National Rifle Association Attacks Open Carry Lawsuit
The National Rifle Association (NRA), through its state organization the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), filed a motion in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals asking that a lawsuit appealing the denial of a preliminary injunction against California's bans on openly carrying loaded and unloaded firearms in public be stayed until a decision in their two cases seeking concealed carry permits in San Diego and Orange County is decided. The Open Carry lawsuit was filed by Charles Nichols, President of California Right To Carry. The case is named Nichols v. Brown.
This should not come as any surprise. The NRA/CRPA in its appeal of a concealed carry lawsuit, Peruta v. San Diego, argued extensively to uphold California's 1967 ban on openly carrying loaded firearms in public, a ban which the NRA supported in 1967 and still supports today. In its appeal, the NRA/CRPA "warned" the court of appeals that if they don't get "shall-issue" concealed carry permits then the end result would be overturning both the ban on openly carrying loaded firearms in public as well as overturning the California Gun Free School Zone Act of 1995.
The NRA/CRPA said that would be "drastic."
It is unlikely that their membership would agree. The NRA/CRPA put on a dog and pony show claiming to oppose the two recently enacted bans on openly carrying unloaded firearms in public, going so far as to claim that they would challenge the unloaded handgun open carry ban in court.
The NRA/CRPA solicited donations to fight these bans but never filed a lawsuit to overturn them. Instead the NRA/CRPA cited in their concealed carry appeals the unloaded handgun open carry ban as yet another reason why they should prevail in their concealed carry lawsuits.
Having so badly mangled their concealed carry lawsuit out of San Diego, the NRA/CRPA turned its sights on Orange County California and sued the Sheriff of that County demanding that she issue concealed carry permits to anyone who says he or she wants to carry a concealed handgun and gives "self-defense" as the reason for wanting a permit. The NRA/CRPA filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the Sheriff and lost. The denial of the preliminary injunction in McKay v. Hutchens is now on appeal and is the second of the two lawsuits the NRA/CRPA wants to be decided before the 9th Circuit takes on Mr. Nichols' Open Carry appeal.
The fundamental problem with the NRA/CRPA concealed carry lawsuits, shared by every other concealed carry lawsuit which has lost in every Federal Court of Appeals, is that all nine justices of the US Supreme Court in the 2008 landmark decision on the Second Amendment concluded that concealed carry can be banned.
This fact hasn't escaped the attention of every Federal Court of Appeals which have upheld prohibitions on concealed carry. Even the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals which struck down the State of Illinois ban on carrying openly or concealed firearms in public said that Illinois could enact legislation prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms in public and gave the state six months to enact new legislation.
Another of the many problems with the NRA/CRPA concealed carry lawsuits is that if they are successful, it would enable permit holders in San Diego and Orange County to carry loaded concealed weapons in many state and local government buildings, places which the US Supreme Court said are "sensitive places" where weapons can be prohibited.
Ironically, should the NRA/CRPA succeed, permit holders would be allowed to carry loaded, concealed handguns in gun free school zones. Gun free school zones which the NRA/CRPA supports.
Mr. Nichols, in his reply to the NRA/CRPA motion to stay his case pointed out to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the laws Mr. Nichols is challenging apply only to those parts of the State of California where licensed hunters are exempt from the bans. If successful, neither Mr. Nichols nor anyone else would be able to openly carry a loaded or unloaded firearm in any government building or in any gun free school zone except where allowed to by law.
Mr. Nichols closed his response to the NRA/CRPA motion to stay his case by observing that if Mr. Nichols is unable to prevail in his lawsuit which has a far more limited scope then the NRA/CRPA certainly cannot win and perhaps it should be their concealed carry appeals which are stayed pending the decision in Mr. Nichols appeal.
Mr. Nichols Open Carry lawsuit is now fully briefed. It will now be assigned to a panel of three judges, randomly picked, who will decide whether or not to hold oral arguments or take the case under submission for a decision.
If the NRA/CRPA motion to stay Nichols v. Brown is denied, the NRA/CRPA has asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to participate in oral arguments.
Mr. Nichols has objected saying that the NRA/CRPA had not given a single example of how California Attorney General Harris has incompetently argued her case in opposition to Mr. Nichols Open Carry lawsuit.
If the NRA/CRPA is allowed to participate in oral arguments then Mr. Nichols will be standing alone against Attorney General Harris and the NRA/CRPA as the sole defender of your Second Amendment right to openly carry firearms in public for the purpose of self-defense.
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