Status of cases that fund has agreed to support.ARIZONA
Prescott Sportsmen's Club. Arizona. The applicant's attorney informs that this matter involves an effort to shut down or impede a shooting range that has been in existence since 1957. Counsel for the club informed on November 22, 2010, that a housing development was built adjacent to the club. Their direct efforts to shut down the club proved unsuccessful. Consequently, they filed a complaint with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. The case is presently in the administrative enforcement stage. The club anticipates resolving the matter through negotiation and ideally avoiding any administrative and court adversarial proceedings. Counsel informed on August 1, 2011, it is continuing to negotiate a resolution with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). Counsel informed on October 15, 2012, that the case has shifted gears somewhat as ADEQ has backed off, but now the Forest Service has taken the lead and essentially indicated that the range closure needs to meet ADEQ standards (the range is set to move locations in 2014) when its Forest Service lease expires. There are ongoing negotiations for a remediation plan satisfactory to the U.S. Forest Service and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
The club's website currently informs as follows: "We have moved shooting to our new range in Chino Valley, but the Club still has an obligation to restore our former range in the Prescott National Forest on Granite Basin Road. We are soliciting donations to pay closing expenses: lead reclamation and remediation, removal of existing structures and concrete pads, contouring the land."CALIFORNIA
Dorothy McKay. California, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The applicant's attorney informs that the issue in this case is whether the Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense is infringed by state laws that prevent a person from carrying arms for self-defense in some manner. The applicant's opening brief was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on November 29, 2012. The NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the applicant's position. On November 12, 2013, the court stayed the appeal pending the resolution of other cases where the same issue is raised, including Peruta v. County of San Diego.
Peruta v. San Diego California, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This lawsuit challenges, on Second Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment grounds, the requirement of showing "good cause" to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The case addresses the issue of whether the right to "bear" arms includes a right to carry a handgun in public.
At the request of ILA, the OGC drafted and filed an amicus brief, on behalf of the Congress of Racial Equality, in this Second Amendment case pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief recounts, among other things, the racist history and origin of California gun control laws, and the concealed carry statute in particular.
Oral arguments in this case, along with Richards v. Prieto, were heard at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on June 16, 2015.
Harwood Loomis. Connecticut. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Loomis is a resident of the Town of Woodbridge, Connecticut. He holds a valid Connecticut pistol permit and frequently carries for protection. The Town of Woodbridge is governed by a six member Board of Selectmen. A local firearms ordinance was passed by the Board of Selectmen which prohibits the discharge of a firearm on town property and states explicitly that the carrying of a loaded firearm shall be prima facie evidence that the firearm has been discharged unlawfully in violation of the ordinance. Violation of this ordinance subjects the firearms owner to possible arrest and jail time. Furthermore, the local police department interprets the ordinance's reference to town property to apply to all public roads, public sidewalks, town open space, and all other public land, buildings, and parking lots. This local ordinance creates an effective ban on citizens carrying any loaded firearm in public within the town. Mr. Loomis has tried for several years to bring this concern up with the Board of Selectmen and his concerns have not been properly addressed. Counsel plans to challenge the local ordinance - which effectively is a ban on carrying - on grounds of state preemption based on the state's extensive firearms permit regulatory scheme and as a violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Town has thus far refused to repeal the ordinance, and negotiations for a modified ordinance with the Town have been unsuccessful.
State of Connecticut v. Martha Winters. Connecticut.
The applicant's attorney informs as follows: Ms. Winters was arrested and her lawfully owned firearm seized by the police after officers responded to reports of a disturbance involving her son. She was charged with the misdemeanor crime of interfering with an officer and resisting arrest and, based on the odor of alcohol officers allegedly observed, the misdemeanor offense of carrying a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. At all times, Ms. Winters was on her property and never granted the officers permission to enter her home.DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Matthew Corrigan. District of Columbia. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Corrigan contacted a telephone suicide hotline. The police broke into his home and seized firearms and ammunition. He was arrested and was charged with possession of unregistered firearms and possession of ammunition for unregistered firearms in the home. Mr. Corrigan filed motions to dismiss and to suppress. The motion to suppress was granted. The government subsequently dismissed all charges.
A civil lawsuit "for damages, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for violation of Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to be secure in his person, house, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" was filed against the Metropolitan Police Department and several of its officers. The lawsuit was dismissed in August of 2015, on qualified immunity grounds.
Updates have been requested from the attorney but have not been received. However, there is no indication of an appeal having being filed.FLORIDA
Gerald Tanso. Florida. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: The applicant runs a gun shop, Lock N' Load. A mentally ill man attempted to purchase a firearm from the FFL however was denied due to the NICS check. The mentally ill man then allegedly had a friend purchase the shotgun and used that gun to kill his mother and her boyfriend. Although the ATF and local state's attorney's office investigated the murders and found no wrongdoing by Mr. Tanso or his staff, the Brady Campaign has filed a civil wrongful death action. They are claiming Lock N Load engaged in a straw purchase when they let the mentally ill man's friend purchase the shot gun. This case is in the discovery phase.GEORGIA
Paul Vandiver. Georgia. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: The applicant owns a gun shop and the gun shop has a shooting range. He was charged with violating a Meriwether County ordinance based on a claim that the shooting at the gun shop property is a non-permitted use. The superior court on March 11, 2014, upheld the conviction in magistrate court for violating the ordinance. At that time counsel informed that an appeal would be taken to the Georgia Court of Appeals. On April 21, 2016, the charges against Mr. Vandiver were dismissed without prejudice. Mr. Vandiver's attorney is hopeful that the charges will not be refiled and therefore this matter is likely closed.IDAHO
Hauser Lake Rod and Gun Club.Idaho. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: The club has been in existence for more than 63 years. Houses have been built around the club and noise complaints have been made. It is located in the county, outside the city but within the city's area of impact. The City of Hauser is seeking to reduce the days and hours of operation to one day per weekend. This is in conflict with Idaho's sport shooting range protection law. The club sought a building permit to construct an accessory storage building on its property. Allegations were made of alteration by the club to the non-conforming use. The city issued a violation notice to the club, claiming a violation of the City Municipal Code. It was appealed. The city also informed that the building permit would not be processed until the violation notice was resolved.
The Idaho Constitution limits a city's powers to the area within its municipal boundaries. The city and county actions violate the Idaho Constitution. On June 21, 2013, a petition for declaratory judgment was filed in the district court of Kootenai County. On August 1, 2013, the County Commissioners ruled that the City of Hauser had no authority to render any decision regarding the club. All pending actions of the city against the club were vacated. The county will be the only government that the club will deal with in the future.
A lawsuit for attorney fees was filed in district court. Oral argument in this matter was heard on October 27, 2015. As of December 2015, a decision has not yet been announced by the court.
Mountain States Legal Foundation for Elizabeth Morris and Alan Baker. Idaho. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: This is a favorable right to carry case. Morris v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 990 F.Supp.2d 1082 (D. Idaho 2014) (motion to dismiss denied and injunction granted); Morris v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147541 (D. Idaho Oct. 13, 2014) (plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment granted). The government has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and briefs were filed with court in August of 2015. The matter is pending.
Fernan Rod & Gun Club. Idaho. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: This is an effort to shut down a shooting range on federal property. It has been leasing the land since 1989.
Nesbitt, et. al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Idaho. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers administers 12 million acres of public, recreational freshwater lakes and rivers. These bodies of water account for thirty three percent of all U.S. freshwater fishing. Regulations adopted by the Corps in 1973 prohibit "the possession of loaded firearms, ammunition, loaded projectile firing devices, bows and arrows, crossbows, or other weapons." 36 C.F.R. § 327.13.
The Mountain State Legal Foundation, a nonprofit, public-interest law firm, has filed suit challenging the firearms restriction on behalf of Ms. Elizabeth E. Nesbitt and Mr. Alan C. Baker.
Ms. Nesbitt was issued an emergency concealed carry license by her local sheriff due to threats and physical attacks against her by a former neighbor. Ms. Nesbitt regularly uses Corps-administered public lands in Idaho, and would like to be able to carry her concealed firearm on these lands - as she does elsewhere - for protection.
Mr. Baker is an NRA certified instructor and lifelong outdoorsman. He is licensed to carry a concealed handgun in Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Oregon. Mr. Baker regularly uses Corps-administered lands for recreation and would like to carry his concealed firearm for protection while doing so.
On October 13, 2014, the United States District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and denied the government's motion for summary judgment. The district court held that 36 C.F.R. § 327.13 violates the Second Amendment and is unconstitutional and also enjoined the defendants from enforcing the unconstitutional regulation on Corps-managed property within Idaho. The Federal government filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Briefs have been filed. The date for oral arguments has not yet been set.
The constitutional issue presented is "whether the Second Amendment protects individuals' rights to carry firearms for self-defense and to possess functional firearms in their temporary residences on federal lands. ... If MSLF prevails, the Corps will be barred from prohibiting visitors from possessing functional firearms when camping or recreating at its sites nationwide."
The applicant's attorney believes that the case may be granted certiorari by the Supreme Court:
[T]he opinion by the Idaho federal district court strongly repudiated the Corps' regulations as contrary to the Supreme Court's ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller and relied on Ninth Circuit precedent. MSLF believes that, at the Ninth Circuit, MSLF will draw a dissent from any ruling in favor of the Corps, thereby prompting the grant of certiorari and a successful and landmark appearance at the Supreme Court.INDIANA
Hadah LLC v. Tim's Shooting Academy et. al. Indiana. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Edward "Tim" Tomich and his wife Faith Bauer-Tomich own The Tomich Company, LLC, which operates Tim's Shooting Academy, an indoor gun range, in an industrial park in Westfield, Indiana. The indoor target range and gun store, which is zoned for enclosed industrial uses, averages over 1,300 visitors per month and employs a staff of 25 people.
Prior to the 2014 opening, Mr. and Mrs. Tomich went through a long and thorough process in order to secure the necessary approvals for construction and operation of their business. In 2013, after operational and design input had been sought from the Westfield-Washington Township Board of Zoning Appeals Technical Advisory Committee and Plan Commission and the Westfield Police and Fire Departments, building permits and a zoning variance were granted to allow the construction of the shooting range in an industrial park. The applicant's attorney states that the plaintiffs did not appear at any public hearing and did not make any objection during the Academy's applications for permits or variances and the plaintiffs are now barred by the statute of limitations from appealing the granting of the variance.
In November of 2014, almost one year after the opening of Tim's Shooting Academy, a noise complaint was filed by the owners of a neighboring industrial property. This complaint was filed five months after the neighboring property's owners had vacated the site and listed it for sale. The plaintiffs contend that the presence of the shooting range is discouraging potential buyers and inhibiting their ability to sell their property. While the applicants deny these claims, they took significant steps to further restrict noise emissions from their range; including "(1) redesigning and implementing a new HVAC system; (2) buying and installing SONEX sound absorbing material, Quiet Barrier HD Sound Proofing Composite, Echo Absorber Acoustic Panels, and Silent Running (a high performance coating designed to eliminate unwanted sound); (3) installation of an additional soundproof fire door (approved by the Westfield Fire Marshall); and (4) the construction of a specially designed, thirty-foot long concrete block wall (variance approved by City of Westfield, design approved by the State)."
However, in February 2015, the neighbors filed a complaint. The plaintiff's argument rests mainly on a poorly worded line in the Academy's "Project Narrative," written by the design engineer and used in obtaining the variance, which states that the range's safety/insulation features "will prevent any stray bullets as well as sounds from leaving the building." Recent noise testing revealed that sound heard within the range building was well below the acceptable noise standard in an enclosed industrial district. The noise emitted from the range is under the limit prescribed by the local noise ordinance. However, the plaintiff is using the Project Narrative's language to demand that zero noise emanates from the Academy. This is an unreasonable expectation in an industrial zone. The applicant's attorney argues that the Academy is immune from liability under Indiana's Range Protection Act, which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
A person who owns, operates, or uses a shooting range is not liable in any civil or criminal matter relating to noise or noise pollution that results from the operation or use of the shooting range if the construction and operation of the shooting range were legal at the time of its initial construction or initial operation, and the shooting range continues to operate in a manner that would have been legal at the time of the inception or initial operation.
Ind. Code § 14-22-31.5-6.
The applicant's attorney believes there to be a high probability of success in this matter. The attorney adds that this case "has the potential to have widespread impact because only one published decision exists in Indiana addressing the Act, and no decisions have been issued since the Act was amended in 2013." As of March 2016, this matter is pending.ILLINOIS
John Hicks v. Illinois State Police, et al. Illinois. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Hicks was denied an Illinois Concealed Carry License by the Illinois Concealed Carrey License Review Board. The Board denied Mr. Hick's request for a concealed carry permit, stating that he is a threat to himself or others, and apparently basing this statement solely on two previous arrests, neither of which resulted in a conviction. Mr. Hicks is now facing an extremely costly uphill battle to overturn the Board's denial. The denial must be appealed to an Illinois circuit court, and is litigated on behalf of the state by the Illinois Attorney General's Office.
People v. Danuel J. Boykin. Illinois. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Boykin was convicted of aggravated assault for allegedly confronting his neighbor with an unloaded handgun, after the neighbor had come onto Mr. Boykin's property following a dispute the two parties had had earlier that day. The judge stated that Mr. Boykin had needlessly escalated the situation by leaving the safety of the interior of his home and proceeding to his lawn to confront his neighbor. Counsel for Mr. Boykin informs that this case sets a dangerous legal precedent in restricting how and where a legal gun owner may defend himself on his own property.
People v. Shawna Johnson. Illinois. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: The issue is whether a misdemeanor battery conviction in 2001 against her husband permanently deprives her of the right to obtain an Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification ("FOID") Card. Ms. Johnson is contesting the Illinois State Police's (ISP) decision denying her a FOID Card. In October 2015, a circuit court judge denied the ISP's motion to dismiss Ms. Johnson's appeal, however counsel for Ms. Johnson expects the ISP to motion for a reconsideration of the dismissal. An evidentiary hearing on the appeal was heard on January 13, 2016. After the hearing, the parties were asked to submit additional briefs on the matter. The matter is pending.
Matthew Wilson. . Illinois. This case involves a challenge to Cook County's so called assault firearm ordinance. The circuit court dismissed the challenge, and the appellate court affirmed. In April 2012, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned Cook County Circuit Court's decision to grant summary judgement in favor of Cook County, and remanded the case back to the circuit court for trial. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed based on second amendment grounds: "we hold that the Ordinance does not violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the United States Constitution and therefore affirm the judgment of the appellate court and trial court dismissing count I and count VI of the first amended complaint. Additionally, we hold that plaintiffs have sufficiently pleaded a cause of action to withstand a section 2 615 motion to dismiss on their second amendment challenge under count IV of the first amended complaint. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part, and remand to the trial court for further proceedings on count IV." Wilson v. Cook County, 360 Ill. Dec. 148, 968 N.E.2d 641 (2012). The case is pending in the Cook County Circuit Court.
Terry Willis. Illinois. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Willis is involved in target shooting and competition shooting. In 2014, Mr. Willis was advised by the Illinois State Police (ISP) that his Firearm Owner's Identification ("FOID") card had been revoked. He was notified of this after applying for an Illinois Concealed Carry License in January of 2014. Issued by the ISP, a FOID card is required for an Illinois resident to legally possess firearms and/or ammunition.
The revocation was allegedly due to a 1978 domestic violence conviction involving Mr. Willis' then spouse. Per the ISP, individuals convicted of felony or misdemeanor domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, or a substantially similar offense are not eligible to obtain a FOID card.
Despite his apparent ineligibility by ISP standards, a Macon County, Illinois court ordered Mr. Willis's FOID card reinstated. This order was upheld by a Circuit Court after the Illinois Attorney General intervened on behalf of the ISP. The ISP then issued Mr. Willis a FOID card with a restriction placed on the card indicating that Mr. Willis had been convicted of domestic violence, which effectively prevented him from transferring or purchasing any firearms or ammunition.
An unrestricted FOID card was subsequently issued to Mr. Willis after the court held the ISP Director in contempt for issuing the restricted FOID card. In addition to this finding of contempt, the court awarded Mr. Willis attorneys' fees in the amount of $5,996.50. The ISP then filed a motion asking the court to rehear the matter. This motion was denied.
This matter is pending appeal by the Illinois Attorney General to the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court. Oral arguments were heard in March 2016. Counsel for Mr. Willis is confident he can prevail. No decision has been on the oral arguments yet.
Kolbe, et. al, v. O'Malley. Maryland, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Originally naming then governor Martin O'Malley as the primary defendant, this case is a challenge to Maryland's ban on popular semi-automatic rifles and ubiquitous magazines with capacities in excess of ten rounds enacted by the so-called "Maryland Firearm Safety Act of 2013." The plaintiffs, a collection of Maryland individual citizens, firearms dealerships, and advocacy groups, including the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, created a strong record of fact and expert evidence demonstrating the challenged bans could not pass constitutional muster under any level of heightened scrutiny.
The District Court for the District of Maryland, in defiance of the United States Supreme Court's Heller and McDonald decisions, as well as Fourth Circuit precedents, disagreed and followed the script established by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Heller II (upholding DC's ban on so-called "assault weapons" and "high capacity magazines"), applying nominal intermediate scrutiny and holding that the state's interest in public safety outweighed any individual Second Amendment interests impaired by the Act. The case was appealed to the Fourth Circuit.
Oral argument was held on March 25, 2015, before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Chief Judge Traxler (South Carolina), Judge Agee (Virginia), and Judge King (West Virginia) were empaneled to hear the case. This panel's composition was significant because some combination of these three judges are responsible for all of the Fourth Circuit's post-Heller Second Amendment jurisprudence, which provides that restrictions affecting the exercise of Second Amendment rights by responsible, law-abiding citizens in their homes must be analyzed using strict scrutiny, which is the highest standard of judicial review.
The circuit court's opinion was handed down in early February 2016, and held that semiautomatic rifles and large capacity magazines are bearable arms protected by the Second Amendment, and a complete ban on them must be subjected to strict scrutiny. The court remanded the case back to the district court with instructions to re-hear the case according to the strict scrutiny standard.
En banc review has been granted and oral arguments were scheduled to be heard on May 11, 2016.MASSACHUSETTS
Jarvis et al. v. Village Gun Shop. (Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc., Russell Jarvis, David Flynn, Robert Crampton.) Massachusetts. Counsel informed in a December 6, 2011, letter that Massachusetts allows police agencies to seize firearms and ammunition and then turn them over to privately operated bonded warehouses for storage. The warehouse must be paid storage and other fees to obtain a return of property. Often the warehouse fails to respond timely, fees quickly accumulate, and the property is auctioned off. There is no provision for a hearing to contest the ongoing deprivation of property. There is also inadequate regulation of the warehouses. Fees are not regulated. A civil rights violation lawsuit under 42 U.S. Code §1983 was filed against Massachusetts' gun seizure laws and practices in the U.S. District Court on March 27, 2012. Plaintiffs filed a motion for partial summary judgment on October 14, 2013. Defendants filed their opposition on August 15 and 21, 2014. The plaintiffs filed their reply in support of partial summary judgment on September 9, 2014. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the Village Gun Shop on October 15, 2014. The court held the storage company is not a state actor and consequently is not subject to a civil rights violation cause of action.
An appeal was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. On October 30, 2015, the appeals court held that Village Vault does not function as a state actor, and therefore cannot be held liable for the deprivation of the plaintiff's due process rights. No appeal has been filed.MICHIGAN
Mohammed Khraizat v. Ronald Haddad, Chief of Police for the City of Dearborn Michigan. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: This is an appeal from a denial of a permit to purchase a pistol. In 2010, Mr. Khraizat pled guilty to disorderly conduct, which was subsequently dismissed after he completed 6 months of probation without incident. Subsequent to that, he has called the police 5 times. Apparently Dearborn believes that people who call the police should not be issued a permit to purchase a pistol. A petition for writ of mandamus to compel the Dearborn chief of police to issue him a permit to purchase a pistol was filed in the Wayne County Circuit Court on February 19, 2014.
Joshua Wade v. University of Michigan. Michigan. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Wade holds a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License. While open carrying in downtown Ann Arbor, Mich., Mr. Wade encountered a campus police officer who told him if he brought his gun onto campus property he would be arrested. After researching the relevant gun laws, Mr. Wade determined that he could apply to the University of Michigan's Director of Public Safety for permission to carry a firearm on campus. Mr. Wade applied to the Director of Public Safety for the personal waiver in September 2014. His request was delegated to the Chief of the University of Michigan Police before being ultimately denied. The University of Michigan's powers, as an arm of the state government, are set forth in the Michigan Constitution, pursuant to which the University is given the power to exercise general supervision of its property. Mr. Wade seeks to challenge the University of Michigan's ban on the carry of firearms on University property under Michigan's preemption statute, Mich. Comp. Laws § 123.1101 et seq. Michigan's Court of Appeals has interpreted the firearms preemption statute broadly. In Capital Area District Library v. Michigan Open Carry, the Court of Appeals held that the preemption statute and Michigan's state firearms regulations preempted the entire field of firearm regulations and that quasi-municipal entities are subject to the state firearms preemption. Furthermore, in Branum v. Board of Regents of the University of Michigan, it was held that - despite the grant of "general supervision powers to the University - the University was subject to generally-applicable state laws.
In November 2015, the Court of Claims granted the University's motion for summary disposition. Counsel for Mr. Wade filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals on December 4, 2015. This matter is currently pending in the Michigan Court of Appeals.MINNESOTA
Minnewawa Sportsman's Club (Minnesota). This is a shooting range case. Aitkin County was attempting to unilaterally amend the terms of an existing and valid conditional use permit to include restricted hours and days of operation where no such restrictions or conditions are contained in the original permit issued by the county. The Minnesota Court of Appeals held "we agree with Minnewawa that its limited conditional-use-permit application does not open the door for the county to add conditions to the club?s existing permit for use as a firearms range ..... But because the permit imposed several reasonable conditions related to the addition of an archery range and a new road, we affirm in part." Minnewawa Sportsman's Club v. County of Aitkin, 2008 WL 3144945 (Minn. App.). The matter subsequently litigated with the county was the county's claim that there are specific hours and days restricting the use of the range and that the club has violated those restrictions. Counsel informed on November 30, 2010, that the litigation was in the discovery phase. Counsel finally informed on August 30, 2012, that the matter was successfully concluded in district court, and the club members went home smiling.MISSOURI
William David Hill v. Oliver "Glenn" Boyer, Sherriff of Jefferson County, Missouri. Missouri. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: In 1973, Mr. Hill was convicted of forgery. The issue is whether a restoration of rights after the conviction makes him eligible to obtain permit to carry a concealed firearm. Missouri amended its guarantee to keep and bear arms. Article I, Section 23 now guarantees: "That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the general assembly from enacting general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those duly adjudged mentally infirm by a court of competent jurisdiction."
The matter was argued before the Supreme Court of Missouri on November 3, 2015. In February of 2016, the Supreme Court of Missouri ruled against Mr. Hill. According to the Court, Mr. Hill's plea of guilty was not affected by his restoration and therefore independently prevented him from obtaining a permit. The Court further found that the restoration of Mr. Hill's "rights and privileges of citizenship" did not encompass the obtaining of a concealed carry permit because, at the time of the restoration, no citizen had the right to carry a concealed firearm.
Wayne Stallsworth v. Ronda Montgomery, Jackson County, Missouri Sherriff. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Stallsworth was denied a concealed carry license renewal by the Jackson County sheriff based on a burglary conviction from 1960. The Governor of Missouri granted Mr. Stallsworth a full pardon in 2004 and he was able to obtain a concealed carry license when he lived in Buchanan County. Mr. Stallsworth appealed the denial in Small Claims Court and won. The sheriff subsequently appealed to the Circuit Court. The Circuit court overturned the ruling and denied Mr. Stallsworth's concealed carry license renewal.
Mr. Stallsworth has filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals, which is pending.MONTANA
State of Montana v. James George Stiffler. Montana. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: On May 22, 2013, Mr. James Stiffler pulled into the driveway of his home in East Helena, Montana. Mr. Stiffler observed an unknown car in his driveway and spotted a strange man through his dining room window. After finding his front door smashed in, Mr. Stiffler entered his home and encountered the gloved intruder in his computer room. The intruder was much taller and heavier than the then 66-year old Stiffler. When the intruder made threatening motions with his hands and verbally threatened to hurt the homeowner, Mr. Stiffler, armed with a 9mm pistol, fired at the intruded, who at the last second turned away to dodge the incoming fire, and as a result the intruder was struck in the back. The intruder then fled the scene, however died shortly thereafter. After the intruder fled, Mr. Stiffler immediately called 911, and specifically mentioned that they should send an ambulance for the injured assailant.
The sheriff's office initially treated the shooting as though it were a justifiable homicide. This included Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton making an on the record comment to the local newspaper supporting Mr. Stiffler's account of the shooting. "Right now there's nothing to indicate that the details provided by Mr. Stiffler are not accurate," Sheriff Dutton stated on the day following the shooting.
However, on May 23, 2015, 665 days after the shooting occurred, Mr. Stiffler was charged with deliberate homicide. After concluding its investigation, the state alleges that Mr. Stiffler's version of events in inconsistent with the forensic evidence recovered at the scene. The prosecution is alleging that Mr. Stiffler did not shoot when the assailant charged him, but rather shot as the assailant fled through an open window. Mr. Stiffler maintains his version of the events, and his attorney submits that these charges arise from Lewis and Clark County Attorney Leo Gallagher's opposition to gun rights, specifically Montana's 2009 passing of a "castle doctrine," Mont. Code Ann. § 45-3-103.
Mr. Stiffler's filed a motion to dismiss for pre-indictment delay, based on the 665 day delay in prosecution. This motion was denied. A trial in February of 2016, resulted a hung jury. After learning of the hung jury, Mr. Stiffler agreed to a plea deal with the district attorney's office whereby the DA would dismiss the matter with prejudice in two years. Therefore, this matter is now closed.NEW HAMPSHIRE
Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs v. New Hampshire Department of Public Safety. New Hampshire.
The applicant's attorney informs as follows: This is a challenge to the recent regulation promulgated by the New Hampshire Department of Safety which now imposes a home permit requirement on an applicant seeking a non-resident license to carry. Thus, in order for a non-resident to carry a concealed handgun in New Hampshire, a person must first obtain a carry permit from his home state.
While not difficult to satisfy for residents of "shall issue" states, this home permit requirement effectively precludes many residents of states where it is difficult or impossible to obtain a home state permit such as New Jersey, New York, Maryland, California, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Hawaii from obtaining a license to carry in New Hampshire, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Thus, residents of those states are held to a higher standard than residents of New Hampshire or residents of shall issue states in order to obtain a carry license. The Department of Safety refuses to accept equally valid credentials such as the New Jersey FID card or a restricted permit from New York, in lieu of a full home carry permit. Further, the Department of Safety has provided a special exemption to the home permit requirement for residents of states that do not require permits in order to carry, such Vermont, Arizona, Maine, etc. Yet, they do not make that special exempted procedure available to the foregoing states (such as New Jersey, New York, Maryland, California, etc.) in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.NEW JERSEY
Iron Horse Rifle and Pistol Club. New Jersey. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts:
The applicant, Iron Horse Rifle and Pistol Club, located in Gloucester Township, New Jersey, has been in existence as a shooting range since 1957. A neighboring housing development, which was constructed in the late 1990s, initiated a lawsuit in an attempt to shut down the applicant's shooting range. The development's residents also sued Gloucester Township, which, in turn, crossclaimed against the applicant to shut down its range for alleged land use, zoning, and building violations, despite no notices of such violations ever having been issued to the applicant.
Following the completion of discovery, the Township and the applicant recently entered into a settlement agreement whereby the applicant's range is deemed a pre-existing nonconforming use and is thus "grandfathered" under New Jersey law and the Township's claims against the club were dismissed. In exchange for this, the applicant agreed to complete certain range safety improvements, using an NRA Range Evaluation from 2011 as guidance for said improvements. The neighboring development's residents declined to join the settlement and the litigation continued.
The Township and the applicant have filed motions for summary judgement to dismiss the residents' claims on a number of grounds including, but not limited to, New Jersey state law which exempts gun ranges from noise complaints under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1G-21.2.
While some, but not all, of the residents have agreed to the above settlement, the attorneys for the residents have threatened to file further legal action seeking to overturn the existing settlement agreement. They also threatened to raise new environmental claims.
State of New Jersey v. Eric Swallick. New Jersey. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Swallick is charged under New Jersey law with possessing an AR15, possessing a large capacity magazine, and possessing a pistol. As of May 2, 2016, this case has not yet gone to trial.
State of New Jersey v. George Winston. New Jersey. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Winston was denied a firearm purchaser identification card and a permit to purchase a pistol based upon a New York conviction. In 1974, Mr. Winston pled guilty to attempted assault and in 1989 to criminal possession of a controlled substance. He has received a New York certificate of relief from disability regarding both offenses. Mr. Winston's appeal to the superior court was denied. Upon appeal to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, the ruling was affirmed.
A petition for certification from the New Jersey Supreme Court was filed recently. The appeal is based upon the following arguments: violation of Article 4, Section 1's Full Faith and Credit Clause; violations of fundamental fairness, due process and comity; failure to pass rational basis scrutiny under a Second Amendment claim; and, failure to provide means of relief impinging upon Second Amendment rights. As of May 2, 2016, the petition for certification is still pending.
State of New Jersey v. Jose Fernandez. New Jersey. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Jose Fernandez is a gainfully employed 30 year of married father of a newborn. When Mr. Fernandez and his family moved to a new home, his wife packed his unloaded revolver in a duffle bag. Sometime later, this duffle bag was used as a carry on for the family's vacation to Florida. Not realizing the firearm was in the duffle bag, Mr. Fernandez was arrested when it was discovered at the TSA checkpoint. Mr. Fernandez was charged with one count of N.J.S. 2C:39-5b (second degree unlawful possession of a handgun). His application to the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program was recently denied. The denial was appealed. Trial started on January 25, 2016. After a hung jury at trial, Mr. Fernandez was granted PTI after all. Thus, this matter is concluded.
City of New York v. Ron Allison. New York. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: While attempting to board a connecting flight at New York City's LaGuardia Airport, Mr. Allison was arrested for possessing an unloaded, locked, .22 caliber pistol in his checked baggage. Airport security discovered the pistol when Mr. Allison, per the proper procedure, declared its presence to an airline ticket agent while checking his bag. In December of 2015, all charges against Mr. Allison were dismissed.
Amenia Fish and Game Association, Inc., et al. v. Town of Amenia Planning Board, et al. New York. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: The Amenia Fish and Game Association, Inc., has operated as a small shooting club since 1946. The club's property contains an outdoor shooting range. Because the club was in existence before the enactment of zoning laws in the Town of Amenia, it is grandfathered.
The Amenia Fish and Game Association, Inc. is challenging the approval of a large planned residential community, part of which would be situated within 500 feet of the club's outdoor shooting range. The Amenia Fish and Game Association, Inc. fears that the development of this community would subject the club to numerous private nuisance lawsuits over the use of its outdoor shooting range. Additionally, the Amenia Fish and Game Association, Inc. argues that constructing residential housing within 500 feet of an outdoor shooting range would jeopardize the safety of the homeowners. The club is challenging the planned community's approval on both zoning and environmental grounds.
On August 28, 2015, in the Dutchess County Supreme Court, the applicant's attorney informs that he filed:
An Article 78 proceeding challenging initial approvals granted by the Amenia Planning Board to an applicant seeking to develop a large piece of property (to be commonly known as "Silo Ridge Field Club") adjacent to a gun club. Our Petition alleges violations of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act ("SEQRA"), failure to provide Notice pursuant to the Amenia Town Code, and violations of the Open Meetings Law. In pertinent part, our Petition argues that the Amenia Planning Board failed to mitigate environmental harms to the maximum extent practicable, as required by SEQRA, when it granted initial approvals for a development which includes houses, facilities, and other buildings within close proximity of an outdoor shooting range. The argument is that the Planning Board failed to take the requisite hard look at the dangers posed by such approvals. Further, the fact that Petitioner's use of its property is non-conforming establishes that such use must be constitutionally protected under New York law.
The applicant's attorney believes there to be a fair chance at successfully challenging the proposed development, as he alleges that many of the required zoning and environmental regulatory procedures governing the approval of new developments were not followed.
The applicant's attorney informs that:
A positive result in this matter would have the widespread favorable impact of establishing precedent that a Lead Agency must take a hard look at minimizing environmental damage inherent in developing homes, facilities, and/or buildings in close proximity to an outdoor gun range in order to comply with SEQRA. This precedent would go a long way in protecting established gun ranges from the continued encroachment of suburbia.
The defendants have filed a counter suit, seeking an injunction to have the club shut down for safety reasons and asserting a breach of contract claim. The applicant's attorney informs that he will be filing a summary judgment motion to have the counter-suit dismissed.
Connie M. Frisbie. New York. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: In November of 1987, Ms. Connie Frisbie was the victim of a burglary and attempted rape; which occurred in her home, in front of her then 8 year old son. This traumatizing incident caused Ms. Frisbie to obtain a New York State pistol permit, which was issued to her in March of 1988.
Ms. Frisbie maintained her pistol permit without incident for almost 30 years. However, on August 31, 2015, two Chemung County Sheriff's deputies went to Ms. Frisbee's home and seized both her pistol permit and her Smith & Wesson .22 caliber revolver. The deputies did not provide Ms. Frisbie with any paperwork or other materials authorizing the seizures. A county court order, dated August 11, 2015, held, in pertinent part, that "the licensee is a prohibited person, prohibited from possessing a firearm ... pursuant to federal statute [18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(4)] ... Ordered, that permit #C10609 issued to Connie M. Frisbie, is hereby suspended and any and all weapons issued and licensed under said permit and all firearms, rifles and shotguns be surrendered immediately ... ."
The suspension of Ms. Frisbie's pistol permit was based on a 2013 admittance to the Behavioral Sciences Unit (the psychiatric ward) of St. Joseph's Hospital in Elmira, New York. Ms. Frisbie was admitted on July 5, 2013, for observation after overdosing on prescription medication. She was discharged on July 13, 2013. "This was the only time in her life she was ever in a behavioral science unit for any reason." The physician's notes from her stay indicate that she was never found to be a danger to herself or others. Further, Ms. Frisbie's current counselor has submitted a signed letter stating that Ms. Frisbie has no documented history of violence, and that she poses no threat to herself or to others.
The applicant's attorney points out that while state and county authorities cite federal law as the basis for their seizure of Ms. Frisbie's pistol permit and firearm, a provision of the 2013 New York SAFE Act was used to obtain the information that caused the seizure. Specifically, a portion of the SAFE Act mandates that the private health care information of citizens be shared with law enforcement agencies without a citizen's knowledge or consent. This, Ms. Frisbie's attorney argues, is exactly what happened when state authorities requested and received Ms. Frisbie's mental health records from St. Joseph's Hospital without her knowledge or consent.
Ms. Frisbie's attorney notes that Ms. Frisbie is permanently disabled - she has muscular dystrophy - and that due to physically defend herself, her firearm is her only reasonable means of self-defense.
Knife Rights, Inc., et al. v. Vance. New York. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: This case is a challenge on Fourteenth Amendment vagueness grounds, to New York City's enforcement of state laws that prohibit "switchblade" and "gravity" knives. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the lawsuit based on plaintiffs' lack of standing. It held that no plaintiff alleged a "concrete, particularized, and actual or imminent" injury that would be "redressable by a favorable ruling." A motion for reconsideration was denied. The case was appealed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on May 15, 2014. On September 23, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's holding that the organizations Knife Rights and Knife Rights Foundation do not have standing, but vacated and remanded the district court's holding as to Copeland, Perez, and Native Leather, finding those plaintiffs sufficiently alleged an injury in fact to satisfy standing. The matter is pending in the district court.
New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, et al. v. City of New York et al. New York. This case involves a challenge to New York's recently enacted firearm and ammunition law. A complaint was filed on March 21, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Buffalo. The grounds include the right to keep and bear arms and equal protection. Plaintiffs' memorandum in support of motion for preliminary injunction was filed on April 15, 2013. On December 31, 2013, the court found that the provisions on so-called assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are constitutional. However, the seven-round magazine limit is unconstitutional and some other provisions must be stricken because they do not adequately inform an ordinary person as to what conduct is prohibited. New York State Rifle and Pistol Assn. v. Cuomo, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182307. The decision was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Oral argument took place on December 9, 2014.
On October 19, 2015, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most of the SAFE Act, except for the magazine load limits. A petition for cert to the United States Supreme Court is pending.NORTH CAROLINA
State v. Shannon Whisnant. North Carolina. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: On or about February 6, 2014, Mr. Shannon Whisnant went to a Wells Fargo Bank branch location in Seabord, North Carolina, for a previously scheduled appointment with a "banker," in order to open a new account. Arriving at approximately 8:53am, Mr. Whisnant exited his pickup truck, and, after briefly approaching the front of the bank building, realized that the bank did not open until 9:00am. At this time he turned around returned to his vehicle where he would wait for several minutes until the bank opened.
A teller inside the bank witnessed Mr. Whisnant approach the bank (and then turn around), and allegedly believed she saw a handgun in his right hand. This teller alerted other bank staff and called the police.
At approximately 9:00am, Mr. Whisnant again exited his vehicle, along with his mother, and approached the bank. Mr. Whisnant was not armed and carried only banking related papers in his hands. The police arrived shortly after 9:00am to find Mr. Whisnant peacefully standing in front of the bank. Mr. Whisnant was compliant when police ordered him to the ground and detained him. Mr. Whisnant was questioned at the scene without first being Mirandized, and his vehicle was search without a warrant. Inside Mr. Whisnant's vehicle, police found a handgun located partially under the driver's seat. Surveillance video purportedly captured the entire incident.
Mr. Whisnant was charged with Going Armed to the Terror of the People and Carrying a Concealed Weapon, a misdemeanor. He was subsequently ordered to surrender all of his weapons while the case was pending.
At a bench trial on May 5, 2015, Mr. Whisnant was convicted of the abovementioned charge. Although surveillance video allegedly captured Mr. Whisnant's peaceable demeanor, bank staff testified that he rattled the doors of the bank while holding a gun. The arresting officer admitted to questioning Mr. Whisnant without the benefit of his Miranda rights, and to searching his vehicle without a warrant. Despite this admission, no evidence was excluded and the trial judge found Mr. Whisnant guilty stating "a reasonable person should know that if you bring a gun onto the property of a bank you are going to scare people."
Upon conviction Mr. Whisnant immediately filed his notice of appeal to Superior Court. Counsel strongly believes that, if unsuccessful in Superior Court, this case would merit an appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, based mainly on Mr. Wisnant's constitutional right (in North Carolina) to openly carry a firearm. All charges were dismissed by the District Attorney's office in April 2016.OHIO
State of Ohio v. Adam Intihar. Ohio. The applicant's attorney informs as follows: Mr. Intihar was arrested for "aggravated menacing" (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §2903.21) after allegedly displaying a firearm to stop an alleged road rage confrontation. Counsel for Mr. Intihar argues that the display of a firearm without proof of an actual, articulated verbal or physical threat is insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction under the above charge.
Copley Township v. The Ohio Sportsmen-Farmers League, et al. Ohio. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: The Ohio Sportsmen-Farmers League purchase their property in question in 1940. Since that time, the Ohio Sportsmen-Farmers League has continuously operated the property, or allowed others to operate the property, as a trap shooting range. The Ohio Sportsmen-Farmers League currently leases the property to the Buckeye Outdoor Youth Education & Shooting Center, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to teach young people gun safety and provide them with a knowledge and understanding of firearms, the outdoors, hunting, archery, and competition.
In August of 2013, the Township filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Sportsmen-Farmers' League, Buckeye Outdoor Youth Education & Shooting Center, Inc. and the Chippewa Trapshooting Club ("Chippewa") alleging violations of county and township noise ordinances and seeking an injunction against these entities to preclude them from continuing to operate a trapshooting range. That lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed, without prejudice, by the Township in January 2015. However, on April 17, 2015, the present action was initiated by the Township just against the Ohio Sportsmen-Farmers' League.
The claims asserted by the Township in the present action "are nearly identical to those asserted by the Township in the first round of litigation." The Township alleges that since the Ohio Sportsmen-Farmers' League entered into the an agreement with Buckeye Outdoor Youth Education & Shooting Center, Inc. in 2006, the use of the shooting range in question has exponentially increased due to the variety of activities hosted, including leagues, invitationals, state championships, trainings, practices, special events, clinics, and corporate outings. The Township further alleges that the noise generated by the range exceeds the maximum acceptable volume for shooting ranges specified in Ohio Admin. Code § 1501:31-29-03, as well as the requirements of the local county noise ordinance, and the guidelines specified in the NRA Range Sourcebook. Additionally, the Township claims that the noise level emitted from the property violates Copley Township Zoning Resolution disallowing unreasonably loud or offensive noise. The Township contends that this noise constitutes a public nuisance, and interferes with the quiet use of the properties of Township residents. The Township is seeking a permanent injunction barring the defendants from conducting any further activities in violation of the above regulations.
The use of the property is legal. However, the Township continues to seek to have the use declared a nuisance. The noise emitted from the property conforms to the guidelines of the NRA Range Source book, and that as the Source Book guidelines are used as the basis for the Ohio Gun Range Protection Statutes. Ohio Admin. Code § 1501:31-20-03(B). Furthermore, the relevant county ordinance, Summit County Ordinance § 509.08, provides no ascertainable standards, and is therefore unconstitutionally vague and subject to selective enforcement.
The applicant's attorney has filed a counterclaim asking for a declaratory judgement that the property is a legal, non-conforming use under all relevant regulations, and that the sound levels emitted from the property do not exceed the levels prescribed by Ohio's range protection statutes.
The applicant's attorney also initiated a third party complaint against the Township's Trustees. The third party complaint alleges that the Trustees violated Ohio's Open Meetings Act, which requires that all "official actions" - such as the Township commencing a lawsuit - taken by political subdivisions be discussed and voted on in an open meeting. The applicant contends that such an open meeting and vote never occurred in the present case.PENNSYLVANIA
Binderup v. Holder. United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Pennsylvania. The NRA's Office of the General Counsel drafted and filed an amicus brief, on the NRA's behalf, in the case pending in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which challenges, on Second Amendment grounds, the 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) possession prohibition for individuals convicted of a crime punishable by more than 1 year in prison. Daniel Binderup's offense was a misdemeanor charge for "corruption of minors," stemming from a long ago consensual affair with an employee just shy of her 18th birthday. While the crime, corruption of minors, is not a felony, it is a first-degree misdemeanor which can carry a maximum sentence of five years. Under federal law, it therefore falls under the federal felon-in-possession statute. Mr. Binderup did not serve time and the convicting state, Pennsylvania, does not consider him a sex offender and had restored his gun rights a long time ago.
Oral argument was heard on July 9, 2015 before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. On April 21, 2016 this matter was consolidated with Suarez v. Attorney General. The Court, sua sponte, orders rehearing en banc in the cases and oral arguments were scheduled for June 1, 2016.
Michael Keyes v. Holder, et al. Pennsylvania. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Keyes is a police officer who can legally possess a firearm in his official capacity but due to a prior mental health commitment is barred federally from possessing a firearm in his private capacity. In 2006, Mr. Keyes was involuntarily committed while going through a divorce. Mr. Keyes has subsequently been reinstated to full, unrestricted duty as a police officer. He has also had his firearms rights restored at the state level. Although his firearms rights were restored by the Pennsylvania court, the court ruled that it does not have the power to grant an expungement of his record. Thus, he is still federally prohibited from possessing a firearm in his private capacity. An action in federal district court was filed by his counsel challenging the constitutionality of his firearms disability. Due to many similarities with the Johnathan Yox (Pennsylvania) case, this case and that of Mr. Yox have recently been combined into one action - Keyes, et al., v. Holder, et al., Docket No. 1:15-CV-00457.
Johnathan Yox v. Holder, et al. Pennsylvania. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Yox is federally prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a juvenile commitment. Post-commitment he served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 2012. The Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas restored his state right to keep and bear arms however they ruled that they do not have authority to cure his federal disability. An action in federal district court is being filed challenging the constitutionality of his firearms disability. Due to many similarities with the Michael Keyes (Pennsylvania) case, this case and that of Mr. Keyes have recently been combined into one action - Keyes, et al., v. Holder, et al., Docket No. 1:15-CV-00457.
John Current. Pennsylvania. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Current is an NRA Life Member, 57 year old engineer, graduate of the United States Naval Academy, holding Top Secret and above clearance. On May 19, 2013, while attending a party, Mr. Current had several drinks and got into a disagreement with some individuals. Initially, he was asked to leave but then his keys were taken from him and he was allowed to stay. Later, his son returned to take him home. Mr. Current had left his handgun in the trunk of his vehicle at the party.
Later that evening the police arrived at Mr. Current's home, confiscated his firearms, and took him into custody under a petition pursuant to Section 302 of the Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act. Instead of being examined by a doctor - as required by the Pennsylvania law - Mr. Current was examined by a nurse. A doctor, who did not examine Mr. Current, signed a 302 commitment against him, apparently based on an earlier reference regarding suicide - despite the Pennsylvania Mental Health Act requirement that the conduct must have occurred within thirty (30) days of the commitment.
Mr. Current filed a Petition for Restoration of Firearm's Rights and for Review. The petition was denied. Counsel believes the superior court will reverse the trial court's order.
David A. Titus v. Pennsylvania State Police. Pennsylvania. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: On October 15, 1979, David Titus pled guilty in Maryland to resisting arrest, an uncharacterized Common Law misdemeanor at the time, and was sentenced to a sixty day suspended jail sentence, one year of probation, and a five hundred dollar fine. Maryland later codified the crime of resisting arrest and it now carries a maximum sentence of incarceration for up to three years.
In 2013, Mr. Titus attempted to purchase a firearm in Pennsylvania. The background check conducted through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System ("PICS") revealed the 1979 conviction, and the firearm purchase was denied. Mr. Titus submitted a PICS challenge in May 2013 to the Pennsylvania State Police which was denied. Mr. Titus then challenged the Pennsylvania State Police denial during a subsequent hearing before an administrative law judge. The administrative law judge denied Mr. Titus's request for relief.
Under the Federal Gun Control Act, anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of more than two years is denied the right to possess a firearm. 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(20)(B) and 922(g)(1). According to the Pennsylvania State Police , while there was no maximum sentence for Common Law misdemeanors in 1979, theoretically Mr. Titus could have received a sentence of two years or more incarceration, as a contemporaneous resisting arrest case resulted in a sentence of three years in prison.
Mr. Titus contends that he is no longer ineligible to purchase a firearm under the Federal Gun Control Act, as his gun rights in Maryland have been fully restored following his 1979 misdemeanor conviction.
The applicant's attorney informs that "[t]his case is important because it is the first one of its kind in Pennsylvania to determine that a class of individuals have had their firearm rights restored by a subsequent legislative act."
On August 5, 2015, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court overturned and remanded the denial, stating that it was clear Mr. Titus had had his full Maryland gun rights restored, and that therefore the restoration of his federal gun rights would hinge on him presenting appropriate evidence that his other civil rights had been restored in Maryland. If so, this would result in the restoration of his federal firearms rights. This matter is currently awaiting the scheduling of such a hearing so that Mr. Titus may present more evidence as to the restoration of his other civil rights.TEXAS
Bob Arwady. Texas. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: Mr. Arwady owned and operated Arwady Sales, a Federal Firearms Licensee ("FFL"), between the period of 1989 and 2007. During this time, Mr. Arwady had an antagonistic relationship with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives ("BATFE"). According to the applicant's attorney, this arose out of Mr. Arwady's refusal to become an informant for the BATFE in the BATFE's illegal "Fast and Furious" program, "where he was told that if he cooperated with [BATFE], he could keep his license."
In 1998, Mr. Arwady was indicted, on charges arising from alleged record keeping violations during the course of a 1996 BATFE compliance inspection. Mr. Arwady was acquitted on all counts.
In 2004, Arwady Sales was again the subject of a BATFE compliance inspection, and again record keeping violations were alleged by the BATFE. These allegations included five missing silencers - which the applicant's attorney alleges "were a complete fraud" as they had never been registered to, nor presumably possessed or sold by, Mr. Arwady or his business - and over 600 missing firearms. Mr. Arwady claims that these record keeping discrepancies -as well as those that caused the 1998 indictment mentioned above - were due to the fault of Mr. Jeffrey Lewis, a Sergeant with the Houston Police Department, who had worked at Arwady Sales from 1991-1998 as a part time employee. This employee had been falsifying the business's records in order to cover the fact that he had been stealing firearms from the business. The BAFE's criminal investigation, and subsequent indictment of and plea agreement with Mr. Lewis led to Mr. Lewis' agreement to testify against Mr. Arwady.
Despite Mr. Arwady's best efforts to reconcile the discrepancies alleged by the BATFE, including accounting for all but 30 of the over 600 missing firearms, in 2006, Mr. Arwady was notified that the BATFE would not be renewing Arwady Sale's FFL. Mr. Arwady's appeal was denied at a BATFE administrative hearing. His appeal to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas was also unsuccessful. Mr. Arwady filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, but subsequently withdrew his appeal and closed Arwady Sales. However, Mr. Arwady continued to run another non-FFL business at the same location, selling ammunition, and firearms accessories.
At the time Arwady Sales closed, there were roughly 150 firearms left in inventory. Based on BATFE regulations and federal law, Mr. Arwady believed it to be legal for him to transfer these firearms into his personal collection, and then sell most of them. He began to do this shortly thereafter, offering the firearms for sale on the internet, while storing them in safes at his business (though his attorney notes he never displayed any of these firearms for sale at the business).
In July of 2009, the BATFE executed search warrants on Mr. Arwady's business, residence and vehicle, seizing 165 firearms, and subsequently commencing civil forfeiture proceedings against the firearms. The civil forfeiture action was dismissed on mutual agreement of the parties after the Court denied the government's summary judgment motion. In February of 2014, a federal grand jury in Houston returned an eight count indictment against Mr. Arwady, which included a "notice of forfeiture," for 162 of the 165 firearms. Trial is set for October 19, 2015
In October of 2015, a court dismissed six of eight counts in an indictment against Mr. Arwady. Mr. Arwady was found not guilty of the remaining two counts on October 21, 2015. The court also ordered the return of the 165 firearms that were seized.VERMONT
Upper Valley Fish & Game Club, Inc. Vermont. The applicant's attorney relates the following pertinent facts: The club leases 176 acres from the Town of Thetford for a small fee as the land is used for a non-commercial, public use. There is opposition to the renewal of the lease. Proposals have been made to impose certain conditions on the club in order for the club to renew the lease including noise reduction, limiting the types of firearms that can be used there, limiting hours and days of operation, environmental cleanup obligations, and more. If imposed, these conditions would make it impossible for the range to operate successfully.