GOA Standing for Gun Rights in the Courts

Gun Owners of America — and its legal arm, Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) — helped win two significant cases within the last year.

One of them involved concealed carry in the nation’s capital.

The other suit involved a homeowner’s right to be safe from police officers searching his property without a warrant.

The latter case, Collins v. Virginia, didn’t even involve a firearm — but everyone knew that our involvement in this case meant the ultimate outcome now benefits gun owners nationwide.

As stated by the liberal Slate.com on the day the Supreme Court handed down this decision in May:

[The Supreme Court] gave gun rights advocates and libertarians a reason to rejoice on Tuesday morning [when] the court ruled 8-1 that cops generally need a warrant to search a vehicle in your driveway….

Gun owners, after all, want to protect their homes and families, using lethal force against intruders if necessary. If the police can trespass on their property with impunity, the concept of unlawful intrusion gets blurry.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who handed down the decision for the Court, appeared to be very familiar with GOA’s amicus brief, given the way she formulated her statements during oral arguments.

The commonwealth of Virginia was trying to push the boundaries of when and where police officers need to get a warrant.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court overwhelmingly smacked down the state’s attempts to condone an officer who was conducting a warrantless search.

As stated by Slate.com:

[G]un rights groups fretted that a bad decision in Collins could further undermine gun owners’ rights to be protected from unreasonable searches.

That is why GOA and GOF will continue to fight for our Fourth Amendment protections, knowing that the safeguards against warrantless searches and seizures will protect gun owners from coast to coast.

Fighting for Concealed Carry

At the appellate level, GOA is celebrating a landmark victory in Wrenn v. D.C.

The District’s permitting system had been extremely restrictive, requiring honest citizens to show “good reason” why the D.C. government should issue someone a concealed carry permit.

GOA submitted an amicus brief in Wrenn, arguing against the “good reason” requirement.

And the D.C. Circuit agreed, ruling that the city’s “good reason” requirement for concealed carry permits is unconstitutional.

In this case, Gun Owners argued that judges have no authority to use a “balancing test” approach to Second Amendment rights.

In such instances, judges attempt to weigh whether officials have a compelling government interest which justifies restrictions on a constitutionally-protected right.

Or put more simply, judges try to determine if the law is more important than the Constitution.

But Gun Owners argued that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms against all infringements, and that alone invalidates all “judicial balancing tests.”

Incredibly, the D.C. Circuit broke with its own precedent and adopted the “text and history” approach that GOA was advocating, and which the Supreme Court had mandated in the 2008 Heller case.

This pro-gun decision is significant because it sets up a potential conflict at the appellate level with other concealed carry cases that have been decided differently.

And such conflicts can easily justify the U.S. Supreme Court taking up a firearms case.

Gun Battles Still Pending

Speaking of the high Court, GOA and GOF are currently engaged in several fights that could one day wind up at the U.S. Supreme Court:

  • Defeating a ban on bump stocks. Our Foundation attorneys are currently preparing a legal case to challenge an expected ruling by the ATF which will ban the private possession of bump stocks — a ban which could be easily expanded by a future President to ban AR-15s and other semi-autos.
  • Fighting for suppressors. GOF is challenging the NFA’s draconian restrictions on suppressors and, in the process, is defending gun owners in the state of Kansas who were prosecuted by Eric Holder’s Justice Department.

Our arguments in this case (U.S. v. Kettler) also help buttress Kansas’ Second Amendment Preservation Act, which outlaws federal gun control laws within the borders of the state.

  • Defending commonly-owned semi-autos. Our Foundation attorneys have submitted an amicus brief to Connecticut’s Supreme Court in Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms — a case which represents a thinly-veiled request for the court to ban all semi-autos.
  • Opposing gun owner registration. GOF has challenged the ATF’s unlawful registration of gun owners who purchase two or more long guns within five days. Federal law only requires this of handgun purchases, but the Obama administration unilaterally began applying the same registration requirements to gun owners purchasing rifles in the four southern border states.

There’s a lot on our plate — even more cases than can be mentioned here.

But you can help support our Foundation’s legal work in two different ways:

  • By giving a tax-deductible contribution to GOF online at gunowners.com/contribute;
  • Or by contributing to GOF through the Combined Federal Campaign by using Agency Number 10042.

Your gifts will help Gun Owners Foundation defend the rights of honest gun owners across the country and protect good citizens against infringements of the Second Amendment by the federal government.