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Injunction Sought in Federal Lawsuit Over Riverside, California Sheriff Stan Sniff’s “Discriminatory and Unconstitutional” Handgun License Policies

RIVERSIDE, CA (October 25, 2018) — Counsel for a Riverside County resident and five public interest litigation organizations filed a new motion to seek an injunction against Riverside, California Sheriff Stanley Sniff and the County of Riverside over a “discriminatory and unconstitutional” policy that prohibits legal U.S. residents from applying for a handgun carry license. A copy of the court filings for van Nieuwenhuyzen v. Sniff can be viewed at www.calgunsfoundation.org/sniff.

The lawsuit, filed last week, seeks a “judgment . . . that the defendants’ CCW Policy, and all other County of Riverside laws, customs, practices, or policies which restrict lawfully admitted aliens’ firearms rights and privileges based on United States citizenship, are null and void because they (i) violate the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United State Constitution; and (ii) infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms in violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution” and other related relief.

Plaintiff Arie van Nieuwenhuyzen recently asked the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department how to apply for a “CCW” license to carry his handgun in public for self-defense and other lawful purposes. The Sheriff’s Department told him that Sheriff Sniff and the Department requires that all applicants be U.S. citizens, and that legal U.S. residents could not apply.

“This case is about eliminating discriminatory and unconstitutional policies and practices,” said lead attorney George M. Lee. “This Sheriff’s Department’s policies are violating the Constitution, and thus, we were compelled to take action.”

“Unless they are prohibited from possessing firearms under the laws, the Second Amendment means that people have a fundamental, individual right to carry loaded firearms outside their homes for lawful purposes,” explained Lee. “And the Fourteenth Amendment ensures that those human rights are protected not just for those individuals the government favors, but for all people legally residing in our nation.”

“If we all agree that the right to self-defense is a basic, fundamental human right, not one ‘granted’ by the Second Amendment, but guaranteed by it, there is no reason why that right should be denied to people living lawfully and peacefully in this country,” he added.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorney George M. Lee of San Francisco litigation firm Seiler Epstein Ziegler & Applegate LLP. The lawsuit is backed by The Calguns Foundation (CGF), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF), and Madison Society Foundation (MSF), also institutional plaintiffs in the case, whose Riverside County residents are affected.

Anyone who is prevented from applying for a carry license or who has been denied a carry license because they are not a U.S. citizen, no matter where they live, should contact the FPC/FPF Legal Action Hotline at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline or (855) 252-4510 (available 24/7/365) as soon as possible.

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