SAF, Calguns Foundation Sue California Over Firearms Statute
BELLEVUE, Wash., Dec. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Second Amendment Foundation has joined the Calguns Foundation and three California citizens in a federal lawsuit against the California Department of Justice and Attorney General Kamala Harris, challenging the state’s requirement that gun owners wait at least ten days before taking possession of an additional firearm.
The case is known as Jeff Silvester et.al. v Kamala Harris, et.al.
“We’ve joined in this lawsuit because it makes no sense for California to require a gun owner who already possesses a firearm from buying another one within a few days,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “We recall what Dr. Martin Luther King said, that ‘A right delayed is a right denied.'”
“Laws that infringe on the right to purchase arms have to be more than just merely rational and must directly serve important governmental interests,” added Gene Hoffman, chairman of the Calguns Foundation. “Here, the law is not just irrational but actually contradictory. We filed this case right before Christmas in the hopes that, by next Christmas, gun owners will not suffer this continuing infringement on their right to acquire firearms.”
“The State has absolutely no reason to infringe the rights of California gun owners who already possess firearms when they buy another one,” said attorney Jason Davis who is representing the plaintiffs.
California currently requires the registration of handguns in California. And, beginning January 2014, it will also require the registration of all newly-purchased rifles and shotguns. Notably, California keeps a current database of all residents who are prohibited by state or federal law from owning or possessing firearms. Individual plaintiffs Jeff Silvester, Michael Poeschl, and Brandon Combs each have firearms registered with the State of California. Mr. Combs and Mr. Silvester also have firearms licenses from the State that constitute ongoing background checks.
“In just about every other state in the U.S., I as a law-abiding gun owner could walk in and, after passing an instant national background check, walk out with a firearm to defend myself in my home,” Poeschl said. “What’s really frustrating is that California is one of the very few states that forces gun owners to register all handguns that they buy. If the State’s database saying that I already lawfully own a gun isn’t proof that I don’t need a ‘cooling-off’ period, then what is?”
“I have a license to carry a loaded firearm across the State,” Silvester noted. “It is ridiculous that I have to wait another 10 days to pick up a new firearm when I’m standing there in the gun store lawfully carrying one the whole time.”
“As a collector, I submitted to a Live Scan background check and obtained a Certificate of Eligibility to Possess Firearms from the State of California at my own expense,” added Combs. “In the Internet era, where every California gun dealer has a computer connected directly to the State’s databases, there is no logical reason to force me to wait 10 days and make another trip simply because California doesn’t want to acknowledge the Certificate that it issued to me. I have registered guns, and I have the State telling me that I can possess guns, but for some reason I can’t exercise my constitutionally protected rights for another ten days? That’s insane.”