The Second Amendment Foundation notched another court victory today, this time in New Mexico, where a section of that state’s concealed carry law was hit with a permanent injunction for violating the Constitution’s equal protection clause, while in neighboring Colorado, a federal court this morning began hearing a challenge to that state’s new gun control laws, passed in 2013.
The SAF case was Jackson v. Eden, and it challenged the New Mexico requirement that all applicants for carry licenses be U.S. citizens.
Chief U.S. District Judge M. Christina Armijo issued the order Monday morning in Albuquerque, noting that the state can sever the offending requirement and still enforce the remainder of the carry statute, which has other legal requirements that all applicants must satisfy.
John W. Jackson is an Australian citizen who resides permanently in Rio Rancho, a community just north of Albuquerque. With the exception of his citizenship status, he is otherwise qualified to obtain a concealed carry license, the court ruled.
“This is a victory not only for our plaintiff, John W. Jackson, but for all permanent legal resident aliens who are otherwise qualified to obtain a concealed handgun license,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb in a press release.
He called today’s victory “one more example of how SAF is winning firearms rights one lawsuit at a time.”
Gottlieb noted that the ruling contained what he considers an important observation. Because the court found that the state statute discriminates on the basis of alienage, the law was subject to strict scrutiny.
“Mr. Jackson has demonstrated that he is a productive member of the community and certainly did not give up any right to personal protection by moving from his country to our country,” Gottlieb observed.
Meanwhile, due north about 450 miles in Denver, opening arguments were delivered in a case that will have national attention. Filed last year by gun rights advocates and county sheriffs, the federal lawsuit challenges Colorado’s 2013-adopted gun laws, passed in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook in Connecticut and at a theater in Aurora.
Last November, U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger ruled that sheriffs cannot sue the state in their “official capacities,” the Denver Post noted, but sheriffs could remain plaintiffs as individuals, and some have done exactly that. Judge Krieger is hearing the case, which is expected to last about two weeks.
The laws were passed with no Republican votes, leaving Colorado Democrats hanging out to dry, and two prominent state senators, were recalled from office in September, an historic first considering that voters threw them out over the gun law change. A third senator resigned later, in order to keep from being recalled and thus having the Senate fall under Republican control.
(Note: An earlier version mistakenly identified the plaintiff as John M. Jackson.)