DEFENDERS COME IN BUNCHES!
When it comes to standing up for firearms rights, one of the best examples recently involved three people, the plaintiffs in a case filed by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, that found the judge declaring the long-standing ban on interstate handgun transfers to be unconstitutional.
Texas firearms retailer Fredric Russell Mance, Jr., and Andrew and Tracey Ambeau Hanson of Washington, D.C. can lay claim to something few others have been able to accomplish. Their federal complaint against Attorney General Eric Holder and the interstate handgun transfers ban produced a significant victory for the Second Amendment.
As noted elsewhere in this issue, CCRKBA – with financial support from the Second Amendment Foundation – and these three citizens took on a very politically incorrect statute. The Hansons, after being turned down on a handgun purchase by Mance because of the interstate handgun sales ban, went after the law. Mance had his own issues as this affected his business, and they worked with CCRKBA attorneys Alan Gura of Virginia and William B. Mateja of Dallas.
This was a speedy case, too, suggesting that it was solid from the opening gavel.
At issue was the federal regulation as it relates to the buying, selling, and transporting of handguns over state lines under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(a) (3) and 922(b)(3). Long story short, the lawsuit contended that the ban on interstate handgun transfers infringes on a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, according to the opinion from U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division.
The Hansons would have had to have the handgun shipped to the single federally-licensed firearms retailer in the District, and he charges a $125 fee per transfer, therefore adding considerable expense on the exercise of a civil right. That retailer does not keep an inventory of firearms, the ruling noted.
It was a rare foray into the court system for CCRKBA, acknowledged Chairman Alan Gottlieb.
But this case seemed tailor made for the organization because it strikes at the very heart of what the right to keep and bear arms is all about.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, which was only in July of last year, Gottlieb stated, “It is overreaching, if not downright silly, in today’s environment with the federal instant background check system to perpetuate a prohibition on interstate handgun purchases that has outlived its usefulness. If a law-abiding citizen can clear a background check and legally purchase a handgun in his own state, he would pass the same background check just across the border in another state.”
Point Blank has frequently recognized the contributions of attorney Alan Gura to the restoration of Second Amendment rights, and Dallas attorney Bill Mateja deserves an honorable mention for his work on this case as well.
While it is likely the ruling will be appealed, Gottlieb and both attorneys are confident CCRKBA will prevail at the Fifth Circuit.
But none of this would have been possible without the three eager plaintiffs, all CCRKBA members, who were willing to join in this legal action. When all is said and done, defending the Second Amendment is a job that invariably falls into the laps of individual citizens who step forward and do the right thing.