GOC: Diving Deep Into the Courts
GOC goes where the action is and these days, the action is solidly in the courts. Given the political makeup at the Capitol in Sacramento, the courts have proven to be a more vibrant and “target rich” environment for 2A victories, so that’s where GOC is choosing to spend a lot of our time – and resources.
This past week, Gun Owners of California joined with the Second Amendment Law Center, California Rifle & Pistol Association, Gun Owners of America, the Hawaii Rifle Association, and Gun Owners Foundation in filing an amicus brief in Wolford v. Lopez, which is currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This case challenges Hawaii’s “sensitive places” law which is hugely important because it is strikingly similar to California’s SB 2, which restricts the carrying of a legally-licensed firearm in the majority of the state.
But why file a case in another state? For the simple reason that this could have a great legal impact here in California. As GOC has previously reported, this case could ultimately set a significant legal precedent, which is why we jumped in with both feet. We had also filed an earlier amicus brief (on the same case but in the District Court) that brought us our first victory on this issue; the District Court judge – an Obama appointee – cited this initial brief as a key reason the court blocked enforcement of a good portion of the Hawaii law. This was a blistering loss to the state on the matter of “sensitive places” and although Hawaii subsequently has appealed, we remain optimistic that the strength of our argument, in concert with the instructions given to lower courts by SCOTUS in Bruen, that we could score a victory in California as well.
2ALC’s most recent brief (before the 9th) echoes a number of the arguments made in the District Court brief, one of which appropriately chastises the State of Hawaii for relying on heavily biased data put forth by an organization publicly opposed to the Second Amendment.
But is GOC doing anything to challenge the bad stuff in our own back yard? YOU BET WE ARE. We are in it up to our proverbial eyeballs – and are pleased to be part of a strong legal contingent of robust 2A partners. Lawsuits have either been filed or are in the works that challenge the following: the constitutionality of sensitive places outlined in SB 2 (May v Bonta); how issuing agencies are violating 2A rights with CCW applicant time delays/exorbitant costs; and the upcoming excise tax (July 2024) on firearm and ammunition sales. There’s a lot more to come on each of these.
To reiterate: GOC is still fighting for our rights at the Capitol and will be heavily involved in the elections next year – BUT OUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION MUST BE FOCUSED ON THE COURTS. And lawsuits take time, a team of top-notch 2A attorneys, and above all – money. A special, year-end donation to GOC’s legal efforts be a great help as we move forward in funding these challenges!