Ninth Circuit Holds California’s Carry License Laws Unconstitutional

California takes a step towards “shall-issue” handgun carry licensing

concealed handgun

In a major decision today, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that California’s “good cause” requirement for handgun carry licenses violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In May 2009, during a short period when the federal Second Amendment legally applied to California through the Ninth Circuit’s Nordyke v. King decision, civil rights attorneys Alan Gura and Donald Kilmer filed a federal right-to-carry lawsuit against Sacramento County’s then-sheriff John McGinness and Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto on behalf of The Calguns Foundation (CGF), the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and a number of individual plaintiffs. That lawsuit, then named Sykes v. McGinness, challenged the California statutes requiring “good cause” and “good moral character” as facially unconstitutional. The Sykes case also challenged the two sheriffs’ local policies as unconstitutional “as-applied” to the individual plaintiffs’ facts. Sacramento County eventually settled out of the lawsuit by agreeing to implement a “shall-issue” policy; the case continued against Yolo County and Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto as Richards v. Prieto.

Months after the Sykes case was filed, a lawsuit that replicated the CGF/SAF lawsuit was filed in San Diego County by Mr. Edward Peruta. Thankfully, the National Rifle Association intervened in the Peruta matter, adding new plaintiffs and significant resources to the case’s legal team including noted civil rights law firm Michel & Associates as well as former Solicitor General Paul Clement. The Peruta case result today is due in large part to the strength of the arguments mirrored from the Sykes lawsuit as well as the excellent legal work by Michel & Associates and Mr. Clement.

Though the Richards and Peruta cases were heard by the same three judge Ninth Circuit panel on the same day, the Court has only released its opinion on the Peruta matter so far. We look forward to the Court's Richards decision and continuing our efforts to ensure that all law-abiding Californians have an accessible way to fully exercise their right to bear arms for self-defense.

The Calguns Foundation thanks the National Rifle Association, California Rifle & Pistol Association, Michel & Associates, and Mr. Paul Clement for their fantastic work to advance the fundamental Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and congratulates them on their very important victory for all law-abiding Californians.

For more on these cases and the legal status of the right to bear arms (carry) in California, please visit

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.


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CGF Asks Steinberg, Pérez to Fix APPS

Earlier today, The Calguns Foundation sent an urgent letter to Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez formally requesting that the Legislature move to end unconstitutional arrests, raids, searches, and property seizures under the Department of Justice's "Armed & Prohibited Persons System" (APPS) disarmament program.
In the letter, Executive Director Brandon Combs said that "the Attorney General’s improper enforcement of the DOJ’s [APPS system] has created a circumstance under which some individual gun owners who are eligible under state and federal law to possess and acquire firearms are targeted by forceful disarmament activities that the Legislature intended to be directed at prohibited persons (such as violent convicted criminals and the adjudicated mentally ill)."
The letter goes on to say that "[i]nstead of taking appropriate measures to confirm a bona fide prohibiting condition in a person’s criminal and mental health history, such as acquiring dispositive court records, DOJ and other law enforcement agencies appear to be relying exclusively on the APPS database – a system that the Department knows quite well to be terminally ineffective."
The Calguns Foundation believes that the Legislature must act decisively to hold DOJ accountable and ensure that law-abiding Californians need not fear their government.
A copy of the letter can be viewed and downloaded at
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DOJ Drops 28 Handguns from Roster after Firearm Manufacturers Back SAF, CGF Gun Lawsuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, February 10, 2014

Calif. Dept. of Justice Drops 28 More Handguns from Roster after S&W, Ruger Back SAF, CGF Second Amendment Lawsuit

ROSEVILLE, CA and BELLEVUE, WA -- Law-abiding Californians are facing an increasing infringement on their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, say gun rights organizations Second Amendment Foundation and The Calguns Foundation.

28 handgun models in common use were removed from the handgun roster by the California Department of Justice since January 28, 2014, and are now unavailable to gun buyers, reports Calguns. Of those, 22 are manufactured by Smith & Wesson, Inc.

However, California gun owners have reason to be optimistic, say the groups. In a major development, firearm manufacturers Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc., have joined handgun maker Glock, Inc., in support of a federal Second Amendment civil rights lawsuit seeking to overturn the handgun regulation scheme commonly known as the “handgun roster.”

“SAF will be eternally grateful for the timely support from all three companies, which we believe strongly reinforces our case,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.

In one of two new declarations filed with the trial court, Smith & Wesson CEO James Debney stated that “as a result of the microstamping requirement, Smith & Wesson is losing its ability to sell many of its semi-automatic handguns in California, as its handguns are forced off the roster [by the California Department of Justice].”

The lawsuit, filed by Second Amendment Foundation and The Calguns Foundation, seeks to overturn the entire roster scheme and restore the full handgun market to California consumers. The case is helmed by noted civil rights attorneys Alan Gura of Alexandria, Virginia, Donald Kilmer of San Jose, California, and Jason Davis of Mission Viejo, California.

In January, The Calguns Foundation published its report on the roster’s effects on the California handgun market, which illustrates that the roster is an effective ban on handguns in common use for self-defense. The report, based on the California Department of Justice’s own roster database, shows that an average of 59 semi-automatic handguns have been removed from the roster every year for the past decade. However, 58 handgun models have already been removed by DOJ since January 1 of this year, with many more removals expected in coming months.

No new semi-automatic handguns may be placed on the Roster due to the DOJ's enforcement of the “microstamping” requirement, which Calguns believes will lead to an increase in the rate of handgun removal. More, DOJ is apparently also requiring manufacturers to sign affidavits saying that no changes, even non-substantive changes in upstream components and suppliers, have been made since the handguns were submitted for testing.

“Californians cannot acquire safe and reliable handguns in common use throughout the United States because of the roster and microstamping regulations,” explained Gene Hoffman, Chairman of The Calguns Foundation. “The roster is nothing short of a gun ban that infringes on fundamental Second Amendment rights. We look forward to proving that in court.”

More information on the lawsuit, including the complaint, can be found at

The Plaintiffs motion to supplement the record as well as the Ruger and Smith & Wesson declarations can be viewed at

CGF’s California Handgun Roster report may be 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.

The Second Amendment Foundation ( 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. Supporters may visit to join or donate to SAF.



California’s Gun Confiscation Program Hits Firearm Owners Hard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, February 7, 2014

California’s Gun Confiscation Program Hits Firearm Owners Hard

Efforts by the California Department of Justice to disarm gun owners have led to apparent civil rights violations, gun group says.
ROSEVILLE, CA -- Following numerous reports of improper arrests and firearm seizures throughout California, Roseville-based gun rights group The Calguns Foundation has issued a new warning to gun owners in the Golden State.
“Gun confiscation efforts pushed by Attorney General Kamala Harris have apparently led to unconstitutional arrests of regular, non-prohibited gun owners as well as the seizure of their firearms and ammunition,” said Brandon Combs, the group’s executive director and creator of the Foundation’s DOJ Watch project.
California’s Armed Prohibited Persons System, or ‘APPS’, firearms confiscation program was funded in 2013 through Senate Bill 140, authored by state legislators including San Diego-based senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine). SB 140 re-appropriated money paid by gun buyers for background checks to APPS law enforcement actions, including the one which took firearms from Bakersfield, California resident Michael Merritt.
“These frightening raids, often carried out by heavily armed DOJ agents and local law enforcement agencies, aren’t just hitting violent criminals,” noted Combs. “What a sad day it is when even elderly law-abiding people need to be on the lookout for Ms. Harris’ gun-grabbing goons.”
Should you be contacted by law enforcement, be polite but prepared to exercise your rights. For instance, should a warrant be served upon you, do not physically resist the officers but do remain silent and contact your attorney as soon as possible. Do not consent to any search and remember that you are not required to volunteer information or open locked containers.
As part of its ongoing efforts to defend gun owners from malicious and improper prosecutions, The Calguns Foundation operates a Help Hotline for firearms related legal issues. Should you be the target of the DOJ’s APPS gun confiscation efforts or any other firearms-related law enforcement encounter, detainment, or arrest while in California, the Foundation suggests the following:

● Never consent to a search

● Exercise your right to remain silent

● Contact CGF’s Help Hotline through the online form at or call (800) 556-2109, open 24/7/365

● If you need immediate legal assistance, please contact an attorney (some firearms attorneys are listed on the CGF Help Hotline web page)
Visit for more information about The Calguns Foundation’s Help Hotline and to submit requests for assistance on urgent firearms-related legal matters.
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.



The Calguns Foundation Wins Handgun Carry Lawsuit Against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Lee Baca

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Calguns Foundation Wins Handgun Carry Lawsuit Against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Lee Baca

The organization promises more lawsuits after latest Sunshine and Compliance Initiative court victory.

ROSEVILLE, CA -- In a decision released today that forces the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to begin accepting and processing handgun carry license applications, Judge Deirdre Hill said that LASD must “consider the applications of all persons seeking a CCW permit in the first instance without requiring any applicant to first seek a CCW permit with his/her local police chief or city.”

The case, titled Lu v. Baca, was filed in 2012 by California-based gun rights organization The Calguns Foundation and a number of individual plaintiffs seeking to overturn an unlawful LASD policy that functioned as a de facto ban on handgun carry licenses for Los Angeles County residents.

“This decision means that all Californians need not jump through more hoops than those required under state law in order to apply for a handgun carry license and exercise their Second Amendment rights,” explained Gene Hoffman, the group’s Chairman.


According to the Foundation’s executive director, Brandon Combs, the victory represents an affirmation of its legal strategy and presents new opportunities to advance gun rights in the Golden State.

“It’s long past time for sheriffs and police chiefs to adhere to the same laws they swore an oath to enforce, starting with the Constitution,” said Combs. “Hopefully they’re getting the message that our fundamental rights are not open to debate. We’ll keep filing lawsuits if that’s what it takes to restore Second Amendment freedoms in California.”

“I’m very pleased by the outcome,” said Charles Hokanson, the plaintiffs’ Long Beach-based attorney. “It is always positive to see the rights of law-abiding people vindicated as they were today in this decision.”

Earlier this month, CGF published two comprehensive reports on handgun carry licenses in the state, which can be viewed or downloaded for free at

Based on data from the California Department of Justice and other government sources, the Foundation’s reports show an increase of nearly 30,000 handgun carry licensees since it began efforts to make California “shall-issue” in May of 2009, when it and the Bellevue, Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation filed the first “right to carry” lawsuit in the nation since the United States Supreme Court’s historic D.C. v. Heller decision in 2008. CGF noted that it is currently awaiting a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its federal Second Amendment carry lawsuit Richards v. Prieto, the filings for which can be found on CGF’s online Wiki at

As reported on the Foundation’s website, CGF’s Carry License Sunshine and Compliance Initiative uses grassroots-funded research, publications, and litigation to:

  • Acquire and publish objective carry license statistics for evaluation and public scrutiny

  • Audit and publish the policies and practices of California’s licensing authorities

  • Acquire and publish carry license application records and other public documents that are or indicate the actual practices of California’s licensing authorities

  • Help carry license applicants through the maze of state laws and local rules

  • Force California’s licensing authorities to comply with state laws, legal precedent, and the United States Constitution

The Lu v. Baca decision can be viewed or downloaded at

Those wishing to help make California “shall-issue” and support carry license reform can make a tax-deductible donation to The Calguns Foundation at

The Calguns Foundation (CGF) ( 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.

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