Thursday, January 15, 2015

Another Amicus Brief Urging SCOTUS To Take Up Jackson v. San Francisco

More weight was added today to the effort to get the US Supreme Court to take up the case of Jackson v. San Francisco with an amicus brief from the Firearms Policy Coalition and 12 other civil rights organizations. This brief comes on the heels of another amicus brief filed by 26 state attorneys general also requesting the Court take up the issue

The case involves a challenge to San Francisco's gun control ordinance requiring either a trigger lock or a storage safe for firearms. The case was brought in 2009 by six San Francisco residents, the NRA, and the San Francisco Veteran Police Officers Association. Both the District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found for San Francisco using an interest-balancing approach. The plaintiffs appealed the case on December 12, 2014 by filing a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court.

The facts in this case are very similar to the original Heller case where the Supreme Court overturned the District of Columbia's requirement to keep firearms inoperable.

From the release by the Firearms Policy Coalition:
ROSEVILLE, CA / January 15, 2015 – The Firearms Policy Coalition and 12 other state and national civil rights organizations filed a brief in the United States Supreme Court today for a lawsuit challenging a San Francisco gun control ordinance.

According to the plaintiffs’ petition for review, the city’s law “requires all residents who keep handguns in their homes for self-defense to stow them away in a lock box or disable them with a trigger lock whenever they are not physically carrying them on their persons.”

In the amicus (“friend of the court”) brief filed by attorneys Bradley Benbrook and Stephen Duvernay, the gun-rights groups argue that summary reversal of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision “is warranted because [it] is plainly contrary to Heller,” a landmark 2008 ruling that held the Second Amendment protects an individual–rather than a collective–right to keep and bear arms. But the groups also argue that the Supreme Court should hear the case in order to “clarify the standard governing Second Amendment challenges, and to confirm that courts must be guided by text and history rather than judicial interest balancing.”

While some Second Amendment lawsuits have been decided based on the “text, history, and tradition” standard used in Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, a 2010 Supreme Court decision that applied the Second Amendment to states and local governments, many lower courts have since applied weaker standards that lets most gun control laws stand.

“The Ninth Circuit’s lamentable decision in Jackson shows why it is the most overturned circuit court in the nation,” said Firearms Policy Coalition President Brandon Combs. “The Supreme Court should take up this case not only to correct a clear wrong, but to stem the tide of judicial resistance in recognizing the right to keep and bear arms as fundamental Constitutional rights.”

“The Second Amendment doesn’t protect second-class rights, and it’s time for courts to take the enumerated right to keep and bear arms at least as seriously as they do unenumerated rights like abortion.”

Parties to the amicus brief (in order of appearance) are:

  • Firearms Policy Coalition
  • Second Amendment Foundation
  • The Calguns Foundation
  • Firearms Policy Foundation
  • California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees
  • The Madison Society
  • Florida Carry
  • Hawaii Defense Foundation
  • Illinois Carry
  • Maryland Shall Issue
  • Commonwealth Second Amendment
  • Virginia Citizens Defense League
  • West Virginia Citizens Defense League
The brief can be viewed at

Espanola Jackson, et al. v. City and County of San Francisco, et al., was filed in 2009 by lawyers for 6 San Francisco residents, the National Rifle Association, and the San Francisco Veteran Police Officers Association.

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