth Circuit cases being litigated by the NRA’s California legal team that are currently being considered for potential en banc review. The other case, Peruta v. County of San Diego, recently resulted in a tremendous decision from a three-judge panel confirming that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm in public and striking down a Sheriff’s policy that required applicants to establish a special need before they could get a license to carry a firearm outside the home.
The next several months promise to be very interesting for gun owners, so be sure to subscribe to alerts at www.CalGunLaws.com for important updates.
You can also assist in the fight to defend gun owners’ rights in California courts by donating to the NRA Legal Action Project today. For a summary of some of the many actions the NRA has taken on behalf of California gun owners, including the tremendous recent victory in the Peruta case click here. Second Amendment supporters should be careful about supporting litigation efforts promised by other individuals and groups without access to the necessary funding, relationships, firearm experts and experienced lawyers on the NRA’s national legal team. The NRA’s team of highly regarded civil rights attorneys and scholars has the resources, skill and expertise to maximize the potential for victory.