Two Bay Area gun lovers lost a battle in court after a judge refused to interfere with cops' discretion when it comes to making firearms arrests.
The case started after Mark Haynie and Brendan Richards were arrested in 2009 and 2010 on suspicion of owning assault weapons, most of which are illegal in California. However, although the weapons looked like the banned assault rifles, they were technically legal, according to the claim. The weapons had a "bullet button" which makes the rifle's magazine detachable -- and those type of weapons are perfectly legal in California, the plaintiffs say.
But police couldn't immediately tell the difference, and so the cops hauled Haynie and Richards off to jail, where Richards spent six days -- even after the Department of Justice learned his weapons were not illegal, according to court documents filed this week in San Francisco.
Haynie, a Pleasanton resident, and Richards claimed they were wrongly arrested and the duo teamed up with Calguns Foundation and the Second
Amendment Foundation in a lawsuit demanding California
Attorney General Kamala Harris and the Department of Justice start issuing bulletins that help police distinguish guns with "bullet buttons" from illegal assault
But U.S. District Judge Susan Illston refused to issue such an order, saying the defendants had no real reason to believe they were in danger of being arrested again in the future for possessing the weapons.
According to Illston:
Plaintiffs' allegations that they fear future wrongful arrests do not
demonstrate a case or controversy and fail to establish standing to seek
an order compelling DOJ to issue a memorandum to prevent wrongful
arrests. Haynie and Richards would have to allege either
that all law enforcement officers in California always arrest any
citizen they come into contact with who is lawfully in possession of a
weapon with a bullet button, or that the DOJ has ordered or authorized
California law enforcement officials to act in such a manner.