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NYC courts continue to “shakedown” legal gun owners at airports

Only in New York City could three separate law enforcement agencies obfuscate responsibility for upholding gun laws and resort to finger pointing as their defense to shamelessly robbing the public under color of the “rule of law.” Not surprisingly, the Second Amendment receives an inordinate amount of attention, but not much legal scrutiny from self-serving New Yorkers and the entities they represent.

New York authorities rely on the honesty of air travelers transiting through the state with lawfully owned firearms, who become victims upon disclosure under Federal law of their weapon possession, to create a well-oiled, gun-eating, revenue-raising machine. New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg’s interpretation of the Second Amendment nabs unsuspecting airline passengers (hundreds have been ensnared the past few years) jails and fines them.

New York City is a gun-free zone, and one requires permission from Bloomberg’s administration to carry a weapon within the city– and that permission rarely happens. For security purposes the City often relies on the service of off-duty or retired NYPD to keep the peace in the bustling metropolis of the Big Apple. However, unsuspecting travelers at area airports are apprehended for simply passing through this City to their final destination where it is lawful to have a firearm in their possession.

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Combine these heavy-handed tactics with the Department of Justice (DOJ) policy of suing states for laws it favors and Americans have a new recipe for dictatorial leadership. Lately, Attorney General Eric Holder has been in the business of suing individual states for allegedly trumping federal law, most notably illegal immigration and voting laws. While the DOJ picks and chooses its causes, they have chosen to let New York’s Port Authority Police seize lawfully owned firearms from travelers at its airports.

After 9/11, the U.S. government set up a number of safety measures to protect air travelers, and as a result they created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as the federal overseer of airport security. TSA is in charge of security at most major U.S. airports—except New York, which has hijacked control from local TSA agents.

New York City’s firearms interdiction and enforcement interferes with the airport security chain of command. It is here the finger pointing starts and the doubletalk reigns supreme.

The responsibility and non- responsibility approach

This reporter’s recent visit to TSA’s Washington DC headquarters seeking a resolution of this jurisdictional conflict yielded no answers. A phone conversation in the lobby went something like this; “Hi, I’m the reporter from California who has been talking to you via the phone regarding the security measures at LaGuardia Airport and wanted to clarify a few things. Do you have a minute?”

TSA spokesperson Greg Soule then replies; “Sure.”

This reporter answers; “Great, I’m in the lobby can you come down and meet me, I only need 5 minutes?”

Mr. Soule replies; “Aaa… well… actually I can’t come down, but I can refer you to our website.”

Wow, it’s an interesting strategy the TSA employs at their DC headquarters. Another phone call to TSA spokesperson Mike McCarthy confirms TSA is indeed in charge of airport security. Great news. Finally someone can explain why New York City’s Port Authority Police shows up at the ticket counter and arrests travelers when they attempt to check in their TSA-approved locked and unloaded firearm’s cases into checked baggage. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and Mr. McCarthy says there must be a “special agreement” to supersede TSA’s authority.

A “special agreement” explanation leads to the New York Port Authority Police. A call to Port Authority’s Press Officer Al Della Fave yields a similar response, and he explains the officers at the airports are only doing what they are told. And it is Mr. Della Fave’s understanding that Port Authority Police have some sort of “special agreement” with New York’s legal community (Bloomberg and/or District Attorneys) and Port Authority officers are only following orders.

Fair enough, rank-and-file officers are pretty good about following orders, and there is no indication that this case is any different in New York.

The next phone call is to the Queen’s County District Attorneys office that prosecutes the lawful firearm owners, travelling with their guns locked up and stored as per federal law and TSA requirements.

So far, the common denominator with all the agencies is the explicit “special agreement” and if there were a document out there, surely the District Attorney’s office would have a copy of the document.

“I have checked with our executive staff and there is no Memorandum of Understanding between the District Attorney’s Office and either the TSA or Port Authority Police Department,” said Kevin R. Ryan, director of communications for the Queens County District Attorney’s office.

So, the DA admits that there is no “memo” or “special agreement” between the Queen’s County District Attorney’s office, New York Port Authority Police and the TSA that justifies Port Authority Police supersede federal law at their airports. Normally, Federal law requires some sort of Memo of Understanding (MOU) between states and municipalities as currently TSA regulates the interstate transportation of firearms.

Knowing New York City has the nation’s toughest gun laws (after a ton of research) it appears New York City is serious about keeping the city a gun-free zone. Again, fair enough, but if New Yorkers are so concerned about firearms entering their jurisdiction, then why aren’t they apprehending the lawful gun owners as they leave the airport with their firearms in their luggage? TSA keeps a record of all firearms that passengers carry in their “checked” luggage. One would assume law enforcement wouldn’t want those firearms on the city sidewalks, right?

“While I cannot speak on behalf of the TSA, I can tell you that we have never been notified by the TSA of somebody traveling to New York with a weapon. The most likely reason is that the TSA would not be aware of the person’s licensing status in New York,” Ryan went on to explain.

However, TSA confirms they keep a record of all firearms and haven’t been asked by the DA’s office for notification.

The frustration continues, and nobody is taking responsibility or providing constructive answers for those who travel through New York.

Determined to get to the bottom of this issue this reporter called the airline ticket counter at LaGuardia Airport to set the record straight. The call goes something like; “Hi there I’m calling to find out what process I can expect when I get to the airport today. I left California and traveled to New Jersey through LaGuardia with my firearm, which I’m licensed to carry and is stored in the TSA-approved case. I’m headed back later today and wanted to know if there was anything I should be aware of or if I need extra time at the ticket counter?” The American Airline representative, Ty (no last name, security she says), replies; “Nope, it’s the same process in all airports.”

Except it’s not. Had a lawful gun owner followed that due diligence they’d be facing felony gun charges in the City of New York. It seems odd that the airline employees don’t know the rules because once a traveler presents a locked-up firearm at an airport ticket counter in New York for check in, as required by TSA, LaGuardia airline personnel call Port Authority NOT TSA, who immediately arrests the unsuspecting traveler.

Ryan explains that his boss, District Attorney Richard Brown; “has called upon the airlines to warn travelers of their responsibility to check local gun laws. Many airlines when asked by a passenger about transporting a weapon will only inform them of federal regulations with no mention of the need to check local laws. It is therefore incumbent upon passengers to acquaint themselves with the weapon laws of the jurisdiction that they are visiting and to comply with any and all legal requirements if they choose to travel with a weapon.”

Yet, nobody this reporter called mentioned anything about arresting travelers as they try to leave from a New York airport. It’s also worth noting that there is nothing mentioned on the airlines’ or TSA’s websites indicating that if travelers pass through New York they need to make alternate plans for checking in a firearm upon departure.

Consequences of due diligence

For the hundreds of passengers ensnared in New York City’s harsh firearm rules, there is little recourse for an individual. However, several attorneys, including Dick Heller (who was successful in taking on the Washington DC politicos and eventually won a Supreme Court case regarding the right to own a firearm) said at a Washington DC dinner that a class-action lawsuit might be in order to reign in New York’s firearm laws.

As far as the New York legal community is concerned, the law is the law, and until somebody challenges the legal standing, the arrests will continue to take place at the airports.

Ryan explained the law in a matter-of-fact tone that “when a visitor to our city is arrested, particularly at our airports, for possessing a weapon, there are several factors we consider in fashioning an appropriate disposition — including, but not limited to, was the weapon legally obtained, does the individual possess a valid permit in their home state, the duration of their stay in our city and, in airport cases, whether the individual voluntarily disclosed the weapon to authorities. In adjudicating such cases, there must be a balance between our obligation to protect our citizens and an individual’s error in judgment. Over the years, we have struck that balance well in ensuring that justice is served and maintaining our state’s tough, successful gun laws.”

Fairness in New York requires the defendant to pay a fine, court fees and let authorities destroy their legally owned firearm. If defendants follow this sage advice, the judge’s gavel will fall, and they will not serve any jail time. For the court’s trouble, the defendants will pay approximately $10-15 thousand in fees/fines.

One last fact for New Yorkers to consider with their so-called successful “tough gun laws.” is that while New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his District Attorney offices praise their “toughest in the nation” firearm laws, firearm crime statistics portray a different picture.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the most recent handgun crime statistics indicates New York has witnessed an increase of firearm related crimes despite the state’s tougher laws.

Keeping this in mind 2nd Amendment groups, like Calguns, say New York may be infringing on gun rights. “Look if you are staying in New York City, gun owners must comply with the City’s gun laws, but if you are simply passing through it would seem NYC is over-stepping the Second Amendment,” Jason Davis an attorney for Calguns said.

Davis along with other citizens who have been charged with felonies, suffered the wrath of New York’s tough gun laws, contend the entire process is nothing more than a money-making business for the Port Authority Police, New York courts and area lawyers that represent those ensnared at airport ticket counters.

Criminal-defense lawyer Martin D. Kane points out on Lawyers.com; “What New York does is not helping matters. It’s pretty unreasonable, and it’s great fuel.” He goes on to explain that attorneys should not try to ‘defend’ these cases and claims there is a legal process in place.

Nevertheless, Kane claims the specific law is clear and there is no room for negotiation (18 USC §926A Interstate Transportation of Firearms, notwithstanding the clear conflict between NYC and TSA regulations regarding the transportation of weapons.

Other NYC gun-related cases

Two more NYC gun cases settled this week involving a medical student, Meredith Graves of Tennessee and a retired U.S. Marine Ryan Jerome of Indiana.

Graves attorney, Daniel Horwitz spoke to media after he successfully reduced the felony gun charge to a misdemeanor. “She’s happy that this ordeal is over, and she’s looking forward to getting on with her life and her career as a doctor,” he told The New York Post.

The former Marine, Jerome’s case also settled this week. After his arrest, Jerome decided to fight the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and beat the felony gun charge, but changed his mind midway through the battle and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor weapons-possession charge in an effort to avoid a three and a half year jail sentence, according to a New York Times story.

While New York City continues to enforce its over-reaching gun laws, it’s up to gun owners to follow the rules, recognize a problem exists in NYC and use legal channels afforded to them to change the Big Apple’s anti-Second Amendment seizures. When a state impedes on Constitutional rights, it has a chilling effect on law-abiding citizens and the last resort necessary is for Lady Justice (Supreme Court) to return the rights’ to the people, just as the founders intended.

To read three other NYC gun-related stories link here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/unwitting-airline-passengers-robbed-of-their-second-amendment-rights-nyc

And here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/nypd-frisks-searches-and-violates-civil-liberties-daily

And here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/new-york-city-1-us-constitution-0-nyc-profits-from-seizures-of-legal-guns

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com NYC courts continue to “shakedown” legal gun owners at airports – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/nyc-continues-to-shakedown-legal-gun-owners#ixzz1qETz5MuZ

NYC courts continue to “shakedown” legal gun owners at airports

Only in New York City could three separate law enforcement agencies obfuscate responsibility for upholding gun laws and resort to finger pointing as their defense shamelessly robbing the public under color of the “rule of law.” Not surprisingly, the Second Amendment receives an inordinate amount of attention, but not much legal scrutiny from self-serving New Yorkers and the entities they represent.

New York authorities rely on the honesty of air travelers transiting through the state with lawfully owned firearms, who become victims upon disclosure under Federal law of their weapon possession, to create a well-oiled, gun-eating, revenue-raising machine. New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg’s interpretation of the Second Amendment nabs unsuspecting airline passengers (hundreds have been ensnared the past few years) jails and fines them.

New York City is a gun-free zone, and one requires permission from Bloomberg’s administration to carry a weapon within the city– and that permission rarely happens. For security purposes the City often relies on the service of off-duty or retired NYPD to keep the peace in the bustling metropolis of the Big Apple. However, unsuspecting travelers at area airports are apprehended for simply passing through this City to their final destination where it is lawful to have a firearm in their possession.

Advertisement

Combine these heavy-handed tactics with the Department of Justice (DOJ) policy of suing states for laws it favors and Americans have a new recipe for dictatorial leadership. Lately, Attorney General Eric Holder has been in the business of suing individual states for allegedly trumping federal law, most notably illegal immigration and voting laws. While the DOJ picks and chooses its causes, they have chosen to let New York’s Port Authority Police seize lawfully owned firearms from travelers at its airports.

After 9/11, the U.S. government set up a number of safety measures to protect air travelers, and as a result they created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as the federal overseer of airport security. TSA is in charge of security at most major U.S. airports—except New York, which has hijacked control from local TSA agents.

New York City’s firearms interdiction and enforcement interferes with the airport security chain of command. It is here the finger pointing starts and the doubletalk reigns supreme.

The responsibility and non- responsibility approach

This reporter’s recent visit to TSA’s Washington DC headquarters seeking a resolution of this jurisdictional conflict yielded no answers. A phone conversation in the lobby went something like this; “Hi, I’m the reporter from California who has been talking to you via the phone regarding the security measures at LaGuardia Airport and wanted to clarify a few things. Do you have a minute?”

TSA spokesperson Greg Soule then replies; “Sure.”

This reporter answers; “Great, I’m in the lobby can you come down and meet me, I only need 5 minutes?”

Mr. Soule replies; “Aaa… well… actually I can’t come down, but I can refer you to our website.”

Wow, it’s an interesting strategy the TSA employs at their DC headquarters. Another phone call to TSA spokesperson Mike McCarthy confirms TSA is indeed in charge of airport security. Great news. Finally someone can explain why New York City’s Port Authority Police shows up at the ticket counter and arrests travelers when they attempt to check in their TSA-approved locked and unloaded firearm’s cases into checked baggage. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and Mr. McCarthy says there must be a “special agreement” to supersede TSA’s authority.

A “special agreement” explanation leads to the New York Port Authority Police. A call to Port Authority’s Press Officer Al Della Fave yields a similar response, and he explains the officers at the airports are only doing what they are told. And it is Mr. Della Fave’s understanding that Port Authority Police have some sort of “special agreement” with New York’s legal community (Bloomberg and/or District Attorneys) and Port Authority officers are only following orders.

Fair enough, rank-and-file officers are pretty good about following orders, and there is no indication that this case is any different in New York.

The next phone call is to the Queen’s County District Attorneys office that prosecutes the lawful firearm owners, travelling with their guns locked up and stored as per federal law and TSA requirements.

So far, the common denominator with all the agencies is the explicit “special agreement” and if there were a document out there, surely the District Attorney’s office would have a copy of the document.

“I have checked with our executive staff and there is no Memorandum of Understanding between the District Attorney’s Office and either the TSA or Port Authority Police Department,” said Kevin R. Ryan, director of communications for the Queens County District Attorney’s office.

So, the DA is admits that there is no “memo” or “special agreement” between the Queen’s County District Attorney’s office, New York Port Authority Police and the TSA that justifies Port Authority Police supersede federal law at their airports. Normally, Federal law requires some sort of Memo of Understanding (MOU) between states and municipalities as currently TSA regulates the interstate transportation of firearms.

Knowing New York City has the nation’s toughest gun laws (after a ton of research) it appears New York City is serious about keeping the city a gun-free zone. Again, fair enough, but if New Yorkers are so concerned about firearms entering their jurisdiction, then why aren’t they apprehending the lawful gun owners as they leave the airport with their firearms in their luggage? TSA keeps a record of all firearms that passengers carry in their “checked” luggage. One would assume law enforcement wouldn’t want those firearms on the city sidewalks, right?

“While I cannot speak on behalf of the TSA, I can tell you that we have never been notified by the TSA of somebody traveling to New York with a weapon. The most likely reason is that the TSA would not be aware of the person’s licensing status in New York,” Ryan went on to explain.

However, TSA confirms they keep a record of all firearms and haven’t been asked by the DA’s office for notification.

The frustration continues, and nobody is taking responsibility or providing constructive answers for those who travel through New York.

Determined to get to the bottom of this issue this reporter called the airline ticket counter at LaGuardia Airport to set the record straight. The call goes something like; “Hi there I’m calling to find out what process I can expect when I get to the airport today. I left California and traveled to New Jersey through LaGuardia with my firearm, which I’m licensed to carry and is stored in the TSA-approved case. I’m headed back later today and wanted to know if there was anything I should be aware of or if I need extra time at the ticket counter?” The American Airline representative, Ty (no last name, security she says), replies; “Nope, it’s the same process in all airports.”

Except it’s not. Had a lawful gun owner followed that due diligence they’d be facing felony gun charges in the City of New York. It seems odd that the airline employees don’t know the rules because once a traveler presents a locked-up firearm at an airport ticket counter in New York for check in, as required by TSA, LaGuardia airline personnel call Port Authority NOT TSA, who immediately arrests the unsuspecting traveler.

Ryan explains that his boss, District Attorney Richard Brown; “has called upon the airlines to warn travelers of their responsibility to check local gun laws. Many airlines when asked by a passenger about transporting a weapon will only inform them of federal regulations with no mention of the need to check local laws. It is therefore incumbent upon passengers to acquaint themselves with the weapon laws of the jurisdiction that they are visiting and to comply with any and all legal requirements if they choose to travel with a weapon.”

Yet, nobody this reporter called mentioned anything about arresting travelers as they try to leave from a New York airport. It’s also worth noting that there is nothing mentioned on the airlines or TSA’s websites indicating that if travelers pass through New York they need to make alternate plans for checking in a firearm upon departure.

Consequences of due diligence

For the hundreds of passengers ensnared in New York City’s harsh firearm rules, there is little recourse for an individual. However, several attorneys, including Dick Heller (who was successful in taking on the Washington DC politicos and eventually won a Supreme Court case regarding the right to own a firearm) said at a Washington DC dinner that a class-action lawsuit might be in order to reign in New York’s firearm laws.

As far as the New York legal community is concerned, the law is the law, and until somebody challenges the legal standing, the arrests will continue to take place at the airports.

Ryan explained the law in a matter-of-fact tone that “when a visitor to our city is arrested, particularly at our airports, for possessing a weapon, there are several factors we consider in fashioning an appropriate disposition — including, but not limited to, was the weapon legally obtained, does the individual possess a valid permit in their home state, the duration of their stay in our city and, in airport cases, whether the individual voluntarily disclosed the weapon to authorities. In adjudicating such cases, there must be a balance between our obligation to protect our citizens and an individual’s error in judgment. Over the years, we have struck that balance well in ensuring that justice is served and maintaining our state’s tough, successful gun laws.”

Fairness in New York requires the defendant to pay a fine, court fees and let authorities destroy their legally owned firearm. If defendants follow this sage advice, the judge’s gavel will fall, and they will not serve any jail time. For the court’s trouble, the defendants will pay approximately $10-15 thousand in fees/fines.

One last fact for New Yorkers to consider with their so-called successful “tough gun laws.” is that while New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his District Attorney offices praise their “toughest in the nation” firearm laws, firearm crime statistics portray a different picture.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the most recent handgun crime statistics indicates New York has witnessed an increase of firearm related crimes despite the state’s tougher laws.

Keeping this in mind 2nd Amendment groups, like Calguns, say New York may be infringing on gun rights. “Look if you are staying in New York City, gun owners must comply with the cities gun laws, but if you are simply passing through it would seem NYC is over-stepping the Second Amendment,” Jason Davis an attorney for Calguns said.

Davis along with other citizens who have been charged with felonies, suffered the wrath of New York’s tough gun laws, contend the entire process is nothing more than a money-making business for the Port Authority Police, New York courts and area lawyers that represent those ensnared at airport ticket counters.

Criminal-defense lawyer Martin D. Kane points out on Lawyers.com; “What New York does is not helping matters. It’s pretty unreasonable, and it’s great fuel.” He goes on to explain that attorneys should not try to ‘defend’ these cases and claims there is a legal process in place.

Nevertheless, Kane claims the specific law is clear and there is no room for negotiation (18 USC §926A Interstate Transportation of Firearms, notwithstanding the clear conflict between NYC and TSA regulations regarding the transportation of weapons.

Other NYC gun-related cases

Two more NYC gun cases settled this week involving a medical student, Meredith Graves of Tennessee and a retired U.S. Marine Ryan Jerome of Indiana.

Graves attorney, Daniel Horwitz spoke to media after he successfully reduced the felony gun charge to a misdemeanor. “She’s happy that this ordeal is over, and she’s looking forward to getting on with her life and her career as a doctor,” he told The New York Post.

The former Marine, Jerome’s case also settled this week. After his arrest, Jerome decided to fight the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and beat the felony gun charge, but changed his mind midway through the battle and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor weapons-possession charge in an effort to avoid a three and a half year jail sentence, according to a New York Times story.

While New York City continues to enforce its over-reaching gun laws, it’s up to gun owners to follow the rules, recognize a problem exists in NYC and use legal channels afforded to them to change the Big Apple’s anti-Second Amendment seizures. When a state impedes on Constitutional rights, it has a chilling effect on law-abiding citizens and the last resort necessary is for Lady Justice (Supreme Court) to return the rights’ to the people, just as the founders intended.

To read three other NYC gun-related stories link here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/unwitting-airline-passengers-robbed-of-their-second-amendment-rights-nyc

And here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/nypd-frisks-searches-and-violates-civil-liberties-daily

And here; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/new-york-city-1-us-constitution-0-nyc-profits-from-seizures-of-legal-guns

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com NYC courts continue to “shakedown” legal gun owners at airports – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/nyc-continues-to-shakedown-legal-gun-owners#ixzz1q34Zfm00

Police Department contest to seize guns results in lawsuit after arrest

The Southern California city of San Fernando and its Police Department will pay $44,000 for negligence because an officer did not know the rules and regulations for individuals or law enforcement officers to lawfully carrying a firearm.

The City of San Fernando agreed to pay approximately $44,000 to San Fernando former Coast Guard Reserve maritime law enforcement Officer Jose Diaz. The city must also implement new policies and procedures for the improper arrest and seizure of Coast Guard Reserve Diaz, according to the San Fernando Police Department. The police department also agreed to a “Finding of Factual Innocence.”

Diaz contends that a police department contest was a driving factor in this case.

“The San Fernando Police Department give’s out awards to officer’s that ‘achieve benchmarks in firearm confiscations,(YouTube video)” said Jason Davis an attorney for Calguns. “But this contest encourages the illegal confiscation of lawfully possessed firearms by officers who do not understand the laws themselves.”

While the settlement may seem small, Calguns, a state and national gun rights advocacy group, says the lawsuit was sought to ensure San Fernando properly trains its officers to deal with law-abiding gun owners.

In November of 2007, then Reserve Coast Guard maritime law enforcement Officer Diaz was driving to a shooting range when he was stopped by San Fernando Police Officer Marshall Mack to determine if Diaz had the proper vehicle registration, according to a statement released by Davis.

“Upon approaching Diaz’s vehicle, Officer Mack observed a firearms case in the back seat with a firearm cable lock entangled around the handle of the case. Officer Mack was able to open the case without a key,” says Davis. “The case contained two loaded magazines and a Glock with no magazine in the well of the firearm and no cartridge in the chamber.”

The plaintiffs claimed the cable lock that entangled around the gun was a “lock container” however Officer Mack disagreed. The police officer also took issue with the fact that a Coast Guard reserve maritime law enforcement officer was permitted to carry pursuant to the Federal Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act, which allows police officers to carry firearms off duty.

”I showed Officer Mack my Coast Guard ID and informed the officer that the LEOSA permitted me to carry a firearm as a Coast Guard maritime law enforcement reserve officer,” said Diaz. “I also informed Officer Mack that I was carrying the firearm lawfully – unloaded and in a locked container.”

Unbeknownst to Coast Guard Reserve Diaz, Police Officer Mack falsely subscribed to the fact that California law required firearms be stored separate from the ammunition. Mack arrested Diaz for unlawful possession of a loaded firearm because a loaded magazine was touching the firearm within the case. The police officer hauled Diaz to jail where he was booked and spent one day and night in jail.

The unlawful arrest and gun charges were later dismissed.

Diaz’s subsequent civil lawsuit for battery, false arrest, and federal civil rights violations languished until Calguns got involved.

“While we cannot financially support every firearms case, we have a stake in many of them,” said Gene Hoffman, Chairman for The Calguns Foundation. “We recommended that Diaz use an attorney knowledgeable in firearm laws and offered informational support.”

Diaz retained his Calguns attorney Davis who orchestrated a settlement with the San Fernando Police Department. The terms of the settlement include educational policies on assault weapons; carry permits, open carry and LEOSA rules.

“Public safety is of the utmost importance… and that includes safety from infringement of our constitutional rights under the color of law,” said Davis. “With this settlement, and the policies implemented as a result of the agreement, it is my hope that law enforcement throughout the state will get the message that California’s gun owners insist on their rights.”

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Police Department contest to seize guns results in lawsuit after arrest – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/a-police-contest-to-seize-guns-results-lawsui-after-a-coast-guard-officer-is#ixzz1ByZ7nv18

CCW Gun rights advocates sue County of San Diego and Sheriff Gore

A hearing in a lawsuit filed against the County of San Diego and Sheriff William Gore claiming that the county picks and chooses who may obtain a conceal gun permit took place in the Federal District Court in San Diego this past week. The case has now passed another hurdle in federal court and the plaintiffs and supporters of Second Amendment rights will now wait the three-to-four weeks for a written decision by Senior Federal Judge Erma Gonzalez.

The crux of the case centers on the “shall issue” versus the “may issue” status that the state of California doesn’t adhere to equally throughout the state’s 58 counties. The lead plaintiff Edward Peruta argues he has been wrongfully declined a Conceal Carry Weapon (CCW) permit, even though he has permits to carry a openly and concealed firearm issued by three other states together with letters of recommendations and other information either submitted with his application or available to anyone doing a standard CCW investigation.

The plaintiffs contend the Sheriff’s Department finds favor with prominent wealthy elite residents as well as those who belong to the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association, an organization that funds many praiseworthy projects and equipment purchases for the Sheriff Department which may not otherwise be available due to current budget restrictions.

“Every resident, taxpayer and voter of San Diego County should be outraged that the Sheriff offers the right to bear arms for “SELF DEFENSE” to the prominent, wealthy and/or well connected while refusing the same right to the average everyday hard-working law abiding residents of San Diego County,” Peruta said.

At the hearing held Monday in Federal Court, San Diego Attorney Paul Neuharth together with the Los Angeles County firm of Attorney Chuck Michel threw words out like “licensing schemes” and “preferential treatment” as to how the County of San Diego conducts business with regards to the CCW application process.

While the county contends they grant the majority of the CCW applications they receive, what they didn’t tell the court is the Sheriff’s office initially and informally tells possible applicants, after a few minutes of office review, that they don’t qualify and if they continue forward they will lose any application funds paid and have a negative record on their Department of Justice file.

The lawsuit against the county was filed in October of 2009 after they repeatedly road-blocked Peruta’s CCW application and he felt he had no other recourse but to sue the county to protect his and other resident’s rights to carry concealed loaded firearms under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

“Honesty, fairness and full disclosure during the CCW application process could have saved the county a great deal of time and yet to be determined tax dollars,” Peruta said.

And the case if decided in the Plaintiff’s favor will indeed cost the already broke County of San Diego. This federal case will have one of two outcomes; either the CCW licensing process will be dramatically loosened or the county will win and continue their current policies. In light of the second event, Peruta, with the help of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the California Rifle and Pistol Association will take the case to the 9th circuit court where the ramifications will have far more reach than the state of California.

For those who don’t think gun rights enthusiasts are going to win in liberal California, two recent landmark gun cases prove otherwise. First the Heller case (decided by the Supreme Court in 2008) gave residents in a federal enclave the right to “keep and bear arms;” and the McDonald case (decided by the Supreme Court in June of this year) extended the Second Amendment to the states to ensured that citizens were allowed to “keep and bear arms” without the individual states placing burdensome restrictions on the Second Amendment provision to own a firearm.

The heart of the McDonald case centered around a citizens’ right to own a firearm even when their life is not faced with an eminent threat, but to have the ability to protect themselves if or when a threat occurs.

In the Peruta case, attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that the county’s “good cause” process is “too burdensome” because it requires residents to provide a law enforcement or court document, like a police report or restraining order, in order to prove their life is in danger.

This paper disclaimer was ruled out by the judges in the McDonald/Heller cases where they proclaimed it is a fundamental human right for citizens to have means for immediate self defense in the event of a confrontation.

The CCW federal lawsuit participants openly admit they are not seeking the banishment of the application process contained in the California Penal Code and realize the Constitution can require “hoops to jump through,” but it is the government’s burden to show proof that a resident is not fit to carry and own a firearm and apply the policy evenly to all applicants.

During the two-hour hearing before Federal Judge Gonzalez arguments and responses to questions from the bench were made after Judge Gonzalez peppered them with what appeared to be well reasoned questions about the issues before the court. At the midway point in the hearing Judge Gonzalez made it a point to ask the plaintiffs exactly what they were seeking in the case.

The plaintiff’s replied that San Diego County policy must accept the desire of self defense, without prejudice, without the need to explain or document any pending threats. This means equal protection must be granted under the 2nd and 14th Amendments to all applicants and not just a chosen few.

“The evidence obtained in the Federal Lawsuit clearly shows the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. has an established policy of separating its residents into two distinct groups, those that can and those that cannot carry firearms for self defense,” Peruta explained.

Once the plaintiff’s attorney addressed the court it was the county’s turn to speak.

The county’s case centered on the Heller case and went on to imply that the Heller decision only established a right to “keep and bear arms” inside the home. Attorney James Chapin the sole attorney presenting the county’s case at the hearing told the court that neither of the Supreme Court decisions in McDonald or Heller rulings provided and right to carry a firearm outside the home and went on to say that the decisions stated that the right to own a firearm is not unlimited.

He continued to argue that this case could make it far too easy for unsavory elements to obtain CCW’s and use that right to commit more crime. “Good cause has to mean something,” Chapin said.

The county also pointed to the fact it was always better for a person to contact law enforcement and let law enforcement deal with an impending threat.

While it may be true that law enforcement responds to calls for assistance, most cops on the beat openly say they cannot always respond in time to prevent crimes from occurring. In the real world it is a hard argument to win. It’s like asking a criminal to wait a few minutes for law enforcement to arrive before they commit their crime or inflict their intended harm on the unarmed victim. It doesn’t work like that in the real world.

Another flawed statement to the court, county counsel presented as fact that California already has “open carry” laws on the books which allows any citizen in good standing, to carry a firearm openly as long as it is not loaded. Chapin when on to further tell Judge Gonzalez that individuals in California are also able to wear unloaded firearms holstered on their hip and keep the ammunition somewhere else, like a pocket (which is a criminal offense under provisions of California law).

He then went on to tell the judge, with a straight face, that it only took three seconds to load a firearm.

It takes less than one second to take a life.

“Sheriff Gore and his staff’s first obligation should be to read, understand, abide by and uphold the law without regard to politics or emotion,” Peruta said. “The safety of my wife and family is just as important to me as it may be to the privileged members of the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association.”

As closing arguments began Michel explained that “the right of self defense doesn’t end at the threshold of your home.”

He also said the county has been abusing its discretion by not granting CCW permits to worthy citizens.

This argument appeared to pique Judge Gonzalez interests. She also seemed interested and went as far as to question the fact that the 58 counties in California use different benchmarks for granting CCW permits.

The defense pleaded with the judge “not to strike the ‘good cause’ rule that has been law for 100 years in California.”

However, Michel provided the court with two important facts. “There are currently 37/38 states that are currently “shall issue” states. They also said they saw reductions in their violent crime rates, significant declines, because nobody wants to go duck hunting when five percent of the ducks can shoot back.”

The plaintiff’s asked the court to simply look at the firearm policy, and find that it should be applied fairly and keep political preference out of the right to “keep and bear arms.”

As the gavel fell, Judge Gonzalez acknowledged the legal significance of the case and said this precedent-setting 2nd Amendment case would have a written ruling in three-to-four weeks.

For those interested in the facts of this case, Mr. Peruta has published various facts at http://www.cagunrights.com.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/kimberly-dvorak

Supreme Court hears 2nd Amendment case for the first time in 100 years

As the Supreme Court sifts through the Second Amendment case, McDonald vs. Chicago, anxious gun owners look to take on state and federal gun laws across the country. The decision made by the Highest Court will unsnap gun-ownership laws; and possibly prompt additional cases in addition to the more than 15 federal and state gun cases currently filed across the country.

The McDonald case was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ILSFA) and Dave Workman of the SAF explained even though the National Rifle Association (NRA) was able to argue their position before the Supreme Court it has never been their case.

The plaintiff’s lost 10 minutes of the precious 30 minutes of oral arguments before the Supreme Court. Workman sees a victory on the horizon for gun rights, but like all experts, he sees the High Court deciding the Second Amendment case using a pathway through the 14th Amendment.
No matter how the victory is obtained, gun owners in all states will enviably be the winner with the prediction decision of the McDonald case.

This case now rests in the hands of the Justices. The McDonald case is aiming to disarm a 27-year-old Chicago law banning handguns, requiring owners to pay an annual taxation of firearms, and interfering with the right of law-abiding individuals to keep guns for self-defense.

It’s worth pointing out in the landmark case of District of Columbia vs. Heller, the Supreme Court said that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. However, as that case concerned only the actions of the District of Columbia government, a federal entity. As a result the Supreme Court did not rule that the right applied to states and local governments. As time unfolds so may the interpretations and almost the entire Bill of Rights, which could be been applied to state and local governments through the 14th Amendment.

“The freedoms we enjoy as Americans are secured to us against violation by all levels of government,” said Alan Gura, of Gura & Possessky. “State and local politicians should be on notice: the Second Amendment is a normal part of the Bill of Rights, and it is coming to your town.”

Some gun history

Looking back to pre-Civil War U.S.A. the courts said that the Bill of Rights had only powers and it allowed the states to impose more restrictions on their constituents.

However during the backlash of the Reconstruction period, the Supreme Court saw the 14th Amendment as a narrow way to slow the “privileges or immunities’ clause. As it turned out the Supreme Court didn’t think the states had any Second Amendment powers.

Once the twentieth century unfolded the court shifted and thought fundamental liberties should be protected from the infringement by the 14th Amendment’s Due Process clause.

Looking back, a number of constitutional lawyers think the court erred with their decision in 1873. Looking forward, attorney Alan Gura for the plaintiff hopes the Justices resurrect the privilege and or immunity clause from the cemetery allowing McDonald a win and therefore extending his right to own a handgun for self-protection to all American citizens in every state.

In other Second Amendment cases, Attorney Rachel M. Baird represents two Connecticut residents, M. Peter Kuck and James F. Goldberg, in two federal complaints filed in 2007 claiming that the fourteen to twenty-two month wait for hearings on state carry permit denials and revocations violates the Second and 14th Amendments. A case involving both Kuck and Goldberg is currently awaiting a decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments on September 17, 2009.

The 2008 Heller decision and the forthcoming McDonald decision will impact claims such as those brought by Kuck and Goldberg that address the lawful parameters of state government’s day-to-day regulation of the right to bear arms. For individuals such as Kuck and Goldberg, incorporation will be only the first step toward establishing what process they are due from the government where the right to bare arms is concerned.”

In October of 2009, attorney Paul Neuharth in San Diego filed a Federal gun case against the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. The case involves Edward Peruta being denied a state permit to carry a concealed weapon based on current residency and good cause grounds.

Peruta points to the demographics of San Diego and his other home in Connecticut. “In the state of Connecticut 156,000 residents have the right to carry a gun, compare that statistic to San Diego (which is similar in size to Connecticut) where the right to carry a loaded gun is somewhere around the 4,500 number – very low,” he explains.

Why the need for a gun? “My self defense and my profession,” he simply states.

Detractors of gun rights claim and discuss the possible Parade of Horribles could disclose the Supreme Court ruling and play out this way; tougher laws emerge and pretty soon there are no federal gun restrictions and those on the state level are legally dubious. Pretty soon, this fear goes, everyone is packing everywhere.

However, the opposite is the fear for gun activists. If the Justices were to find a way to uphold and thus strengthen D.C.’s ban. This prompts gun control advocates to push for similar ordinances and legislation across the nation. Pretty soon, every jurisdiction could be prompted to prohibit the possession of firearms in the home.

A tough decision indeed lies ahead for the Justices

Workman points to a Chicago Tribune article that compared the Windy City’s murder rate skyrocketed upward to 41 percent once the harsh ban was put in place that compared with an 18 percent rise in the entire United States

“The bottom line is that Americans always have had a constitutional right to possess guns, and local and state governments should be much more limited than they have in the past in the limitations they can place on those rights,” according to the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle.

According to Workman, The New York Times editorial staff has never seen a gun law that it didn’t like.

In a recent story the NY Times featured a “Learning Network” exercise in which it asked for the reaction to open carry in coffee shops. “Students ages 13 and older were invited to weigh in and many of them took off the gloves.” If the Times thinks it has trouble with older generation “gun nuts,” the next generation now coming up to bat is going to give them 24/7/365 heartburn, Workman says. “Many of the responses were not only well-thought-out, but also rather diplomatic. They responded and signed their responses with a first name only.”

According to Miles, “Keeping and bearing arms is a right protected from ANY governmental infringement by the 2 Amendment to the Constitution. That means that it is not the government’s job to regulate, limit, decide, poll, express an opinion, prohibit, ban, register, forfeit, destroy, convict, kill, approve anything involving arms when it applies to the People, including whether I open carry or carry concealed; whether I carry of not.”

Either way you look at gun rights, the rules will change by the end of June. As a result it is most likely the courts can expect a flood of cases. It won’t matter if Americans want the right to carry or not, lawyers across the country will make a good living taking the Supreme Court decision apart.

Part three next

For more information about Dave Workman; http://www.examiner.com/x-4525-Seattle-Gun-Rights-Examiner

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

Women partake in Open Carry gun event in Encinitas

The quiet streets of this San Diego seaside community were awakened to the Second Amendment rights as 12 Californians walked the sidewalks with their firearms. Six of the 12 open carriers were women and six additional non-carriers handed out informational fliers to anyone who was interested.

Most of residents were curious about what was going on, some thought the open carriers were a part of law enforcement and a few were offended, but the morning event ended with educating the public about their right to carry a gun in the state of California.

Of coarse there are a few rules to be followed when taking your gun outside your home. First you need to be a registered gun owner, the weapon must be in a holster in plain site and it cannot be loaded. Ammunition is normally carried, but separate from the gun.

Once the group met, they notified the local law enforcement, as a courtesy, that they would be walking the downtown district of Encinitas.

“It’s awesome, we as Americans have the right to carry our guns and it can’t be taken away from us,” said Rochelle Howes, fellow open carrier participant. “This is my second open carry and it amazes me that some law enforcement officers don’t know we have this right.”

Fellow gun advocate, Mari Hayden, says this is her first open carry event. “This is great. I just talked to an off-duty officer who said they were creeped out by this right, but I told her I was creeped out that she was a cop.”

Another fellow carrier was Rosa Garcia, a Mexican immigrant who came here legally with a sponsor; “I do this to share quality time with my sons.” The Garcia’s are belong to the San Diego Minutemen group and since they’ve lost their business due to illegal immigration, they depend on the kindness of the Minutemen for help to get by in the tough recession.

When it comes to the importance of being able to carry their firearms, many open carriers had different reasons for the educational walk through Encinitas.

“I will save a liberals’ life even if they won’t save mine,” says Pendry Boteler. “I don’t mine though because I’ve been around guns my whole life.”

The goal of this group is to exercise this right in every North San Diego County city in order to educate as many Americans as possible, says Jeff Schwilk founder of the San Diego Minutemen.

Not everyone was convinced this was a good idea. A few residents left their table outside a café and said, “You people are nuts and paranoid. You shouldn’t want guns in your Christian nation.”

However across the plaza the group ran into current City Council member and former Encinitas Mayor Dan Dalager. “I’m not used to seeing people walk down the street openly carrying guns. I’m not endorsing it, but I’m not freaked out by it either.”

He continued to say that growing up he used guns and referred to them as tools that they used on the property to get the fox out of the chicken coop.

Finally one of the carriers drove down from Orange County to learn about the organization in hopes of bringing a chapter to the Orange County area in a few months.

Vincent Burke is a lifetime National Rifle Association member and assists the U.S. Border Patrol on the U.S./Mexico border in counter-narco terrorism activity. “It’s tough work, but someone’s got to do it.”

Once the streets were safe and the group hungry, they all ended their day at Giovanni’s Italian restaurant on Hwy 101 for lunch, guns and all.

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner

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