NRA continues quest to expand gun rights

Organization backs gun owners in court.
Associated Press
Apr 6, 2014

The San Diego County sheriff denied Edward Peruta a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Christopher Haga's gun collection was seized, and he was charged with crimes after he was mistakenly linked to a theft of assault weapons from a Fresno-area military base.

The National Rifle Association then lent legal assistance to both men as part of its aggressive legal and political campaign to blunt gun controls across the nation.

Emboldened by a seminal U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2008 that upstanding Americans have the fundamental right to keep guns in their homes, the NRA has involved itself in hundreds of legal cases, many in California.

That case "unleashed a torrent of litigation," said University of California, Los Angeles Law School professor Adam Winkler, a Second Amendment expert.

Much of it is either started by the NRA or supported by the organization, which offers financial assistance and legal help to people embroiled in lawsuits and legal trouble because they own guns.

Winkler said the latest legal battle over the Second Amendment centers on expanding the right to carry guns outside the home, which is why the NRA is representing Peruta and several other gun owners who are challenging restrictions blocking permission to carry concealed firearms in public.

Peruta filed a lawsuit in 2009 after the San Diego County sheriff rejected his application for a concealed-weapons permit because Peruta failed to show he had a "good cause" to carry a gun outside his home. Peruta owns a motocross track in Connecticut, but he and his wife spend many months each year in San Diego living in their recreational vehicle.

Peruta said he wanted permission to carry a gun weapon for protection, but the sheriff and California law said he needed a better reason, such as that his occupation exposes him to robbery.

"I'm not a hunter. I'm not a collector or a target shooter," Peruta said. "I'm not a gun crazy. But I do want to protect myself."

After a federal judge refused to toss out the lawsuit in 2010, the NRA took over the case for Peruta. "The NRA is the 800-pound gorilla in this fight," he said.

In February, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, citing the Supreme Court's 2008 ruling, struck down California's "good cause" requirement, ruling that self-defense was a good enough reason to issue a concealed-weapons permit.

The California attorney general and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence are seeking to overturn that decision after San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said he would abide by the court decision.

"The issue is important: As a result of the decision, residents and visitors will be subjected to the increased risk posed by the carrying of loaded, hidden handguns on the streets of San Diego County by persons with no good cause to do so," a lawyer for the Brady organization wrote in a court filing seeking permission to formally oppose Peruta and the NRA in an appeal.

The 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut — where a gunman used an assault rifle to kill 20 children and six others — led some cities and states to enact laws banning high-capacity magazines, and the NRA countered with lawsuits.

So far, federal judges across the country have unanimously rejected the NRA's legal challenges to these bans. Federal judges in recent weeks have upheld bans enacted by San Francisco and Sunnyvale, a Silicon Valley suburb about 40 miles to the south.

"California has always been sort of one of the front-line states," said Chuck Michel, a Long Beach lawyer who represents the NRA in many of its California-based cases. Michel said the NRA and other Second Amendment advocates have filed "a whole slew of lawsuits" using the 2008 high court ruling to challenge gun-control laws enacted after Sandy Hook.

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the group has always involved itself in furthering gun rights in court, but that legal challenges have increased since 2008.

NRA has been involved in "hundreds of cases" and spends "tens of millions" of dollars out of its $300 million annual budget on legal issues, Arulanandam said.

Among the cases is a lawsuit to repeal a Connecticut law that went into effect Monday, requiring a state license to buy rifles. Another is a challenge to New Jersey's concealed-weapons law, which is similar to California's.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear two NRA-backed cases. One sought to overturn a federal law barring licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to anyone under 21; the other was a Texas law barring people under 21 from carrying concealed weapons.

The NRA employs about two dozen in-house lawyers and hires many more outside lawyers — including former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement — to do battle in courtrooms across the country. It not only takes on weighty constitutional issues seeking to broaden the reach of the Second Amendment but also helps people who find themselves in trouble with the law because they own guns.

The NRA provided financial assistance and legal counsel to Christopher Haga, a gun collector who owns an auto shop in the Central Valley town of Parlier.

In 2011, Haga allowed federal firearms agents to search his house after they were tipped he had some of the 26 AK-74 assault rifles recently stolen from Fort Irwin, Calif. Haga's lawyer Mark Coleman said his client had no connection to the theft and consented to the search after agents assured him they only were interested in stolen guns. After finding none, the investigators left — but they told Fresno police Haga had types of assault rifles prohibited by California law.

Following that tip, Fresno police searched Haga's home and business and seized his gun collection. He was later charged with 35 felony gun counts.

With legal support and money from the NRA, Coleman challenged the legality of the guns search, and a judge sided with him. The district attorney dropped all charges late last year and returned Haga's guns. Haga agreed to remove two of his AK-74s and a submachine gun from California.

The case was more about search-and-seizure laws than expanding gun rights, Coleman said. "But the NRA's help was still valuable," he said.

Comments

From the Grave

There won't be any rebellions in this country. Too many potheads, drunks, and heroin addicts.

huronguy2

Working for the people when the majority doesn't want it? Goes to show your "work ethnic" Dog. Majority of gun crimes in America are committed by those with a liberal view. You think all those Chicago killers are voting republican?

ContraryAnn

If the majority doesn't want it, why do they keep voting for it?

Dr. Information

Its not even close. The liberals have tried to poll Americans on their stance on carry conceal and the right to bear arms. Overwhelmingly over and over Americans have said yes to both.

When any government wants to limit a citizens access or right to bear arms, that is a major sign of governmental overstep and should upset any American.

ContraryAnn

...and overwhelmingly Americans have said yes to registration and regulation and background checks. Missed that part?
..."figures don't lie, but...."

Truth2u

Ann, you fail to simply understand that this COUNTRY that you know very little about is NOT A DEMOCRACY but a REPUBLIC. This means that laws based on the CONSTITUTION isn't voted on based upon the MAJORITY

Because were a REPUBLIC this allows the MINORITY to have a say and to be protected. Of course you being a liberal Democrat hate the fact that the MINORITY has a say and the Constitution PROTECTS them from your parties abuse of 'protecting' us. Your party took minorities guns away and look what you gave them, RAPE of their women, midnight visits of whippings and hangings, burning of homes, burning of tents, slaughter of their food supply such as buffalo, murders by hanging, fire, whipping or separation of limbs, you took away their land and to make them even more powerful you made peaceful demonstrations illegal. And NOW you want us to think we can trust YOU and your socialism?

ContraryAnn

How did doing all you mention, including outlawing peaceful demonstration "make them even more powerful"?

Actually, the Constitution INTENDS we be a REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC. However, most of our 'representatives' of both parties represent only those who vote for them an put them in office.

Who is the 'minority' in Ohio?

And the atrocities of which you speak to the Native Americans post-Civil War were under mostly Republican presidents and Congresses. General Custer served under President Grant. The Wounded Knee Masssacre was under Ohio's Pres. Benjamin Harrison.
NOTE: Democrats have had 14 presidents who have served a total of 85 years (out of 225 years of American history).

Nemesis

Except that they haven't. Every member of Congress knows that to push for more gun control is a career ending move.

Nemesis

"If the majority doesn't want it, why do they keep voting for it?"

They don't. That's the reason most in Congress treat it like a third rail.

Dr. Information

Carry Conceal should have resiprocity throughout all 50 states with one license. Eventually, it will get there just give it time. The way it is set up makes for eventual mistakes by good, law abiding carrying citizens.

Every citizen who can pass the test and background check should be able to carry a concealed weapon and should not have to give an explanation to a Sheriff as to why one wants to carry. Its absolutely none of their business at all. Legally, the Sheriff had no reason for his reasoning, hence the reason why he was overruled.

The 2nd amendment right is an important one for all. I am all for background checks at any BUSINESS OR TRADER selling firearms. This will not curb any violence as people will turn to other means.

ContraryAnn

Gun show vendors should be required to run background checks?

Question: If I feel threatened by the guy sitting in front of me at a HS football game who leans forward and 'unconceals' his weapon, can I rightfully stand my ground?
Question: Why does that guy with his kids on the park playground equipment need to carry?
Question: The guy I saw walking through WalMart last week, he reached to get something off a shelf and hiked his shirt, revealing the gun tucked in his belt. What keeps me from coming up behind him and taking the gun and....?

Dr. Information

1. No you don't. Stand your ground is a law put in place when your life is being threatened and cannot retreat. Exposing a holster and one using stand your ground, would result in prison. Recent example is Treyvon Martin.

2. Who would of thought that people would have been killed in a movie theater or let alone a church in the past couple years? You never know when some nut job will show up. The idea behind a CC permit is to have it on you in that super rare case where you would need it. I'd be willing to say that over 99% of CC permit owners will never have to fire a bullet out of their gun towards another person, however, that does not legally illustrate that they do not need to carry then.

3. Nothing keeps you from coming and taking his gun however you do realize that guns in most holsters have safety features to prevent just what you explained. I would assume a struggle would ensue and your face would be visiting the ER and then the police department and possibly prison after that.

getit right be4...

" Gun show vendors should be required to run background checks? "

Background checks do not keep guns out of the hand of those that wish to do harm. Background checks only put more restrictions on law abiding citizens.

" Question: If I feel threatened by the guy sitting in front of me at a HS football game who leans forward and 'unconceals' his weapon, can I rightfully stand my ground? "

What are you standing your ground against? How is the presents of a properly holstered firearm a threat? In Ohio it is perfectly legal to open carry. It is illegal to attack a person for doing so and will proudly get you killed.

" Question: Why does that guy with his kids on the park playground equipment need to carry? "

I carry everywhere I take my family including the park. It is my job to look out for the safety of my family and myself. I carry a firearm because it is the best tool that I can think of to insure the I can do this job properly.

What tool do you use? A cell phone to call the police? Good luck with that. Im sure they will get there in time to make out a report.

" Question: The guy I saw walking through WalMart last week, he reached to get something off a shelf and hiked his shirt, revealing the gun tucked in his belt. What keeps me from coming up behind him and taking the gun and....? "

Nothing. Give it a try next time you see the opportunity.

ContraryAnn

...and then of course there's the guy in Walmart a few weeks ago whose gun shot him in the ass...

Nemesis

Citation?

Nemesis

3. Please, please try next time. It should be educational.

ContraryAnn

Background checks only work when all agencies file the proper information - like mental health issues, credit standing, health issues - all of which would be allowable when one consents to the background check.
Most employers now require a criminal background check as a condition - sometimes a pre-condition - of employment.

SamAdams

I agree with you that crazies (that's the clinical term, I'm sure) shouldn't be able to get their hands on a gun. But what does CREDIT standing have to do with it? Or HEALTH issues? Do you suggest that an older man with a heart condition should have to RUN when his home is invaded? Do you think I paraplegic COULD run when his home is invaded?

You just don't want anybody to have a gun but the police (because they never, never, EVER accidentally hit the wrong person, or miss the right person, or shoot to kill an innocent). Admit that, and THEN we can debate the merits (you won't have any, but at least you'll have taken some kind of a stand). Right now, you're too busy dodging the issue with misdirection and red herrings. "Oh, look, a chicken!"

Nemesis

"Most employers now require a criminal background check as a condition - sometimes a pre-condition - of employment."

You need to get out more. The EEOC has issued new guidelines that essentially forbid most employment background checks because they have a racially disparate impact.

The Big Dog's back

Federal law does not prohibit employers from asking about your criminal history. But, federal EEO laws do prohibit employers from discriminating when they use criminal history information. Using criminal history information to make employment decisions may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII).

Another right wingnut with reading comprehension issues.

KnuckleDragger

LMAO, so now a background check should include running a credit report? Are you an idiot or are you just pretending to be? Sounds rather discriminatory to use a credit check for a gun, since that would keep the poor from being able to defend themselves. Only a liberal could come up with something so ridiculous. As for an employer requiring a criminal background check, the big difference here is a job is not a Constitutional right, the bearing of arms is.

The Big Dog's back

So what about 4th Amendment rights? So Companies don't have to follow the Constitution?

SamAdams

No, they don't. Only the government is explicitly prohibited from infringing unalienable rights. In the case of a job interview and a request that you submit to a background check, you can refuse a corporation. (Of course, you also won't get the job.)

Do I think this is okay? No. Is it unconstitutional? No.

SamAdams

Hold on just a minute: I can't get "permission" to exercise an unalienable right in California unless I can prove I'm threatened. I can't prove I'm threatened (obviously) until I've BEEN threatened. So what good does it do me to take steps to protect myself once I've been assaulted or killed? Of course, that kind of "logic" makes sense to progressives, I guess...

Of all of our unalienable rights, the one that stands above all of the others is the right to self defense. After all, it's tough to exercise any of the others if you're dead, isn't it?

Meanwhile, for everybody who DOESN'T think we ought to be able to protect ourselves from aggression, have at it! DON'T carry concealed. DON'T own a firearm. DON'T lock your doors. It's entirely up to you to pick and choose what risks you find acceptable, and what risks you don't. But how dare you presume to choose between harm and safety, life and death for OTHERS?

ContraryAnn

"Unalienable rights" are in, uh, the Declaration of Independence from horrible King George III - NOT the Constitution.

The Constitution defined "alienable" rights - vote, racial discrimination, taxation, election of Senators by the state legislatures, slavery, 3/5 Rule, no liquor, yes liquor, presidential term limits, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

SamAdams

Really? Huh. And to think in all the reading I've done, I never knew the Bill of Rights was part and parcel of the Declaration of Independence! Learn something new every day. < /sarcasm OFF>

The Big Dog's back

Do you know the difference sam?

Nemesis

Most of what you mention has nothing to do with rights.

Dr. Information

California and NY and Ill are some of the toughest gun control states and they wonder why they have so many gun problems. Its an open invitation to criminals who do not abide by the laws.

SAM is right. CC permit owners are not your enemy. They are people who have went through training and are doing things the legal way, fully knowing the laws and what they can and cannot do.

Fear the criminals, not law abiding citizens who want to carry.

ContraryAnn

I talked to ten of my ten c/c compatriots and realized they have no idea about the basics of laws regarding gun ownership. They went through the classes to get the permit.
So, which ones do you know who "fully know the laws and what they can and cannot do"?
And WHY would you c/c in church?
Oh. Maybe it's that 'compensation' thing you guys have.

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