Friday, July 27, 2012

SAF Files Suit In Missouri Over Concealed Carry For Legal Immigrants

In a case that is similar to their winning efforts against the City of Omaha, the Second Amendment Foundation has filed suit in Federal District Court on behalf of a Canadian who is a legal permanent resident. Edward Plastino resides just north of St. Louis and is seeking to obtain a Missouri concealed carry permit but is prohibited by law. As noted here a number of times in the past, discrimination based upon alienage is considered suspect and is subject to strict scrutiny.

From the SAF release:
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Canadian citizen who is a legal resident of Missouri, challenging that state’s statutory prohibition on the carrying of concealed firearms by non-citizens.

The case seeks to overturn the state’s non-citizen concealed carry ban on constitutional grounds, specifically the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. The plaintiff is Edward F. Plastino, a Canadian citizen and Status Indian, based on his partial Chippewa heritage. He has lived primarily in this country since 1995, and in Missouri since 2006. SAF and Plastino are represented by attorneys Matthew Singer of St. Louis and David Sigale of Glen Ellyn, Ill.

“This is a case similar to our successful lawsuits against the City of Omaha and Washington State, and our current action in New Mexico, challenging local gun laws that discriminate against legal resident aliens,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Mister Plastino can legally carry a firearm openly in Missouri, but he cannot legally conceal a firearm for personal protection. That simply does not make sense.”

Plastino was in Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina and its immediate aftermath, but his employer transferred him to St. Louis and then to St. Charles, Mo.

“Mr. Plastino would carry a concealed firearm for personal protection,” Gottlieb said, “except that he realizes he could face prosecution, fine and imprisonment, and other repercussions because he is a non-citizen.”

Defendants in the case are Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and St. Charles County Sheriff Tom Neer, in their respective official capacities.

“Mr. Plastino has lived and worked in the United States for more than a decade,” Gottlieb noted. “His case represents the plight of untold numbers of legal resident aliens who have demonstrated their willingness to be good members of their communities and abide by our laws. It seems only right to allow them the same protections as our citizens against people who do not abide by our laws.”


  1. This is a case that has application here in North Carolina. I'm looking forward to seeing this one decided.

  2. Don't be surprised if the (Republican) legislature and the (well, currently Democratic, conservative except for voter ID) governor fix this before it plays out in court. We just got a nice set of improvements to our CCW laws, e.g. making it clear when revealing your gun is legal, minimum age down to 18 for active duty military, some other nice things. Whoever is elected governor this fall, I would expect/hope.

  3. That would be exactly the wrong approach and lots of pressure would be brought to bear to prevent that. Here's the reason. This is a slam dunk case. It's not a gun rights issue, the decision rests on "alienage." There is very little room for States to discriminate based upon citizenship. It has to be very specific, and it's a strict scrutiny issue.

    There was a move to fix the law here in North Carolina before Bateman v. Perdue was decided and we crushed it. Missouri gun rights activists would do the same.

    1. @Sean: Given their success in Omaha and Massachusetts along the ACLU's success in similar cases in Kentucky and South Dakota, I would not be surprised if Missouri does settle quickly. Nonetheless, SAF gets a nice settlement check out of it that they can use for other litigation. That is what happened in Omaha.

    2. That's fair, but what the SAF and pro gun legislators want is the ruling in court so that it applied to other states. Who was in charge in SD?

  4. In SD, the suit was brought by the South Dakota branch of the ACLU.

    As to getting precedents, I think it is there already.

  5. Exactly. Holders of Green Cards are very very close to being citizens. Obviously they can't vote (outside of Tacoma Park, Maryland and the like, and only on local stuff), have a few other citizenship based restrictions, and of course can be deported, but otherwise they pay taxes like a citizen, are subject to the draft, etc. etc. They're even members of the unorganized militia if they've made a deceleration of intent to become a citizen, and that quibble is almost certainly an artifact of the turn of the century issues on immigration when the last update was passed in 1903.

  6. Law change as of Aug 28 2013. Permanent Residents can now get MO CCW.