National Foundation for Gun Rights Funds Lawsuit Against Polis and State of Colorado
July 28, 2022 Loveland, CO – Today, the National Foundation for Gun Rights, along with citizens Benjamin Gates and Travis Swartz, filed a lawsuit against Governor Jared Polis and the State of Colorado over the 2013 magazine ban which outlaws the sale of standard capacity magazines in Colorado.
The National Foundation for Gun Rights (NFGR) and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) will be solely financing this case, which challenges the constitutionality of the law in light of the recent Supreme Court decision NYSRPA v. Bruen. NFGR and RMGO are also currently suing the Town of Superior over their magazine and rifle ban, and were recently granted a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the ordinance.
“When an Obama-appointed judge agrees that Superior is way out of line in banning magazines and rifles, that means it’s game over for gun control,” said Hannah Hill, Research and Policy Director for the National Foundation for Gun Rights. “This lawsuit is the first step in our goal of overturning mag bans nationwide. It’s time for state legislatures to recognize that they actually do have to follow the Second Amendment, and if they plan to double down on rights-shredding laws, they need to prepare to face us in court.”
In the landmark Bruen decision last month, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected “intermediate scrutiny” – the cost/benefit analysis framework that allowed lower courts to rule against the Second Amendment – and established that the standard for applying the Second Amendment is the text, history, and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms; thereby invalidating the lower court rulings’ justification for gun control.
The lawsuit funded by the National Foundation for Gun Rights and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners argues that Colorado’s 2013 magazine ban flies directly in the face of the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding Coloradans to own standard capacity magazines. The law should be repealed in light of the Bruen decision and the historical text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment.
“We’ve known for years that the magazine ban is an atrocious infringement against our gun rights, and our members are continuing the fight against this heinous law,” said Dudley Brown, President of the National Foundation for Gun Rights. “The Bruen decision is a 4-ton wrecking ball for us to use against gun control laws – and we’re going to destroy every single unconstitutional law which stands in our way. We founded NFGR to defend gun owners in the courts and use our legal expertise to eviscerate anti-gun rulings — and repealing Colorado’s magazine ban is just one of many legal projects NFGR is working on in the battle to restore the Second Amendment.”
The National Foundation for Gun Rights plans to also sue other local governments in Colorado which have imposed magazine bans and so-called “assault weapons” bans next, and is currently finalizing the details for those lawsuits.
The full text of the lawsuit filed against Gov. Polis and the State of Colorado in federal district court can be viewed here.
The National Foundation for Gun Rights is a 501(c)(3) organization that exists to expand pro-gun precedents and defend gun owners in the courts.
Today, Obama-appointed Judge Moore of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado granted our request for a Temporary Restraining Order against the Town of Superior, CO’s ban on semi-automatic rifles and standard-capacity magazines.
Our joint lawsuit with sister organization Rocky Mountain Gun Owners challenges Superior’s ordinance banning standard-capacity magazines, so-called “assault weapons,” and public carry. Today’s order blocks the city from enforcing the mag ban and so-called “assault weapons” ban for 14 days.
The court took seriously the direction it received from the Bruen ruling, stating that “the Court is unaware of historical precedent that would permit a governmental entity to entirely ban a type of weapon that is commonly used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, whether in an individual’s home or in public.”
The court further recognized that “irreparable harm”, a requirement for a Temporary Restraining Order, “consider[s] the infringement of a constitutional right enough and require[s] no further showing of irreparable injury.”
Unfortunately, the court did not grant the Temporary Restraining Order in regard to the open carry section of the gun control ordinance, since it does not constitute a complete ban on public carry.
Today was a major victory for Second Amendment rights. This may be the first gun rights win in the federal courts post Bruen, and spells doom for outrageous gun control schemes everywhere – including Colorado’s statewide ban on standard-capacity magazines.
Stay tuned for more details as we continue to fight for gun rights.
At today’s hearing on our lawsuit against the City of San Jose’s gun tax our lawyers made it clear that in fighting this ordinance we have the Constitution on our side, and not just the Second Amendment.
This lawsuit is a challenge to San Jose, CA’s ordinance imposing an annual tax and liability insurance mandate on gun owners – simply for the “privilege” of owning a gun.
This is a wildly unconstitutional scheme. Imposing a tax or requiring insurance on any other Bill of Rights guarantee would be an obvious constitutional infringement, yet San Jose seems determined to treat the Second Amendment as a “second-class right.”
We filed a lawsuit against this ordinance as soon as it was enacted and moved for a preliminary injunction to stop San Jose from enforcing the tax and insurance mandate. Today, we had our first hearing in federal court on the preliminary injunction motion.
Our legal team demonstrated how this tax and insurance mandate burdens burden the Second Amendment by contrasting it with a tax on speech or prayer, and pointed out how the Supreme Court’s New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen ruling obliterates San Jose’s anti-gun arguments.
The tax also directly attacks the First Amendment, since the tax must be paid to a private non-profit that will provide some sort of “gun violence” services. In other words, the moneys collected will be used to fund some sort of anti-gun messaging. However, the government cannot force you to pay for messaging you may or may not agree with. This creates a First Amendment violation on top of the Second.
San Jose’s attorneys took the brazenly untruthful position that their ordinance does not attack Second Amendment rights at all, so Bruen should not apply to them. Here’s a quote from their brief to the court:
“What Bruen did not do was raise any serious questions about the constitutionality of the San Jose Ordinance here. To the contrary, Bruen indicates the Ordinance does not even Trigger Second Amendment analysis because it does not “infringe” anyone’s rights to “keep and bear arms.” Moreover, even if it did, per Bruen the Ordinance’s features are well within states’ historical authority to regulate firearms.”
Of course, that is wildly untrue, as a simple reading of Justice Thomas’ Bruen opinion proves.
It remains to be seen whether the court will honor the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling. We anticipate a ruling on our preliminary injunction motion soon and will update as soon as we get it.
If the court rules against us, we can appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and we are prepared to take this case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.
This case is not just about San Jose. This case is backed by gun grabbers like Giffords, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” who assisted with the drafting of the gun ownership tax ordinance. If they are successful in San Jose, this policy will be spreading across the country.
As of now San Jose has suspended enforcement of the ordinance until sometime in December, although this could change at any time. We will keep fighting until this ordinance is struck down once and for all, but we can only do this with you continued support.
In the landmark Supreme Court decision New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, Justice Thomas upheld, in no uncertain terms, your constitutional right to bear arms. Yet just a day after this ruling, California Attorney General Rob Bonta is already defying this decision by doubling down on California’s “may issue” permit laws – this time through a “good moral character” requirement when applying for a public carry permit.
California’s current permitting laws allow local officials to grant carry permits to applicants demonstrating “special need” and who are of “good moral character.” The Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling struck down “special need” requirements for permitting, but did not specifically address “good moral character” requirements.
In a letter sent to all Californian district attorneys, police chiefs, sheriffs, county counsels, and city attorneys, Bonta recognizes that Bruen eliminated their “good cause” requirements for public carry permits and encourages them to institute “good moral character” requirements instead.
What constitutes someone having a “good moral character”? It is left entirely up to the discretion of the local official, but the list of possible disqualifying flaws is long and ugly. Here are a few of the worst suggestions from the Attorney General:
Any arrest in the last five years regardless of disposition. Any “mistake” by law enforcement can lead to stripping your gun rights for five years, opening the floodgates for abuses of power. Being arrested for something does not mean you are guilty of anything, yet under this scheme you could lose your rights.
“Respecting the rights of others and the absence of hatred and racism.” Social media posts will be searched to make sure everything you post lines up with the left’s radical agenda. Any comments or posts that could be twisted or spun as “hateful” or “disrespectful” could lead to the loss of fundamental rights.
Observance of fiduciary duty and fiscal responsibility. This could mean that if you have any debt and/or you don’t land in the right tax bracket you can be denied a permit – a recipe to make sure only rich elites are afforded their constitutional rights.
When told by the Supreme Court not to violate your Second Amendment rights, California doubled down and is now attacking First Amendment rights too.
This is why your National Foundation for Gun Rights just sent a cease-and-desist letter to Attorney General Bonta instructing him that what he is describing in this “good moral character” scheme is nothing more than “a witch hunt against anyone who wishes to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry in public.”
We point out that this exact type of “loophole” was directly addressed in Justice Kavanaugh’s concurrence, “As the Court explains, New York’s outlier may-issue regime is constitutionally problematic because it grants open-ended discretion to licensing officials and authorizes licenses only for those applicants who can show some special need apart from self-defense. Those features of New York’s regime—the unchanneled discretion for licensing officials and the special-need requirement—in effect deny the right to carry handguns for self-defense to many ‘ordinary, law-abiding citizens.’” (emphasis added)
The National Foundation for Gun Rights is monitoring this situation closely to see how the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen is enforced in the State of California. Further, we are ready to explore all legal options to aid any citizen whose First and Second Amendment rights are violated.
A case challenging California’s ban of standard-capacity magazines was recently appealed to the Supreme Court, and we just filed an amicus brief calling on the Court to take the case and rule in favor of the Second Amendment.
California initially banned the purchase of standard-capacity magazines (holding more than ten rounds of ammunition) in 2000, and in 2016 banned the actual possession of these magazines – without compensating magazine owners for the loss of their property. Gun owners who failed to dispose of their magazines could receive up to a year of jailtime.
These magazines are standard for many guns – including the most popular gun in America, the AR-15 – and include about half of all magazines in circulation. While California is the only state banning actual magazine possession, Maryland, Colorado, New Jersey, Hawaii, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, and