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California Attorney General Kamala Harris Sued Over New Handgun Purchase Ban

(Sacramento, CA - May 20, 2014) – California Attorney General Kamala Harris continues to substitute anti-gun policies for black letter law, say California gun rights groups The Calguns Foundation (CGF) and California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees (CAL-FFL).

In a new lawsuit filed today against the state’s highest law enforcement officer and Department of Justice firearms bureau chief Stephen Lindley, plaintiffs Alvin Doe--who is using a fictitious name to protect their privacy due to a fear of criminal prosecution and retaliation--and Paul Gladden say that “the DOJ’s new [handgun] enforcement policy is contrary to the plain language” of the law.

The case challenges a recently enacted DOJ policy that denies people who have both a DOJ-issued “Certificate of Eligibility” to purchase firearms and a federal firearms license the ability to purchase more than one handgun in a thirty-day period. Holders of these licenses and certificates, such as the plaintiffs, have successfully completed rigorous fingerprint-based background checks that include full investigations of all state and federal criminal and mental health databases. The policy, say the plaintiffs, is simply not consistent with the law and does nothing to enhance public safety.

“The Attorney General's new policy blocks individuals from exercising rights that the Legislature granted them,” said the plaintiffs' attorney, Bradley Benbrook of Sacramento-based law firm Benbrook Law Group. The firm, which recently filed a brief to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of 33 members of Congress in support of the Second Amendment right to carry handguns for self-defense, is asking the court for an injunction against the DOJ policy.

“Ms. Harris’ attempt to restrict lawful handgun sales by reinterpreting a 15 year old statute is entirely inconsistent with the democratic process and separation of powers,” said CAL-FFL President Brandon Combs.

Continued Combs, “Her latest ban is nothing short of an attempt to choke off handgun purchases and shutter California gun dealers. We cannot stand by and let her hostility towards the gun rights culture go unchallenged.”

“The Attorney General is there to be the chief law enforcement officer, not to make up laws to fit her policy preferences,” explained Gene Hoffman, chairman of The Calguns Foundation. “We look forward to the courts rejecting her extralegal interpretation.”

The plaintiffs expect to file their motion for preliminary injunction on Friday and are cautiously optimistic that the case will be heard within the next month.


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