ACLU sues over gun...


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Quiet
July 7, 2009, 06:25 AM
Noticed no one has mentioned this.
Was reported in the news on 07-02-2009.


ACLU files suit over gun rights (http://www.wwl.com/ACLU-files-suit-over-gun-rights/4728222)

A New Orleans man is suing the city and its district attorney for refusing to give back a gun that police seized when he was arrested on drug and firearms charges.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed the federal suit on behalf of Errol Houston Jr., who was arrested last year following a traffic stop.

The suit says the district attorney's office declined to prosecute Houston but has refused to return his .40 caliber firearm.


ACLU Sues Cannizzaro, Riley Over Gun Confiscation (http://www.wdsu.com/news/19930035/detail.html)

A branch of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against New Orleans' top law enforcement officials for refusing to return a handgun to its owner.

Erroll Houston, Jr. is a painting contractor who says he carries a weapon for personal protection. He is licensed to do so, according to the suit.

Police confiscated the gun when they arrested Houston last July. But the District Attorney's office never pursued charges and Houston never went to trial.

He also never got the gun back.

"For the government to keep property that someone is legally entitled to own, there must be good cause, and the owner is entitled to due process," ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman said. "Mr. Houston has done nothing wrong. There are no criminal charges against him.

"His firearm, which he is and was entitled to carry, has been confiscated for no reason. It is past time for NOPD and the District Attorney to return it."

Esman said Houston made repeated requests for the return of his property, but was told policy prohibits the return of weapons confiscated during an arrest.

The City of New Orleans, Police Superintendent Warren Riley and District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro are named in the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in federal court.

WDSU has requested a response from both Cannizzaro and Riley but has not yet heard back from their offices.

Houston claims Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has instituted a policy that firearms seized during arrests will not be returned to their owners.

The ACLU says that policy violates Houston's constitutional rights.

Cannizzaro says his office decides on a "case by case basis'' whether to return confiscated guns.

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Cannonball888
July 7, 2009, 06:35 AM
This is pure theft. Glad the ACLU is doing something somewhat progun for a change.

Bailey Boat
July 7, 2009, 06:36 AM
I hope they win and leave the door open for the numerous others that have been treated in the same fashion. Is NO ever going to learn????

rmt22
July 7, 2009, 08:35 AM
I have a client that was charged with shooting into the back window of a vehicle (shooting into occupied dwelling/car (a serious charge)). the car followed him to his house after a road rage incident. We were arguing self defense but it was NOT a strong case but one I had a decent chance of winning if I got the right jury.

My client was prepared to go to trial, so the state backed off but they still had his ak-47.

I was court appointed (so in NC the D would not have to pay for my services if case dismissed), so I do not handle property issues b/c the Judge may seize the property for payment of my services.

The other issue is if the charges are dormant demanding your gun back can make the charges come back. In NC there is no statute of limitations. So to avoid the possibility of prosecution it might be better to purchase another gun. It has to be a cost/benefit analysis.

TexasRifleman
July 7, 2009, 08:44 AM
Keep in mind this is the STATE ACLU, not the national organization. Many states have active ACLU groups that do a lot of pro gun type of work.

The National organization however continues to state that they disagree with Heller and are adamantly anti gun.

http://www.laaclu.org/


ACLU Sues District Attorney For Return of Firearm
7.2.2009

Today the ACLU Foundation of Louisiana filed suit against the City of New Orleans, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, and Chief of Police Warren Riley, for refusing to return a firearm to its lawful owner. Erroll Houston, Jr., a New Orleans resident and painting contractor, is licensed to carry a gun and sometimes does so to protect himself against crime in his neighborhood. On July 5, 2008, he was arrested. At the time of his arrest, the police confiscated his firearm. About a month later, the District Attorney refused the charges, at which time Mr. Houston attempted to get his firearm back. The New Orleans Police Department told Mr. Houston that the gun must be released by the District Attorneys' Office. Despite repeated requests, the District Attorney has refused to return it to Mr. Houston, citing a policy prohibiting the return of firearms after the arrest of the owner.

Do NOT make the mistake of supporting the National organization which still says:

The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller. While the decision is a significant and historic reinterpretation of the right to keep and bear arms, the decision leaves many important questions unanswered that will have to be resolved in future litigation, including what regulations are permissible, and which weapons are embraced by the Second Amendment right that the Court has now recognized.

4v50 Gary
July 7, 2009, 09:00 AM
Thank you Texas Rifleman for making that distinction for me.

waterhouse
July 7, 2009, 09:00 AM
Police confiscated the gun when they arrested Houston last July. But the District Attorney's office never pursued charges and Houston never went to trial.

Any lawyer here know if there is some sort of statute of limitations on this sort of thing? I'm curious if they waited until now to file the suit so as to allow one year to pass since the arrest.

Husker_Fan
July 7, 2009, 09:27 AM
The ACLU is different than the NRA in that the NRA is a centrallized national organization. The ACLU is, as the name implies, a union of state organizations. It generally conducts litigation throught the state orgs the majority of which hold a more pro 2A position than the national organization.

Even without that, I don't think the ACLU is actively against the 2A. They (the national org) is just ambivelant to it.

Mohawk
July 7, 2009, 11:50 AM
Good information. I thought the ACLU was anti gun, across the board. Nice to see that some local ACLUs have a common sense view of gun rights and will go to bat for the gun owner.

Proinsias
July 7, 2009, 02:15 PM
Here's (http://aclunv.org/category/issue/second-amendment) what the local ACLU has to say about 2A.

eqfan592
July 7, 2009, 05:32 PM
I'm also glad to see some local chapters getting on board with defending 2a rights as much as they do other rights. The national org is really shooting itself in the foot by trying to stick with the "collective rights" BS, a mindset that the vast majority of modern constitutional scholars disagree with. In fact, even in writing the dissenting opinion in the Heller case, the dissenting judges stated their agreement with the idea of the 2a protecting an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. That any organization would ignore this rare form of total agreement from the SCOTUS is folly of the worst kind.



I generally like the ACLU, and I think they do a great job, but they've really missed the boat when it comes to the 2a.

Gamera
July 7, 2009, 05:46 PM
I wonder what kind of gun the guy is trying to get back...

runrabbitrun
July 7, 2009, 05:55 PM
Hopefully the DA will be charged with theft, huh?

rritter
July 7, 2009, 06:08 PM
My understanding of this is that the ACLU is treating it as an illegal seizure of property case, not as a gun rights case. In other words, they're fighting this one despite the fact that a gun is involved, not because of it.

Still, it's the right thing to do - the government should not be seizing legally-owned property for flimsy, frivolous reasons.

ArmedBear
July 7, 2009, 06:16 PM
In other words, they're fighting this one despite the fact that a gun is involved, not because of it.

That's fine.

Remember: we may have won Heller, but the day-to-day application of gun rights isn't about gun rights, necessarily.

If you can have your property seized arbitrarily at the whim of law enforcement officers, without due process, RKBA means NOTHING. It's easy to just take your guns, even if you have a right to own guns.

It's these day-to-day cases where rights are often won or lost for real.

daniel1113
July 7, 2009, 06:46 PM
Do NOT make the mistake of supporting the National organization which still says:

And do not make the mistake of opposing a multi-issue national organization because of a disagreement with a single issue. While the ACLU may not be a supporter of individual gun ownership, it does a lot of good work to defend our many other civil liberties, many of which are just as important if not more important than the second amendment.

ArmedBear
July 7, 2009, 06:49 PM
Of course, groups like IJ and FIRE have been doing a lot of good work, too, and they don't oppose the 2nd Amendment.

FIRE has been doing work the ACLU should be doing, but apparently chooses not to do for political reasons.

So don't make the mistake of thinking that the only place you can donate, in order to support civil liberties, is the ACLU.

TexasRifleman
July 7, 2009, 07:52 PM
And do not make the mistake of opposing a multi-issue national organization because of a disagreement with a single issue. While the ACLU may not be a supporter of individual gun ownership, it does a lot of good work to defend our many other civil liberties, many of which are just as important if not more important than the second amendment.

You're under the impression that the others can exist at all without the Second.

They can't. The writers recognized it, Scalia recognized it in Heller.

It's a shame so many gun owners don't recognize it.

daniel1113
July 7, 2009, 08:51 PM
You're under the impression that the others can exist at all without the Second.

They can't. The writers recognized it, Scalia recognized it in Heller.

It's a shame so many gun owners don't recognize it.


That's quite an assumption to make about someone that you don't know, and also unfortunate considering second amendment issues are the primary reason I am attending law school. Let's just say I get it (more so than you'll ever know).

While the second amendment may be important in securing many of our other rights, it is by no means more important than those rights. Habeus corpus, trial by jury, free speech, etc. Take one away, with or without the second amendment, and any society will have big problems.

ANY organization that actively supports ANY civil rights is a friend of mine, and should be appreciated by anyone that supports the second amendment and loves liberty.

TexasRifleman
July 7, 2009, 09:31 PM
ANY organization that actively supports ANY civil rights is a friend of mine, and should be appreciated by anyone that supports the second amendment and loves liberty.

Even if that organization directly states they don't believe the Second applies to citizens?

Not sure how you can get that contradiction to work for you.

It does not work for me and I won't support the national ACLU as long as they continue to state that the Second Amendment does not apply to me as a citizen, regardless of what else they may do.

Neverwinter
July 8, 2009, 12:35 AM
Quote:
ANY organization that actively supports ANY civil rights is a friend of mine, and should be appreciated by anyone that supports the second amendment and loves liberty.
Even if that organization directly states they don't believe the Second applies to citizens?
Yes. Someone who loves liberty should support organizations that work to defend those liberties. Would you stop supporting the NRA if they said that they don't believe the 5th Amendment is a civil right?

TexasRifleman
July 8, 2009, 07:56 AM
Yes. Someone who loves liberty should support organizations that work to defend those liberties. Would you stop supporting the NRA if they said that they don't believe the 5th Amendment is a civil right?

Yes, probably so. They are all tied together in a way that makes each of them vulnerable without the others.

I'm quite sure the Brady Campaign supports the First Amendment, do you support them?

Would you buy a house with one wall missing?

daniel1113
July 8, 2009, 08:13 AM
Yes, probably so. They are all tied together in a way that makes each of them vulnerable without the others.

I'm quite sure the Brady Campaign supports the First Amendment, do you support them?

Your comparison is invalid, as the Brady Campaign actively fights against the second amendment (and therefore against liberty), whereas the ACLU does not. As another poster mentioned previously, if anything, the ACLU is completely ambivalent when it comes to second amendment issues.

The day the ACLU directly attacks the second amendment, or any other of our rights, is the day they will lose my support. Of course, that will never happen, as that is not how the ACLU operates.

TexasRifleman
July 8, 2009, 08:33 AM
As another poster mentioned previously, if anything, the ACLU is completely ambivalent when it comes to second amendment issues.

The day the ACLU directly attacks the second amendment, or any other of our rights, is the day they will lose my support. Of course, that will never happen, as that is not how the ACLU operates.

The ACLU is known to be the "defender of rights". By directly stating that the Second does not apply to citizens they are far from ambivalent. If they would ignore it completely that is one thing, but they no not.

They flat out state that they do not believe having one's gun rights interfered with is a problem:

In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue.

I consider that a direct attack on the Second Amendment, but I see that many of you are desperate to back the national ACLU for whatever reason, so knock yourselves out. The statement that the regulation of guns is not a liberty issue is pretty much the exact point Brady is trying to make, they just take it further to actively try to stop it where ACLU is content to simply make the statement. That is not ambivalent, they have clearly taken a side.

I'll support state organizations that take the view that a violation of one's Second Amendment rights is a civil liberties issue, like the Louisiana ACLU has done here and the Texas ACLU has done in the past, among many of the other state groups.

rbernie
July 8, 2009, 08:37 AM
The day the ACLU directly attacks the second amendment, or any other of our rights, is the day they will lose my support. Of course, that will never happen, as that is not how the ACLU operatesWhat form of cognitive dissonance allows you to NOT view this as directly attacking the RKBA and the Second Amendment:The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller. While the decision is a significant and historic reinterpretation of the right to keep and bear arms, the decision leaves many important questions unanswered that will have to be resolved in future litigation, including what regulations are permissible, and which weapons are embraced by the Second Amendment right that the Court has now recognized.They - the national organization - are clearly stating that they are not proponents of the RKBA. That statement is very consistent with their past statements on the issue.

They are, and have been, very public opponents of the RKBA. As such, they lost my support a long time ago.

I have gone so far in my past to write them and explain how I could not reconcile their support for other civil liberties (which I laud) against their dismissal of those civil liberties that are at odds with their personal beliefs. I stopped short of calling them hypocrites, but I clearly outlined my concerns.

I received in turn a series of letters that essentially said, 'Tough noogies. We're smarter, and we're the ACLU, and we don't like guns, and you can't make us. So there!".

I am very glad that, at the state level, the 'little ACLU' is still occasionally populated with reasoning human beings. I am VERY grateful that there are organizations willing to act as legal watchdogs upon our freedoms. I value such things very highly.

I am unconvinced that 'the big ACLU' is worth more than a bucket of warm spit.

SuperNaut
July 8, 2009, 09:18 AM
I was a very ardent supporter of the ACLU pre-Heller. I could understand, but not agree with, their position on the 2nd. Post-Heller, I was quite confident that the ruling would cause them to change their position on the 2nd. I figured that these are smart guys, the ruling is definitive, they'll come around.

But no, they immediately dug in their heels and unequivocally stated that they thought that the Heller ruling was incorrect and that their position was correct. IMO they are now in direct defiance of the 2nd; as such they oppose the fundamental principles that support this nation, this taints everything they do.

Giving them money would mean that I also oppose the fundamental principles that support this nation. So I stopped giving and told them to stuff it.

daniel1113
July 8, 2009, 09:32 AM
I know the ACLUs stance on firearms. You aren't telling me anything that I don't already know, so I'm not quite sure what the purpose is for your post. I wish the ACLU did more to support the second amendment, as I too agree that it is necessary to defend our other rights. However, their lack of support for the second amendment simply does not invalidate the massive amount of effort that the ACLU has put into defending civil liberties in thousands of other cases, just as Thomas Jefferson's ownership of slaves does not invalidate his ideas on government and liberty.

Not everything is black and white, my friends. The ACLU is neither all good nor all bad. I'll be the first to outline its shortcomings, just as I'll be the first to recognize its benefits. And I'll do the same with every organization, from the NRA on down. I suggest you all do the same.

ArmedBear
July 8, 2009, 09:38 AM
daniel, I don't think that was the point.

I think the point is that the ACLU actively OPPOSES a SCOTUS decision that furthers the cause of civil liberties. That's not the same as ignoring it.

Like I said, there are other groups that can use money to defend civil liberties, like IJ and FIRE.

The ACLU isn't some magical entity. They can be replaced if need be, and/or change their stance on one thing or another if the money dries up and goes to other groups.

If the ACLU were alone, or if it were the only group that actually did anything (like the NRA), I'd be more apt to support them. As it stands, opposition to civil liberties means my money goes elsewhere.

The ACLU doesn't take every case. That's why FIRE was started, I believe. So they pick and choose. That's probably not a reason not to support them, unless their picks and choices demonstrate an egregious violation of their own claimed principles.

However, what if the ACLU opposed equal protection for Jews? Would you support the ACLU then? I see little difference in their active opposition to the 2nd Amendment, as opposed to simply saying, "2nd Amendment cases are not our mission. XY and Z are", and a hypothetical active opposition to equal protection under the law for Jews.

SuperNaut
July 8, 2009, 09:41 AM
However, their lack of support for the second amendment simply does not invalidate the massive amount of effort that the ACLU has put into defending civil liberties in thousands of other cases

That is why I used the word "taint."

Not everything is black and white, my friends. The ACLU is neither all good nor all bad. I'll be the first to outline its shortcomings, just as I'll be the first to recognize its benefits. And I'll do the same with every organization, from the NRA on down. I suggest you all do the same.

I already did what you suggest post-Heller, as I mentioned in my post. The examination led me to CATO (http://www.cato.org/). The ACLU isn't the only game in town.

runrabbitrun
July 8, 2009, 10:01 AM
I wonder where the National ACLU stands on things like
road side check points, Jim crow (get permission from the sheriff to buy a handgun) laws
and the ridiculous infringement on the 2a called NICS?

Perhaps they should look into the current situation
where ATF agents are knocking on people's doors asking to see their guns?

I'm not an expert on the ACLU, but from what I've seen,
they sure have a twisted view of what this country is founded on.

rbernie
July 8, 2009, 10:02 AM
Keep the discussion focused on RKBA issues, or I'll lock this down.

Deltaboy
July 8, 2009, 02:07 PM
Glad to see the ACLU doing something good.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 8, 2009, 02:18 PM
How can they reconcile this action with their official policy statement #47?

http://www.aclu.org/crimjustice/gen/35904res20020304.html

See where they "disagree" with the Heller ruling? If they disagree, then why are they helping this man? I'm glad they are; just asking. Any ACLU members know?

Hey ACLU, I also "disagree" with the court cases that say the 16th amendment was properly ratified. So will you defend me if I quit filing tax returns, since what we all believe is more important than what the law IS?

TexasRifleman
July 8, 2009, 02:22 PM
e where they "disagree" with the Heller ruling? If they disagree, then why are they helping this man? I'm glad they are; just asking. Any ACLU members know?

As I posted earlier, the national ACLU has no involvement in this.

The state organizations run themselves completely independently of the national group.

All they have in common is the name.

Many state level ACLU's have taken aggressive pro 2A stances in the past. Texas, Louisiana, and Washington are ones I know about for sure but there are probably others.

Husker_Fan
July 8, 2009, 02:23 PM
They would still be doing this if the confiscated property was a car rather than a gun.

Lou McGopher
July 8, 2009, 02:41 PM
This is pure theft. Glad the ACLU is doing something somewhat progun for a change.

It seems to me that in this case, the ACLU is getting involved on the basis of due process, not the 2A.

So they ACLU doesn't support the 2A as protecting an individual right. Do they actively work against the RKBA? Or do they simply refuse to assist in defense of it?

If they aren't actively working against the RKBA, then let it go. Defending the RKBA in court and through lobbying is unlike any of the other enumerated rights. Look at the sizes of the GOA and NRA, and compare that to the size of the ACLU. Neither the ACLU or any other single-issue group can match them. I would say it's easier to defend things like freedom of speech, religion, voting rights, and equal treatment, than it is to defend the RKBA. Besides, a lot of the people who give time and money to the ACLU are anti-gun types. If the anti-gunners want to support freedom of speech, or anti-discrimination through the ACLU, I'm not going to complain.

I'll complain about the ACLU for supporting affirmative action, but I won't complain about them not supporting RKBA.

ArmedBear
July 8, 2009, 02:53 PM
Do they actively work against the RKBA?

Yes.

Their official position has always been intended to legitimize the "collective rights" fabrication.

The ACLU carries a fair amount of weight in the world of civil liberties, as a nationwide association of civil liberties attorneys.

Consider this hypothetical scenario.

The NRA displays prominently on their website:

Assault Weapons are meant to kill our enemies in war, and have no place in civilian hands. 5-round magazines are enough for any legitimate use of a firearm. Self-defense with firearms is so rare that it is almost an urban myth. Guns should be regulated strictly, because it is far more likely that a gun will be used in a crime than for self-defense. Concealed Carry should not be legal for civilians, as it will only lead to pointless violence as people use guns in fights over parking spaces in the city.

But then the NRA doesn't actively work to ban AR-15 rifles. They just ignore any bans or restrictions, as their official position is that no civilian needs to have an AR.

If that scenario were real, would you think that the NRA, which has clout among allies and adversaries, is working against RKBA?

I sure would!

Husker_Fan
July 8, 2009, 03:17 PM
But the ACLU makes no such statement either.

The ACLU disagrees with the Supreme Court's conclusion about the nature of the right protected by the Second Amendment. We do not, however, take a position on gun control itself. In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue.

I don't see the ACLU as relevant to the RKBA debate, and they don't seem to see the RKBA as relevant to their agenda vis a vis civil liberties.

The difference is that the NRA lobbies for pro RKBA legislation and uses its money and membership to go after anti politicians. The ACLU doesn't lobby on RKBA issues, and doesn't use a political arm to go after politicians on the basis of their RKBA voting record.

PHenry
July 8, 2009, 03:21 PM
I love and hate the ACLU, most often the latter - just saw this today:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeuBB_mOFIA

ArmedBear
July 8, 2009, 03:23 PM
But the ACLU makes no such statement either.


Yes, they do.

I don't think you understand what official and prominent support of the "collective rights" lie means. It's the equivalent, given the place in politics, culture and law that each organization has in the US.

TexasRifleman
July 8, 2009, 03:38 PM
But the ACLU makes no such statement either.


Really?

In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue.

You don't consider that an anti Second Amendment statement?

They don't say "we don't care one way or the other" , they flat out say that they don't believe the Second Amendment exists for citizens.

That's an anti statement, not neutral. Why so many want to give them a pass as being "neutral" towards the Second Amendment is beyond me.

Regardless of other great things they may do they remain today an anti gun organization, by their own admission.

ArmedBear
July 8, 2009, 03:42 PM
Bottom line: the best-known and largest group of civil liberties attorneys claiming that there IS no right to keep and bear arms is absolutely equivalent to the best-known and largest firearms organization claiming that banning semiautomatics is not an infringement on gun rights.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 8, 2009, 03:45 PM
Hear, hear! Armed Bear speaks very wisely!

Lou McGopher
July 8, 2009, 09:45 PM
Bottom line: the best-known and largest group of civil liberties attorneys claiming that there IS no right to keep and bear arms is absolutely equivalent to the best-known and largest firearms organization claiming that banning semiautomatics is not an infringement on gun rights.

Do they actively litigate against the RKBA?

If they didn't actively litigate against discrimination and against infringement of free speech and freedom of religion.... if all they did was say they were for it... how useful would they be as an organization?

It's what they do in the courtroom that counts.

As far as I've seen, they have an opinion on the RKBA, but they do nothing about it.

Husker_Fan
July 8, 2009, 10:55 PM
I don't agree with the position they have taken in regards to the 2A, but they don't litigate of behalf of cities or individuals who try to ban guns. They don't file amicus briefs in 2A cases, AFAIK. What they say is they don't view the RKBA as an individual right so they stay out of the issue. That's fine with me. I don't expect the NRA to litigate for strong 4th Amendment rights.

Deanimator
July 15, 2009, 03:03 PM
The Soviets didn't care WHY we invaded Normandy, just that we did.

Likewise, we didn't care WHY the Soviets defeated the Germans at Kursk, just that they did.

A "wrongful taking" win by the ACLU that gets a guy his gun back is a 2nd Amendment win, no matter the motivation.

jimmyraythomason
July 15, 2009, 03:06 PM
It is never a good idea to deal with the devil even for temporary gain. He will ALWAYS come back after YOU.

KBintheSLC
July 15, 2009, 03:06 PM
Wow... the ACLU actually cares about gun rights... what is this world coming to?

Vern Humphrey
July 15, 2009, 03:08 PM
I don't expect the NRA to litigate for strong 4th Amendment rights.
I do, and they do. The 4th Amendment covers illegal searches and seizures, and the NRA has represented gun owners in such cases.

MikkOwl
July 15, 2009, 03:10 PM
ACLU is about citizen's rights, right? That's a liberal* political stance. Why then are they going against that in being anti-gun rights?

*I realize many americans might think liberal is what you normally hear about in the news, but no, liberalism is something else. Have a look at wikipedia. Essentially privacy and people's right to choose for themselves.

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