News

Calguns Foundation Sues Los Angeles County, Sheriff Lee Baca

San Carlos, CA (March 9, 2012) – Continuing its Carry License Sunshine and Compliance Initiative, The Calguns Foundation (CGF) has filed a lawsuit today in Los Angeles Superior Court against Los Angeles Sheriff Leroy “Lee” Baca, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and Los Angeles County. The case, entitled Jennifer Lu, et al. v. County of Los Angeles, et al., challenges the Sheriff’s ban on accepting and processing applications for carry licenses submitted by city residents.
The Calguns Foundation is joined in the lawsuit by three individual plaintiffs.
“Sheriff Baca made the unfortunate decision to repeat historical failure,” noted CGF Chairman Gene Hoffman. “Apparently, the Sheriff and County do not feel bound to follow the precedent they set when the California Court of Appeals ruled against them in 1976. We look forward to refreshing their memory.”
In the case of Salute v. Pitchess, the Court held that “[i]t is the duty of the sheriff to make . . . an investigation and determination, on an individual basis, on every application” for a handgun carry license. Then-Los Angeles Sheriff Peter Pitchess had “a fixed policy of not granting applications . . . … except in a limited number of cases.”
California requires that people who desire to carry a handgun for self defense be licensed by the sheriff of the county in which they reside, or, at the applicants’ option, they can apply to their city’s chief of police. However, sheriffs cannot require applicants to first apply to and be denied by a city’s chief of police as a prerequisite to application.
“The State of California very intentionally established a standardized carry license framework: if you’re a sheriff, you have a duty to administer the carry license program for all residents of your county,” clarified Brandon Combs, an officer of CGF and director of the Carry License Initiative. “Sheriff Baca’s intent in enforcing these unlawful regulations is quite clear: make it as difficult as possible for law-abiding residents of Los Angeles County to defend their lives and those of their families. Not only does he treat some deserving applicants differently than others, he uses the rejections by cities’ chiefs of police - that his policy requires - as evidence against the applicants when they apply to him.”
“Jennifer Lu and the other plaintiffs have every reason to desire a handgun carry license, not the least of which is that it is their fundamental right under the Constitution as Federal courts in both West Virginia and Maryland ruled earlier this week,” said Jason Davis, attorney for the plaintiffs. “Sheriff Baca is circumventing state and constitutional law, and we’re confident that this case will bear that out.”
A copy of the complaint and case filings can be downloaded at
The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which serves its members 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.
Contact:
Gene Hoffman
650-275-1015
hoffmang@calgunsfoundation.org


Calguns Foundation Demands San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey Follow Laws, Constitution Himself

San Carlos, CA (June 2, 2011)  - As part of its ongoing Carry License Compliance and Sunshine Initiative, The Calguns Foundation sent San Francisco County Sheriff Michael Hennessey a letter demanding that he immediately bring his firearm carry license application acceptance, processing, and evaluation policies into compliance with the law.
In the letter sent Tuesday, Calguns notes that the Sheriff has failed to comply with state law for nearly thirteen years, even after being notified of the deficiency on a number of prior occasions. Calguns also claims that the policies of the Sheriff in issuing licenses to some, including one of his employees, while refusing to accept all applications from “regular” San Francisco residents violates applicants’ constitutional rights of self-defense and equal protection under the law.
“While the Sheriff may have grown accustomed to following only those laws he chooses, we intend to hold the County’s highest law enforcement officer to the same laws he took an oath to uphold,” notes Gene Hoffman, Chairman of The Calguns Foundation. “The rights of San Francisco residents are no less valuable than those of his employees and friends.”
In 1998, then-Assemblymember Rod Wright authored a bill to make firearm carry permit applications consistent across the state due to tremendous variations in local practices by licensing authorities. That bill, AB 2022, established a mandate that all licensing authorities create and publish a written policy on carry license applications by April 1, 1999. It also instituted a specific process that licensing authorities - county sheriffs and city chiefs of police - must use in receiving and processing applications.
“We’ve spent thousands of hours requesting and reviewing the policies and practices of hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state. Sheriff Hennessey’s, obviously, stood out – it simply didn’t exist,” said Brandon Combs, member of the Board of Directors of Calguns Foundation. “It’s exceedingly frustrating to see the Sheriff turning away so many qualified San Francisco residents who are complying with the law.”
In an effort to avoid litigation, Calguns provided Sheriff Hennessey with a comprehensive model carry license policy. “We would strongly prefer that the Sheriff simply choose to use our model policy, much as San Francisco has done with LCAV policies in the past,” Brandon Combs said. “However, should he choose to go another direction, we’re prepared to litigate as necessary to bring his policies and practices in line with the law.”
A downloadable copy of the model policy is available at this link. CGF's letter to Sheriff Hennessey is located here.
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The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which serves its members 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.

Contact:
Gene Hoffman
650-275-1015


Los Angeles County DA's Office Dismisses False Charges Against “Open Carrier” Who Exercised His Right to Remain Silent

Mission Viejo, CA (May 10, 2011) – The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office agreed to drop all charges against “open carrier” Ryan Burbridge and is currently considering whether it will oppose a petition for a finding of factual innocence to clear Burbridge’s record. This dismissal comes in the wake of California Assembly Bill 144, which is currently pending and would ban the practice of “open carrying” in California, leaving whether or not individuals can carry firearm in any way for self-defense to discretionary permits issued by law enforcement. Jason Davis and The Calguns Foundation defended Mr. Burbridge.
On March 24, 2011, Burbridge was charged with interfering and delaying an investigation for in incident relating to “open carry” activities. in January, 2011, Mr. Burbridge was lawfully carrying a firearm openly and unloaded in a holster at the Los Cerritos mall. Burbridge was approached by Los Angeles County Sheriffs, who sought to determine whether the firearm was unloaded. They approached Mr. Burbirdge in a secluded hallway away from the view of any witnesses.
“My client questioned the officer’s choice of not permitting his wife or anyone to witness the check of his firearm due to previous harassment by other law enforcement performing similar checks,” said Burbridge’s attorney, Jason Davis of Davis and Associates. “When the officers prolonged the firearm inspection, Burbridge requested that the officers check the firearm, which they did.”
Once the firearm was determined to be unloaded there was no longer any authority for continued detainment, Davis stated. “When the officers requested my client’s identification, Burbridge informed the sheriff deputy that he was exercising his right to remain silent, clarified that detention was over, and walked away with his family.” The entire incident lasted less than four minutes. After the incident, the deputy obtained Burbridge’s license plate number from his vehicle in the mall parking lot to identify Burbridge. Charges were subsequently filed against Burbridge for failing to identify himself and delaying a police investigation. “In other words,” said Davis, “my client was charged for exercising his Constitutional rights.”
Burbridge’s lawyers obtained the support of The Calguns Foundation and opened discussions with the District Attorney’s office in an effort to avoid an unlawful prosecution. “Though the Calguns Foundation encourages individuals to not open carry in urban areas due to law enforcement confusion on the topic, it defends those who are falsely prosecuted for exercising their rights,” said Calguns Foundation Chairman, Gene Hoffman. “Unfortunately, it is this confusion that will likely lead to the passage of Assembly Bill 144. Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police have the ability to exercise their discretion to issue carry permits in a way that complies with the Bill of Rights. Sacramento County, as well as many other jurisdictions in California, show their respect for civil rights by granting carry permits to all law-abiding applicants. Jurisdictions, like Los Angeles County, who consider the Bill of Rights optional, bring upon themselves additional police work and create dangerous situations for their officers by denying people like Mr. Burbridge the right to carry a firearm subject to background checks and training.”
“This incident really opened my eyes to what The Calguns Foundation is doing to support our rights and how easily law enforcement confusion can turn our lives upside down with the stress and turmoil of being falsely prosecuted,” said Burbridge. “Without the involvement of the Calguns community and my lawyers Jason Davis and Jason Shyres, I do not think that I would have had the same result.”
The Calguns Foundation (·www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving its members through providing Second Amendment-related education, strategic litigation and the defense of innocent California gun owners from improper prosecution. The Calguns Foundation works to educate government and protect the rights of individuals to acquire, own and lawfully use firearms in California.
Contact:
Gene Hoffman
650-275-1015
gene.hoffman@calgunsfoundation.org


Tom Scocca, CGF, Madison file lawsuit against Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith over Carry Licensing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2011
SAN JOSE, CA – Tom Scocca, The Calguns Foundation, and The Madison Society have filed a lawsuit seeking to compel Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith to respect the equal protection rights of carry license applicants and conform her carry license policies to state law.
Tom Scocca is a Director of Security Risk Management at a large Silicon Valley semiconductor business. Mr. Scocca has "good cause" that is directly comparable to many of the 70 applicants who have successfully received carry permits in Santa Clara County. Further, Mr. Scocca experienced first hand the effect of unlawful policies that members of Calguns Foundation and The Madison Society experience when attempting to apply for a carry permit from Sheriff Smith.
Tom Scocca faces real threats in performing his job. His work requires him to investigate intellectual property compromise and the theft of valuable company property. Though he is licensed by the state of California to openly carry a firearm, he needs to be able to investigate without raising suspicion. “I've been in law enforcement in the past and am trusted by California to carry a loaded firearm,” Scocca said. “However, even though my good cause is equal to or more worthy than many other applicants who have had their licenses issued, Sheriff Smith arbitrarily denied my application.”
Attorney Don Kilmer, representing the plaintiffs in this case, said, “It’s a shame that Sheriff Smith doesn't take the Constitution seriously. This case really isn't about guns, it is about treating citizens fairly and equally while following California Law.”
“Sheriff Smith has to implement a carry license application process that follows California law and treats similarly situated applicants equally,” said Gene Hoffman, Chairman of The Calguns Foundation. “It is especially troubling that a Sheriff would operate a license process in ignorance of state law and binding court precedent.”
The Calguns Foundation ( www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving its members through providing Second Amendment-related education, strategic litigation and the defense of innocent California gun owners from improper prosecution. The Calguns Foundation works to educate government andprotect the rights of individuals to acquire, own and lawfully use firearms in California.
The Madison Society (www.madison-society.org) promotes and preserves the Constitution of the United states through education and litigation. The Madison Society specifically focuses it's litigation efforts challenging laws, ordinances, regulations, and any other restrictions and infringements on the right of citizens to "keep and bear arms."
A copy of the complaint is available at http://www.archive.org/download/gov.uscourts.cand.238467/gov.uscourts.cand.238467.1.0.pdf.
Mr. Scocca, CGF, Madison, and Don Kilmer would like to thank Preston Guillory for his assistance in developing this case.
The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which serves its members 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.


CGF Forces Solano County to Reduce Illegal Concealed-Carry License Fees

CGF “Sunshine Initiative” Continues to Improve License Issuance
San Carlos, CA (November 17, 2010) – The Calguns Foundation announced today that, as part of its Carry License Compliance and Sunshine Initiative, Solano County has recently agreed to modify their concealed weapon licensing fee schedule to bring it into compliance with California law.
As part of this initiative – accompanied by its carry license web portal – The Calguns Foundation has been obtaining and analyzing county information regarding license issuance statistics, policies, and processing. Upon review of Solano County’s fees, it was apparent that the County’s fee ordinance conflicted with California law. “The law is crystal clear as to what requirements sheriffs may impose upon applicants,” said Calguns Foundation board member Brandon Combs, adding, “Yet we find many California counties have numerous policy violations.”
California law permits concealed carry permit applicants to be charged up to $100 (with a maximum of $20 due prior to acceptance of applicants’ “good cause” statements); renewal applicants can be charged up to $25. Solano County’s policy, however, called for initial fees of $229 and renewal fees of $152. As such, these policies required applicants to be overcharged by $209 if their license application was denied, and overcharged by $129 if their application was approved. Renewal applicants were overcharged $127.
On October 4, 2010, CGF’s attorney, Jason Davis of Davis & Associates, submitted a pre-litigation demand letter to the Solano County Sheriff, Gary R. Stanton. This letter detailed the illegalities of Solano County's current fee structure. Upon examination of their policy and at the urging of CGF, Solano County agreed to change their fees to reflect the California statutory scheme for carry licensing.
“Solano set an example of how other counties can spare their taxpayers from needless litigation – they did the right thing once the defective policy was brought to their attention,” said Calguns Foundation's Chairman, Gene Hoffman. “Solano gets it, but we anticipate that many counties will not. It is our goal to address every one of these violations throughout California until all counties are 100% compliant in their written and actual policies.”
For those wishing to apply for a CCW permit, The Calguns Foundation maintains an informational portal to assist applicants in all 58 California counties as part of its recently announced Carry Licensing Compliance and Sunshine Initiative. The information portal is available at www.calgunsfoundation.org/carry
The Calguns Foundation ( www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving its members through providing Second Amendment-related education, strategic litigation and the defense of innocent California gun owners from improper prosecution. The Calguns Foundation works to educate government andprotect the rights of individuals to acquire, own and lawfully use firearms in California.
Contact:
Gene Hoffman
650-275-1015
hoffmang@calgunsfoundation.org