Monday, April 23, 2012

SAF Files Suit In New Mexico Over Law Barring CCW Permits For Legal Resident Aliens

The Second Amendment Foundation filed suit today in the US District Court for the District of New Mexico challenging that state's ban on concealed carry permits for resident legal aliens. Similar suits have been brought in Kentucky and South Dakota by the ACLU and in both cases the plaintiff won. SAF just won a suit in Massachusetts, Fletcher et al v. Haas et al, over their discrimination against the gun rights of legal resident aliens.

As was the case in three earlier suits involving legal resident aliens, the State of New Mexico is on shakey legal ground denying them permits. Laws that discriminate based on "alienage" are subject to strict scrutiny. This suit seeks a declaration that the portion of the New Mexico Concealed Handgun Carry Act which limits it to US citizens is unconstitutional and an injunction against its enforcement.

If I had to make a prediction, New Mexico will either fold quickly and settle or a summary motion will be introduced and granted declaring the law unconstitutional. In another similar case in Omaha, Nebraska, that city folded rather quickly.

For Immediate Release: 4/23/2012

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a lawsuit in federal district court in New Mexico challenging that state’s prohibition on the issuance of concealed carry permits to legal resident aliens.

SAF filed the complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on behalf of John W. Jackson, an Australian citizen who came to the United States with his wife, an American citizen, in 2007. He obtained permanent resident status in November 2008. They are represented by Albuquerque attorney Paul M. Kienzle, III and Glen Ellyn, Illinois attorney David Sigale. Named as defendants in the case, in their official capacities, are New Mexico Attorney General Gary King and Bill Hubbard, director of the Special Investigations of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.

“Legal resident aliens in the United States should have the same personal protection rights as anyone,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “because criminals do not play favorites. Mr. Jackson is a productive member of his community, and his plight is shared by many legal alien residents.”

According to the SAF complaint, the laws of New Mexico completely prohibit resident legal aliens from the concealed carry of guns, in public, for the purpose of self-defense. In New Mexico, only citizens may have the benefit of an armed defense by concealed carry.

“Our lawsuit is firmly grounded in the recognition and incorporation of the Second Amendment that came with our Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago,” Gottlieb noted. “We also believe the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause renders the State’s ban on non-citizens obtaining a concealed carry permit to be unconstitutional. Mr. Jackson and others like him only seek to be treated the same as law-abiding citizens. The Second Amendment renders a ban such as that challenged in our action to be impermissible.

“We just won a similar case in Massachusetts,” he said, “and we will pursue this case with equal vigor.”

The lawsuit seeks to enjoin King and Hubbard from further enforcing the state ban on the issuance of concealed carry permits to non-citizens, and to declare that the law is null and void because it violates the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms, and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

H/T SayUncle


  1. John, I wish there were more important cases to file than this one. Apparently not. Here in the PRK the 2nd Amendment doesn't apparently have any effect. I don't begrudge these guys getting better, nor SAF the opportunity to get some easy wins. That said, the action is in CA, NY, IL and MD.

  2. @RKV: I think SAF is going for an easy win with this case. I think NM will settle and change their law just like Omaha did.

    I would add New Jersey and Hawaii to your list as they both have carry cases that have been decided recently or are pending. Both states ostensibly have carry but it is damn near impossible to obtain.