Federal Lawsuit Takes Aim At Vague Definition Of ‘Assault Weapons’

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Federal lawsuit takes aim at vague definition of 'assault weapons'A pair of gun rights groups have filed a lawsuit in California alleging that the State’s definition of “assault weapons” is unConstitutionally vague.

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Calguns Foundation have been joined by Brendan John Richards in their effort to change the wording of the law. Richards, an Iraq combat veteran, spent six days in jail in May 2010 after police found two pistols and a rifle in the trunk of his car.

Richards was arrested and charged for unlawful possession of an assault weapon. Last September, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office dropped the charges following a report from the State’s Department of Justice, which indicated that none of Richards’ firearms were considered “assault weapons.”

“Mr. Richards was jailed for almost a week, when he had broken no law because a police officer had a conflicting view and the District Attorney’s office believed him,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb.

Gene Hoffman, executive director of the Calguns Foundation, said that the broad definition of the law is designed to prohibit “guns that look scary.”

Attorney Don Kilmer of San Jose claims that gun owners in the United States are vulnerable to a system in which police “arrest them first and let the courts sort it out.” He believes this is a direct broach of citizens’ Constitutional rights.

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