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!


Mehl v. Blanas: An Important Decision In A Now-Irrelevant Handgun Carry Case

[caption id="attachment_1506" align="alignleft" width="300"]Ninth Circuit - Pasadena Courthouse Ninth Circuit - Pasadena Courthouse[/caption]
We at CGF are working hard to have the right to carry a firearm recognized in California through various legal actions and other efforts, not the least of which is our Second Amendment lawsuit on carry outside the home [now] entitled Richards v. Prieto. That case is particularly notable not only because it was the first of its kind, filed in 2009 (pre-McDonald v. Chicago, thanks to the Second Amendment’s incorporation [for a time] in the Ninth Circuit through an April 2009 decision in the Nordyke v. King case and, previously, 2008′s landmark victory in D.C. v. Heller), but also because it has the unique characteristic of challenging both the “good cause” and “good moral character” components of the California statutes on carry licensing and Yolo Sheriff Ed Prieto’s policy “as applied”. Alan Gura, the lead attorney on Richards, argued the case before a panel of Ninth Circuit judges on December 6, 2012, after which it was submitted for decision (which, we hope, comes soon – more on this below).
However, as some of you are aware, there are those who don’t have the full breadth of resources and capabilities to bring well-considered Second Amendment litigation. Unfortunately [for all of us], those deficits do not dissuade them from bringing their lawsuits anyway.
One such instance was the case of Mehl v. Blanas, brought by attorney Gary Gorski against a much earlier sheriff of Sacramento County (Lou Blanas). Mr. Gorski is somewhat notorious for being on the wrong end of the Dunning–Kruger effect regarding firearms litigation. (On a related note, Second Amendment scholar Dave Kopel published his email interview with Mr. Gorski here.) We’ll refrain from throwing too many stones as some people have accused us of the same from time to time; we think CGF’s totality of wins and advancements for the actual, practical ability of Californians to own firearms (and, in many jurisdictions where it was previously impossible — like Sacramento County — carry them) speak to our success. Mr. Gorski’s “gun rights claim to fame” to date has been that he effectively disarmed retired law enforcement officers of their semi-automatic rifles (like AR-15s) while otherwise losing an assault weapons case at the Ninth Circuit. Going back to the long-running and voluminous Mehl case, Mr. Gorski’s earlier lawsuit that challenged Sheriff Blanas’ carry license policies and practices in Sacramento County, we should contrast the results there against the clearly positive outcome that was secured by us in just months when CGF and our litigation partners (and individual plaintiffs) sued then-Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness and came to a mutually-acceptable settlement which changed Sacramento County from effectively “no issue” to one that is not just a virtually-shall issue jurisdiction, but one that has seen record and newsworthy growth of handgun carry licensees since (see this July 2011 CBS Sacramento report and this February 2012 ABC News 10 report, just two of many such news items on this subject).
Many have worried, perhaps justifiably, that Mr. Gorski’s continuing case against a now virtually-”shall issue” agency would block (or worse) decisions in the superior Richards v. Prieto and Peruta v. Gore cases. Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit panel in Mehl issued a non-published and non-precedential opinion dismissing Mr. Gorski’s case on standing grounds. The court found that because plaintiff Mehl didn’t file a complete application after being asked to re-apply he didn’t have standing to sue over the alleged policy issues. Of course, should Mr. Mehl apply today, he stands a very good chance of being issued his license to carry absent the Sacramento sheriff’s office finding some articulable reason to the contrary in their background check investigation.
There does remain one more case against Sacramento helmed by Mr. Gorski, a Racketeering Act/RICO lawsuit named Rothery v. Blanas centering on handgun carry license issuance. However, that case is stayed by the Court until the very end of Mehl or September 3, 2013. Additionally, it has not been fully briefed, argued, or submitted for decision — unlike Richards and Peruta. As such, we think Rothery is unlikely to affect how or when the Ninth Circuit will rule in Richards and Peruta.
We are certainly not guaranteed a positive result in Richards and Peruta but we are very encouraged that Mehl was disposed of on grounds that do not injure those critical cases or, most importantly, the precious civil rights and millions of law-abiding people they represent. As we live to watch the Seventh Circuit force handgun carry by non-prohibited people upon Illinois and anti-gun rights municipalities like Chicago, we believe that the ultimate outcome — up to, and potentially including, a United States Supreme Court decision — will respect and protect our right to keep and bear arms for self-defense outside the thresholds of our homes as the framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights intended.
We now look forward to a decision from the Richards panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and whatever judicial “next steps” are required to vindicate Californians’ fundamental individual right to effective self defense in public.



Cities of San Francisco, Oakland Settle CGF Federal Lawsuit on Return of Firearms


Cities of San Francisco, Oakland Settle CGF Federal Lawsuit on Return of Firearms

SAN CARLOS, CA – The Calguns Foundation announced today that it has reached a settlement with the City of San Francisco and the San Francisco Police Department in its case Churchill v. Harris, a federal lawsuit arising from law enforcement firearm return policies. The Foundation previously reached a negotiated settlement with the City of Oakland, which was also named in the suit. The controversy arose after the California Department of Justice changed the language it uses in its Law Enforcement Gun Release letters that are required when gun owners seek the return of their firearms after a law enforcement seizure.
The lawsuit had named Attorney General Kamala Harris as a defendant, who was dismissed from the case on 11th Amendment immunity grounds. “During the hearing where the Attorney General was dismissed,” noted Foundation Chairman Gene Hoffman, who attended the hearing, “the court remarked that the Attorney General is doing local law enforcement no favors with their misleading policy."
“While our continued position is that the confusing language used by the California Department of Justice in their Law Enforcement Gun Release letter is unfair to gun owners, local law enforcement agencies, counties and cities,” continued Hoffman, “our successful resolution of this lawsuit is a step forward in clarifying the duties of local authorities in the return of firearms to their lawful owners.”
With the settlement, San Francisco has implemented an updated policy on the return of unregistered firearms that are legally owned by someone who has presented a Law Enforcement Gun Release letter from the California DOJ. In addition, San Francisco agreed to reimburse the Foundation a portion of the legal fees and expenses of bringing this case to protect the rights of gun owners.
“With this case now positively concluded, we will be sending California law enforcement agencies a memorandum containing a copy of the updated San Francisco policy,” said Brandon Combs, executive director of the Foundation. ”Through these efforts, we hope that their responsibilities to gun owners when presented with a LEGR will be made clear and that their future returns of firearms avoid the legal pitfalls we addressed in this case.”
The updated San Francisco policy is available to view or download at
The Calguns Foundation ( is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which serves its members and the public by providing Second Amendment-related education, strategic litigation, and the defense of innocent California 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 in California. Supporters may visit to join or donate to CGF.




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Merced County, CA Sheriff Pays CGF $9,250 in Handgun Carry Case Settlement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, June 3, 2013

Merced County, CA Sheriff Pays CGF $9,250 in Handgun Carry Case Settlement

SAN CARLOS, CA  – As part of a settlement reached in the handgun carry case of Michelle Rossow, et al. v. County of Merced and Merced Sheriff Mark Pazin, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department has agreed to pay The Calguns Foundation $9,250.47 for attorney fees in the matter.
[caption id="attachment_1452" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Settlement Check Image County of Merced’s check to CGF for $9,250.47 in the Rossow v. Merced lawsuit.[/caption]
The lawsuit, filed in July 2011, sought to correct problems in the Sheriff’s policy for applications for and licenses to carry concealed handguns as part of the Foundation’s ongoing Carry License Sunshine and Compliance Initiative.
In addition to the fee recovery, The Calguns Foundation’s action against the Sheriff resulted in a number of changes to the Sheriff’s carry license policies, which was based on a boilerplate document produced by Lexipol, a law enforcement policy management outsourcer, and modified with local rules.
The Foundation first contacted Merced in October of 2010, when it discovered that the Sheriff had established an unlawful moratorium on the acceptance of new carry license applications. The Sheriff subsequently lifted the moratorium but refused to modify parts of his policy that CGF identified as unlawful. When talks broke down, the Foundation filed the lawsuit in Merced County Superior Court.
“It’s great to see a successful outcome in this case, as Merced’s policy on licenses to carry handguns was substantially revised to address the most grievous concerns, and the Court retained jurisdiction to address future compliance issues,” said attorney for plaintiffs Jason Davis of Mission Viejo.
“This case is an important next step in our Carry Initiative,” explained Brandon Combs, executive director for The Calguns Foundation. “The County chose to address our concerns rather than face a possible court order, and we applaud them for that. Now it’s up to the other California sheriffs to follow suit or be sued themselves.”
“Ultimately, this case is about making carry license policies consistent with California law,” said Foundation Chairman Gene Hoffman. “We hope that we can accomplish this without suing every California county, but if that’s what it requires, that’s what we are prepared to do.”
The Calguns Foundation ( is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which serves its members and the public by providing Second Amendment-related education, strategic litigation, and the defense of innocent California 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 in California. Supporters may visit to join or donate to CGF.
CONTACT: Brandon Combs
(650) 275-1015