News

California Gun Owner Defended by CGF Not Guilty of Federal Conspiracy Charge

October 27, 2014 (SACRAMENTO, CA) -- Today, a federal jury in Sacramento found gun owner Ulysses S. Grant Early IV not guilty of conspiracy to make a false statement on a federal a firearm record known as an ATF Form 4473. The lengthy criminal trial, which lasted four weeks, successfully concluded for Early after more than two days of jury deliberations and two years of legal wrangling.
[caption id="attachment_2323" align="alignleft" width="300"]Grant Early (back left), with his wife, Bonnie (back right) and sons Quinn (front left) and Chase (front right) in 2013. Grant Early (back left), with his wife, Bonnie (back right) and sons Quinn (front left) and Chase (front right) in 2013.[/caption]
Early was represented by civil rights attorney Donald Kilmer of San Jose. The Calguns Foundation, a gun rights group based in Roseville, provided resources and support for his legal defense.
According to evidence presented during the trial, Early purchased a Sturm, Ruger & Co. model LCP handgun from a Roseville, California police officer in May of 2010. Under state law, a Ruger LCP can only be purchased new directly from a gun dealer by an exempted person, such as a law enforcement officer, since the gun is not included in the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale maintained by the California Department of Justice. But the state’s handgun restrictions allow individuals to sell or transfer their “off-Roster” handguns to others, as long as the seller and buyer follow all other laws. The Calguns Foundation maintains that California’s handgun roster and microstamping regulations are unconstitutional in an unrelated civil lawsuit.
Early’s lawyer successfully argued that the police officer was the actual buyer in the LCP’s initial sale, that Early later purchased the handgun from the officer in a separate, legal “private party transaction,” and that Early did not conspire to withhold information from the government by making a false statement in the process. In his purchase of the handgun from the officer, Early adhered to all state and federal firearm laws, including the use of a licensed gun dealer for the transfer and his successful completion of a background check and 10-day wait.
“This verdict has renewed my faith in our system and the value of all of our constitutional rights, especially the right to a trial by jury,” Early said after hearing the news. “I feel like justice was served and I’m grateful for that. My family and I can finally get back to living our lives.”
“Mr. Early’s prosecution is a striking reminder that second amendment civil rights must be as vigorously defended as those protected by the first amendment,” remarked Kilmer. “Today’s positive outcome for my client is also an important victory for fundamental individual liberties. I’m grateful to the court and jury for their hard work on this case and also to The Calguns Foundation, which supports critical cases like this one.”
Notably, state assemblyman Roger Dickinson twice attempted to ban sales and transfers of “off-Roster” handguns by peace officers and other exempted individuals, but Governor Brown vetoed both attempts.
In his 2012 veto of Dickinson’s AB 2460 -- a bill widely reported as a legislative response to this case -- Brown included a statement explaining his rejection of the proposal, writing that the measure “would restrict law enforcement and military personnel - and only those individuals - from selling lawfully purchased handguns that have not been certified by the Attorney General's Office” and that the bill “takes from law enforcement officers the right to an activity that remains legally available to every private citizen,” concluding with “I don't believe this is justified.”
“Governments should not attempt to use criminal proceedings to stretch their interpretations of laws that trench upon enumerated rights,” commented Gene Hoffman, the Foundation’s chairman. “Mr. Early’s case is an example of our criminal defense program keeping a check on governmental overreach.”
“The prosecution went too far with a charge based on an ambiguous form and a lack of clarifying regulations,” said Calguns Foundation Executive Director Brandon Combs. “The ATF needs to address its deficient process before more innocent lives are upended or destroyed by inadequately considered and improperly enforced federal gun control laws.”
The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members, supporters, and the public through educational, cultural, and judicial efforts to defend and advance Second Amendment and related civil rights. donate_button.1


Ares Armor Renews Support of The Calguns Foundation’s Gun Rights Efforts

CGF and Ares stand united for Second Amendment rights
ROSEVILLE, CA, and NATIONAL CITY, CA (October 15, 2014) – Ares Armor, a Southern California-based retailer of products that allow law-abiding gun owners to build legal firearms at home, has announced that it will renew its financial commitment to The Calguns Foundation, a gun rights advocacy organization which advances Second Amendment rights through strategic civil litigation, education, and other programs.
Ares CEO Dimitri Karras said that the company’s decision to support the gun rights group was “the right thing to do for many reasons, not the least of which is that Calguns is leading the charge for Second Amendment rights in California.”
“Taking on the Department of Justice and Attorney General Kamala Harris in case after case, The Calguns Foundation has shown that it’s not afraid to tackle the big issues,” he commented. “In these days of billionaire-funded anti-gun organizations, it is more important than ever that we have a strong, united, and unwavering front.”
Karras noted that Calguns’ recent victory in a federal Second Amendment lawsuit that partially overturned California’s 10-day waiting period stood out to him. “When you’re able to persuade a Bill Clinton-appointed federal judge that the government can’t possibly justify a key gun control law like the waiting period, it’s a huge step forward for our cause.”
“The support we’ve received from Ares Armor has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Calguns’ Executive Director, Brandon Combs. “We can’t thank Dimitri enough for his and his company’s ongoing efforts to advance fundamental individual liberties. Ares has been and will continue to be a key voice for freedom in our state.”
Combs concluded, “We are excited to continue working closely with Ares in our fight to secure the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.”
The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members, supporters, and the public through educational, cultural, and judicial efforts to defend and advance Second Amendment and related civil rights.
The mission of Ares Armor (www.aresarmor.com) is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Media Contacts:
The Calguns Foundation – Brandon Combs
[email protected]
Ares Armor – Dimitri Karras
[email protected]
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CGF to San Bernardino Sheriff: 'Fix Your Handgun License Policy'

The Calguns Foundation gives San Bernardino County, California, Sheriff John McMahon thirty days to correct his handgun carry license application practices.
ROSEVILLE, CA / September 11, 2014 – Earlier today, The Calguns Foundation sent San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon a letter demanding that he revise the Sheriff-Coroner Department's handgun carry license policies.
[caption id="attachment_2306" align="alignleft" width="240"]Sheriff John McMahon The Calguns Foundation gave San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon thirty days to correct handgun carry license policies and practices that, they say, violate the law and Constitution.[/caption]
In reviewing recent filings for the federal civil rights lawsuit of Birdt v. San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, "it was apparent that the Sheriff has a lot of work to do" in order to comply with the law, noted the Foundation's Executive Director, Brandon Combs.
"Once again, we see a jurisdiction's highest law enforcement officer thumb their nose at fundamental Constitutional rights and the California Legislature," he added. "It's sad to think that this really just boils down to the Sheriff's blatant distrust of his own constituents and a lack of respect for fundamental civil rights."
But the issues go deeper than differences of opinion, Combs says.  He pointed to one part of the federal magistrate judge's recommendation, in which the Court found that

"[Birdt's] application file also reveals that an incident occurred on January 29, 2013 when he came into the Sheriff’s office and tried to file a form from the California Department of Justice website which he demanded to leave at the counter without all the required documentation.  He was told that when he had all the correct documentation he should call the number in the Sheriff’s packet for an interview date.  The Sheriff’s office does not accept applications without an appointment.  He left the office 'irate.'  Birdt subsequently sent a January 29, 2013 letter with his application and a check but the Sheriff’s office does not accept applications by mail nor does it accept checks.  The background investigation report concludes, 'Birdt not only have an aggressive defiant behavior...he failed to follow directions.'"
While the County's claim that Birdt was "irate" has yet to be proven in court, it simply doesn't matter, said the Foundation in its letter. "Given the facts of [the sheriff's] policies and practices as detailed in the proposed order, an applicant would reasonably become frustrated that their rights are being denied through improper administrative roadblocks...To the extent that Mr. Birdt expressed his displeasure about such policies and practices (without violating the law, such as by interfering with the duties of a peace officer), it seems to us that such conduct would be rationally expected and protected under the First Amendment."
"If some government official was jerking me around like Sheriff McMahon and his staff apparently did to Birdt, I'd be a bit 'irate,' myself," quipped Combs.
The Foundation asked that the sheriff correct the disputed policies and practices within 30 days, noting that its legal counsel is "ready and willing to assist [the sheriff]" in the efforts and that it would prefer to avoid litigation, if possible.
"We're cautiously optimistic that Sheriff McMahon will take the high road and save his county's taxpayers from the costs of fighting about these issues in court," Combs said, "but if he doesn't, that's exactly what we're prepared to do next month."
A copy of the Foundation's letter can be viewed at http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/2014/09/cgf-to-san-bernardino-sheriff-fix-your-handgun-license-policy.
Law-abiding San Bernardino County residents who wish to apply for a handgun carry license may volunteer to report their experiences to Calguns at http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/get-help/california-carry-license-ltc-ccw-issue-reporting.
Gun owners who wish to support carry license compliance efforts and related litigation can make a tax-deductible donation to The Calguns Foundation at http://old.calgunsfoundation.org/donate.
The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members, supporters, and the public through educational, cultural, and judicial efforts to defend and advance Second Amendment and related civil rights.
[gview file="http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2014-09-11-CGF-San-Bernardino-Birdt-CCW.pdf"]


California Gun Waiting Period Laws Ruled Unconstitutional

California Gun Waiting Period Laws Ruled Unconstitutional

Federal court decides 10-day waiting period laws violate Second Amendment rights


ROSEVILLE, CA, and BELLEVUE, WA / August 25, 2014 – California’s 10-day waiting period for gun purchases was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge this morning in a significant victory for Second Amendment civil rights. The laws were challenged by California gun owners Jeffrey Silvester and Brandon Combs, as well as two gun rights groups, The Calguns Foundation and Second Amendment Foundation.
In the decision released this morning, Federal Eastern District of California Senior Judge Anthony W. Ishii, appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton, found that “the 10-day waiting periods of Penal Code [sections 26815(a) and 27540(a)] violate the Second Amendment” as applied to members of certain classifications, like Silvester and Combs, and “burdens the Second Amendment rights of the Plaintiffs.”
“This is a great win for Second Amendment civil rights and common sense,” said Jeff Silvester, the named individual plaintiff. “I couldn’t be happier with how this case turned out.”
Under the court order, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) must change its systems to accommodate the unobstructed release of guns to gun buyers who pass a background check and possess a California license to carry a handgun, or who hold a “Certificate of Eligibility” issued by the DOJ and already possess at least one firearm known to the state.
“We are happy that Second Amendment rights are being acknowledged and protected by our courts,” said Donald Kilmer, lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “This case is one more example of how our judicial branch brings balance to government in order to insure our liberty. I am elated that we were able to successfully vindicate the rights of our clients.”
Attorneys Victor Otten of Torrance and Jason Davis of Mission Viejo were co-counsel for the plaintiffs.
“This ruling clearly addressed the issue we put before the court,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “We are naturally delighted with the outcome.”
“California gun owners are not second-class citizens and the Second Amendment doesn’t protect second class rights,” noted plaintiff Brandon Combs, also CGF’s executive director. “This decision is an important step towards restoring fundamental individual liberties in the Golden State.”
“This victory provides a strong foundation from which other irrational and unconstitutional gun control laws will be challenged,” concluded Combs. “We look forward to doing just that.”
The court’s decision can be read or downloaded here.
The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members, supporters, and the public through educational, cultural, and judicial efforts to defend and advance Second Amendment and related civil rights.
The 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.
Media Contacts:
The Calguns Foundation - Brandon Combs
[email protected]
(800) 556-2109 ext. 5775
Second Amendment Foundation - Alan Gottlieb
(425) 454-7012

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Gun Groups to Sheriff: Start Granting Carry Permits, Or Else

Second Amendment advocates put Riverside County’s handgun carry license policy in their crosshairs.