A collection of relevant and timely media clips and resources.
Posted on February 15, 2010
by C.D. Michel
The latest anti-gun efforts in the Golden State give all Americans a glimpse at the coming gun-ban agenda in their states—and an organization which should be observed with a wary eye.
California has long been the breeding ground for developing strategies to advance the coordinated anti-gun, anti-self-defense political climate in the country. There are of course other "battleground" states in the fight for gun rights, but lots of crazy notions about guns and self-defense take root in California.
In fact, when it comes to efforts to limit the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, California is unique in multiple respects. The tragic 1989 Stockton schoolyard shooting led politicians seeking a scapegoat to pass an ill-conceived "assault weapon" law banning many semi-automatics in California. That flawed law was then used as a model for semi-auto bans in other states.
California`s left-coast urban political inclinations foster a "progressive" mentality. Its two U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, are among the most rabid anti-self-defense politicians in Washington, and they lead many federal efforts to export California`s anti-self-defense philosophy to the nation. Also, rampant urban gang violence problems cause politicians to look for ineffective laws to pass just so they can disingenuously claim they are doing something about crime.
But California`s most unique contribution to anti-Second Amendment efforts, and one that is currently growing, is a San Francisco lawyers` group benignly labeled the Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV). Since its founding, the misleadingly named LCAV has become the de facto law firm for the gun-ban lobby nationally.
And if you are a consumer of legal services, you may be unknowingly subsidizing their efforts at orchestrating national anti-gun strategies and tactics.
Along with the work of its staff attorneys, LCAV solicits lawyers through the pro bono programs at big San Francisco and national law firms to develop novel approaches to over-regulating guns and gun owners, and to come up with creative legal arguments to advance the gun-ban agenda they share with the leaders of the civilian disarmament campaign. In the years since its founding in 1993, LCAV has gone from advocating the circumvention of state preemption laws so "progressive" California cities could pass gun bans; to developing theories to foist liability on the firearm industry for the criminal misuse of their products; to drafting local, state and federal model laws that they now push throughout the country; to being involved in practically every piece of Second Amendment or gun-related litigation in the nation.
San Francisco`s government has always been anti-gun owner, with Los Angeles a close second. Law firms in those cities have to be in tune with local politics, particularly if they want lucrative municipal legal work. Local bar associations in both cities even passed resolutions in 1974 and the early `90s calling for a complete ban on the private possession of handguns and all semi-automatic rifles. San Francisco went so far as to pass laws in 1982 and again in the past decade banning the civilian possession of handguns entirely. Only lawsuits by the NRA and other gun-rights groups stopped the laws from taking effect.
Most recently, LCAV has again been soliciting free help from young lawyers at those big firms, this time recruiting them to come up with legal arguments to support their latest initiatives. LCAV`s recent solicitation for free assistance from those firms not only provides a glimpse at the latest strategies of the gun-ban lobby—it also gives insight on how LCAV advances the gun-ban agenda with the help of pro bono assistance from big firm lawyers.
Anti-gun politicians and groups like LCAV often tap into California`s "progressive-minded" law firms for free legal advice and services that work to the detriment of gun owners and businesses alike. In California, many of the urban law firms are deeply entrenched in "progressive" politics. These law firms have collectively provided millions of dollars worth of free legal work to promote anti-gun legislation in Sacramento and locally; to develop model legislation that can be exported throughout the country; to litigate against the gun industry and the NRA; and to get anti-gun politicians elected. This suggests that consumers of legal services should choose their law firms with caution, lest they wind up unwittingly helping to foot the legal bill for lawyers working to limit or eliminate Second Amendment rights.
LCAV`s emergence stems primarily from the tragic and infamous 1993 rampage by Gian Luigi Ferri at the 101 California Street law office in San Francisco. Eight law firm employees and visitors were killed and six injured in that criminal assault by a deranged gunman who killed himself as police closed in. The shootings galvanized the progressive segment of the San Francisco legal community, which responded by banding together to further their gun prohibition goals.
First, they filed a lawsuit (Merrill v. Navegar, et al.) on behalf of Ferri`s victims, seeking to advance bizarre legal arguments to expand the legal liability of firearm manufacturers and distributors for the criminal misuse of their products by deranged madmen. Fortunately, in 2001 the California Supreme Court overturned a Court of Appeal opinion ruling that a gun manufacturer could be held liable for the criminal misuse of its lawful product.
Nonetheless, this suit served as a petri dish for legal theories later used in lawsuits filed against gun makers and distributors by municipalities across the country. Most of these lawsuits were ultimately dismissed, but not before the industry was forced to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to defend itself. Although these suits prompted the 2005 passage of the NRA-sponsored Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), some of these suits still linger. Most recently, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the constitutionality of the PLCAA, so after 15 years at least this aspect of the legal nightmare may finally be ending.
Second, the law firms created LCAV. When first started, LCAV sought and received millions of dollars in funding from the California Wellness Foundation, a nonprofit with billions in assets spun off from profits made by Health Net when that company went private. CWF pumped roughly $50 million into anti-self defense efforts by various gun-control advocacy groups in California, including a $9 million media campaign designed to vilify firearms and people who own them. In fact, the CWF campaigns were instrumental in starting the national trend of mischaracterizing the issue of firearm violence as a health issue and guns as a "disease," and in driving the misleading "polls" that legislators use to justify their anti-gun proposals. The CWF campaigns were also instrumental in crafting an insipid, non-threatening message adopted by anti-gun politicians who pay lip service to the Second Amendment while spinning the gun-ban lobby`s agenda as a "reasonable" and "common-sense" platform that will "save children`s lives."
Armed with CWF and other special interest funding, LCAV lawyers teamed up in office space they initially shared with what was then Handgun Control, Inc. (now called the Brady Campaign) and started their "Local Ordinance Project," a campaign to get California cities to pass local ordinances restricting gun rights—with an eye toward passing the measures at
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.READ MORE
© 2012 National Rifle Association of America. Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.11250 Waples Mill Rd. Fairfax, VA 22030 1800-392-8683(VOTE)