As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the NRA would like to thank its members and donors for their valuable contributions this year. Without your continued support, the NRA would not be able to do what they do in the fight for your Second Amendment rights.
The NRA, its lobbyists, and its lawyers have been heavily involved in a number of important legal and legislative battles, both in California and across the country, that are aimed at protecting, restoring, and expanding the gun rights of Californians. Here is a summary of some of the more significant efforts your contributions made possible in 2014. The NRA graciously thanks you for your support!
If you would still like to contribute to these efforts, you can donate to the NRA Legal Action Project today!
The NRA has been heavily involved in a number of important gun rights cases over the past year that are aimed at advancing the rights of California gun owners. In most cases that the NRA funds and litigates, the NRA is not actually the named plaintiff in the case. And in some cases, the NRA contributes by having its attorneys prepare important “amicus” or “friend of the court” briefs.
Peruta v. County of San Diego – This groundbreaking suit challenges San Diego County’s policy that requires residents to demonstrate a special need or “good cause” beyond self-defense to obtain a license to carry a firearm. On February 13, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs, confirming that the Second Amendment secures a right to carry a firearm for self-defense, and finding that policies denying that right to average, law-abiding citizens, are unconstitutional. San Diego decided not to appeal the decision. The California Attorney General’s office filed a request to intervene in the case to continue the appeals process. In November 2014, the Court denied the Attorney General’s request. The Attorney General is appealing the denial of her request to intervene in the case to an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Peruta v. San Diego
McKay v. Sheriff Hutchens – This sister lawsuit to the Peruta case challenges Orange County’s strict requirements for obtaining a CCW. It was filed after the California legislature banned the “unloaded open carry” of firearms. This case is a follow-up to the district court decisions in the Peruta and Richard’s cases that relied partially on the plaintiffs’ ability to openly carry an unloaded firearm, which has since been prohibited. Plaintiffs have fully briefed and argued their appeal before the Ninth Circuit. The case is currently stayed, awaiting a final mandate from the Court in the Peruta matter. In the meantime, the lawsuit has prompted the Orange County Sheriffs’ Department to change its policies and begin issuing carry permits for self-defense.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: McKay v. Hutchens
Richards v. Prieto – The NRA filed an important amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit challenging Yolo County's restrictive CCW policies. In March 2014, the Court ruled in favor of Plaintiffs as a result of its decision in Peruta.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Richards v. Prieto
Mehl v. Blanas – The NRA’s lawyers filed an amicus brief and participated in oral argument in Ninth Circuit when it reviewed this ill-conceived case brought by a well intentioned, but poorly prepared attorney challenging existing CCW policies. The brief explained the procedural defects in the case and argued that better cases existed for deciding the CCW issues. This potentially dangerous case could have created bad case law that would have impacted other CCW cases. Perhaps due to these efforts, the Court disposed of the case in an unpublished decision that avoided reaching the substantive legal questions, leaving those important questions to be decided favorably in Peruta.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Mehl v. Blanas
Nichols v. Harris – Filed an amicus brief in Ninth Circuit that convinced the Court to temporarily stay this lawsuit. The case was filed by a well-intentioned but misguided non-attorney, and threatened the future of the right to carry for all Californians. The stay allowed other cases involving the right to bear arms to be decided first, and provided experienced litigators with a better opportunity to evaluate the case to determine whether assisting the plaintiff was the right course of action.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Nichols v. Harris
Jackson v. City of San Francisco – This lawsuit challenged three San Francisco ordinances requiring handguns to be locked or disassembled while in the home unless being carried, banning the discharge of firearms (the lawsuit already forced amendments authorizing defensive and other lawful discharges), and prohibiting the purchase of common self-defense (hollow-point) ammunition in city limits. Plaintiffs received a favorable published opinion after opposing the City’s challenge to their standing, paving the way for other plaintiffs to bring Second Amendment challenges in the Ninth Circuit. In March 2014, a three judge panel of the Court affirmed the lower court’s decision denying Plaintiffs’ request for an injunction. In July 2014, the Ninth Circuit declined to rehear the case by an en banc panel of judges. Plaintiffs’ request for review by the United States Supreme Court will be filed in December 2014.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Jackson v. San Francisco
Pizzo v. Newsom – The NRA filed an amicus brief urging the Court to dismiss ill-conceived and poorly prepared claims threatening to undermine efforts in Jackson v. San Francisco. Thankfully, the Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims on standing grounds without reaching the merits. In doing so, it adopted the favorable standing analysis secured by the NRA’s attorneys in Jackson, and disregarded the watered-down standing argument pushed for by the City.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Pizzo v. Newsom
Assenza v. City of Los Angeles – The case successfully prompted the enforcement of an 18-year-old consent decree against the LAPD and Chief Beck to ensure that all members of the public were properly receiving the requisite CCW application and CCW policy when sought at station houses. The consent decree as now enforced also requires each LAPD station to conspicuously post a sign explaining where the CCW application and policy can be obtained online or in person.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Assenza v. City of Los Angeles
Fyock v. Sunnyvale – This important case seeks to confirm Second Amendment protections for standard-capacity magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds, by challenging Sunnyvale’s ban on the possession of such magazines. A similar lawsuit was also filed against the City and County of San Francisco. These lawsuits are part of a coordinated nationwide litigation campaign to confirm Second Amendment protections for standard-capacity magazines. In March 2014, the District Court issued a ruling confirming that the Second Amendment protects standard-capacity magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but remarkably and incorrectly held that the City’s total ban on their possession and use does not violate the Second Amendment. The case is now fully briefed before the Ninth Circuit. Oral argument was held on September 17.
All filings in the case and the audio recording of the oral arguments can be accessed here: Fyock v. Sunnyvale
SFVPOA v. City and County of San Francisco – (Northern District California, United States District Court) Sister case to Fyock v. Sunnyvale, challenging San Francisco’s recently enacted ban on the possession of so-called “large capacity magazines.” The lawsuit was temporarily dismissed by the Plaintiffs while the Fyock (Sunnyvale) case is on appeal. Should the Fyock case be successful, this case will immediately be re-filed in San Francisco.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: SFVPOA v. City and County of San Francisco
Bauer v. Harris – This Federal lawsuit challenges the California Department of Justice’s misuse of DROS fee revenues collected from lawful firearm purchasers at the time of sale as violating the Second Amendment. Extensive discovery has been completed in the case, and Plaintiffs expect to file a motion for summary judgment next month.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Bauer v. DOJ
Gentry v. Harris – (Sacramento County Superior Court, California) Sister state court case to the NRA supported federal court challenge to the DOJ’s improper use of DROS fees surplusage to fund the State’s general law enforcement activities.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Gentry v. Harris
Calguns Foundation v. San Mateo County – The NRA filed an amicus brief with the California Court of Appeals in this case challenging a local ban on the possession of firearms in county parks on state preemption grounds. The NRA’s legal team sought to bolster the plaintiffs’ argument, but also to fully inform the Court of other preemption arguments that were not raised in the plaintiffs’ briefs. The Court of Appeals ruled against the plaintiffs. The NRA’s lawyers submitted a letter to the California Supreme Court supporting plaintiffs’ petition for review and requesting depublication of the opinion. Unfortunately, those requests were denied and the Calguns Foundation decision stands, potentially limiting the future usefulness of the preemption doctrine in California.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Calguns Foundation v. San Mateo County
People v. Nguyen – The law challenged in this case imposes liability for a person who possesses parts that could be assembled to make an illegal “assault weapon,” and who intends to assemble the parts to make an unregistered “assault weapon.” Under the law, an individual can be convicted of attempted illegal “assault weapon” manufacturing and attempted illegal “assault weapon” possession. The NRA’s lawyers filed a request for depublication with California Supreme Court to prevent having this potentially dangerous appellate court decision from being used as precedent in future cases against firearm owners. Unfortunately, that request was denied.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: People v. Nguyen
CRPAF v. Regents of the University of California – Lawsuit successfully forcing government compliance with the California Public Records Act. The lawsuit is part of an ongoing comprehensive battle the NRA is fighting over restrictions on the use of lead ammunition. This suit was brought to force the government to turn over documents it was shielding from disclosure that purportedly support the government’s claim that lead ammunition found in harvested game is poisoning California condors.
Parker v. State of California – This lawsuit successfully struck down California’s “AB 962,” which would have banned mail order ammunition purchases and required registration and thumb-printing for all in-store purchases. The plaintiffs successfully defended against the State’s appeal of the case to the California Court of Appeals, resulting in a 41-page published opinion affirming the victory in full. The case set groundbreaking precedent for due process vagueness challenges, confirming that gun laws must provide heightened levels of clarity in order to withstand vagueness challenges. The case was also the basis for the governor’s veto of subsequent legislation similar to AB 962. The State recently asked the California Supreme Court to review the decision, and the Court accepted the case. Briefing before the California Supreme Court will be complete in December 2014, and oral arguments are expected to take place in early 2015.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Parker v. California
Other Litigation Efforts
The NRA and its legal team are providing funding and assistance in a number of critical Second Amendment cases across the country that could set valuable precedent for future challenges to California’s ill-conceived gun laws. The following are a few examples of the types of cases the NRA is involved in outside of California that could have broader implications for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in the Golden State.
Biecker v. Hickenlooper – (10th Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals) Lawsuit challenging Colorado’s recently enacted legislation banning so-called “large-capacity magazines.” The case is currently being briefed before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and oral arguments are expected to take place in 2015.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Beicker v. Hickenlooper
Heller v. District of Columbia (Heller III) – This case raises a Second Amendment challenge to the District of Columbia’s draconian registration requirements and its prohibitions on “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines.” The lawsuit is currently being briefed before the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Oral arguments are expected to take place in 2015.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Heller v. District of Columbia
Kitsap County v. Kitsap Rifle & Revolver – (State of Washington Court of Appeals, Division II) Lawsuit challenging repressive zoning restrictions for shooting ranges.)
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Kitsap County v. Kitsap Rifle & Revolver
Kolbe v. O’Malley – This case raises a Second Amendment challenge to Maryland’s recently enacted bans on so-called “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines.” The lawsuit is currently being briefed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Oral arguments are expected to take place in 2015.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Kolbe v. O’Malley
NYSRPA v. Cuomo – (2nd Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals) Lawsuit challenging New York’s “Safe Act” banning “assault weapons” and “large-capacity magazines.” The case is now fully briefed before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and oral arguments are scheduled to take place on December 9th.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: NYSRPA v. Cuomo
Shew v. Malloy – (2nd Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals) Lawsuit challenging Connecticut’s recently enacted legislation banning “assault weapons” and “large-capacity magazines.” The case is now fully briefed before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and oral arguments are scheduled to take place on December 9th.
All filings in the case can be viewed here: Shew v. Malloy
The NRA THANKS YOU for helping making all of these litigation efforts possible!
To continue helping the NRA help California gun owners in court in 2015, please donate to the NRA Legal Action Project today. 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.
California State Legislation
Your contributions were also extremely valuable to the NRA on the legislative front, as the NRA was once again fighting in the trenches in 2014. All totaled, there were nearly three dozen gun-related bills brought up for consideration. Most of the bills proposed during the 2014 legislative session were technical in nature, compared to the onslaught of headline-grabbing gun and magazine-banning bills that were introduced in the previous year.
Early Session Action
Many of the bills considered this year failed early in the session. Two of the more significant bills that were defeated were Assembly Bill (AB) 2305 and Senate Bill (SB) 580. AB 2305 would have significantly expanded California law by imposing criminal liability if an individual unknowingly carries a firearm “on or about” their person. SB 580 would have diverted millions of dollars from the Firearms Safety and Enforcement Fee (FSE Fee) to fund general law enforcement activities like investigations of contacts in the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS).
Unfortunately, AB 1964 passed early in the legislative session and was signed by the Governor. This bill removes the single-shot exemption for handguns that are not listed on California’s Roster of approved handguns. The NRA is currently reviewing its options to attack AB 1964.
The most significant piece of legislation that was defeated in the 2014 session was Senate Bill 53, authored by rabidly anti-gun Senator Kevin DeLeon. SB 53 would have banned all online and mail-order sales of ammunition. It would have required the collection and reporting of personal consumer information and thumb printing for all ammo purchases in California. And it would have required anyone wishing to exercise their fundamental Right to Keep and Bear Arms to obtain a costly ammunition purchaser permit that would have to be renewed every two years. DeLeon’s goal is to expand current registration requirements to include all ammunition. In 2009, AB 962 (also authored by DeLeon) was passed. That bill sought to impose restrictions that were largely identical to SB 53 on “handgun ammunition” sales. However, those restrictions were blocked from taking effect because the definition of handgun ammunition employed by AB 962 was ruled unconstitutionally vague in the NRA supported lawsuit, Parker v. California. For now, the statutes remain blocked from enforcement, and the case is currently pending before the California Supreme Court. These points and more were raised and discussed at length during legislative hearings on SB 53. Just before the deadline for the legislature to pass bills out of both houses, California gun owners scored a win with the defeat of SB 53, as the bill ultimately failed to garner the necessary votes to move to the governor’s desk. The defeat of SB 53 would not have been possible without the thousands of opposition letters and phone calls from the many California gun owners who rightfully opposed this bill. Thank you!!!
End of Session Action
At the end of the legislative session, seven gun-related bills were sent to the Governor for consideration: two pro-hunting bills and five anti-gun bills.
AB 1709 revises the eligibility age to purchase a junior hunting license to include minors that are 16 and 17 years of age. Previously, minors over the age of 15 were not able to purchase discounted junior hunting licenses.
AB 2105 will require the Department of Fish and Game to authorize a non-profit organization designated by the department to assist in the sale of Nelson bighorn ram tags and to retain 5% of the amount of the sale price of the tag, plus any applicable credit card fees, as a reasonable vendor fee. This bill sets a Nelson bighorn ram tag at $400 for residents and requires the commission, on or before July 1, 2015, by regulation, to fix the fee for a non-resident of the state at not less than $1,500 for the same tag. This bill will bring non-resident fee tags for bighorn sheep in line with the fees charged to non-residents in other states. AB 2105 will also allow non-profits to assist the state in auctioning these tags at fundraising events to recover administrative costs.
Of the remaining five gun bills on the Governor’s desk, he signed four and vetoed one.
The most controversial and high-profile of the bills that were signed into law is AB 1014. AB 1014 allows a law enforcement officer or immediate family member to seek a “gun violence restraining order” that would prohibit an individual from lawfully possessing or receiving any firearms or ammunition for a specified period of time.
AB 1014 makes it illegal to file a frivolous request, a provision that is not found in existing restraining order laws. The NRA’s lawyers will keep a close eye towards anyone who might seek to abuse the process in court. If you find yourself the target of a restraining order under AB 1014, contact the NRA’s lawyers at Michel and Associates, P.C. immediately.
SB 199 requires certain airsoft devices, and a small number of devices that also qualify as “BB devices” as that term is defined by law, to be brightly colored. SB 199 was largely gutted to exempt most BB devices, and it was ultimately supported by most of the airsoft industry.
Governor Brown also signed into law AB 2310. This bill reinstates and geographically expands a program previously in place in Los Angeles that authorizes city attorneys to file unlawful detainer actions against residents who have been arrested for any of a number of criminal firearm offenses. While the pilot program that has been in place in Los Angeles for several years did not lead to abuses, the NRA and its lawyers will be keeping a very close eye on the implementation of this bill in each of the authorized cities.
The remaining bill signed into law in 2014 was AB 1609, which unnecessarily duplicates federal law by requiring firearms purchased outside California to be transferred into California through a licensed firearms dealer.
Finally, SB 808 was considered and vetoed by Governor Brown, which would have banned personal firearms manufacturing in California unless an individual first obtained permission from DOJ and subsequently engraved a DOJ-provided serial number on the firearm. The NRA and gun owners kept the pressure on the legislature and the Governor’s staff, ultimately resulting in the defeat of this ill-conceived legislation. Thank you!!!
To read more about the 2014 legislative session and view many of the NRA’s opposition letters, click here.
In addition to supporting the fight in Sacramento, your contributions also assist the NRA and its lawyers in the fight for your Second Amendment rights at the local level. The NRA regularly submits opposition letters, issues pre-litigation demand letters, and appears at regulatory and local government meetings to oppose local gun control measures. Some of the NRA’s recent local efforts in California include the following:
City of Santa Cruz – Submitted an opposition letter to the proposed ordinance adding Chapter 5.62 to the Santa Cruz County Code regarding the regulation of firearm dealers. Opposition Letter
City and County of San Francisco – Submitted an opposition letter to the proposal to ban the possession and sale of certain ammunition, File No. 130040 [Police Code — Possession or Sale of Law Enforcement or Military Ammunition]. Opposition Letter. Although City officials initially touted its ordinance as banning the possession of all hollow-point ammunition, a swift response and threat of litigation by NRA’s lawyers prompted the San Francisco Police Department to concede in writing that the ordinance does not ban the possession of hollow-point ammunition, and applies to virtually no available cartridges. To read about the City’s claims and view the concession letter, click here.
City of South San Francisco – Submitted an opposition letter to a proposal to prohibit the sale of hollow-point ammunition and to require registration of all ammunition sales. NRA’s lawyers also worked directly with the City Attorney, prompting him to recommend that the City withdraw consideration of the ordinance, which it did. Opposition Letter
City of Los Angeles – Submitted multiple opposition letters to a proposed ordinance declaring any “large-capacity magazine” within the City to be a public nuisance and consequently subjecting such magazines to confiscation and summary destruction by the Los Angeles Police Department. Opposition Letter; Opposition Letter
City of Los Gatos – Submitted an opposition letter to the adoption of draconian restrictions on licensed firearm dealers concerning the sale of firearms and ammunition. Opposition Letter
City of Pleasant Hill – Submitted an opposition letter to the adoption of proposed amendments to Chapter 9.35 of the Pleasant Hill Municipal Code, which introduce several new regulations affecting firearm-related businesses. Opposition Letter
City of San Francisco – Submitted an opposition to the adoption of File No. 130585 — Police Code — Large Capacity Magazines; Sales of Firearms and Ammunition; Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms; Shooting Ranges. Opposition Letter
City of Los Angeles – Submitted an opposition to Council File No. 11-0962 “Imitation Firearms/Ordinance”. This proposed ordinance seeks to ban, with limited exceptions, the manufacture, sale, or other transfer of imitation firearms unless it is colored bright orange or bright green. It also prohibits the open display or exposure of imitation firearms in public places. This proposed ordinance is preempted by federal law and ultimately does nothing to address the City’s concerns with imitation firearms. Opposition Letter
City of Pleasant Hill – Submitted an opposition letter to a proposed zoning ordinance restricting the sale of firearms and ammunition. Opposition Letter
City of Pleasant Hill – Submitted a letter opposing proposed zoning requirements restricting the sale of firearms and ammunition. Opposition Letter
City of West Sacramento – Submitted a letter opposing a proposal to amend zoning regulations restricting the sale of firearms and ammunition Ordinance 14-9. Opposition Letter
Each of these comment and opposition letters can be viewed here: NRA Local Ordinance Opposition Letters.
The National Rifle Association thanks you for your continued support, and we will continue to fight for your Second Amendment rights in Sacramento and throughout California in 2015. To contribute to the NRA’s California efforts, donate to the NRA-ILA Legal Action Project today!