Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gun rights promoted in San Francisco Transit agency posts ads for 2nd Amendment conference

Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

The transit agency in San Francisco, which just weeks ago doctored a poster for the movie "The Other Guys" to remove guns from the hands of stars Will Ferrell and Mark Walhberg, now is displaying an ad for a gun rights conference that shows a woman holding a shotgun and looking through a curtain.

"A violent criminal is breaking through your front door. Can you afford to be UNARMED?" is the message.

"We suspect the MTA is allowing our ads in San Francisco despite their policy because they believed we were prepared to file a lawsuit on First and Second Amendment grounds if, for any reason, the city didn't take them," said Alan Gottlieb, of the Second Amendment Foundation, which is running the conference promoted by the ads.

Read Wayne LaPierre's detailed explanations on "SAFE: How to Protect Yourself, Your Family and your Home"

"Knowing we were responsible for the McDonald victory over Chicago and the defeat of their own 2005 gun ban proposition, and probably aware of our litigation in New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois and California, they did not want to lock horns with us again," Gottlieb said.

Gun rights conference ad

A spokesman for the San Francisco Metro Transit Authority confirmed to WND that the ads are up. But he could not respond to questions about whether the postings were done after the organization's policy was adjusted, ignored or violated.

The foundation said more than 15 huge advertisements promoting the 25th annual Gun Rights Policy conference are up at prominent transit locations around the City of San Francisco.

The organization claimed it as a "coup."

"You can see the ad that San Francisco MTA waved their anti-gun policy and allowed to run in order to avoid being sued," the foundation's statement said.

Gottlieb noted that the CalGuns Foundation assisted in the advertisement's preparation.

The SF Weekly reported early in August when the posters for "The Other Guys" originally featured the good guys "sailing through the air, guns drawn."

But the version on the transit agency ad displays had the actors displaying their fists, or a can of pepper spray and a badge.

At the time, agency spokesman Paul Rose said the organization "does have an advertising policy that states ads should not appear to promote the use of firearms or advocate any violent action."

The foundation said it was "remarkable" that the change was made.

"We take this annual conference around the country to areas where our rights might be threatened," said Gottlieb. "We're holding it in San Francisco this year because SAF was successful in overturning the city's 2005 handgun ban. Next year, we're holding it in Chicago, where SAF's lawsuit in McDonald v. City of Chicago led to the Supreme Court's ruling in June that applies the Second Amendment to the states."

The Second Amendment Foundation is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. It has more than 650,000 members and supporters.

It brought the case that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting Chicago's handgun ban – a precedent that affirmed individuals have the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. It also worked on the 2008 Heller ruling from the Supreme Court that rejected Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban.

The foundation already has brought to court at least four cases over local restrictions that it believes are precluded by the Supreme Court's latest ruling:

* The organization has sued the city of Chicago again, this time because it adopted a requirement that gun owners spend time at shooting ranges, then banned shooting ranges. Gottlieb said, "They have crafted this new ordinance to make it virtually impossible for prospective gun owners to meet all legal requirements unless they travel outside the city for mandatory training. The new ordinance prohibits public gun ranges inside the city yet the city demands that handgun owners get at least one hour of range training time." The Second Amendment Foundation said the city's regulations are depriving citizens of their rights.

* It filed a claim against Maryland for a man who alleges the state is violating the Second Amendment by refusing to renew his handgun permit. Raymond Woollard originally was issued a carry permit after a man broke into his home during a family event in 2002. Woollard's permit was renewed in 2005 after the defendant in the case was released from prison. But state officials now have refused to renew the permit, even though the intruder now lives some three miles from Woollard.

* It sued Westchester County, N.Y., because officials there were requiring residents to have a "good cause" to ask for a handgun permit. The federal lawsuit alleges the requirement conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment establishes a personal right to "keep and bear arms." Individual plaintiffs in the case are Alan Kachalsky and Christina Nikolov, both Westchester County residents whose permit applications were denied.

* The earliest case to result from the McDonald decision challenged a practice in North Carolina of banning guns during "emergencies." The case claimed state statutes forbidding the carrying of firearms or ammunition when officials declare "states of emergency" are unconstitutional. Further, the plaintiffs said a state law allowing the government to prohibit the sale, purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition is unconstitutional. WND reported earlier this year when residents of King, N.C., were startled by the banishment of firearms during a "declared snow emergency."

The high court's 5-4 ruling in the first Chicago case was forecast to bring on such challenges.

It flipped "the burden onto the government and legislatures to show why they need to restrict what the court has already said is an individual right," John Velleco, director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America, told WND after the decision.

There is other action on the state level regarding gun rights. Already, eight states have adopted laws that exempt guns made, sold and kept inside the states from any federal gun regulations.

A court case already is being heard over the effort in Montana – the first state to take the step of ordering federal regulators to stay out of the state's business of regulating its citizenry's weapons.

In Wyoming, lawmakers even adopted a $2,000 penalty for federal agents trying to enforce federal regulations against an exempted weapon.