Gun show sponsor files for damages for violation of 2nd Amendment rights

By Sue Forde, Citizen Review Online

Sequim, WA – 7/6/02 - A local second amendments rights organization has filed a claim for damages because of unconstitutional and illegal rules imposed by the local police chief.

Pacific Northwest Shooting Park Association (PNSPA) has filed a monetary claim for $135,000 for lost revenue from the disruption of a local gun show by the police in April. 

Sequim chief of police Byron Nelson had issued a list of rules as the Pacific NW Gun Show at Guy Cole Convention Center show was about to open on April 12, including a memorandum that no individual gun sales would be permitted without a background check.  As the event began, the chief showed up to inform participants and visitors that no private sales would be allowed, and that anyone doing so would be subject to arrest.

The city violated state law by banning private-party sales of guns at the show, said Don Roberts, the event’s organizer.  Many of the vendors packed up and left in protest. Others were put off when local police patrolled the show, saying later they felt intimidated by the actions. 

The yearly show, put on to help raise funds for the construction of a local shooting park, lost money when the show flopped as a result of the actions taken, according to Louis A. Huber, president of PNSPA. The organization was the recipient of the proceeds of the annual event, toward accumulating funds for the shooting park.  The gun show had been held the previous year without incident.

Huber appeared before the city council to state his objections to the action, and to request remedy, including the chief’s suspension from office and a public apology.  When none was forthcoming, the organization filed the claim.  “Chief Nelson banned private-party gun sales at the show in violation of state law, and without authority of a city ordinance,” the claim states. They plan to proceed with a lawsuit if no action is taken by the city.

Washington State has not yet passed any legislation which would prohibit private gun sales, but many other states have, and the federal government has been attempting to pass such a law for at least a couple of years.

So far, 18 states have closed the “loophole” of private gunowners selling their weapons without background checks and other regulations, according to Americans for Gun Safety.  The Washington State legislature has proposed several bills to accomplish the same goal. So far, none have been successful.

At the federal level, Senator Castle introduced S.890 – the Gun Show Loophole Closing and Gun Law Enforcement Act of 2001 (it was also introduced as HR2377 in the House).  Co-sponsors included Hillary Rodham-Clinton.  It died last year, but it’s back again this year, with even more co-sponsors.  HR.4034 and Senate Bill 767– The Gun Show Background Check Act of 2002 was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security on May 6, 2002. 

According to Alan Korwin, author of Gun Laws of America the proposed law is extremely bad for exercising of our Second Amendment Rights.  Click here for his article.

 With the constant attack on the individual’s right to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, we need to be on the alert to such bills, and write our representatives to let them know what we think.  With the implementation of Homeland Security, individual liberties seem to be dissolving before our eyes.

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