Raymond Woollard, et al. v. Denis Gallagher, et al. Amicus Brief for Gun Owners Foundation, et al. in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the case of Raymond Woollard, et al. v. Denis Gallagher, et al. in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in support of plaintiffs-appellees and affirmance.

This case involves a challenge to the constitutionality of the State of Maryland’s handgun permit statute and regulatory scheme. Maryland requires an applicant for a license to carry a handgun to demonstrate that he has “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun. Plaintiff Woollard previously had been granted a handgun carry permit. Unable to produce evidence of a current threat, Woollard’s request for a renewal of the permit was denied. Woollard and an association of gun owners, Second Amendment Foundation, challenged the Maryland license requirement, arguing that the “good and substantial reason” requirement violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.” Read More

Center for Individual Freedom, et al. v. Chris Van Hollen, et al. Amicus Brief for Free Speech Coalition, Inc., et al. in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Election Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the case of Center for Individual Freedom, et al. v. Chris Van Hollen, et al. in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of appellants and reversal.

Our brief argues that the BCRA section 201 provision requiring disclosure of the names and addresses of all contributors who contributed an aggregate of $1,000 or more is subject to the rule of statutory construction to avoid serious constitutional problems. The Supreme Court did not address or resolve in Citizens United the constitutionality of whether the disclosure requirement applied to any donor who gave money generally to the publisher of an electioneering communication without direction as to how the funds should be used. Forced disclosures are subject to “exacting scrutiny” requiring proof of a strong governmental interest in the prevention of corruption or the appearance of corruption. The government interest in a better informed public, standing by itself, is not sufficient to override the well-established anonymity principle undergirding the freedoms of speech and the press. To avoid compromising that principle, BCRA’s disclosure provision should be construed to require proof that the “contributor who contributed” did so with the specific purpose of supporting an electioneering communication. Read More

MSSA v. Holder, Amicus Brief for Gun Owners of America, Inc. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief for Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, and Virginia Citizens Defense League in the case ofMontana Shooting Sports Association, et al. v. Eric H. Holder, Jr. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in support of reversal. We previously filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana Missoula Division on April 12, 2010. Read More

Virginia v. Sebelius, Amicus Brief for Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall et al. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Michael Harless Health Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief in the case of Commonwealth of Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, American Life League, Inc., Institute on the Constitution, the Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, Public Advocate of the United States, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Liberty Committee, Downsize DC Foundation, DownsizeDC.org, and Policy Analysis Center. Read More

Nordyke v. King Amicus Brief Filed in Support of Appellants U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Today, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, our firm filed an amicus curiae brief filed in support of the challenge by appellants to portions of the county code of Alameda County, California. The challenged provisions ban possession of firearms on county property.

The ordinance was introduced by a county Supervisor who, in her own words, wanted to “ban gun shows.” The county claims it was responding to gun violence, but the reality is that the county was simply trying to keep peaceful gun owners from gathering to buy and sell firearms. Read More

Heller II Amicus Brief Filed in Support of Appellants U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

On July 30, 2010, in the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, our firm filed the only amicus curiae brief filed in support of the challenge by appellant Dick Heller and others to portions of the D.C. Code that (i) require registration of all firearms, (ii) prohibit registration of so-called “assault weapons” and (iii) prohibit possession of so-called “high capacity” magazines.

Our brief argues that the District Court erred when it upheld the District’s laws employing “intermediate scrutiny” – a judicially created standard of review that permits laws that are “reasonably related to an important government interest.” Our brief demonstrates that the Supreme Court has rejected such “interest balancing” standards of review in both the Heller Iand McDonald cases. Instead, once a court determines that a person is part of “the people” and that the weapon is one of the “arms” protected by the Second Amendment, the amendment provides its own standard of review — “shall not be infringed.” Read More

U.S. v. Steven M. Skoien Amicus Brief for Gun Owners Foundation and Gun Owners of America, Inc. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief for Gun Owners Foundation (“GOF”) and Gun Owners of America, Inc. in the case of U.S. v. Skoien, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

This document compares quotes from the GOF amicus brief with quotes from the NRA amicus brief, which were both filed in the Skoien case —http://www.gunowners.com/gof-vs-nra-quotes.pdf.

Link to brief Read More

Akins v. United States, 11th Circuit Another Brief Contesting ATF’s Definition of a “Machinegun”

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

On November 26, 2008, the firm filed an amicus brief on behalf of Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in support of Bill Akins.  Akins is the inventor of the Akins Accelerator — a patented replacement stock of a semiautomatic firearm that through controlled “bump firing” increases the rate of fire, after an initial trigger pull, by multiple functions of the trigger controlled by the shooter’s well-placed trigger finger. Read More

U.S. v. Ramos/Compean Amicus Brief in Support of Petition for Rehearing U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

We filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in support of two former Border Patrol agents’ Petitions for Rehearing. This brief emphasized areas where the Fifth Circuit panel’s decision was inconsistent with the law as set forth in our earlier brief filed with the court on May 25, 2007.

Our amicus brief was filed on behalf of Congressmen Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Virgil H. Goode, Jr. (R-VA), and Ted Poe (R-TX), Gun Owners Foundation, U.S. Border Control Foundation, U.S. Border Control, and Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund. Read More

State of Wyoming v. BATF Amicus Brief for Gun Owners Foundation in the Tenth Circuit

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

Today we filed a Brief Amicus Curiae for Gun Owners Foundation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in support of the State of Wyoming and Wyoming Attorney General Patrick J. Crank.  The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (“BATF”) argued that Wyoming  Stat. Ann. § 7-13-1502(k), which provides for the expungement with regards to restoring firearms rights to a person convicted of the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (“MCDV”), (a) is insufficient as an exemption from the NICS background check and (b) does not authorize the person eligible to purchase a firearm. Read More

U.S. v. Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean Amicus Brief for Congressman Walter Jones, et al. 18 U.S.C. section 924(c)

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

Today we filed a Brief Amicus Curiae in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit supporting the appeal of Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean.  Counts four and five of the indictment charge the two with “Discharge of a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence,” under 18 U.S.C. section 924(c), which the Supreme Court has ruled is only a sentencing factor, not one of the three elements — “using,” “carrying,” or “possessing” a firearm.  See Harris v. United States, 536 U.S. 545 (2002). Read More

Gun Owners Foundation Amicus Brief in United States v. Stanko

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Mr. Rudolph Stanko was convicted of possession of a firearm and ammunition in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1), which prohibits any person from possessing a firearm or ammunition if that person has been convicted of certain types of crimes punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.  According to the statutory definition, the predicate crime cannot be any federal or state offense “pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade, or other similar offenses relating to the regulation of business practices.” Read More

FSDEF Amicus Brief in United Seniors Association v. Social Security Administration

Michael Harless Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

We filed an Amicus Brief for the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund in support of United Seniors Association’s petition for rehearing of the decision to fine them over $500,000 for using the words “Social Security” on carrier envelopes. The FSDEF brief submits that the panel misapplied the deferential agency review standard of Chevron and failed to apply the relevant Due Process standards governing statutory vagueness. Read More

Aid Association for Lutherans v. United States Postal Service

Michael Harless Nonprofit Law, Postal Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Our firm filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund focusing on the lack of procedural due process that inexorably attaches to the Postal Service’s interpretation of 39 U.S.C. section 3626(j)(1)(B) that its decisions as to who can mail what at nonprofit rates are not reviewable in federal court. Our constitutional analysis supplies the court with an additional reason for construing 39 U.S.C. section 410(a) narrowly. Read More

J. Barrett Hyman, M.D. v. The City of Louisville, et al.

Michael Harless Constitutional Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

The City of Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky, enacted ordinances to prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” J. Barrett Hyman, M.D. held Biblical and constitutional objections to complying with these ordinances in his practice of obstetrics and gynecology, and his suit to have them declared unlawful was dismissed by the trial court. Our firm was retained to file an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit explaining the unconstitutional ambiguities inherent in these ordinances and why they should be declared void for vagueness. Read More