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Democrats, political favors & guns- Fabio Nunez leads the way in Sacramento

It hasn’t taken former assemblyman Fabio Nunez much time to embroil himself in another controversial piece of legislation. First, the assemblyman used his close personnel relationship with Governor Schwarzenegger to get his son pardoned from murdering a fellow college student, and now the disgraced state lawmaker has taken on the airgun/Airsoft and BB gun industry.

When it comes to the firearm industry, State Senator Kevin deLeón (D-22nd) can always find new ways to insult voters and this time he has allowed former Republican Assemblyman-turned lobbyist, Nunez, to add an amendment to SB798 excluding his clients in the paintball industry and saving them millions of dollars.

Nunez’ new employer, Mercury Public Affairs, a lobbying firm, has amended SB 798 exempting his client’s paintball guns from the proposed state coloration requirement. Meanwhile, those who are unable to curry political favor in Sacramento are stuck with the tab, one that will put some manufacturers out of business.

The latest controversial legislation, SB 798, takes aim at the wildly popular BB guns, airguns and Airsoft gun industry. The bill is sponsored by California State Senator deLeón, the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa,

a long-time political ally of Nunez and de León.

SB 798 was proposed in response to the December 18, 2010 shooting of a Los Angeles 13-year-old boy by a LAPD Officer who thought the child was carrying a firearm. However, the child’s weapon turned out to be a pellet gun.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told The Los Angeles Times after the shooting; “We have seen far too much heartbreak involving these types of realistic-looking guns that are labeled as toys.”

Nevertheless, this unfortunate accident sparked another controversial idea from the LAPD- making airguns, Airsoft guns, BB devices and other toy guns conform to a new regulation. SB 798 addresses this issue by requiring BB guns to be brightly colored, adhering to the same laws and regulations used for imitation firearms. The new regulation would force manufacturers to retool their plants and paint the exterior of the airguns/Airsoft device white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue or bright pink.

“SB 798 will help keep our communities safe,” said de León the bill’s sponsor. “This (bill has) brought us one step closer to preventing tragic accidents, especially the shooting of minors and young adults, by law enforcement officers.”

While there is no proof that painting Airsoft/airguns or BB guns would result in fewer accidents, its consequences punish manufacturers who are on record stating this legislation will cost them millions of dollars.

These critics argue that “SB 798 would result in a huge, unjustifiable loss of income for private businesses, a loss of jobs and a loss of tax revenue for the state. For the Airsoft industry alone, this would amount to approximately $175 million in lost business revenue and close to 300 direct jobs in California. California’s economy would further suffer from the loss of related business revenue in office supplies, transportation services, food services, printing services, and other economic venues.”

In addition to the loss revenue, California taxpayers will certainly have to cover the court costs associated with this bill. Airgun/Airsoft manufacturers said they will go to court if necessary in order to preserve their business rights’. Furthermore, federal law preempts state law in this subject area thus placing SB798 on a collision course with federal statutes.

Earlier this year overzealous California lawmakers tried to regulate the sales of gun ammunition with AB 962 only to lose in Fresno Superior Court. Judge Jeffery Hamilton ruled the heavy-handed regulation of ammunition sales was deemed unconstitutional.
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Yet, Senator de León continues to waste tax-payers monry and resources in the pursuit of new laws that will not hold up under the scrutiny of the courts.

Even though the new legislation targets BB guns, imitation firearms, Airsoft, airguns and other pellet guns, the firearm industry as a whole is strongly opposed to the proposed changes. California Association of Firearm Retailers, BB gun manufactuers, retailers, law enforcement and consumers and Soft Air USA and Airgun Information International have all come out in opposition to the draconian legislation that will not prevent future accidental shootings by the LAPD.

While SB 798 is currently being promoted as a public safety bill, there have been no studies that say changing the color of a toy gun prevents accidents. In fact, a 1990 study finds, “Toy guns, Involvement in Crime and Encounters with the Police’ conducted by the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that the coloration of toy guns does not result in a decrease in the shooting of children possessing toy guns by law enforcement officers.”

Some highlights of the study included law enforcement officers are taught to assume that all objects that look like a firearm are real weapons. In every case where officers used deadly force in a toy gun confrontation, the ‘triggering element’ in the officer’s decision to shoot was the action of the person. Without exception, all officers interviewed during the study said that officers must be taught to assume that all weapons they encounter are real. It was continually emphasized that training officers to try to distinguish between real and toy guns during an encounter would be an officer safety factor and an increased potential threat to the public. Officers are trained that anyone can pose a threat with a gun regardless of age or sex. Thus, officers are told that even when encountering a youth with a gun, it should be treated as a life-threatening circumstance.”

On the other hand, manufacturers claim that the criminal will try to outsmart police and refinish their guns to look like the airgun/Airsoft devices; this may cause an officer to hesitate and give the criminal a deadly edge.

Internationally recognized airgun expert, Dr. Robert D. Beeman Ph.D. concurred and said, “As an independent airgun expert, I oppose Senate Bill 798 because it would create a false and dangerous sense of security concerning airguns capable of serious human injury and death… It would increase accidents and incidents of serious injury and death among both the general public and police officers.” He continued to explain that, “This is primarily a behavior problem, not a product problem. Proper behavior virtually eliminates the danger attributed to such products. In any case, traditional airguns firing metallic projectiles should be exempted from SB 798 for safety reasons.”

In the end, California lawmakers have come up with another bill that over-regulates the BB device and airgun industry and encourages manufacturers to leave the embattled state, robbing residents of precious jobs and much-needed tax revenue.

Perhaps if Assemblyman Nunez’s son would have used a pink weapon his victim may have had enough time to run away from his killers?

SB 798 bill will be heard on June 21 in the Assembly Public Safety Committee the same day that an airsoft retailers “Airsoft Megastore” CEO Mike Zhang was selected as a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year award. It’s ironic this award could occur in Beverly Hills the same day the committee votes to send another industry out of the state.

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

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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California conceal carry gun rights case dealt another setback

A developing trend in California courtrooms has purveyors of the Second Amendment up in arms- in order to protect oneself outside their domicile gun owners must pass muster with county Sheriff Departments, according to a federal judge.

Yesterday U.S. District Court Judge Morrison England in Sacramento, CA ruled that Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto indeed had the right to choose who qualifies for conceal carry gun permits. The judge explained there was nothing unlawful about requesting applicants to prove they have a reasonable need to carry a weapon outside their home.

The reasonable need is often referred to as “good moral character” and it gives Sheriff Departments a lot of latitude in the decision making process. Typically “good moral character” scenarios include courtroom prosecutors, businessmen who carry large sums of money, victims of “stalker-like crimes” and security-related employees.

Yolo County Sheriff Prieto, who has 43 years of law enforcement experience, commented on the decision made in the Sacramento courtroom yesterday. “I think the judge made a good decision. The Second Amendment really does not give anybody the right to conceal carry a weapon. It really comes down to the safety of our community.”

Judge England, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, also pointed out in his 16-page decision that there is a California law already on the books that allows most California residents to carry an unloaded weapon with them at all times (excluding school zones), and that these firearms could quickly be loaded to use in case of an emergency.

This was little consolation to gun rights groups who hired Alan Gura, a Second Amendment attorney from Alexandria, VA who focuses on these types of cases. Gura plans to appeal Judge England’s ruling to the very liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals located in San Francisco, CA.

“Obviously it doesn’t do anyone any good to walk around with an unloaded gun, especially in public, because that’s just an advertisement for a criminal to take it off your person,” Gura explained. “They’re not going to have time to start loading their handgun. Criminal events usually play out more quickly than that.”

However the judge disagreed with Gura’s arguments. “Regulating concealed firearms is an essential part of Yolo County’s efforts to maintain public safety and prevent both gun-related crime and, most importantly, the death of its citizens. Yolo County’s policy is more than rationally related to these legitimate government goals,” England said in his ruling.

Also there is a substantial effort underway in Sacramento to reverse the “open carry” law in California. Democrat State Assemblyman, La Canada Flintridge introduced AB144, which bans residents from openly carrying a firearm, passed yesterday in the State Assembly. If signed by liberal Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, gun owners would completely lose their ability to carry firearms outside their homes.
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This hasn’t been the first effort to ban “open carry” weapons, last year Democrat State Assemblywoman Lori Saldana’s bill AD-76 failed to pass during a lame duck session.

Reacting to yesterday’s ruling, Marc Halcon, President of California Association of Firearms Retailers put it this way; “One of the most fundamental rights we have as citizens of this country is the right to feel safe and secure, not only in our homes but within our community. Although I question the logic of carrying an ‘unloaded’ firearm, I understand the concern of some of our lawmakers. This entire situation would be solved in a matter of minutes if the State of California would follow the vast majority of the other states and allow for the ‘shall issue’ provision for law abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon. A secondary benefit would be an increase in State revenue generated by the fees and tax’s associated with allowing a ‘shall issue’ licensing process for law abiding citizens.”

More cases are working their way through federal courts

There is also another conceal carry gun case making its way through the California court system.

The crux of this 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 in San Diego. Peruta says that he has permits to openly carry a concealed firearm in three other states and has several letters of recommendations as well as other information to provide “good cause” that was rejected by the San Diego Sheriff Department CCW investigation.

“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.

The end result was similar to the Yolo County lawsuit and Southern District of California Judge Erma Gonzalez ruled against the gun-rights groups and Peruta.

“The Second Amendment law is currently like a child who is learning to walk and the issue remains unsettled across the country and it will take time for all the cases to work their way through the courts in order to be settled,” Peruta said.

At the San Diego hearing 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.

Read the complete ruling here; 16-page ruling

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

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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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.

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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

San Diego Sheriff’s Dept. sued over conceal carry gun permits

Late Friday night court documents were released outlining plaintiffs’ undisputed facts and statements regarding the right of qualified individuals to carry a concealed firearm in San Diego County.

The lawsuit was filed last year is finally making its way through the federal court system and the November 1st trial date sets up a showdown with gun right’s advocates and San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff William Gore and San Diego County.

A list of boiler-plate undisputed facts, filed by plaintiffs, included items like; with few exceptions California prohibits unlicensed individuals from carrying loaded firearms; The only licensed public carrying of loaded firearms is via a “concealed carry” (i.e., with a CCW permit), except in a few sparsely populated counties where one may obtain a license to carry a loaded handgun openly; California law allows for only a Sheriff or Chief of Police to issue a permits to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in public to residents of their jurisdictions or to non-residents who spend a substantial period of time in their principal place of employment or business within that jurisdiction.

Once the attorneys agree on the undisputed facts the courts (or judge) will resolve any remaining undisputed facts between the parties- a fight, which will take place in a federal courtroom.

Among the key challenges facing the County of San Diego and Sheriff Gore will be the alleged preferential treatment for certain residents in the County. The plaintiffs who have had the opportunity to examine public records in the Sheriff’s Department as part of the litigation charge that the county as well as Sheriff Gore freely gives members of the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association CCWs easy access to become licensed to carry firearms.

One of the Plaintiffs Dr. Leslie Buncher’s denial letter from the Sheriff Department read: “The documentation you have provided does not indicate you are a specific target or that you are currently being threatened in any manner. The Sheriff’s Department does not issue CCW’s based on fear alone.”

Buncher and other plaintiffs contend that membership in the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association yielded different results in the CCW application process- all were issued permits.

All Plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit sought a CCW from the County for self-defense purposes, but were denied, except in the case of Plaintiffs Laxson and Dodd decided who did not to apply because they were dissuaded at their initial interview with the Sheriff’s Department and were told they didn’t satisfy the requirements of the County’s policy.

Specifically, Mark Cleary describes in a sworn declaration, provided to the court under the penalty of perjury that he went to the Sheriff’s Department on April 8, 2005 to meet with the firearms licensing division and was questioned about his need for a CCW permit. Officials stated the requirements were “very strict” and encouraged Cleary to withdraw his application.

“They told me I could withdraw my application, and if I did not withdraw it, I would have a denial on my record with the Department of Justice,” Cleary explained in his declaration to the court.

However, Cleary’s application to carry a conceal weapon gets more interesting when he joined the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association (HDSA), after many people informed Cleary that joining the HDSA would increase his chances of getting the firearm permit as well as streamline the CCW process.

“I discovered it was common knowledge among everyone who had any relation to the San Diego Sheriff’s process for issuing permits to carry a concealed handgun that certain people, including HDSA members, received preferential treatment when applying for a permit to carry a concealed handgun,” Clearly claimed.

Curiously, after becoming an HDSA member and asking then, Under-Sheriff Gore, to reconsider his application for a CCW, Gore allegedly said he would see what he could do, according to court documents. Shortly thereafter, “without warning, my first permit to carry a concealed handgun arrived in the mail.”

Just as mysteriously as Cleary’s CCW permit’s arrival was the fact that Cleary’s third renewal was denied.

“I ceased being a member of the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association in January of 2010 because I was having financial issues and could not afford to continue paying the $175-$250 I paid annually to be a member.”

After signing onto this lawsuit Cleary says he asked for an appeal with Assistant Sheriff R. Ahern to review the denial of his CCW application and after the meeting he was given his conceal carry permit for a third time.

The plaintiffs also strongly believe the San Diego Sheriff’s Department continues its practice of preferential treatment for Honorary Sheriff’s Deputy Association members in the CCW application process. Plaintiffs’ undisputed facts Number 18 will certainly be the source of countywide heartache. It reads; “Curiously, certain HDSA members were granted CCWs by the county despite failing to provide such documentation. For example, in the ‘good cause’ section of their applications, some HDSA members merely stated ‘personal protection’ or ‘protection’ without out further explanation or supporting documentation.”

This information was discovered by the plaintiff’s attorneys and investigators who waded through hundreds of CCW applications located within the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.

The group wholly believes the strongest part of their case lies with Cleary’s statement in which he was denied, became an HDSA member, personally met with then Under-Sheriff Gore and magically got his CCW permit.

The plaintiffs also contend “the County holds HDSA members to different, much more lenient standards than the general public, including Plaintiffs, when issuing CCWs. In fact, not one single HDSA member who, while in good standing, has sought a CCW from the County from 2006 to the present has been denied, while 18 nonmembers have been denied and an unknown number of others decided not to formally apply based on their initial interview or failure to satisfy the County’s strict ‘good cause’ requirement applicable to the general public.”

Plaintiffs have lodged 23 undisputed facts and numerous exhibits, some of which are not publically available because they were provided to the court under seal, will make their way to federal court on November 1 of this year. Many 2nd Amendment advocates will be closely monitoring this case and hope that beneficial pro-gun rights benchmarks are tendered that can be used throughout the Golden State.

For those wishing to follow this case and view the documents quoted in this article, the case is titled “3:09-cv-02371-IEG-BGS Peruta v. County of San Diego et al” and available on the Federal Court’s PACER website.

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

Arizona set to allow concealed weapons without a permit

Arizona moved one step closer to becoming the third state in the nation to allow citizens to carry concealed firearms without a permit. The new bill comes after the brutal murder of an Arizona rancher near the U.S./Mexico border and the violence that continues to escalate.

The state-approved legislation will now head to governor, Jan Brewer a Republican, who has indicated her signature on the bill giving Arizonians the ability to carry a weapon without a permit, according to the bill’s co-sponsor Republican Sen. Russell Pearce of Mesa.

The law would allow Arizonans to forego background checks and classes that the state now requires. The legislation was approved by the House 36-19 without debate and sets out to make it legal for most U.S. citizens 21 or older to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona.

Currently if Arizonians carry a hidden firearm without a permit it is a misdemeanor and punishable by six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

If the legislation is enacted as expected, Arizona will join Vermont and Alaska who do not require permits to carry concealed weapons. There are two states, Wisconsin and Illinois that prohibit handguns all together.

The Supreme Court is currently challenging the Illinois law; the McDonald case disputes the state’s ability to ban handgun ownership and the Supreme Court’s decision is expected to be reached in late June.

Those who fear criminals already have the upper hand cite the new law will protect all citizens in the state and deter future criminal behavior because they will not know who is carrying a weapon.

“What’s dangerous is when they’re in criminals’ hands not citizens’ hands,” explains Rep. David Gowan of Sierra Vista one of the bills sponsors.

However, those who advocate against the new bill say it will make it easier for criminals to obtain weapons and endanger law enforcement officers.

“We wouldn’t give people driver’s licenses without requiring training or testing,” said Democrat Rep. Steve Farley of Tucson in an Associated Press story. “Why would we give people the ability to carry a concealed weapon anywhere?”

The new law would not allow handgun customers to circumvent background checks required by the federal law when purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer.

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

What part of the Second Amendment don’t you understand?

Supreme Court has taken up a Second Amendment case, the outcome will surely create changes in the way Americans are allowed to acquire firearms, what rules will be in play and what role cities and states will have in the right to own a gun.

In part the Second Amendment reads; a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Not only was this right given to all citizens of the U.S. for self-defense, but also the founding fathers wanted its citizenry to never fear their government.

The case currently before the High Court, McDonald verses Chicago, will take on the issue that states can regulate the ownership of handguns. McDonald a retired military man was stripped of his rights to own a handgun because Chicago passed stringent gun ownership rules. He is fighting back.

“It’s a basic question,” says the plaintiff Otis McDonald. “If these 12-13-year-olds can walk up and down the street with guns, I should be able to own one. I’ve paid my taxes and I have worked all my life. I have been open to governments and I’ve served my country in the Army. Why is it I can’t own a hand gun to protect my home?”

Many say this case has been a controversial issue the Supreme Court has not wanted to open for more than 200 years, but the pendulum of change is swinging in America.

The stakes are high and anyway you look at it the rules in the second Amendment will change.

Think of it as building a house. First you have to dig a hole, this is what the Heller case did when it ruled; “The Court recognized in the Heller case that the Second Amendment protects an individual right of a U.S. citizen in a federal enclave, so it is no stretch that a U.S. citizen would enjoy that same right anywhere in the United States,” according to Gun Owners of America who follow gun rights cases.

This case set up the pouring of the cement phase or foundation phase that now resides in the Supreme Court’s hands known as the McDonald case. All that is left is the architectural design or what the house will look like. The Court will first determine if the rights exist and then they will set up the regulations gun owners and states must abide by.

Activists behind McDonald explain that the reason they are pushing the Supreme Court to overrule another case called Slaughter-House has nothing to do with guns. Instead, these activists want to advance a libertarian agenda, in which federal judges could sit in judgment of state and local laws involving labor, employment, business regulations and other economic issues having nothing to do with guns.

Currently the Constitution is silent on these matters and Court members could be ruling in the favor of activists who want the courts to start declaring constitutional rights against such things, therefore giving federal judges the power to strike down laws of this sort that the judges don’t agree with.

While most agree the make up of the court assures at least a 5-4 ruling in favor of McDonald, Clayton Cramer, an expert in gun laws says this issue will come down to the 14th Amendment.

The dilemma with this approach is it could endanger gun rights. Most attorneys agree the narrower your focus when arguing a case, the Justices are more likely to rule in your favor. The consensus with the McDonald case is to keep the focus on the gun ownership issue.

Groups like the National Rifle Association will argue this is about the right to keep and bear arms “This is quite a lot to swallow under the best of circumstances. In a situation such as this, where the narrowest argument you can make is still a broad one with serious ramifications, pushing a much larger agenda than necessary starts to run the risk that the Court will choke on the whole thing.”

For this reason, the NRA is working hard to keep the focus of this case where it belongs, on gun rights. Whether the Second Amendment gives 300 million Americans a right against state or local laws that ban guns is a monumentally important issue for personal liberty, and so the NRA’s argument presents, only that issue before the justices.

Their argument stresses that the Court should apply (or “incorporate”) the Second Amendment to the states through the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause. Although this approach is beset with problems from a conservative legal perspective, it’s nonetheless how the Court has always tackled these issues and so it becomes the safest route for extending gun rights to the states.

Yet the Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal advocacy group with ties to members of the Obama administration, is urging the justices to strike down the Illinois gun bans. The center says the case allows the court to correct a poor constitutional interpretation from the late 19th century and that establishing a federal right to self-defense could open the door to progressive readings of individual rights in future cases.

The attorney arguing McDonald’s case is Alan Gura, a conservative, and he is aiming to have the Supreme Court strike down the Illinois gun ban. He also says that a victory in gun cases could pave the way for future rulings that will bolster property rights and limit government power.

“This case will restore those (gun rights) to all with certain caveats,” Gura said in a Fox News interview. “The Bill of Rights protects an individual rights in this country.”

Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, observed the oral argument in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago. He said, “In the two years since the Heller decision, courts throughout the country have rejected the arguments of gun criminals and the gun lobby that the Second Amendment enshrines their ‘any gun, anywhere, any time’ agenda.”

“The arguments seemed to indicate a consensus around the Court’s strong language in the Heller decision that reasonable restrictions on gun ownership are ‘presumptively lawful,” Helmke said. “The Supreme Court should maintain the limitations it set out in the Heller decision and defer to the judgments of our elected officials in protecting the public from gun violence.”

Taking the McDonald case one step further is Denis Henigan of the Brady Center. “I think there is broad legislative authority to reduce the risk from the right to own a gun and we hope the Court gives similar assurances in this case.”

Gura fired back and said, “The Supreme Court is a court of law, not a social science experiment and under the laws and the right in our Constitution is the right to keep and bear arms.”

An ardent supporter on the bench is Justice Scalia who wrote the majority opinion that invalidated Washington D.C.’s handgun ban, however he went a step further an stated that the Second Amendment, “if properly understood, there is no limitation upon arms control by the states.”

Justice Scalia wrote a book in 1997 titled, “A Matter of Interpretation,” where he viewed “the Second Amendment as a guarantee that the federal government would not interfere with the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

Now the McDonald case before the court sees the city of Chicago and their claims contrary to the Second Amendment and that it does limit arms control by the states.

Gun Owners of America argues that the U.S. Supreme Court should recognize a robust individual right to keep and bear arms that prohibits states and their subdivisions from infringing on that right. GOA urges the Court to guarantee citizens the right to keep and bear arms as a “privilege or immunity” of national citizenship under the Privileges and Immunities (P&I) clause of the 14th Amendment.

GOA also urged the Court to avoid reliance on the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause and its so-called Incorporation Doctrine. The Incorporation Doctrine was invented by judges manipulating the Due Process clause, but P&I is based on the actual words of the Constitution.

The Court has already recognized in the Heller case that the Second Amendment protects an individual right of a U.S. citizen in a federal enclave, so it is no stretch that a U.S. citizen would enjoy that same right anywhere in the United States. P&I will protect the rights of citizens who constitute the government – the same persons called “the people” in the Second Amendment, GOA contends.

Moreover, P&I would not be subject to erosion over time as justices on the court change, as has proven true with Due Process incorporation. There is little risk that the Supreme Court would later use the P&I clause to create new constitutional rights, such as for health or housing. If the McDonald decision relies on the Due Process clause, the result could be a weakening of the right to keep and bear arms as well as the invention of new rights – something that has already been done using that clause.

The NRA is also actively involved in the Supreme Court case and was allowed to present their argument for 10 of the 30 minutes to the Justices.

“As a party to the case, NRA argued before the U.S. Supreme Court today that the Second Amendment protects the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms no matter in which city or state one resides. We are optimistic the Court will hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment and that handgun bans, like those in the City of Chicago and the Village of Oak Park, are unconstitutional under any standard of judicial review,” said Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox of the NRA.

“This view is shared by a bipartisan group of 309 members of Congress from both chambers, 38 state attorneys general and the majority of the American people. We look forward to the decision by the Court later this Term.”

Just as history proves the United States is an ever-evolving country and through political parties the justice system moves like a pendulum. The economic upheaval has caused many to get back to basics. It appears that the pendulum is swinging from the left to the right.

One thing is certain in uncertain times Americans want the right to protect themselves. The McDonald case is 200 years in the making and the decision facing the Supreme Court is the fact that it is either a federal government right or a state’s right to apply the right to own a gun.

The rules de jour often embedded in our leaders are based on personal political beliefs rather than the personal individual needs of citizens.

There is now doubt America faces a different “wild west” scenario, but there is also no doubt the founding fathers made is very clear – Americans have the right to keep and bear arms.

This is part one in a series.

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

California passes tougher ammunition laws amid escalating border violence

California will now require a thumb print to purchase ammunition and in Tijuana the drug cartel will relieve you of your thumb for choosing the wrong side.

Border violence continues to escalate along the San Diego/Mexico border with Mexican official Rogelio Sanchez being kidnapped by the Mexican drug cartel. Last week his lifeless body was left to hang on a busy overpass in Tijuana, naked with his genitalia cut off.

Right up the street in San Diego, residents will have to jump through another hoop to protect their families from growing violence.

Phoenix Arizona lays claim to the second highest kidnapping rate in the world behind Mexico City and there is growing speculation that the kidnapping rate is growing in the county of San Diego.

The cost of illegal immigration has more than financial costs. Currently the state expends in the neighborhood of $10 billion per year, the criminal element adds a whole new dynamic to this equation.

So why make it harder for the law-abiding gun owners to purchase ammunition? Why make it more costly for law enforcement officials to purchase ammunition to practice at the shooting range?

This is just another hit in a long list of revenue killer laws that intend to drive California into the ground. What will stop residents from purchasing bullets and providing tax revenue in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon?

Nothing.

What will stop criminals from owning and loading their weapons?

Nothing.

AB732 was penned by Assemblyman Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles and bans direct shipping to Californians who buy bullets via mail order or over the Internet as well.

Now lawful gun owners will have to pick up their bullets at a licensed handgun ammunition dealer, and file paperwork similar to the way guns are bought and sold.

The legislation will not require a waiting period like firearms, however all handgun ammunition must be stored behind the counters.

Along with a thumb print, ammo purchasers will also need to provide photo identification.
The information obtained by the store owner will now be kept on file and made available any law enforcement agencies.

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

California targets ammunition sales

Another attack on the Second Amendment in California could result is less ammunition for gun owners and more paperwork for gun retailers. California’s AB 962 legislation has been introduced by Democrat Assembly member Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles.

Gun owners find California’s AB 962 a serious threat to the right’s of law-abiding gun owners in the state. Assemblyman de Leon couldn’t disagree more. “These simple rules governing handgun ammunition will protect police officers, families and children from deadly gun violence,” he said.

Since March the bill has undergone some changes. One such provision within the bill that has been removed would have forced retailers to be licensed in order to sell ammunition. Although this provision was stripped, many gun owners in the state feel they must always remain alert or their guns will be taken away altogether.

California has quickly become known as a state that runs business, well, out of business. Regulations, taxes and unfriendly legislators in Sacramento have run the once Golden State into the Pacific Ocean.

That being said, AB 962 still contains rules that gun owners don’t appreciate. First, retail store owners will have to make the ammunition inaccessible from purchasers. The legislation requires individuals buying ammunition to be fingerprinted at the time of the sale.

AB 962 would also mandate that ammunition dealers keep these records and have them available for inspection by the Department of Justice. Gun owners believe this may cause some dealers to stop selling ammunition altogether.

Finally, mail order ammunition sales will be banned in California under AB 962.

Gun-rights activists encourage all responsible gun owners to contact their state representatives to voice their concern regarding this new anti-gun bill.

For more information on AB 962; democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a45/press/20090707AD45PR01.htm

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

HR 45 takes aim at the Second Amendment

With the country busy talking about cap-and-trade, illegal immigration and health care, Congressmen Bobby Rush of Illinois slithered into committee legislation to curb American’s Second Amendment rights.

The Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record Sale Act of 2009 or HR 45 is set to amend the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. Pursuant to the legislation, a person would have to be issued a firearm license and states such a license would have to renewed on a yearly basis.

Uncle Sam wants money from gun owners on a yearly basis and would most likely collect those fees through the 1040 tax form.

The new law would prohibit transferring a firearm to any family members unless they provide a valid firearm license. The license must be checked by a dealer by using an special authorization number.

The proposed legislation directs the Attorney General to establish and implement a federal record of the sale system. This would create another bureaucratic level for gun owners to jump through on a yearly basis.

HR 45 also seeks to charge gun owners with a crime if they do not comply with the instant criminal background check, fail to report a loss or theft of the gun within 72 hours, fail to notify the Attorney General’s office with a change in address within 60 days and keeping a firearm loaded.

Lawful gun owners have written the government regarding HR 45 stating the following; “Currently there are more than 20,000 existing gun laws on the books and most do nothing to curtail criminals…Where ever lawful ownership flourishes, crime rates, by what ever measure are reduced.”

There would also be a yearly fee attached for gun owners in order to pay for a new bureaucratic office the government would need to set up.

Gun rights’ activists are extremely hawkish when it comes to new legislation and this bill is no different. “If this bill passes, Democrats would likely lose control of their chamber in upcoming mid-term elections in 2010,” said Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

According to Keane, more than 80 million U.S. citizens currently own firearms.

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

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