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Connecticut Citizens Defense League Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit to Protect the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/11/2020

CONNECTICUT CITIZENS DEFENSE LEAGUE FILES FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUIT TO PROTECT THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS

SOUTHBURY, CT – The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) announced today that it has filed a lawsuit in United States District Court against Governor Ned Lamont and several municipal police chiefs to stop their blatant and ongoing violations of the CCDL members’ right to keep and bear arms, as well as other constitutional rights.

The CCDL was forced to bring suit after the Governor’s March 17, 2020 Executive Order 7E suspended Connecticut General Statute § 29-17c, the law requiring state and local law enforcement to fingerprint, and process the applications of, Connecticut residents seeking State-issued permits to legally purchase and possess firearms, ammunition and magazines. As a result of the Governor’s Executive Order, law enforcement throughout the state are refusing to collect fingerprints for firearms permit purposes, and are refusing to process firearms applications, even while fingerprinting and application processing continues for other purposes. Under Executive Order 7E, state and local law enforcement have effectively shut down the issuance of all firearm permits in Connecticut. The CCDL cannot allow such blatant disregard for its members’ rights to go unchallenged.

The right to obtain and possess a firearm is a fundamental right guaranteed each citizen by the United States and Connecticut Constitutions. Especially in times of societal unrest, law-abiding citizens must have the ability to protect themselves and their families. However, under Connecticut’s strict firearms permitting scheme, lawful persons seeking to purchase a firearm or ammunition, or to carry a firearm for personal protection, are required to hold a certificate or permit issued by the State. To obtain a certificate or permit, an applicant must first submit to law enforcement taking his/her fingerprints and conducting an extensive background investigation on the applicant. Now, state and local law enforcement have completely shut down even that narrow path for people to protect themselves and their families with a firearm.

The CCDL wrote Governor Lamont on April 10, 2020 seeking reinstatement of the fingerprinting and application process, and offering alternatives to the process. Sadly, the Governor never responded to, nor even acknowledged, the CCDL’s letter, giving it no choice but to seek relief for its members in federal court.

Attorney Craig Fishbein and Attorney Doug Dubitsky are representing the CCDL in this federal civil rights action.

“While the CCDL understands these are times of unprecedented challenges, many Connecticut residents are being denied their constitutional rights just when they feel the exercise of those rights is most needed,” said Holly Sullivan, President of the CCDL. “We respect the Governor’s goal of mitigating the COVID-19 virus. However, stripping citizens of their rights does not further that laudable goal. It is in these extraordinary times that the Governor must most staunchly defend the rights of Connecticut’s people. If the Governor won’t, the CCDL will.”

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Inc. is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization of more than 36,000 members, committed to protecting the unalienable constitutional right of all citizens to keep and bear arms through legislative and grassroots advocacy, education, research, publishing, legal action and programs.

Lawsuit documents can be accessed here:

CONTACT: HOLLY SULLIVAN – (860)785-5322 – president@ccdl.us

PDF of CCDL v Lamont Press Release

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Legal Actions

Please Donate Today!

Just a reminder CCDL is again fighting for your rights.  We have filed a lawsuit in federal court and need your financial support.  If every CCDL member donated just $10 this litigation and future action would be well funded.  Please donate today!

You can find the filing Here

 

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Legal Actions

Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court of the United States (Worman v Healy)

For Immediate Release:

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League has co-filed an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court of the United States (Worman v Healy) along with several Law Enforcement and other 2nd Amendment advocacy groups.

Essentially the summary of our argument is that the 1st Circuit Appellate Court did not properly apply the Heller decision for commonly used firearms and magazines that may contain over 10 rounds.

CCDL is proud to stand in support of gun owners and 2nd Amendment activists in neighboring Massachusetts.

Since both states are 2 of the original 13 colonies, it is especially fitting that we show our support to oppose gun control schemes of this nature.

PDF of Brief Here

Scott Wilson

President- CCDL, Inc.

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CCDL Joins (Next Round) Amicus Brief in Duncan v. Becerra

A Brief Summary

In 2016, California passed a law, Cal. Penal Code § 32310. This Act banned not just the sale, but also the possession of any magazine holding more than ten rounds.  There are estimates of more than 100
million such magazines in the United States, and they are perfectly legal in most states.  In California, this new law would have required citizens who possessed such magazines to remove them from the state, transfer them to a licensed dealer, or surrender them to a law enforcement agency for destruction. In 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California enjoined (prohibited) the enforcement of this new law.  The State of California has appealed the preliminary injunction to the Ninth Circuit.  In 2018, a panel of judges of the Ninth Circuit affirmed the issuance of the preliminary injunction.  Though en banc review of the panel decision was sought by California, it was not granted.  Hence the case was remanded to the District Court for trial. 

PDF of Brief Here

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Legal Actions

CCDL co-files Amicus Curiae along with the NRA

November 12th 2019- Update SCOTUS Denied CERT. The Legal Action Will Resume in the Connecticut Judicial Branch 

For Immediate Release:

(Groton, CT) – The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (The state’s largest gun rights organization) co-files Amicus Curiae along with the National Rifle Association of America.

CCDL President Scott Wilson Releases the following Statement:

“We are proud to stand alongside the National Rifle Association with mutual support for Remington Arms and for the rights of legal gun owners. We hope that the Supreme Court considers addressing this issue.”

PDF of Brief Here

 

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Legal Actions

CCDL Participates in Amicus Brief (NYSRPA v NYC)

CCDL (along with other groups) is filing an Amicus Brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of the plaintiffs in this case. The petitioners have already been granted a writ of certiorari. This means that oral arguments will be presented at some point soon, and a landmark decision that could impact gun rights throughout the nation will likely result.

CCDL participates in out-of-state cases like this because the results would impact Connecticut gun owners either positively or negatively depending on how the cases are decided.  The brief should be filed with the court by Tuesday May 14th and we will be discussing it at our meeting that evening.   

CLICK HERE for the SCOTUS Blog discussion

PDF of Brief Here

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Legal Actions

CCDL Enjoins Amicus Brief in Support of Right to Carry Petition in New Jersey

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League has joined with multiple law enforcement associations and other state-wide gun rights organizations to present legal arguments on behalf of lawful gun owners.

Together we have filed an amicus brief in support of the petition for certiorari filed with the Supreme Court in Rogers v. Grewal, No. 18-824.  This case challenges the extremely restrictive “discretionary” carry permit system in New Jersey, which basically does not recognize any right by ordinary citizens to obtain a carry permit.  Instead, an individual must show “justifiable need,” which is defined to mean (in addition to other criteria) that the applicant must “specify in detail the urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun.”

The application is to be supported by documentation of the threats or attacks in the form of police reports.  The New Jersey courts have held that “generalized fears for personal safety are inadequate.

The current case, challenging the New Jersey statutes on Second Amendment grounds, was filed after there had previously been a Third Circuit case upholding those statutes.  Accordingly, the federal District Court cited the Third Circuit case, and denied relief.  At the Third Circuit, the plaintiffs themselves asked the Third Circuit to summarily affirm, thereby saving time and setting the case up to take to the Supreme Court by way of certiorari as soon as possible.

The brief argues points that have been made in the past in right-to-carry cases, such as the total ineffectiveness of restrictive permitting systems in reducing crime, and the fact that concealed carry permit holders nationwide, even in far less restrictive “shall-issue” states, tend to be remarkably law-abiding.

We believe the brief should help convince the court that this is an important case, and worth considering for granting certiorari.

The full amicus curiae brief may be viewed here:
18-824 Amicus Brief of Law Enforcement Groups et al. (pdf)

The chances of getting some meaningful Court action on important issues—such as the fundamental question in this case, whether there is a Second Amendment right to carry outside the home—are probably the best in many years.

As 2nd Amendment advocates, we must recognize the impact that federal actions in other states could ultimately have on Connecticut.

Scott Wilson
President – CCDL Inc.

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Legal Actions

CCDL Joins Amicus Brief in Duncan v. Becerra

Last week CCDL joined over twenty other law enforcement and firearms rights groups in filing an amicus brief in the 9th Circuit Court case of Duncan v. Becerra. This is a case regarding California’s ban on possession of magazines holding over ten rounds with no grandfather clause.
That’s right, confiscation of lawfully obtained private property.

Now it seems that every time we file one of these briefs, someone always complains that we’re getting involved in cases that don’t impact our members. Why is a Connecticut group wasting resources on a problem 3000 miles away in California?

It should be obvious, but apparently it isn’t. These cases can have a HUGE effect on gun rights nationwide. That’s why many of these same groups filed briefs in our case. If California is allowed to confiscate lawfully obtained magazines because they exceed an arbitrary capacity, how soon before other states like our own follow?

You can read the entire amicus brief here (pdf file): CCDL amicus brief Duncan FILESTAMPED.pdf

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Legal Actions

CCDL Joins Amicus In Kolbe v. Hogan (Maryland)

Today, CCDL joined a number of law enforcement and gun rights groups in filing an amicus curiae brief in the case of Kolbe v. Hogan. This is a case in Maryland that seeks to overturn their unconstitutional ban on so-called “assault weapons”.

CCDL and our members have a vested interest in this case, as any ruling by the Supreme Court in this case would have a national impact on similar gun bans; including Connecticut’s.

You can read the brief as submitted here: USSC 17-127 Amicus Brief – Kolbe v Hogan (pdf)

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Legal Actions

Soto v. Bushmaster

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

Connecticut Citizens Defense League Files Brief Opposing Lawsuit that Seeks to Make Gun Manufacturers Liable for Gun Crimes Because Firearms are “too Dangerous” for Law-abiding Citizens

June 20, 2017  (Groton, CT)
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) has filed an amicus curiae brief in the Connecticut Supreme Court opposing an attempt to impose legal liability on the manufacturers and sellers of the firearm used in the Sandy Hook tragedy. The Supreme Court case (Soto v Bushmaster), brought by lawyers representing the estates of several victims of the shooting, is based on the novel theory that the firearm used in the shooting is “too dangerous” to sell to ordinary, law-abiding citizens, and that the makers of the gun should thus be on the hook whenever it is misused to cause injury. But as CCDL’s brief points out, the particular type of firearm used by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook in fact has about one-fourth as much firepower as many ordinary hunting rifles, because it uses lightweight ammunition. And crime statistics show that ordinary handguns are over fifteen times more likely to me used by “mass shooters” than the model of firearm chosen by Lanza. If the defendants are held liable in this case, then, it will set a precedent that would expose businesses to legal liability each time they sell virtually any type of firearm in Connecticut.

The State Superior Court rejected the Plaintiffs’ theory, noting that it “would be a dramatic change in tort doctrine.” But the Plaintiffs have now appealed to the Supreme Court.

“The implications of the radical theory of tort law advanced by Plaintiffs’ lawyers in this case are dangerous and breathtaking,” said Scott Wilson, President of CCDL. “When you realize that by every empirical measure, the type of firearm at issue in this case is less dangerous and less likely to be used in any kind of violent crime, including mass shootings, than an ordinary hunting rifle or handgun, it becomes clear that this is just the latest effort in the long-running campaign by anti-gun activists to make the manufacturers of any firearm liable simply because criminals or the mentally unstable misuse their product.” But the Second Amendment protects the right to sell firearms to lawful citizens, according to multiple federal court decisions; and a federal statute also generally forecloses attempts to make firearm manufactures and retailers liable for the misuse of the firearms they sell, so long as the sale itself was lawful. “Plaintiffs’ effort to choke off the sale of virtually all ordinary firearms is contrary to both the Constitution and federal law,” Mr. Wilson said. “CCDL hopes that our brief will help the Supreme Court to recognize the truly radical—and unconstitutional—implications of this lawsuit.”

The full brief can be downloaded here: CCDL-Amicus-AS-FILED (pdf)