SAN FRANCISCO (March 31, 2020) — Today, attorneys for Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), California Gun Rights Foundation (CGF), California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees (CAL-FFL), National Rifle Association of America (NRA), and Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) filed a new federal lawsuit challenging bans on the operation of gun stores and shooting ranges imposed by a number of Bay Area governments and government officials. A copy of the lawsuit can be found at FPCLegal.org.
“California’s local governments cannot simply suspend the Constitution,” opens the lawsuit. “Authorities may not, by decree or otherwise, enact and/or enforce a suspension or deprivation of constitutional liberties. And they certainly may not use a public health crisis as political cover to impose bans and restrictions on rights they do not like. . . . The need for self-defense during uncertain times is precisely when Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs’ members must be able to exercise their fundamental rights to keep and bear arms.”
The complaint targets emergency orders issued in relation to the coronavirus pandemic that shutters firearm and ammunition retailers and ranges, considering them “non-essential businesses.” SAF, FPC, CGF, and NRA have already filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles area governments and officials enforcing similar bans and orders. And even anti-gun New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently reversed his prior position following a similar lawsuit brought by attorneys for SAF and FPC.
“Local governments in California, or anywhere else for that matter, cannot simply suspend the Constitution, even using a public health crisis as an excuse,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “In this case, they are using the COVID-19 crisis as political cover to put restrictions on a constitutional right they don’t like, and we’re taking action to stop them.”
“In this challenging time, it is critical that common sense and the law prevail,” commented CGF Chairman, Gene Hoffman. “We’re demanding that our local officials set aside their policy preferences and unequivocally follow the Constitution. It is exactly in these sorts of social emergencies where law enforcement response can be severely impacted and individuals need access to the tools and training required to safely defend their homes.”
“Local governments aren’t promoting safety or ‘common sense’ by targeting gun stores for closure; the closures only serve to disarm law-abiding families while criminals roam free,” states NRA-ILA Executive Director, Jason Ouimet. “Because these closures violate our Second Amendment rights when we need them most, the National Rifle Association continues to fight such infringements in court alongside fellow Second Amendment groups.”
“These governments’ contempt for individuals’ enumerated constitutional rights reinforces the need for the courts to step in and prevent government officials from overstepping constitutional bounds,” proclaimed Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy and co-counsel on the lawsuit. “We will continue to work with our friends to bring litigation against governments that refuse to recognize the People’s inalienable right to keep and bear arms, particularly in times where it is most needed.”
“The Bay Area is not exempt from the Bill of Rights, and these outrageous and irrational restrictions on gun stores and ranges is a policy preference that the Constitution takes off the table,” explained FPC President Brandon Combs. “FPC and our partners look forward to reminding these governments and officials that the People’s Constitution is bigger than their personal opinions.”
Individual firearm or ammunition purchasers, retailers, and ranges affected by ‘stay-home’ or shutdown orders are encouraged to report their concerns and potential civil rights violations to FPC’s COVID-19 Issue Hotline at www.FPChotline.org.
Summary: Federal lawsuit challenging various Orders, actions, and closures of firearm and ammunition retailers and shooting ranges upon threat of prosecution, etc.
Litigation Counsel: George M. Lee; John Dillon; FPC Director of Legal Strategy Adam Kraut
Plaintiffs: Janice Altman, an individual; Ryan Goodrich, an individual; Albert Lee Swann, an individual; Roman Kaplan, an individual; Yan Traytel, an individual; Dmitri Danilevsky, an individual; Greg David, an individual; City Arms East LLC; City Arms LLC; Cuckoo Collectibles LLC d.b.a Eddy’s Shooting Sports; Second Amendment Foundation; California Gun Rights Foundation; National Rifle Association Of America; California Association Of Federal Firearms Licensees, Inc.; and Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc.
Defendants: County of Santa Clara, California; Laurie Smith, in her capacity as Sheriff of The County of Santa Clara; Jeffrey Rosen, in his official capacity as Santa Clara County District Attorney; Sara Cody, in her official capacity as Santa Clara County Health Officer; City of San Jose, California; Sam Liccardo, in his official capacity as Mayor of San Jose; Edgardo Garcia, in his official capacity as Chief of Police for the City of San Jose; City of Mountain View, California; Max Bosel, in his official capacity as The Chief of Police for the City of Mountain View; County of Alameda, California; Gregory Ahern, in his capacity as Sheriff of The County of Alameda; Erica Pan, in her capacity as Health Officer of The County of Alameda; County of San Mateo, California; Carlos Bolanos, in his capacity as Sheriff of The County of San Mateo; Scott Morrow in his capacity as San Mateo County Health Officer; City of Pacifica, California; Dan Steidle, in his official capacity as The Chief of Police for the City of Pacifica; County of Contra Costa, California; David Livingston, in his capacity as Sheriff of The County of Contra Costa; Chris Farnitano, in his capacity as Health Officer of Contra Costa County; City of Pleasant Hill, California; Bryan Hill in his official capacity as Chief of Police for the City of Pleasant Hill
- A declaratory judgment that the operation of firearm and ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges are essential and must be allowed to operate, and that Defendants’ Orders, enforcement policies, practices, and customs that individually and/or collectively prohibit the operation of licensed firearm and ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges and thus individually and/or collectively violate the Second and Fourteenth Amendments;
- A preliminary and permanent injunction restraining Defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and all persons in concert or participation with them who receive notice of the injunction, from enforcing Defendants’ Orders and enforcement policies, practices, and customs that individually and/or collectively prohibit the operation of licensed firearm and ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges and thus individually and/or collectively violate the Second and Fourteenth Amendments;
- Nominal damages against Defendants;
- All other and further relief, including injunctive relief, against Defendants as necessary to effectuate the Court’s judgment, or as the Court otherwise deems just and equitable; and,
- Attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and any other applicable law.
Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom.
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 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.
California Gun Rights Foundation (www.cagunrights.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members, supporters, and the public through educational, cultural, and judicial efforts to advance Second Amendment and related civil rights.
National Rifle Association (www.nra.org) is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services.
California Association of Federal Firearm Licensees (www.calffl.org) is California’s advocacy group for Second Amendment and related economic rights. CAL-FFL members include firearm dealers, training professionals, shooting ranges, collectors, gun owners, and others who participate in the firearms ecosystem.