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)

Amicus Application Accepted

The Connecticut Supreme Court has accepted CCDL’s application to appear as Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) in the case of Soto v. Bushmaster, as well as approving our full legal team.

This means the court agrees that CCDL and it’s members have a legitimate interest in this case and it’s outcome, and they will allow CCDL to explain why we believe that a ruling for the plaintiffs in this case could seriously jeopardize the ability of law-abiding citizens to obtain lawful arms in Connecticut.

Our legal team is putting the final touches on the actual brief, which we hope to be able to share with our members as soon as possible.

Soto-v-bushmaster amicus application granted (pdf)

CCDL files Application to CT Supreme Court

CCDL has applied to the CT State Supreme court to submit an Amicus Curiae Brief (Friend of the Court Brief) in support of Bushmaster Firearms International LLC.

The case known as ‘Soto v Bushmaster’ has been ongoing for some time, and CCDL will withhold any further statements on the case until the court accepts our petition for the brief to be filed.

The application is a matter of public record on file with the State Supreme Court as of May 30, 2017. You may view a copy of the application here: Application-of-CCDL-for-permission-to-appear-as-amicus-curiae.pdf

CCDL Joins California Fight

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League has joined with the New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn, Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Commonwealth Second Amendment (Massachusetts), Maryland State Rifle & Pistol Assn, and Gun Owners of California to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case of Peruta v. San Diego.

While the actual case is in California, Petitioner Ed Peruta maintains a residence in Connecticut, and CCDL feels the outcome of this case could have a direct impact on our state’s ability to deny carry permits to law-abiding gun owners.

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League remains vigilant and active on cases such as these that could have long-lasting impact at both the state and national level.

You can read the Brief of Amici Curiae we filed with the Supreme Court here: 16-894 Amici Brief-CCDL (pdf)

Supreme Court Declines To Hear Challenge

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

U.S. SUPREME COURT DECLINES TO HEAR CHALLENGE TO CONNECTICUT’S BAN ON POPULAR SEMI-AUTOMATIC FIREARMS

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – The United States Supreme Court declined on Monday to review a lower court’s ruling refusing to strike down on Second Amendment grounds Connecticut’s ban on certain semi-automatic firearms including the most popular rifles in the Nation. The Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League (CCDL) and other plaintiffs challenged Connecticut’s ban in 2013, arguing that the ban openly flouts the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that law-abiding citizens have an individual right to keep commonly owned firearms in their homes for self-defense.

According to Scott Wilson, President of the CCDL, the banned firearms are very rarely used by criminals, and the only things that distinguish them from non-banned firearms are external features such as thumbhole stocks and pistol grips that promote safe and accurate use. While criminals typically do not use the banned firearms, law-abiding citizens do. Mr. Wilson stated that “the firearms the State has chosen to ban are very frequently used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes such as home-defense, hunting, and target shooting. In fact, one of the banned firearms, the AR-15, is the best-selling rifle in the United States.”

The federal courts have split over the correct way to analyze Second Amendment challenges after Heller, with most courts applying a fairly weak form of review ordinarily reserved for less-important rights. The Plaintiffs, Mr. Wilson said, had hoped the High Court would step in and reaffirm that the Second Amendment is not a “second-class” right. The lower court’s decision in this case was particularly indefensible, as the unconstitutionality of Connecticut’s ban follows directly from the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Heller. Mr. Wilson suggested that the Court’s decision to decline review may have been influenced by the recent, unfortunate death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the author if the Heller decision.

“We fully intend to renew our challenge to Connecticut’s blatantly unconstitutional ban as soon as there are five Justices sitting on the Supreme Court committed to the proper understanding of the Second Amendment.”

Scott Wilson Sr.
President
CCDL, Inc.
www.ccdl.us

Update On Supreme Court Case

Just a quick update to let our members know what’s happening with Shew v Malloy. As most know, we petitioned the Supreme Court to hear our appeal. The State of Connecticut has asked the court not to hear our case. You can read their argument why here:
Shew-v-Malloy 15-1030 – Respondents’ Opposition to Cert Petition (pdf)

Out legal team has fired back; pointing out how and why the State is incorrect. You can read our response here:
Shew-v-Malloy 15-1030 rb (pdf)

Shew v. Malloy Filed With SCOTUS – Press Release

02/11/2016
for Immediate Release:

(Groton, CT) – The Connecticut Citizens Defense League along with fellow plaintiffs have filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States (Shew v. Malloy). The appeal challenges part of Public Act 13-3 (An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety) that was enacted by the Connecticut Legislature back in 2013.

The plaintiffs are challenging the ban on certain firearms that look similar to assault rifles. The plaintiffs claim that these are common semi-automatic firearms that only shoot once when the trigger is pulled; identical to others not banned. Real “assault rifles” are full-automatic and can fire multiple times when the trigger is pulled. Real assault rifles are already highly regulated by both federal and state government, and civilian ownership is quite rare.

The plaintiff’s challenge has been narrowed to focus strictly on the banned firearms and not magazines that contain 10 rounds or more as originally argued. The legal strategy behind this tactic is to offer the Supreme Court consideration to solely address this single issue with the hope that they will hear the case.

A similar case is expected to be filed soon in New York that may broaden the challenge to address magazines.

Comments from CCDL President Scott Wilson:
 
“We are thankful to finally have our petition filed with the Supreme Court. We have waited patiently for nearly three years to get to this stage, and we hope that the court will hear our arguments”.

“The firearms that have been banned under Public Act 13-3 are common firearms that are owned and enjoyed by millions of Americans throughout the country. They are excellent tools for home defense, and great for competition, hunting and target shooting. The law also bans firearms and features that enhance safety and allow physically disabled persons to exercise their rights and enjoy these same activities”.

“The Connecticut Citizens Defense League wishes to thank our fellow plaintiffs (especially June Shew) for being a part of this journey for justice. We also wish to thank our devoted members, numerous gun clubs, retailers, private individuals and of course the NRA-ILA for their help and support in getting us to this stage”.

“Public Act 13-3 infringes upon rights guaranteed by both the federal and state Constitution. Connecticut residents deserve to have these rights restored and protected by the Supreme Court”.

The filed petition (486 pages) may be downloaded here: Shew v. Malloy SCOTUS Petition as filed (pdf)

–End–

About the CCDL: The Connecticut Citizens Defense League was formed in 2009 by a small group of concerned citizens as a non-partisan organization to advocate second amendment rights in the state of Connecticut. Since their founding, the group has grown to nearly 22,000 members from across the state.

Thanks to this large supportive base, the CCDL has become a fixture at the state capitol, and well-recognized by committees that see firearms related bills.

As the go-to organization in the state they are consulted regularly by lawmakers who have questions and concerns about pending legislation or existing laws. For more information on the CCDL please visit http://www.ccdl.us

Press Contact:

Scott Wilson

president@ccdl.us

________________________________________________________

Supreme Court challenges are extremely expensive. The total bill for DC v Heller was $3.5 million.
CCDL is an all-volunteer, free to join non-profit organization (501c4).
As such all the money to fund this fight for your constitutional rights comes solely from donations. If you can afford to, please donate to our Litigation Fund.
Thank you.

Update On Shew v Malloy

The following is a statement from CCDL president Scott Wilson and lead attorney David Thompson.

On Thursday (2/11/2016) CCDL along with the other name plaintiffs will be filing our request for the United States Supreme Court to take up our case on appeal (Shew v Malloy).

This is an important moment in the case. Our appeal is going to focus on the ban on so-called assault weapons, but we want to emphasize that we haven’t given up in any way, shape, or form on the challenge to the magazine ban.

We remain fully committed to ensuring that the magazine ban is thrown out. But we want to give the Supreme Court a menu of options – so our petition will focus on the ban on safety enhancing features, and we expect that a subsequent petition in the New York case will focus on both magazines and the banned features.
Rest assured that if the Supreme Court wants to take up both issues (firearms and magazines), it will have the ability to do so, and that whatever ruling comes from the Court on magazines will redound fully to the benefit of Connecticut.

More information about the petition will be available on Thursday after it is filed with the Court.

________________________________________________________

Supreme Court challenges are extremely expensive. The total bill for DC v Heller was $3.5 million.
CCDL is an all-volunteer, free to join non-profit organization (501c4).
As such all the money to fund this fight for your constitutional rights comes solely from donations. If you can afford to, please donate to our Litigation Fund.
Thank you.

Major Win For Gun Rights

A few hours ago, gun rights received a major boost with a favorable decision in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kolbe v. Hogan (formerly known as Kolbe v. O’Malley) is a case in Maryland very similar to our Shew v. Malloy here in CT. Both cases concern bans on so-called “assault weapons” and “Large Capacity Magazines”. Both cases argue that the ban on “copies” of banned assault weapons is unconstitutionally vague. In both cases the courts failed to apply strict scrutiny, instead applying a lower standard.

Today the Court of Appeals issued its decision. They vacated the lower court’s decision upholding the assault weapon ban and magazine limits, and returned them back to the District Court for failing to apply the required strict scrutiny under the 2nd Amendment. This means the case isn’t over, but the state will now have a far more difficult chance to win.
Strict scrutiny “requires the Government to prove that the restriction furthers a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest” and that [t]o be narrowly tailored, the law must employ the least restrictive means to achieve the compelling government interest.”
The lesser intermediate scrutiny merely “requires the government to ‘demonstrate . . . that there is a reasonable fit between the challenged regulation and a substantial government objective.’”. Strict scrutiny should be a difficult standard for Maryland to satisfy.

This may set up a split decision among the various Federal Circuit Courts, which greatly increases the chances of the Supreme Court taking up ours or a similar case.

Speaking of our case, this will slightly delay our filing with the Supreme Court, as our legal team analyzes this ruling and adjusts our case to these new facts. Also, I must remind everyone that Supreme Court cases are VERY expensive. If you can afford to, please donate to our Litigation Fund. CCDL is an all volunteer organization, which means every donation goes right to the fight for your rights, not to pay our salaries, like some other organizations do. We are also a 100% free to join organization, which means everything we do comes from your generous donations. Please donate here: Litigation Fund

If you would like to read the entire 90 page decision, you can download it here: Kolbe v Hogan opinion (pdf)

Comments On Today’s Decision

Below is the press release on today’s Appellate decision in Shew v. Malloy, the lawsuit against Connecticut’s unconstitutional gun laws.

10/19/2015
For Immediate Release:

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (The state’s largest grass-roots gun rights group) reacts to the Appellate decision handed down today. CCDL is one of the named Plaintiffs in the Shew v Malloy federal lawsuit. The case argues against a number of the firearms laws that were enacted with the signage of Public Act 13-3

The Federal Lawsuit against Public Act 13-3 has waged on since May 22nd of 2013.

Comment from CCDL President Scott Wilson:
“We along with our fellow plaintiffs were hopeful for a more favorable decision from the 2nd Circuit, but we are not surprised that this decision was handed down from this level. We are working with our team of attorneys and other plaintiffs and preparing for the next round”.

“We knew all along that we would end up appealing to the Supreme Court to overturn this clear injustice of our 2nd Amendment rights. We have 90 days from this ruling, and our attorneys will file a petition for certiorari within that time frame”.

Wilson concluded:
“We know that we are on the right side of this matter, and Connecticut gun owners will not surrender our constitutional rights. We will exhaust every possible avenue to preserve those rights”.
___________________________________________

About the CCDL: The Connecticut Citizens Defense League was formed in 2009 by a small group of concerned citizens as a non-partisan organization to advocate second amendment rights in the state of Connecticut. Since their founding, the group has grown to nearly 20,000 members from across the state.

Thanks to this large supportive base, the CCDL has become a fixture at the state capitol, and well-recognized by committees that see firearms related bills.

As the go-to organization in the state they are consulted regularly by lawmakers who have questions and concerns about pending legislation or existing laws. For more information on the CCDL please visit http://www.CCDL.us

Press Contact:
Scott Wilson
president@ccdl.us
860-235-7490