MAPC Prevails Against San Francisco’s Motion to Dismiss; NRA/CRPA Foundation Lawsuit Moves Forward

On September 27, 2011, Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court, Northern District of California, issued his long awaited ruling on San Francisco’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. Holding that the plaintiffs had “adequately alleged an intent and desire to engage in conduct that is prohibited by the ordinances but which they contend is constitutionally protected,” the court denied the City’s motion. The case, entirely funded by the NRA and CRPA Foundation, can now move forward toward a determination of its merits. The full text of the court’s Order Denying Motion Dismiss for Lack of Standing can be viewed here.

The order was issued in Jackson v. City & County of San Francisco, No. 09-2143 (N.D. Cal.). The Jackson lawsuit, filed on May 15, 2009, challenges three San Francisco ordinances on Second Amendment grounds. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the City’s enactment and enforcement of three city ordinances requiring firearms be disabled by a trigger lock or stored in a locked container, banning the sale of ammunition that “serves no sporting purpose,” and prohibiting firearm discharges with no self-defense exception unduly burdens the right to self-defense. The Jackson case has already been successful in encouraging the City to amend its discharge ban, a law that has been in place for some 73 years, to allow for discharges in lawful self-defense and other circumstances allowed for under state and federal law.

On February 10, 2011, the City responded to Plaintiffs’ Complaint with a motion to dismiss the case based on its claim that the City does not enforce the challenged ordinances. As such, the City argued, Plaintiffs have no legitimate fear of prosecution and otherwise suffer no injury by complying with the law. The technical claim was that Plaintiffs lack “standing” to bring their claims, based on the dearth of prosecutions to date. In short, the City exposed itself as unconcerned that its ordinances in fact coerce law-abiding citizens to surrender their constitutional right to self-defense.

Plaintiffs responded on March 23, 2011, arguing the City’s motion should be denied. Plaintiffs regarded as unpersuasive the City’s claims that its ordinances are not and have not been enforced and that Plaintiffs suffer no injury by obeying these laws. Ultimately, Plaintiffs asked the court to recognize the very real harm they each suffer by complying with the unconstitutional laws.

The court’s ruling did just that. Plaintiffs laud the decision, upholding reason over rhetoric and recognizing the “immediacy and concreteness of the injury [Plaintiffs] have alleged” and the unreasonableness of requiring a self-defense emergency to arise before judicial review of these laws is available.

Seventeen years ago, the NRA and CRPA joined forces to fight local gun bans being written and pushed in California by the gun ban lobby. Their coordinated efforts became the NRA/CRPA Local Ordinance Project (LOP) – a statewide campaign to fight ill-conceived local efforts at gun control and educate politicians about available programs that are effective in reducing accidents and violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The NRA/CRPA LOP has had tremendous success in beating back most of these anti-self-defense proposals.

In addition to fighting local gun bans, for decades the NRA has been litigating dozens of cases in California courts to promote the right to self-defense and the Second Amendment. In the post Heller and McDonald legal environment, NRA and CRPA Foundation have formed the NRA/CRPA Foundation Legal Action Project (LAP), a joint venture to pro-actively strike down ill-conceived gun control laws and ordinances and advance the rights of firearms owners, specifically in California.

To see a partial list of the LAP’s recent accomplishments, or to contribute to the NRA / CRPAF LAP and support this and similar Second Amendment cases, visit www.crpafoundation.org. All donations made to the CRPA Foundation will directly support litigation efforts to advance the rights of California gun owners.