SACRAMENTO (November 11, 2020) — Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced today the filing of a new lawsuit against Sheriff Scott R. Jones and his Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department (SCSD) for violating the public’s rights to access information held by public agencies. The case, FPC v. Sheriff Scott Jones, can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.
The lawsuit’s petition and complaint contends that Sheriff Jones and SCSD violated the California Public Records Act and the California Constitution by denying FPC’s requests for access to and copies of records about firearm confiscations and their policies, including one recent incident where the SCSD worked with the FBI in using California’s “red flag” laws, also called “Gun Violence Restraining Orders,” to seize firearms from an individual.
“People have a right to know how the government is enforcing its laws and policies, especially in cases that involve the seizure of firearms and the suspension of fundamental, constitutionally enumerated rights,” said FPC Director of Legal Strategy Adam Kraut. “The defendants’ denial of our requests is particularly concerning in light of it being a significant matter of great public interest, and we look forward to finding out what they’re hiding from us and all Californians.”
“The California Constitution and state law provide a robust right to transparent, accountable government, and yet the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department has denied and ignored the FPC’s requests for records relating to Gun Violence Restraining Orders,” FPC’s attorney, Paul Boylan, remarked. “We are hoping that by demanding transparency of the SCSD in this case, it will curtail future infringements on the public’s rights to access information held by public agencies.”
On August 7, 2020, FPC requested the following four sets of records from SCSD:
All records and information that contain information about or relate to Orangevale resident Andrew Casarez and the Gun Violence Restraining Order(s) (see, e.g., Cal. Penal Code Sec. 18100, et seq.), warrant(s), and seizure(s) reported on July 27, 2020 at CBS Local and further discussed on the Volokh Conspiracy at Reason.
- All records that are, relate, refer to, or are otherwise applicable to Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office policies regarding Gun Violence Restraining Orders and related petitions, warrants, and seizures.
- For the period of January 1, 2020, through the present, or until such time that you produce responsive records to us, whichever is later, all Gun Violence Restraining Orders petitioned for and/or otherwise requested by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office and/or any of its officers, employees, agents and/or others working in concert with it.
- For the period of January 1, 2020, through the present, or until such time that you produce responsive records to us, whichever is later, all Gun Violence Restraining Orders and related warrants issued or otherwise provided to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office and/or any of its officers, employees, agents and/or others working in concert with it.
The request went on to state that “[r]esponsive records may include but are not limited to Writings (see, e.g., Cal. Evidence Code Sec. 250); Petitions/requests; Warrants; Body camera, police car dash camera, or other video, audio, and/or radio recordings; Reports; Statements; Investigations; Findings and/or recommendations; [and] Prior disciplinary proceedings for or investigations into any officer involved / present.”
On August 26, 2020, SCSD denied request numbers 1, 3, and 4, and provided an inadequate response to number 2. On behalf of FPC, attorney Boylan sent a letter to SCSD on September 18, 2020 that requested additional information about the denied requests and again requested records relating to request no. 2. SCSD never responded to that letter, thus prompting the litigation to compel the production of the responsive documents.
Recently, Firearms Policy Coalition has filed several major federal Second Amendment lawsuits, including challenges to New Jersey’s carry ban (Bennett v. Davis), New York City’s carry ban (Greco v. New York City), the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition by federal firearm licensees (FFLs) to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. BATFE), and California’s Handgun Ban and “Roster” laws (Renna v. Becerra). FPC also has an upcoming trial in its lawsuit challenging California’s “assault weapons” ban (Miller v. Becerra).To follow these and other legal cases FPC is actively working on, visit the Legal Action section of FPC’s website or follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.