RIVERSIDE, CA (October 19, 2018) — Today, attorneys for a Riverside County resident and five public interest organizations filed a new federal lawsuit against the Sheriff Stanley Sniff and the County of Riverside over handgun carry license policies and practices that, the plaintiffs allege, are unconstitutional. A copy of the complaint for van Nieuwenhuyzen v. Sniff can be viewed at www.calgunsfoundation.org/sniff.
After purchasing a handgun with the intention of eventually lawfully carrying it for self-defense, plaintiff Arie van Nieuwenhuyzen asked the Riverside County Sherriff’s Department how he could apply for a “CCW” license to carry it in public. But the Sheriff’s Department told him that, because he was a legal U.S. resident and not a U.S. citizen, he could not even apply for a license under Sheriff Sniff’s handgun policies and practices. That, the plaintiffs say, is unconstitutional.
“Courts across the country have long held that legal United States residents are entitled to the same constitutional protections as everyone else,” explained lead attorney George M. Lee. “Sheriff Sniff’s discriminatory and unconstitutional policies and practices are denying people access to the right to keep and bear arms and violating the Fourteenth Amendment’s command that all people shall enjoy equal protection of our laws.”
Plaintiff van Nieuwenhuyzen has been a legal resident of the United States, living in Riverside, and since 1983, “has raised an American family, owned a successful business, been involved in his community, serves as a member of his church and Sunday school teacher, and has obeyed all laws and customs of his adopted country and state,” Lee wrote in the complaint.
“Mr. van Nieuwenhuyzen has a fundamental human right to carry his gun outside his home for self-defense, but Sheriff Sniff’s policies and practices prevent him from doing so. Those customs are our first target in this case, and we look forward to forcing Sheriff Sniff to respect and follow the United States Constitution,” concluded Lee.
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.
Residents of Riverside County, California, who wish to apply for a handgun carry license but are prevented from doing so due to the sheriff’s policies, or have applied for and been denied a carry license, and who are legally eligible to possess firearms under state and federal laws, 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.