SAF lawsuit challenges 'sporting purpose' restriction

November 29, 2006


BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a lawsuit in federal court in Ohio, challenging the “sporting purpose” limitation for firearms sales in this country, and supporting the constitutional right of American citizens living abroad to legally purchase firearms while in this country.

SAF and co-plaintiff Stephen Dearth of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, a native citizen of the United States, are represented by the law firms of Gura & Possessky (Virginia) and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey (Ohio).

SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb said “there is no ‘sporting purpose’ limitation on the right to keep and bear arms in the language of the Second Amendment.”

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“American citizens should not be penalized for living outside the United States, but under current statute, they are,” Gottlieb explained. “There is no public safety rationale for laws or regulations that prohibit a law-abiding citizen from exercising their rights on American soil. We cannot allow a legal environment to exist where the exercise of a civil right here at home is conditional to one’s country of residence.

“If Americans can have firearms for hunting, they can also have a gun for self-defense, for pest control, for training purposes, for any number of reasons, or for no reason at all, because the Second Amendment is not about duck hunting or target shooting, and never has been,” he continued. “It’s not a ‘Bill of Needs’ we’re talking about, it’s a Bill of Rights.

“And those constitutional rights, guaranteed by birth right to every American citizen, do not become null and void simply because an individual lives in another country,” Gottlieb said. “When a law-abiding American citizen comes home for a visit, he or she should be able to exercise their rights, including the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, anywhere in the United States no matter where they happen to live.

“We’re bringing this case to the courts,” Gottlieb concluded, “because we believe the rights of American citizens, no matter where they reside, are worth defending.”

"We will continue to defend the rights of Americans against pointless governmental interference. These laws serve no useful purpose. Mr. Dearth cannot be denied his constitutional rights while inside the United States, merely because his home happens to be across the border," added Alan Gura, the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs.

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