The Hypocrisy of Sunnyvale's Measure C: CGF Focuses Sunshine on City Firearms Policies

The Hypocrisy of Sunnyvale's Measure C:

CGF Focuses Sunshine on City Firearms Policies

ROSEVILLE, CA -- In response to the City of Sunnyvale's recently-passed (and now infamous) Measure C -- sweeping new and unconstitutional gun control laws that directly [negatively] affect law-abiding people -- The Calguns Foundation (CGF) sought out public records to better understand the City's own policies and practices as they relate to firearm/magazine acquisition and possession for its employees and contractors.
Measure C passed on November 5, 2013, in a low-turnout election and took effect Dec. 6, giving gun owners until March 6 to comply with the new regulations, including an outright ban on the possession of "large-capacity" magazines holding more than 10 rounds -- even those 'grandfathered' under state law. A number of firearms organizations have subsequently announced legal actions against the City to block the law from being enforced and, in at least one case, have it judicially declared as unconstitutional.
On October 29, 2013, CGF executive director Brandon Combs sent this request for information under the California Public Records Act. Our request consisted of the following 6 classifications of public records:
1. Public notices, bid documents (including specifications), contracts, purchase orders, payments, and other such records reflecting expenditures by the City for the acquisition of firearms, including makes, models, and quantities;
2. Public notices, bid documents (including specifications), contracts, purchase orders, payments, and other such records reflecting expenditures by the City for the acquisition of firearm accessories and firearm parts, including makes, models, and quantities;
3. Public notices, bid documents (including specifications), contracts, purchase orders, payments, and other such records reflecting expenditures by the City for firearm repair and/or modification, including records going to the type of repair(s)/modification(s) and its/their cause(s);
4. Policies, manuals, guides, and other such governing documents addressing the City’s requirements/standards/rules for firearms, firearms accessories, and firearms parts used for City business, including but not limited to law enforcement, whether owned by the City or not;
5. Policies, manuals, guides, and other such governing documents addressing the City’s rules for personal acquisition of firearms, firearm accessories, and/or firearm parts by its employees and contractors; and
6. City authorizations or records addressing personal acquisition of firearms, firearm accessories, and/or firearm parts by City employees or contractors.

On November 20, 2013, the City replied to our request and sent these responsive documents, some 97 pages of policies and purchase orders. In its own records, the Sunnyvale acknowledged several key arguments relating to effective self-defense and implicitly concedes that we are correct about common semi-automatic firearms and their necessary components, like magazines. For example:

  • Unloaded firearms are useless and not tactically-appropriate for self-defense;

  • Modern semi-automatic firearms provide significant upside to those who are forced to use them for self-defense; and

  • Magazines having a capacity greater than ten (10) rounds -- "large-capacity" in government elitist-speak -- offer such material benefit that they are specified for City employees and provided to them at taxpayer expense.

The City records we acquired as part of our audit will continue to be scrutinized by us, by you, and, hopefully, the news media.

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The Calguns Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members and the public by funding state and federal strategic civil rights lawsuits, providing Second Amendment-related education, and defending innocent gun owners from improper or malicious prosecution. The Calguns Foundation seeks to inform government and protect the rights of individuals to acquire, own, and lawfully use firearms. Supporters can donate to The Calguns Foundation at
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Peña v. Cid Case Update (Challenge to California's Handgun Roster)

Reporting on this case is Gene Hoffman, a founder and the Chairman of The Calguns Foundation, who attended the hearing.
Yesterday, oral arguments were held for our Second Amendment challenge to California handgun "roster" laws (that limit access to Constitutionally-protected handguns by law-abiding people) before United States District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on cross motions for summary judgment. The lawsuit, Ivan Peña et. al v. Stephen Lindley (Wilfredo Cid was previously named as defendant), was filed by The Calguns Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation, and a number of individual plaintiffs in April 2009, during the period that Nordyke v. King incorporated the Second Amendment through the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause.
Arguing for Peña et. al, CGF, and SAF at the hearing was attorney Alan Gura with assistance from Don Kilmer. California Department of Justice attorney Anthony Hakl argued for defendant Stephen Lindley, Firearms Bureau Chief for the DOJ.
At the outset, the Court stated that it hoped to hold the proceedings to an hour duration and that she had questions for both sides, so the format was a bit different than many summary judgement arguments.
The Court spent the first 20% of the oral arguments on whether the parties had standing -- even though California DOJ had not argued that in their briefings. As a threshold matter, Federal courts do have an independent need to be certain of their standing, but now that Heller and McDonald are the law of the land, individuals and organizations generally have standing.
Counsel for Peña pointed the court to Carey v. Populations Servicesa United States Supreme Court that held individuals had a right to challenge regulations on sellers that limited the market in contraceptives from which individuals could buy. The Court was also made aware of NRA v. BATFE, where the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals clearly said that 18-20 year old individuals had standing to challenge a government ban on handgun purchases by them at firearms dealers (while still ruling against those individuals as a constitutional matter; that case is awaiting a cert decision at SCOTUS).
The Court continued to ask if there was any risk of prosecution of the individual plaintiff; Mr. Kilmer pointed out to the court that, in fact, there is. In the Eastern District of California, a Calgunner stands indicted by the United States for conspiracy to straw purchase an off-roster handgun in US v. McGowan. However, we expect that the Supreme Court will clarify Federal law on straw purchases in the already-granted Abramski case by issuing a decision in favor of the accused.

The Court moved on to ask both sides to assume that intermediate scrutiny applied and explore the constitutional violation. Counsel for Peña reminded the Court that the test need not be scrutiny-based since it was not in D.C. v. Heller. The Court continued to explore scrutiny with both sides and was particularly interested in California's microstamping requirement -- she wanted to know if the violation was only temporary. Of course, even a temporary violation of a fundamental right remains nothing less than a violation of the Constitution. In testing California’s theory, California argued that even under intermediate scrutiny, the State could give everyone a handgun and mandate it is the only gun you could use for self-defense in the home....and that would be enough. The Court seemed troubled by the logical extension of California’s argument that only one handgun was enough to allow the full and unencumbered exercise of Second Amendment rights. Peña counsel made it clear that the Constitutional analysis the State wanted to implement would logically allow them to restrict all handguns by caliber to only .22lr, or even to ban all handguns and only allow Tasers -- an argument the District of Columbia made and lost on in Heller.
The Court returned to the matter of standing by asking if there was a standing difference for Peña’s facial versus as-applied challenge. Counsel for Peña reiterated the issues from NRA v. BATFE, that standing is utterly divorced from the analysis of a constitutional violation and that not being able to buy the guns they want to buy meets the 3 prongs of standing requirements.
The Court probed to see if there were other facts and even speculated about denying both MSJs -- though that seemed to be a bit off-the-cuff.
In lingering a bit beyond the one-hour mark, it was clear that the court had a full picture of the briefing and the record as well as a clear understanding of the issues and gravity of the case.
We expect we’ll see an opinion on the cross motions in the next 90 to 180 days.

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How "Dumbing Down The Courts" Can Affect Your 2nd Amendment Rights

“But being brilliant and accomplished is not the number one criteria for elevation to the Supreme Court. There are many who would use their considerable talents and legal acumen to set America back.” — Senator Charles Schumer, 2005
Few in the national 2nd Amendment community would nDr. John R. Lott, Jr.  As a world-renowned economist who has studied the sociological effects of legal gun ownership across the world, Lott holds an almost singular respect among those who have shaken their heads at the subjectively-biased, emotion-based conjecture that characterizes the international debate on the issue to seek and find the light that legitimate, peer-reviewed social science has shone on this often controversial topic.
With these credentials in hand, Lott starts a new national conversation with his latest work, Dumbing Down The Courts, a thought-provoking examination of the declining standards by which our nation's federal judges are confirmed at all levels of an increasingly powerful judiciary.
It is fortunate that Lott has publicly identified this disturbing trend as the hyper-partisan bickering that has come to dominate American politics has been negatively affecting the quality of our nation's federal courts at all levels for quite some time.  Just as attorneys arguing opposite sides of a case would be tempted to eliminate the most articulate, charismatic, and intelligent candidates who might be inclined to convincingly sway multiple members of the jury towards one side during jury selection, nowadays, U.S. Senators often look towards less qualified judges to fill vacant seats on the federal bench during official confirmation proceedings so as to minimize his or her impact on future citations or panel decisions should any particular ruling from the federal bench in question not represent the political viewpoints of those U.S. Senators who would stand politically and/or ideologically opposed to any judge being nominated by the sitting President of the United States.
This modern practice now stands in stark contrast to historical traditions that protected the quality of our federal judiciary, where competence, propriety, and temperament were the key characteristics that a judge needed in order to enjoy a smooth, swift, and speedy Senate judicial confirmation process.
Instead, smooth, swift, and speedy is anything but for the most qualified judges who eventually fill the vacant seats on the federal bench through a long, drawn-out, and painful Senate confirmation process.  For instance, Lott found that if a justice being nominated attended a Top Ten law school and graduated at the top ten percent of his or her class, then that judge's Senate confirmation process took approximately 70% longer than a candidate who possessed only an average academic record.
Furthermore, Lott examines this Senate prejudice against the most qualified presidential nominees by expounding upon the phenomenon of judicial citations, where other judges reference the work of the candidate being considered as being influential in their own rulings.  If a particular contender had twenty percent more judicial citations than average, then it took approximately 60% longer for that candidate to make it through the Senate confirmation process, if they were confirmed at all.
These realities faced today by the most qualified federal judicial candidates have extended the average time required between nomination to confirmation from an average of 11 days for the 87 justices nominated between 1789 and 1950 to 51 days for candidates between 1951 to 1976, and has now been protracted to reflect an astounding 72 days between 1976 to the present.
If one breaks down this phenomenon even further and takes a closer look at the last few Administrations, the Senate confirmation process for President Clinton's nominees actually slowed down to the tune of 230 days.  However, it was President George W. Bush's time in office that took the cake, requiring an average of 362 days for his judicial candidates to take their seats on the federal bench.
In addition to the ever-increasing amount of time required between nomination to confirmation, federal judicial nominees are now finding that, not only do they have to place their lives on hold for an indeterminate amount of time while they wait for their Senate hearings, but that their names and professional reputations were also being dragged through the mud during the process and, bound by the rules associated with the proceedings, they are unable to speak out publicly in defense of themselves.
These conditions have solidified to create a hostile environment in which many highly qualified candidates will not accept or will withdraw themselves from the nominations process altogether should they hear about the experience from a colleague who has been run through that gauntlet already.  Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family, summarized this phenomenon best in 2005 when he stated,

Well, what [Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove] told me is that some of those [potential nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court] took themselves off that list and they would not allow their names to be considered, because the process has become so vicious and so vitriolic and so bitter that they didn’t want to subject themselves or the members of their families to it.

Combined, all of these factors contribute to a less effective, intellectual vacuum of an institution that defines the third (and arguably, most critical) branch of our federal government, which was designed to keep both the executive and legislative powers in check.  Controversial issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and, yes, gun control, are dependent on qualified judges to make determinations that necessitate careful and studied rumination.  The ability to master dense historical and legal precedent, combined with a comprehensive understanding of current realities that are constantly evolving in an ever-more complex society, are required in order to issue sound rulings from the bench.  Consistently having an average or less-than-stellar bench of federal judges tackling this ever-growing set of complex legal problems can easily lead to a whole host of poor legal precedents being set for future generations, which will almost inevitably lead to the piecemeal and widespread stripping away of the most basic and fundamental American civil liberties.
These days, those basic and fundamental American civil liberties are under greater attack than ever before, especially with regard to the 2nd Amendment.  With rabid, anti-gun opportunism very thinly disguised as concern for public safety, political ideologues at every level of government, including the President of the United States himself, have seized upon one human tragedy after another in an attempt to force more draconian gun control measures down the throats of tens of millions of law-abiding American gun owners who have done absolutely nothing wrong.
The American people are told by their elected civil servants that gun control is good for them, despite the overwhelminggovernment-backed evidence to the contrary that clearly demonstrates that an armed citizenry can be critical to saving lives, especially during mass shootings.  When the facts don't go their way, anti-gun political ideologues simply ignore the published government and peer-reviewed studies on the subject to try and impose additional and completely ineffective gun control measures anyway, despite the widespread opposition of their constituents nationwide.
Frustrated by the feeble support for gun control at home, this anti-gun President and his Administration have gone so far as to try and impose their will through international treaty by having Secretary of State John Kerry sign onto the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty on Wednesday, September 25, 2013.  This action will spur a ratification process in the U.S. Senate, which will then become a hotly-contested battleground for the 2nd Amendment Right to keep and bear arms that will affect the entire country.
It is with these stark realities in mind that we face the declining quality of our federal judiciary.  When faced with the real, multiple, and ever-pressing threats against the birthright that is every law-abiding American's fundamental civil right to keep (own) and bear (carry) arms (firearms), an intellectually-weakened federal court system will be less competent in their designated mission to keep runaway executive and legislative powers in check.  Although the appointment of federal judges might be a small but significant factor in the back of every critical-thinking American citizen's mind as they head to the ballot box, Lott demonstrates in Dumbing Down The Courts that this consideration should move closer to the front and more towards the center of every voter's mindset.

CGF Sues Attorney General Kamala Harris, DOJ Firearms Chief Stephen Lindley in New Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Over Gun Delays

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Calguns Foundation Sues California Attorney General Kamala Harris and
DOJ Firearms Bureau Chief Stephen Lindley Over Federal Civil Rights Violations

SAN CARLOS, CA – The Calguns Foundation filed a new federal civil rights lawsuit this morning on behalf of three California residents, naming Attorney General Kamala Harris and DOJ Bureau of Firearms Chief Stephen Lindley as defendants. The case challenges the California Department of Justice's practice of denying individuals' fundamental rights protected under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
The Department, through defendants Harris and Lindley, have been and continue to enforce a policy of forbidding many gun purchasers from taking possession of their lawfully-obtained firearms through what are commonly referred to as "DROS delays", sometimes for over a year or indefinitely.
One plaintiff in the case, Darren Owen of Taft, California, has been denied his firearm for over 18 months.
“It's the government's responsibility to timely prove that someone has already been adjudicated and their Constitutional right to purchase and possess guns taken away through due process," explained Gene Hoffman, the Foundation's Chairman. “It’s not the individual’s job to prove that they have fundamental rights."
“By shifting the burden to the individual, the DOJ is blatantly violating the Constitution and thumbing its nose at the U.S. Supreme Court's D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago decisions."
Victor Otten, an attorney for the plaintiffs, agrees. “Our clients are not prohibited from owning guns under state and federal law,” noted Otten. “The bottom line is that if the DOJ cannot determine that someone is ineligible to possess firearms in a timely manner with all of the databases and law enforcement resources it has at its disposal, then they have no choice but to allow our clients and other similarly-situated gun owners to take possession of their firearms."
Under current California law, the DOJ must permit a firearm purchaser to receive their firearm at the end of the 10-day DROS background check period unless it determines that the purchaser is not eligible to possess or purchase firearms. Earlier this year, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D - San Francisco) amended his bill AB 500 to allow the Department of Justice to deny the release of firearms for up to 30 days. AB 500 is presently awaiting California Governor Jerry Brown's action.
"We've received hundreds of reports like those at issue in this case and it's a virtual certainty that there are thousands of others like the individual plaintiffs out there," said the Foundation's Executive Director, Brandon Combs. “The DOJ’s policy is nothing short of outrageous.”
Continued Combs, "It’s time for the DOJ to respect the Second Amendment. If the Attorney General and her staff refuse to do it voluntarily, we will not hesitate to force it in the courts. In filing this case, we seek to ensure that the Constitutionally-enshrined fundamental rights of Californians to buy and possess firearms are respected no matter how far Ms. Harris or Assemblymember Ammiano might wish the DOJ's powers extended."
The new federal lawsuit is entitled Darrin Owen, et. al. vs. Kamala Harris, et. al. and may be viewed or downloaded at
The Calguns Foundation ( 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. Supporters may visit to join or donate to CGF.
Please forward this official communication to all of your contacts and help us distribute this important gun rights news alert.


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CGF Quick Shots: Gun Rights News In Brief - Friday, July 26, 2013

2A Litigation Update: CGF attorney Charles Hokanson filed our Opposition to the County of Alameda's Motion to Dismiss our federal Second Amendment lawsuit to seeking to ensure that governments can't regulate gun dealers out of existence. The case is Teixeria, et. al v. County of Alameda.
CGF joined a diverse coalition of organizations, including CAL-FFLFranklin Armory and lead orgElectronic Frontier Foundation, to sue the National Security Agency in a federal civil rights action over its mass-surveillance and data collection practices.
CGF Chairman Gene Hoffman went on TheBlazeTV's Real News with S.E. Cupp to discuss the NSA lawsuit: WATCH ON YOUTUBE HERE.
Firearms industry group CAL-FFL published its mid-term grades for all California Senators and Assembly Members on Tuesday. John Hrabe, a writer for Cal Watchdog, called Sen. Joel Anderson's "C" grade on gun votes "unexpected."
CA Assembly Member Tim Donnelly is proud of his recognition by CAL-FFL for "being the top-ranked Second Amendment supporting member from both the Assembly and Senate."
Roman Kaplan of City Arms East and CGF's Gene Hoffman appeared on PBS News Hour to discuss California's flawed APPS gun confiscation program. (WATCH HERE.) In 2011, a DOJ special agent in charge of technology told the LA Times that California had a 'shoddy' system and that the APPS databases were only accurate about half of the time.
You can still enter to win one of three guns (Kahr, Benelli, or SigSauer) in the Stop The Gun Control Madness gun giveaway contest by using FPC's built-in forms to send messages on pending gun control bills in California and New Jersey.
CGF is preparing to file more major Second Amendment and civil rights lawsuits - donate to support these and our ongoing cases today!

PBS News Hour sponsored a Twitter-based chat debate to discuss gun control topics. Gun rights participants included CGF, Firearms Policy Coalition, CAL-FFL, and many individuals; opposition groups included Brady Campaign, Moms Demand Action, Violence Policy Center, and others. View the debate on Twitter here.
California's Court of Appeals held that San Mateo parks were "gun free zones" even for licensed gun owners. CGF attorney Donald Kilmer told the San Jose Mercury News that CGF may appeal again, this time to the California Supreme Court. "I was disappointed in the decision, but this is not the last step," said Kilmer, adding it is irrational to allow people to carry concealed weapons in downtown areas but not in parks. SF Examiner also had coverage of this story.
New Jersey Assemblymember and gun control groups are outraged that Firearms Policy Coalition and member org New Jersey Second Amendment Society were promoting grassroots gun-rights advocacy by using a gun giveaway as an incentive for people to send messages on New Jersey and California gun control bills.
In a July 22 op-ed, the New Hampshire Union Leader said the anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns should change its name to "Liberal Mayors Against The Second Amendment."
Colorado gun buyback was cancelled at the request of Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, who said that they "can't follow through with it" given the new gun control laws passed in that state.
Sierra Club won an important Public Records Act lawsuit against Orange County in the California Supreme Court. The case should prove helpful as we continue with our Carry License Sunshine and Compliance Initiative efforts to secure records necessary to evaluate and publish the "good cause" statements accepted by California sheriffs and chiefs of police. The law firm of Otten & Joyce, who is working with CGF on a number of important gun rights lawsuits including our Silvester v. Harris 10-day waiting period ban Second Amendment challenge, filed a critical amicus brief in support of access to public records.



THE ONLY PRO-GUN RIGHTS MOVIE: a must-see by all Second Amendment supporters! Narrated by rapper and actor Ice-T, every gun owner in America needs to take someone to watch this important film.  Click here to see where it's showing or download this PDF to get info on how you can setup a screening in your area!



1. Make a tax-deductible donation to CGF by using our simple & secure web form.
2. Mail a check, or setup your bank's automatic bill-payer, to make tax-deductible donations to CGF. Our admin address is: The Calguns Foundation, 970 Reserve Drive Suite 133, Roseville, CA 95678.
3. Shop at Amazon using our fundraising link(up to 25% of every purchase goes to support YOUR gun rights).
4. Get cool pro-gun tee shirts, license plate frames, decals, and other swag at the Official CGF Online Store.
5. Sponsor carry license reform and our efforts to advance the right to bear arms.
Don't forget to ---> take someone to the range!