On May 19th, a local newspaper reported that the city of Upland settled the lawsuit with the two men for $37,500. The city manager was quoted as saying "It was going to be more costly to fight it."
A new law, which forbids the open carry of handguns in California, went into effect January 1, 2012. Open carry of rifles and shotguns is still legal in the state. Governor Jerry Brown signed the open-carry ban in October 2011 along with Assembly Bill 809, which allows the state to retain info on buyers of rifles and shotguns. Brown wrote, "Anytime someone purchases a firearm in California, whether a long gun or handgun, their personal information is sent to the Department of Justice for a criminal background check. While purchaser information on handguns is retained, purchaser information on long guns is destroyed. Since the state already retains handgun purchaser information, I see no reason why the state should not also retain information pertaining to the sale of long guns."
Jonathan Birdt, attorney for the plantiffs in the Upland case, is himself currently a plantiff in a federal civil lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department regarding his right to obtain a concealed carry permit. In his statement, Birdt writes "Appellant does not challenge California's statutory scheme of requiring a permit before a resident can exercise their Second Amendment rights outside of the home. Appellant does challenge Appellees' interpretation of the "good cause" requirement of that permit scheme as requiring evidence of a clear and present danger before they will issue a permit. Appellees denied Appellant's requests for a permit because he had not demonstrated a clear and present danger to his life, this standard is so draconian and arbitrary it precludes virtually anyone from gaining the statutory permit in Los Angeles."
Birdt also quotes testimony from the deposition of an LAPD designated witness, who defended the strict concealed carry parameters: "If we make the policy any less strict, the vast majority of the people in Los Angeles would have or would qualify for CCW, and would put more guns on the street and lead to more gun violence, and the fear of the gun violence." Birdt's brief concluded "As a benchmark we often refer to those bastions of fundamental rights embodied in the freedom of speech or religion, but somehow pay only passing lip service to something right in between, the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense, a fundamental right no less trivial than the right to free speech or religion."
Christopher Hacopian, one of the plantiffs in the successful Upland case, has since run into additional problems while exercising his right to open carry. In December 2011, Hacopian and another person had a dramatic encounter with Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies in Lomita who pulled and aimed their guns at him in his vehicle. He posted a very dramatic photo of the scene on his facebook page, but has not released the video, stating "I got it all on video. But can't publish it or go into details. All I'm gonna say LASD is worse than Denzel Washington in Training Day. They set us up !!!!!!!!!!"
In a subsequent series of facebook postings on December 2, 2011, Hacopian promised it was the "Best OC (open carry) video guaranteed! We have severely injured, illegally searched, detained, attested, OCers. LASD set us up and F'ed us...And obstructed evidence..." His lawyer Jon Birdt replied to the facebook posting, encouraging Hacopian to publish the video: "Publish it! They deserve the ridicule. A gun is not a crime, but false imprisonment and brandishing deputy dumb fuck should be arrested."
Hacopian responded "I respectfully refuse to publish the video because the other person in the video asked me not to. I am morally obligated to." He continued posting some additional details about the incident in Lomita, stating "This is what happens when you inform that you will be lawfully OCing. Thanks for proving my point LASD... It's good to know that friends find you so valuable that they want you stay. But with Upland police officers with a history of stalking, assaulting, on duty his mistress. And new LASD issues? Holly shit they set us up!! I at least owe it to my future kids a "politically decent" place to grow up... And Ontario police openly intimidates me too? F'en bastards...For this specific incident we gave the local PD a heads up, We called them that we would be doing this. Then they have a local, larger department pull us over. They set us up. Then without probable cause they searched, battered, and injured us. No to mention destroy and tamper with evidence used against us. "
Hacopian, Gibbs, and Birdt should be heartily commended for their tireless defense of our God-given freedoms. Keep up the great work, guys.
Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured on LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened, Infowars, PrisonPlanet, National Motorists Association, WorldNetDaily, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 Los Angeles, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI 640, The Press Enterprise, Antiwar.com, IamtheWitness.com, FreedomsPhoenix, Rense, BlackBoxVoting, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com
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