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The Courts


The CourtsJeff Soyer on 16 Jun 2014 10:25 pm

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

A divided Supreme Court sided with gun control groups and the Obama administration Monday, ruling that the federal government can strictly enforce laws that ban a “straw” purchaser from buying a gun for someone else.

The justices ruled 5-4 that the law applied to a Virginia man who bought a gun with the intention of transferring it to his uncle in Pennsylvania — even though the uncle is not prohibited from owning firearms.

[ . . . ]

Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan said the federal government’s elaborate system of background checks and record-keeping requirements help law enforcement investigate crimes by tracing guns to their buyers. Those provisions would mean little, she said, if a would-be gun buyer could evade them by simply getting another person to buy the gun and fill out the paperwork.

More at the link.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 15 Apr 2013 01:24 pm

For the time being, New York State shall remain a “may issue” state for CCW permits. From Fox News:

The Supreme Court is staying out of the gun debate for now.

The justices on Monday declined to hear a challenge to a strict New York law that makes it difficult for residents to get a license to carry a concealed handgun in public.

The court did not comment in turning away an appeal from five state residents and the Second Amendment Foundation. Their lawsuit also drew support from the National Rifle Association and 20 states.

So, if you live in NYC and you’re not a celebrity or a diamond merchant, you’re an open target for thugs.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 01 Mar 2013 07:40 pm

Gov. Cuomo by-passed tradition to rush through his liberal-psychotic gun control bill. Was it legal for him to do so? Maybe not:

A New York court agreed Friday to review whether the state’s strict new gun controls were rushed into law in violation of the state constitution.

A state Supreme Court justice granted the request for a hearing by plaintiffs who claim the law violates the guarantees of free speech, property ownership and the right to petition the government guaranteed under the state and federal constitutions.

The plaintiffs are representing themselves — meaning they don’t have a lawyer — but we can hope for the best. Unless . . . the court was appointed by liberal Democrats who don’t give a rat’s-ass about legalities.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 23 Feb 2013 07:05 am

Colorado does not (as far as I know) issue non-resident CCW permits. All the same, a Washington State resident applied for one because the two states don’t recognize each others’ permits. He was denied a Colorado permit and sued. From Fox News:

A federal appeals court has ruled that permits allowing people to carry concealed weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment.

The ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was issued Friday in a case involving Washington state resident Gray Peterson.

A federal judge in 2011 tossed out Peterson’s lawsuit filed against Denver and the state’s Department of Public Safety. Peterson claims that being denied a concealed weapons permit because he was not a Colorado resident violated his Second Amendment rights to bear firearms.

More at the link.

Of course, this latest ruling somewhat contradicts this one:

A federal appeals court on Friday narrowly rejected Illinois’ request to reconsider a ruling that found the state’s concealed carry weapons ban unconstitutional, leaving lawmakers in the only state that still prohibits concealed carry grappling with how to proceed.

Granted, the cases are slightly different. At the moment, a resident of Illinois cannot get a CCW permit from his/her own state. The Washington resident can. He just can’t get one from Colorado, where he doesn’t live.

Obviously, this pushes the case that a CCW permit from any state should be valid in any other state (like a driver’s license) but I worry that if the permit process is hammered-out by Congress, the states with the most representatives will get their way. That would be some of the most restrictive gun control states: California, NY, NJ, Illinois, etc. Residents of “shall issue” or “constitutional carry” states could be screwed.

Gun Control Crowd and The CourtsJeff Soyer on 28 Nov 2012 04:27 am

In San Francisco, you are still required to render your gun uselessly unavailable and only use ineffective ammo if you can get to it and load it into your unavailable gun before you’re killed. Details here.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 28 Nov 2012 04:16 am

You still need to grovel and beg permission to get a carry permit in NY State. From the Wall Street Journal:

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan echoed a lower court judge in finding that the 2nd Amendment was not violated by a century-old New York law requiring those who want to carry guns to show “proper cause,” such as the need to carry a firearm for target practice, hunting or self-defense. Prospective gun carriers also must demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general population.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer says this case will probably be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 26 Oct 2012 04:37 am

Think you’re an adult when you turn 18-years-old? Oh sure, you can vote and fight in wars with guns the military gives you. But you can’t buy a handgun:

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston rejected the NRA’s argument that 18- to 20-year-olds had a right to buy the guns under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment.

A unanimous three-judge panel said Congress, in a law dating from 1968, adopted the sales ban to help curb violent crime. It also said that the nation’s founders and 19th-century courts and commentators believed that disarming specific groups did not trample on the right to bear arms.

More at the link.

Here’s a PDF of the decision.

The Courts and Buisiness NewsJeff Soyer on 07 Oct 2012 03:09 am

The SCOTUS will be deciding an appeal of a lower court ruling that could impact your ability to resell anything containing intellectual property created or manufactured outside of the United States. This could be anything from a book printed in China, to your Toyota Hybrid made in Japan, to your antique furniture or paintings made in Italy. It involves the “First Sale” doctrine. From MarketWatch:

Put simply, though Apple has the copyright on the iPhone and Mark Owen does on the book “No Easy Day,” you can still sell your copies to whomever you please whenever you want without retribution.

That’s being challenged now for products that are made abroad and if the Supreme Court upholds an appellate court ruling it would mean that the copyright holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it.

I suggest reading the entire article at the link to realize how important (and unnoticed) this case is.

One more point from the story:

In its friend-of-the-court brief, eBay noted that the Second Circuit’s rule “affords copyright owners the ability to control the downstream sales of goods for which they have already been paid.” What’s more, it “allows for significant adverse consequences for trade, e-commerce, secondary markets, small businesses, consumers and jobs in the United States.”

For example, that Honda Civic of yours contains computer software written and (the chips) manufactured in Japan. Although unlikely to happen, Honda could - theoretically - demand a cut of any resale of a used Civic here in the U.S.

Gun Control Crowd and The CourtsJeff Soyer on 06 Oct 2012 05:07 am

A man shot and injured almost ten-years ago can proceed with his lawsuit against the gun manufacturer, distributor, and dealer of the gun. From the Spruce Grove Examiner:

Attorneys for Daniel Williams, who was shot in 2003 when he was in high school, argued that Ohio-based manufacturer Beemiller and the distributor, MKS Supply, violated federal law by knowingly supplying guns to irresponsible dealers.

[ . . . ]

A unanimous panel of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, on Friday reversed a 2011 ruling that threw out the case against the defendants - Beemiller, MKS Supply and gun dealer Charles Brown, who sold the guns to James Bostic, a Buffalo resident accused of running a trafficking scheme that funneled guns into the black market in New York.

The defendants and the original court decision had argued that the federal Lawful Commerce in Arms Act should prevent the suit.

More at the link and note that the Brady Bunch is representing the claimant.

No word from most of the defendants but MKS says they are considering their options regarding appealing this latest (in my opinion, an activist) ruling.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 10 Jul 2012 05:12 am

I referenced this case last month. Grandfather has .22 handgun hidden in his locked camp in N.H. Grandson (whom he has not seen in years) was released from prison, went on a multi-state crime spree, and then broke into his grandfather’s camp, stealing the gun. He then murdered three people with it during a robbery. Survivors of one of the victims sued the grandfather for negligence. One court rejected the argument that grandfather was negligent. Now, the Federal Appeals Court has also sided with grandfather.

From the Boston Globe:

The appeals court said the New Hampshire Supreme Court has recognized that people generally cannot be held liable for the criminal acts of third parties, except under narrow exceptions.

‘‘The record here, even when construed in the light most flattering to the plaintiff, does not show ­either a particularized risk of harm or a degree of foreseeability sufficient to animate this exception,’’ Judge Bruce Selya wrote for a three-judge panel of the court that heard the case.

More from the N.H. Union Leader:

“The plaintiff (Jones), who made a deliberate choice to sue in federal court rather than in a New Hampshire state court, is not in a position to ask us to blaze a new trail that the New Hampshire courts have not invited,” reads the decision of the three-judge panel.

The judges noted previous rulings that found a “fundamental unfairness” of holding a private citizen responsible for the unanticipated criminal acts of another. Under normal circumstances, a person can assume that others will obey the law, the decision reads, quoting earlier rulings.

A common sense ruling.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 20 Jun 2012 04:23 am

From the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago’s firearm ordinance took another blow Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that the section banning permits for people convicted of unlawful use of a weapon is vague and unconstitutional.

The city must now decide whether to appeal the ruling or rewrite the part of its gun ordinance that bars individuals convicted of even misdemeanor offenses from possessing a firearm in their home for self-defense.

More, including background on the suits that led to the ruling, at the link.

The Courts and CrimeJeff Soyer on 18 Jun 2012 05:59 am

An interesting case is working its way through the courts in N.H. From the Concord Monitor:

In a case attorneys say has no precedent in New Hampshire, a federal appeals court is weighing whether the owner of a handgun used to kill three people at a Conway military surplus shop in July 2007 could be held liable for their murders.

Lawrence Secord didn’t do enough to secure the .22-caliber handgun he kept at his camp in Wentworth Location, enabling his grandson, Michael Woodbury, to steal it and open fire in the Army Barracks store several days later, according to a lawsuit brought by the mother of one of the victims.

Much more at the link.

Update 6/20: The Concord Monitor, not known for being gun rights friendly, editorializes:

The grandfather had no way to foresee that a grandson he’d had no relationship with for 14 years would break into his camp, steal the gun and use it to commit murder. He thus had no responsibility to do more than he had: hide the gun and lock the camp.

Exactly.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 09 May 2012 04:39 am

From the Wyoming Tribune:

Emmanuel Huitron-Guizar of Gillette, Wyo., had argued that illegal aliens are guaranteed certain other rights by the U.S. Constitution, such as the right to due process. The Second Amendment provides that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” and Huitron-Guizar argued he was part of “the people.”

But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that Huitron-Guizar fell under the Gun Control Act of 1968, which forbids gun possession by nine classes of individuals, including illegal aliens. It conceded there is some argument about the meaning of “the people” and U.S. citizens _ but found that Congress had lawfully exercised its power to distinguish between citizens and non-citizens.

I’m inclined to agree. Illegal immigrants shouldn’t even be here. They’ll just illegally vote for Democrats.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 05 Apr 2012 03:26 am

A whole bunch of popular rifles and pistols are banned in Cook County, Illinois. The state has no preemption law so counties and municipalities can enact whatever gun controls they want. A so-called “assault weapons” ban has been in place since the ’90s. From the Elgin Courier News:

The state’s top court is poised to rule on Cook County’s assault weapons ban Thursday in a case that will determine the fate of one of Illinois’ signature gun-control laws.

Attorneys challenging the ban argued that the county’s ordinance — enacted in 1993 and extended in 2006 — is too vague, based on faulty information and should be reconsidered in light of the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned Chicago’s ban on handguns.

We shall see. . . .

Update 6:25 PM: It’s being kicked upstairs to the Circuit Court.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 04 Apr 2012 03:55 am

And if they’re law abiding, why not? This involved a Massachusetts state law. From the Herald News:

A federal judge has ruled that a state law barring legal immigrants from possessing handguns and large-capacity weapons is unconstitutional.

Issued Friday, the ruling came in response to a lawsuit Northborough resident Eoin Pryal filed with a Cambridge man last April against Northborough Police Chief Mark Leahy, Cambridge Police Chief Robert Haas and state Firearms Records Bureau Director Jason Guida.

“This case presents the question of whether lawful permanent resident aliens are among ‘the people’ for whom the Second Amendment the United States Constitution provides a right to bear arms,” U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock wrote in his decision. “I conclude they are.”

If they are here in the United States on a permanent basis, they should enjoy all the rights afforded by our country’s Constitution.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 02 Apr 2012 04:58 am

At least not without a better reason than that the weather sucks. Two years ago heavy snows led the North Carolina Governor to declare a state of emergency. Following that, one town, the City of King, declared all alcohol and gun possession banned outside the home. This was allowed because of state law. A lawsuit followed and the plaintiffs won last week on the claim that the ban violated their 2nd Amendment rights. From Journal Now:

Now, a federal court has agreed, ruling that state law can’t make a blanket ban that keeps the plaintiffs from carrying or buying guns and ammunition during an emergency.

“While the bans imposed … may be limited in duration, it cannot be overlooked that the statutes strip peaceable, law-abiding citizens of the right to arm themselves in defense of hearth and home, striking at the very core of the Second Amendment,” Senior U.S. District Judge Malcolm J. Howard wrote in his order.

Time and again we’ve seen that it is expressly during an emergency that the right to bear arms is most important. The chaos and lawlessness in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina comes to mind.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 14 Jan 2012 04:31 am

From a press release:

The Second Amendment Foundation and Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs will appeal a federal judge’s ruling Friday that “the Second Amendment does not include a general right to carry handguns outside the home.”

Federal Judge William H. Walls, a Clinton appointee, dismissed a case filed by both organizations challenging New Jersey’s handgun carry laws, which have all but eliminated the right to self-defense with a firearm outside the home.

“The Second Amendment Foundation and ANJRPC are prepared to take this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where SAF has already won a landmark case defending the rights of gun owners,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb.

In upholding the New Jersey law, which effectively denies the right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home, Judge Walls wrote “the protection of citizens from potentially lethal force is compelling.”

“The judge has it backwards,” said ANJRPC President Scott Bach. “If he really cared about protecting citizens from lethal force, he wouldn’t be interfering with their constitutional right to defend themselves against violent criminals. Ironically, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the police owe no duty to protect individual citizens, so you’re on your own when you step outside your home. This decision wrongly demonizes those who want to take responsibility for their own safety and turns all but a privileged few into helpless victims.”

More at the PRNewswire link above.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 09 Jan 2012 06:08 am

Guess who got sued? The guy he stole it from and the manufacturer of the gun. Eugene Volokh details the suit which has finally been tossed out by the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 30 Dec 2011 04:50 am

From the Washington Post:

A federal judge Thursday rejected a request for $3.1 million in legal fees for lawyers who worked to overturn the District’s handgun ban and instead awarded them $1.1 million, a ruling the D.C. attorney general called a victory for the city.

The six attorneys for plaintiff Dick A. Heller in the historic gun-control litigation had asked the judge to order the city, which lost the case, to pay legal fees totaling $3,126,397. The office of D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan argued the city should be required to pay $840,166.

More at the link, of course.

The CourtsJeff Soyer on 29 Nov 2011 05:55 am

This time, it will be with the full court. From the San Jose Mercury News:

A federal appeals court on Monday once again decided to weigh in on an epic 12-year-old gun rights showdown over an Alameda County ordinance banning guns and ammunition on public property.

In a brief order, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to rehear a legal challenge to the 1999 law, which restricts gun shows on county property, including Alameda County’s fairgrounds. The order, which calls for an 11-judge 9th Circuit panel to hear the case, wipes out a ruling from May by three 9th Circuit judges who unanimously agreed to uphold the legality of the ordinance.

More at the link.

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