The Calguns Foundation Publishes 2012-2013 California Handgun Carry License Reports

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Calguns Foundation Publishes 2012-2013 California Handgun Carry License Reports

Reports show significant increases in the number of California handgun licensees since it began carry license reform efforts, Sunshine and Compliance Initiative
ROSEVILLE, CA -- As part of its ongoing Carry License Sunshine and Compliance Initiative, California-based gun rights group The Calguns Foundation (CGF) has published two new 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” Second Amendment lawsuit in the nation since the Supreme Court’s historic D.C. v. Heller decision in 2008.
Then-Sheriff for Sacramento County, John McGinness, settled the lawsuit by changing his policy to accept the Second Amendment right to armed self-defense as “good cause” for the issuance of licenses to applicants without a criminal history. However, that lawsuit continued against Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto and is currently pending decision at the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Case filings for Richards v. Prieto can be found on CGF’s online Wiki at

“Californians are watching the news and hearing about thousands of criminals being released from prison early, robberies, assaults, and all sorts of other horrors,” explained Brandon Combs, CGF’s Executive Director. “It makes total sense that they’ve responded by acquiring handgun carry licenses so they can defend themselves and their loved ones when they’re away from home.”
The number of Sacramento County residents with a carry license, for example, has grown from 269 in 2010 to 3,764 in 2013, the DOJ’s records show. That reported increase, some 1300% in just 3 years, doesn’t account for a significant number of pending applications, those on Sacramento’s months-long waiting list, or those who can’t get on the waiting list.
“We’re encouraged with the improvement our reports show, but the total number of California licensees is still far too low,” said Combs. “Unconstitutional policies are still preventing tens of millions of law-abiding Californians from exercising their fundamental Constitutional rights. We’re going to fix that, whatever it takes.”
The Calguns Foundation’s many carry license reform victories include forcing San Francisco County’s former sheriff Michael Hennessey to institute a way for residents to apply for a handgun carry license after exposing that his lawyer was the only person licensed in the county, Ventura County’s near-total adoption of CGF’s Model Handgun License Policy, and a settlement with Merced County stipulating changes to its policies to bring them in line with state law.
The Calguns Foundation also has pending lawsuits relating to handgun carry licenses, colloquially known as “CCW” permits, against Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca and Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith.
“We are in the process of evaluating the carry license policies of all 58 California sheriffs, as well as some police chiefs,” noted Combs. “Based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s a safe bet that we will be filing more lawsuits in 2014.”
“All we ask for is that these law enforcement officers respect civil rights and follow California law. It’s not unreasonable for the public to expect at least that much of its employees.”
As reported on the Foundation’s website, CGF’s Carry License Sunshine and Compliance Initiative uses grassroots-funded research, publication, 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; and

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

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.


Make a tax-deductible donation to CGF today and help fund gun rights efforts like this one!

Amended Complaint Filed in CGF's Haynie v. Pleasanton "Assault Weapons" Challenge

Yesterday, counsel for plaintiffs Brendan Richards, Mark Haynie, The Calguns Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation filed an amended complaint in the case of Haynie, et al. v. Kamala Harris, et al., a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging California's "Assault Weapons" laws as unconstitutional.

The court filing states that plaintiffs seek "injunctive and declaratory relief against Defendants [Kamala Harris and DOJ] that the California Penal Codes and Regulations defining Assault Weapons are unconstitutionally vague and ambiguous and therefore result in wrongful arrests and seizures of lawfully possessed/owned arms." The filing also claims that "the unconstitutionally vague and ambiguous definitions of assault weapons and the ongoing risk of arrest and seizure have a chilling effect on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms of ordinary and common design as protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution."
The case stems from a series of unconstitutional arrests and property seizures relating to firearms mis-identified as "assault weapons" by law enforcement. Mr. Richards was himself improperly arrested and had legal firearms seized twice on two difference occasions by two different law enforcement agencies since 2010.
A downloadable copy of the complaint is shown below.

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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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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.