Six years ago this April, the National Rifle Association took over the case of Peruta v. San Diego. The West Coast Attorney for the NRA, “Chuck” Michel, became the lead attorney for the case.
Mr. Peruta had filed his case in October of 2009 after applying for and being denied a concealed carry permit from the Sheriff of San Diego. Mr. Peruta was represented by a local attorney. Mr. Peruta challenged the “good cause,” “good moral character” and residency requirements of the California state statute which authorizes California Sheriffs to issue permits to carry concealable weapons (CCWs).
After surviving a motion to dismiss, thanks to the then Chief Federal Judge for the Southern District of California, in an order which was quite favorable to Mr. Peruta’s lawsuit, various “gun-rights” attorneys came knocking at Mr. Peruta’s door, as it were (Mr. Peruta lives out of a motor home) and the NRA lawyer, Mr. Michel, was the one who wound up taking over Mr. Peruta’s case. The NRA has funded the Peruta v. San Diego lawsuit ever since.
The NRA lawyer, Mr. Michel, decided that instead of challenging the state law head-on as Mr. Peruta’s first lawyer had done, Mr. Michel would indirectly challenge the law by dropping the explicit constitutional challenge to the state law and instead try an end-run around the law by just challenging the San Diego Sheriff’s policy for issuing a CCW. The Chief Judge assigned to Mr. Peruta’s case could not believe her ears when Mr. Michel told her point-blank during oral arguments that he was not challenging the constitutionality of any state law. Mr. Michel lost his case in the district court and filed an appeal.
Indeed, not only did the NRA drop its constitutional challenge to the state CCW law, throughout the rest of this case (to this present day) the NRA has argued extensively in court to preserve: California’s 1923 concealed carry laws, California’s 1967 ban on carrying loaded firearms in public and California’s Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995.
Many of you are probably unaware of the NRA’s long history of supporting gun-control laws. California’s 1923 concealed carry laws were based on a draft law the NRA had lobbied the states to adopt and California was one of those states which turned the NRA draft law into real law, with real criminal penalties.
The NRA supported the Federal gun-control acts of 1934 and 1968, the NRA helped write and supported the passage of California’s 1967 ban on carrying loaded firearms in public.
The NRA West Coast Lawyer, Mr. Michel, recently became the President of the official state organization of the NRA, the California Rifle And Pistol Association (CRPA).
On Tuesday, the CRPA sent out a press release ostensibly written by Mr. Michel in which he attacked the various defense lawyers and the lawyer for the State of California (California’s Solicitor General).
The press release also decried California’s gun-control laws which prohibit carrying firearms in public for the purpose of self-defense.
It is unabashed shamelessness and arrogance to attack gun-control laws in public which he and his client (the NRA/CRPA) have supported for nearly 100 years and supported where it hurts the most, in Federal courts and in the California state legislature.
This is the true face of the NRA. The NRA tells the public it opposes gun-free school zones and yet has spent nearly six years in the Peruta v. San Diego concealed carry lawsuit arguing in support of California’s gun-free school zones.
A little over a year and a half ago the NRA sent out a press release attacking Open Carry which was met by such a severe backlash of cancelled memberships the NRA quickly published a video retraction in which its spokesman, Chris Cox, out and out lied when he said that the NRA supports Open Carry and has always been in the forefront of the fight for Open Carry.
Nearly one year to the day after the NRA published its video retraction claiming eternal support for Open Carry, NRA lawyer Paul Clement stood in front of an en banc court of judges in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and told them all flat-out that states can ban Open Carry.
Most people alive today are too young to remember the Soviet Union. Those of us who have celebrated more than a few “39th birthdays” remember that this was the same kind of doubletalk the Russian propaganda mill churned out. For example, the Soviet Union claimed to have a free press but failed to mention that all of the printing presses were owned by the government and if one did manage to publish something critical of the government (even accidentally) then one would be thrown into a Soviet labor camp or shot in the back of the head in a Soviet jail.
The Soviet Union eventually collapsed for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its young people stopped believing in their government and no longer supported it.
The leadership of the NRA is like the leadership of the Soviet Union. They are nothing but a bunch of old, pathological liars. The next time you hear the NRA say that we should enforce the gun-control laws already on the books, your response should be “No! Repeal all of them!”
And whatever you do, stop giving the NRA money. Without your financial support the NRA will collapse under its own bureaucratic weight and that would be the end of this nation’s largest gun-control organization.