Second Amendment Foundation condemns media bias
courtesy SAF

In California, it’s possible to have a firearms purchase denied based on an un-adjudicated mental health hold. If that happens, the would-be buyer could lose his or her gun rights for five years under state law. Even after successfully appealing those decisions, some Californians still haven’t been able to restore their right to keep and bear arms.

The Second Amendment Foundation has filed suit against the state of California and the federal government over these unconstitutional deprivations of 2A rights. Here’s SAF’s press release . . .

BELLEVUE, WA — The Second Amendment Foundation today filed suit in federal district court seeking to have federal and state laws preventing persons who, at one time in their lives, were subject to a mental health “hold” on the exercise of their Second Amendment rights overturned on the grounds that the way those laws and regulations are enforced are in violation of the Constitution.

The lawsuit is asking the court to declare that a section of federal law governing this issue, along with all derivative regulations and all laws, policies and procedures violate the Second Amendment, and the plaintiffs’ due process rights under the Fifth and/or Fourteenth amendments. It was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

SAF is joined by several California residents who are filing either as “Jane Roe” or “John Doe” to protect their identities. Named as defendants in their official capacity in this case are acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, the Department of Justice, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Plaintiffs are represented by noted California civil rights attorney Donald Kilmer.

“We’re challenging the policies, practices and procedures of either or both the U.S. and California governments, and the way they interpret and implement these laws and regulations,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Specifically, under California law, un-adjudicated mental health holds require that firearm purchases must be denied, even though such holds have no federal consequences. In California, a prospective gun purchaser must wait for five years after such a hold has occurred, or they may apply for relief under state statute.”

Several of the plaintiffs have actually had full adversarial hearings under California law to restore their rights and Superior Court judges have granted their petitions. Yet they are still being denied when they try to exercise their Second Amendment rights. The lawsuit notes that there are several theories for these constitutional violations, the most being bureaucratic inertia and the most sinister being a hostility to the exercise of Second Amendment rights by “government actors.”

“Our lawsuit is asking for injunctive and declaratory relief,” Gottlieb said. “This is a situation that begs the court’s attention and should not be allowed to continue.”

The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms.  Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Nothing here about SAF soliciting NRA to take over as the lead plaintiff. Without NRA driving the train, this law suit is going nowhere, fast. SAF should have taken the initiative to partner with the oldest civil rights group in the country. SAF is a johnny-come-lately compared to NRA. Law suits that do not involve the single most powerful “gun rights” organization, the one and only “gun rights” entity that makes gun-grabbers quake in their boots, are doomed to oblivion.

    • Perhaps the NRA had no interest in being Lead Plaintiff, or the basis for this motion. Seems to me that the NRA has been absent in involvement for many other 2A cases related to retention of constitutionaly and legally defined individual liberties. But they’ll happily solicit for more money in spite of.

    • Sam, Sam, Sam, you silly boy,
      You know the NRA can’t weigh in on this silly little battle until they can see that it is assured to be won. Just as soon as they can see that there is no possible way that the plaintiffs will lose they will gladly pay the lawyers Starbucks tab and claim victory for helping push this win through the courts. Then they will send out another plea for donations with a gift of Rose Colored Glasses for every contribution. You know, so if you wear them, everything will look just peachy and you won’t notice that they are actually YELLOW.

      • “Just as soon as they can see that there is no possible way that the plaintiffs will lose they will gladly pay the lawyers”

        Just so dismissive and suspicious, so dismissive and suspicious How can you be that way? Tsk. Tsk.

    • Maybe you should look into the efforts of SAF. Mr. Gottlieb and his group drive most of the changes we see adjudicated in our favor. The NRA, not so much. Also, you will never hear Mr. Gottlieb say that it would be okay to regulate bumpstocks.

  2. There are many reasons for people to feel depressed – a loved one dying, a botched painful surgery, losing a job or home, etc. That does not mean you are getting ready to kill yourself or someone else.
    Asking for help to cope or to sleep from your doctor is not a reason to take your personal safety tools.

    • To clarify, the prohibition is imposed ONLY if one is taken to a mental health facility for “assessment and treatment” if there is probable cause to believe the person is a danger to himself or others. Going to your doctor does not trigger the prohibition, unless he sends you to the local psych ward for assessment (which he is authorized under the same standard). If he send you home, no issue.

  3. What does the federal government have to do with it? The holds are placed by the State of California, which does its own background checks, and not the federal government through NICS. And shouldn’t they amend the caption since we have a new Attorney General?

    I do have to agree that the five year prohibition has no evidentiary basis. Someone who is subjected to a 72 hour hold under CA. Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150 is detained for evaluation, and may be released from the hold at any point prior and up to the lapse of the 72 hour period if the mental health practitioner decides that the person is NOT a danger to himself or others. If the person is released, why should that person suffer a five year prohibition based on no more than “probable cause to believe” the person is a threat to himself or others with a negative factual determination of the issue by the assessing mental health professional?
    Further, if the person is NOT released after 72 hours, the federal consequence only attaches to involuntary admissions to a facility, but not voluntary admissions, and such admissions require a judicial hearing prior to the restraint being imposed (thus satisfying due process requirements).
    So basically what the State is saying is that anyone subject to a hold MIGHT BAE a dangerous person, and that is enough to prohibit firearms ownership. “If it saves one life…”

  4. Probably bureaucratic inertia combined with the idea that “they are only little people” so they don’t need firearms.

    Never underestimate how slow government can be. It took me over five years to convince one government department I had sold some land and stop sending me land tax bills.

  5. In Massachusetts if you have an alcohol problem you will lose your gun permit…if you admit it and need help to recover. What does that say about the alleged intent to keep people safe? How many gun owners don’t seek help with addiction problems out of fear of losing their gun “rights”?

  6. In my view, if the actions brought against The Feds and California are sustained, that is those in positions of authority are found to be acting improperly, the following actions should follow such finding.

    1. Responsible individuals and agencies should be held criminally liable.
    2. CIvil damages, spelled monetary damages, without limit, should be brought against the agencies and individuals responsible.

  7. CA resident here. I was at the emergency room the other day and the disgruntled RN asked me, “Do yfeel like hurting yourself” NO. “Have you ever felt like hurting yourself” GTFO. “Sorry, I have to ask these questions to everybody.”

    On another note, I had an appointment with a psychologist (referred by my psychiatrist) that was made sometime around December. When I got word about this Newsom bulls**t, I cancelled it last month.

    I applied for my CCW last year and went through all of the motions: Livescan, 16 hours of training, etc. Something like $300 and god knows how much time I wasted. The OCSD popped me for a psych evaluation somewhere in the valley, which I had no intention of keeping for obvious reasons. I called the person who was in charge of making these decisions and he said that out of 50 people, I was the lucky one chosen. I told him to rip up my application because that would never, ever happen and that I would reapply sometime in the future. To which he said, “You’re always going to have to take it now that it’s on your file”. So much for randomness.

    • Damn. Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry to here that. Crap like this makes me paranoid about going to see a marraige counselor.

      • It was very frustrating and now I have no desire to talk to any therapists, social workers, doctors. Just one swipe of a pen and I can have my 2a taken, regardless of what I really said and it would take years and thousands of dollars in lawyer fees to straighten it out. I looked into the psychiatrist that they send us to, by law ocsd has to send us to the same psychiatrist that the police go to. I read reports that she asks a lot of trick questions and denies people that have been on the force for years. And I would have had to pay for it, something like $250 just to incriminate myself? I don’t think so, and it was not random that they picked me because my pharmacy called me about something related to refills, a refill inquiry, something that was out of the ordinary. It was a conversation that led to me putting a flag on my account to restrict refill pickups to only myself. There was nothing of the sort in the last five years, but I didn’t make the connection at first. As time went on, with the suspicious reason the ocsd gave me and the info I was able to dig up, I began to put two and two together that she was able to gather my records.

        I have to see my psychiatrist every three months, but that’s about it.

  8. NRA= Not Real Activist the leader in gun control…. not giving people their god damn human natural born rights from being born a human.

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