SACRAMENTO, CA (June 27, 2019) — Today, plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit announced that Judge Morrison C. England, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of California, denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims in Sharp, et al. v. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, et al., a case about people who were denied the ability to register their firearms, putting them in legal jeopardy, because of what was alleged as “systemic” problems within California DOJ, not the least of which was the DOJ’s non-functioning website that was plagued with problems, preventing many law-abiding gun owners from complying with the registration requirement. A copy of the court filing can be accessed at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/sharp.
“We are pleased that the judge recognized that our clients, and potentially many others, have a claim based on the DOJ’s systemic failures,” said lead counsel, George M. Lee. “We look forward to proving that the DOJ’s administrators were deliberately indifferent to the plight of law-abiding gun owners who were simply trying to comply with the law.”
“There is a certain bureaucratic cruelty to this Catch-22 scheme that required ordinary citizens to comply with the law, but deprived them of the opportunity to do so,” Lee explained. “We will show that the DOJ’s indifference to this dilemma amounted to a deprivation of due process to fundamental liberty interests of gun owners.”
“This unjust California government-created problem must be stopped immediately,” said Second Amendment Foundation Founder and Executive Vice President, Alan Gottlieb. “Gun owners should not be put at risk due to state regulatory incompetence.”
As part of ongoing discovery, the plaintiffs received a document that shows one high-ranking DOJ official saying in response to a suggestion that the system’s failures might result in a lawsuit, “Not going to please everyone. 😉”.
“Judge England’s ruling supports our theory that the DOJ’s many failures may indeed be violations of the right to due process under the Constitution,” commented FPC President Brandon Combs. “In fact, the facts may also support an inference of ‘deliberate indifference’ on the part of the DOJ. We look forward to the opportunity to show that the California DOJ not only fails miserably in doing their job, but actually acts against law-abiding California gun owners, possibly even out of animus.”
Attorney George M. Lee’s case update on Sharp v. Becerra can be viewed at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/sharp-update.
People who encountered similar issues should contact attorney George M. Lee of Seiler Epstein LLP or the FPC/FPF Legal Action Hotline at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline or (855) 252-4510.