Bob Crook Update

As many of you know, Bob Crook (head of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, which is also a plaintiff along with CCDL in in the lawsuit to overturn CT’s unconstitutional gun laws) suffered a minor stroke shortly after Christmas. He was rushed to Yale New Haven Hospital via ambulance. Bob has been rehabbing at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford since the 30th. He is expected to leave and be home with family on January 20th. The stroke left him with limited control of his left extremities, however his family believes he will make a full recovery. He is in wonderful spirits and looks forward to going back up to Hartford.
Meanwhile his son James Crook has taken over the reins of CCS. We wish James well, he’s got some mighty big shoes to fill; and we look forward seeing both he and his father in Hartford as they fight side by side with CCDL for YOUR rights.

Thoughts and Prayers

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bob Crook, head of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, and his family. We’re told Bob suffered a stroke this weekend. Bob has worked tirelessly for decades defending our rights in Hartford, and the CCS is also a plaintiff along with CCDL in the lawsuit against our state’s unconstitutional gun laws.
We wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Motion for Summary Judgment

(The Following is a Joint CCDL and CCS Address)

Dear CCDL and CCS members and key donors,

This past Friday on August 23rd, the 2nd Amendment challenge to Connecticut’s new firearms law took a significant step forward with the filing of plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment and supporting memorandum of law. A motion for summary judgment is a legal device that asks the court to decide a case expeditiously “on the papers,” without the need for discovery and a trial. Cases that are appropriate for this type of early disposition are those where the key facts are not disputed by the parties and the case turns solely on the court’s interpretation of one or more questions of law.

As stated in plaintiffs’ brief, “The firearms and magazines that Connecticut bans are lawfully manufactured (many in Connecticut itself) and are lawfully purchased by millions of Americans after passing the National Instant Criminal Background Check … as well as state-required checks. … They are in common use by plaintiffs and millions of law-abiding citizens for self-defense, sport, and hunting… Restrictions on such guns and magazines are anything but long-standing, and remain outliers nationwide. The laws of most states and federal law have no restrictions on magazine capacity or the number of rounds that may be loaded in a magazine, nor do they restrict guns that some choose to call “assault weapons.” As such, plaintiffs’ brief argues, “like the handgun ban in Heller, the ban on common firearms and magazines here is categorically void under the Second Amendment.”
Further, plaintiffs’ brief argues, the new Connecticut firearms law is unconstitutional because it “arbitrarily establish[es] categories of persons who can and cannot buy the weapons” providing preferred treatment to certain retired government and private security personnel. And, finally, the brief argues, the statute is void because it is unconstitutionally vague. The next step in this case will be the filing of the State’s opposition brief, and potentially the State’s own cross motion for summary judgment, both of which are due in early September.

As of now, our challenge to the State’s evisceration of rights long held inviolable is well-positioned to correct the legislature and governor’s misguided course — whether that correction occurs at the district court or eventually on appeal. We are enormously proud of the individual plaintiffs – June Shew, Stephanie Cypher, Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin, Peter Owens, Andrew Mueller, and Brian McLain – as well as of retailers Hiller Sports, LLC and MD Shooting Sports LLC and the amici law enforcement personnel — who have invested themselves personally in overturning this patently unconstitutional law. We are especially proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you – the loyal and brave patriots throughout this State — in our fight to protect the fundamental rights of all citizens.

(Read our MSJ brief here: Motion.Summary.Judgment.pdf)

Warm regards,

Scott Wilson,
President- CCDL, Inc.

and

Bob Crook,
Director- CCS

Litigation Update 08/05/2013

This is a Joint Litigation Update from both CCDL and CCS
UPDATE: 2ND AMENDMENT CHALLENGE TO CT’S NEW FIREARMS LAW

Greetings, Second Amendment Supporters: A lot has happened over the past few months in our lawsuit challenging Connecticut’s new firearms law. We would like to provide you with a status update. First, many thanks to those of you who have stepped up to the plate and provided generous financial support for the litigation. Your donations and additional efforts are greatly appreciated. We still have a long way to go to raise the funds needed, but we are off to a good start. We also want to thank our many friends and members who have participated in the litigation fundraising events. We also appreciate your input in online discussions of the new firearms law and working to educate the public about the harm caused by candidates for public office who are clearly anti-2nd Amendment. All of this work is invaluable to the restoration of our fundamental rights.

Plaintiffs and Request for Injunctive Relief: As you know, our legal team filed the lawsuit, Shew, et al. v. Malloy, et al., on May 22, 2013 in federal court in Connecticut. The plaintiffs are: June Shew, Stephanie Cypher, Brian McClain, Andrew Mueller, Mitchell Rocklin, Peter Owens, Hiller Sports, LLC, MD Shooting Sports, LLC., the Connecticut Citizen’s Defense League (“CCDL”), and the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen (“CCS”). Shortly after filing suit, we filed a request for immediate temporary injunctive relief, asking the court to stop the implementation and enforcement of the new law. In support of our request for injunctive relief, our legal team filed expert reports demonstrating that the law not only fails to make Connecticut citizens more safe – perversely, it actually makes Connecticut citizens less safe. (Read the reports here: http://ccdl.us/blog/2013/08/04/expert-testimony/ )

Amicus Briefs: In the past few weeks, we have been honored to receive support from three separate amicus briefs (friend of the court briefs) that were filed by various organizations and law enforcement officers in support of our lawsuit. These excellent and substantive briefs were filed by: 1) the National Rifle Association, 2) the Pink Pistols, and 3) the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, the Law Enforcement Action Network, the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, and by a host of brave individual active duty and retired law enforcement officers who are willing to stand up for the rights of all Connecticut citizens. (Read the amicus briefs here: http://ccdl.us/blog/2013/07/19/amicus-briefs-filed-in-support-of-litigation/ )

The Legal Landscape: The Court has set a fast-paced briefing schedule. It is likely there will be one or more rulings in this case as early as Fall 2013. In mid-August, you can expect to see one or more significant briefs filed by the plaintiffs, and in September, by the State. We encourage you to check in at this link from time to time for updates: http://www.ccdl.us/aboutus/newsletters/49-archived-newsletters/91-archived-newsletters
As requested repeatedly over the past months, please do not discuss the litigation in online discussion pages, such as Facebook, or otherwise in any public forum. CCDL and CCS are plaintiffs, and it is the job of each and every one of us, as members of these fine organizations, to conduct ourselves in a way that is beyond reproach, without creating distractions or interference, and to allow our lawyers to get the job done.

Fundraising: CCDL and CCS are now asking all firearms owners and 2nd Amendment supporters in Connecticut who have not yet donated to please donate immediately to the litigation fund. For those who have already contributed, we ask that you please consider making an additional contribution and, better still, consider making ongoing monthly contributions online as your finances allow. Second Amendment lawsuits break new legal ground, as most of the issues raised have not been addressed by the courts in detail before. The average successful Second Amendment case to date has cost in excess of half a million dollars.

Make A Donation: While we are off to a good start raising the needed funds, it is critical that we keep going if we intend to achieve our objective: full restoration of 2nd Amendment rights in Connecticut. To donate online to the litigation fund, click here to access the secure site:


If you prefer to write a check, please make it payable to: “CCDL” and note on the face of the check that it is for the “2A Litigation Fund.” Checks should be mailed to: CCDL, P.O. Box 642, Groton, CT 06340. (NOTE: Please do not write checks to CCS. By agreement, CCDL is serving as the organization in charge of receiving all donations to the plaintiffs’ litigation fund and it has established strict procedures and a separate account for handling and managing donations for this purpose. Checks that go to the wrong destination only end up getting lost or creating unnecessary work for our volunteers.)

Again, many thanks to all of you for your tireless efforts to secure our most basic rights!

Warm Regards,

Scott Wilson
President
CCDL, Inc.

Bob Crook
Executive Director
CCS

——————————————————————————–

CT Lawsuit Has Been Filed!

And the lawsuit is filed! Here is the official release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 22, 2013

Contact: Scott Wilson
President, CT Citizens’ Defense League
860-235-7490

Contact: Brian Stapleton, Esq.
Goldberg Segalla, LLP
860-760-3300

Bridgeport, CT – Today, a widely-anticipated lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, challenging the constitutionality of the new firearms law that was passed hastily by the Connecticut legislature in response to the tragic shooting in Newtown by a disturbed individual. The lawsuit seeks immediate injunctive relief and a ruling declaring the new law unconstitutional under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It alleges that Connecticut’s new firearms law is not only unconstitutional but dangerous, since it makes both citizens and law enforcement less safe by depriving citizens of firearms that are in common use throughout the country. The very firearms and design features banned by the new law are commonly used in part because of safety, accuracy and ease-of-use features that make them effective in the hands of citizens who must defend themselves and their families against criminals and the mentally ill who do not obey such laws.

Brought on behalf of individual gun owners, retailers, and citizen’s defense and sportsmen’s organizations, the lawsuit seeks to vindicate the constitutional rights of citizens who are harmed by the broad prohibitions and unworkable vagueness of the new law. The legal challenge focuses on Connecticut’s ban of more than 100 additional common firearms that the law now dubs “assault weapons” and on the ban of standard design features, including magazines that hold more than 10 round of ammunition, that provide improved safety, accuracy, and ease-of-use. The lawsuit also challenges the practical bans imposed by the new law on an even broader array of firearms due to the law’s vague language and interpretative confusion combined with severe criminal penalties.

Plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit include individuals such as an elderly widow who lives alone in a rural area where the emergency response time of a lone resident trooper serving the area is 45 minutes, a rabbi whose synagogue in the Bridgeport area has been broken into by intruders, a young professional woman whose efforts to defend herself are made more difficult by the loss of an arm due to cancer, among other individuals.

In addition, retailers whose businesses have been severely harmed by the law have joined the lawsuit, which was conceived and organized by fellow-plaintiff organizations the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, commonly known as CCDL, and the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen. Both organizational plaintiffs represent large numbers of Connecticut citizens whose rights to own the firearms of their choice for self-defense and other lawful purposes, such as sports shooting and hunting, have been harmed by the new prohibitions.

Despite the new law being called “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety,” Connecticut’s new firearms law makes Connecticut citizens less safe. Among the individuals harmed by the law’s provisions are women, the elderly, and anyone of a smaller physical stature — individuals who typically lack the strength to operate older style, heavier, or difficult to use firearms and yet who need to be able to protect themselves in challenging home-invasion and other self-defense situations.

CCDL’s President, Scott Wilson, who has seen his organization’s membership grow from 2,500 to 7,600 in just a few months, says “On behalf of our members and all of the plaintiffs, we wish to thank the National Rifle Association, whose vision and stalwart defense of citizens’ fundamental rights has helped make this important legal challenge possible.” Wilson says, “Connecticut’s new gun ban violates Second Amendment rights by depriving law-abiding citizens of firearms that are in common use throughout the country precisely because of their known effectiveness in the protection of citizens, their families, and homes. Criminals and the mentally ill will not abide by this terrible law, which means it has the perverse effect of actually making citizens and law enforcement officers less safe.”

Bob Crook, Executive Director of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, says, “This law will do nothing to prevent a tragedy or solve the problem of crime committed with guns. Instead of violating constitutional rights, we need to get serious about addressing violence and mental illness.” He continued, “Two recent independent studies by Pew and the federal government have just revealed that gun homicides are down almost 40% and general crime involving guns has dropped a whopping 70% since 1993, which corresponds with the elimination of the federal assault weapons ban. In contrast, the few areas of the country where gun crimes have increased dramatically are the very places where local or state governments have banned or severely restricted gun ownership by law-abiding citizens.”

Many of the design features now banned by Connecticut’s new law have long been standard in firearms design as they enhance safety, accuracy and ease-of-use, and include: design features that enhance a citizen’s ability to balance a firearm properly so that it can be shot safely and accurately based on the size of the owner – especially if the owner is smaller-sized like many women, the elderly, and youth shooters (retractable shoulder stock); design features that allow a long gun to be held more easily for accuracy and to be held onto by its owner if an attacker tries to take the gun from a victim (pistol grip and forward pistol grip); design features that allow those who are in stressful situations with multiple home-invaders or attackers to have sufficient bullets for meaningful self-defense without impractical situation of having to try to reload or access a second gun (standard magazine capacities over 10 rounds), etc. The specific firearms now banned by the law include some of the most commonly used and popular models in Connecticut and in America today, including the light and versatile AR-15.

Some local retailers supporting the lawsuit say that in addition to the increased dangers created by the law, the law is vague and unworkable. Although they are knowledgeable about various types of firearms, many are having difficulty trying to determine which firearms are banned and which are legal to sell. If they decide incorrectly, they could be facing years in jail. Some say it is difficult for reputable dealers to continue serving the law-abiding citizens of Connecticut under these circumstances. If licensed dealers leave the state, it will become increasingly difficult for the people of Connecticut to acquire firearms to defend themselves. Meanwhile, these retailers say, the criminals will still be armed and in an even stronger position to harm and terrorize the people of Connecticut.

The Connecticut lawsuit, like similar legal challenges in New York, Colorado and Maryland, is expected to better define the limits of a citizen’s right to own a commonly used firearm of personal choice for self-defense, defense of family, and other lawful purposes. Each of these states has enacted new firearms laws that make citizens and law enforcement less safe as they try to defend against criminals and the mentally ill who do not obey these laws.

UPDATE: Here is a link to a pdf of the actual lawsuit:
Filed Stamped Copy USDC CT Complaint (pdf)

PRIORITY: Public Hearing On E-CERT

I was going to put up a blog post yesterday about this, but got tied up with other things. Since Bob and James Crook at the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen sent out an alert that says pretty much what I wanted to say, I’m going to just copy their email here.

With a probable composite (Mental Health, School Security, and FIREARMS) bill to be debated soon, you are asked to immediately contact YOUR State Representative and State Senator. Our and your interest in the bill is:
1. What does it contain,
2. Why don’t we have full disclosure, and MOST Important
3. Can we expect to provide our views through a PUBLIC HEARING Hearing on the contents?.

Be polite and courteous with Legislators. Tell them you are a voting constituent in their district, and if you voted for him/her make that statement.

How to Find Your Legislators: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

Ask them the following questions;
Gun owners, hunters, target shooters, collectors have no idea what may be contained in this bill affecting their legal activities and firearm ownership. Can you explain to me what is contained in the bill and how it will affect me personally?

Rumors abound, and many issues go well beyond anyone’s perception this is only about so-called “Assault Weapons.” We hear about severe ammunition purchase restrictions placed upon ALL gun owner’s rifles, shotguns, and handguns. If passed, what would I have to do to purchase ammunition and WHY?

We hear ALL firearms must be registered at a cost including my Grandfather’s rifles and shotguns. Why?

Magazines are an integral part of a firearm. What will be the standard number of rounds if any? Will they be banned entirely? Will the State reimburse me for my loss of value and protection? Will common rifles and shotguns be included?

Should this bill be about prosecuting criminals and at-risk persons being identified, not the gun issue which has little real relevance to the Newtown event?

Why is there no transparency as to what legislators convening in secret are considering?

Will YOU as a legislator and your constituents have sufficient time to evaluate the bill prior to debate?

WE NEED A PUBLIC HEARING! Why can’t we allow those affected by this legislation to promote their views?

Tell me how you could vote on this “quick fix” legislation developed by some emotionally biased legislators without allowing a hearing from constituents to share their expertise and support/objections?

Help me understand why this bill will have no public hearing and is different from all other bills! Why Emergency Certification?

WE NEED A PUBLIC HEARING!