A gun rights group sued Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones after his office failed to release gun confiscation records related to an Orangevale man accused of belonging to a white supremacist group. The Firearms Policy Coalition indicated that the Sheriff's Office violated the California Public Records Act, which guarantees public access to such documents.
Firearm Policy Coalition director of legal strategy, Adam Kraut, said that people have the right to know how the government enforced its laws and policies, especially when the suspension of fundamental constitutional rights was involved.
"The defendants' denial of our requests is particularly concerning in light of it being a significant matter of great public interest, and we look forward to finding out what they're hiding from us and all Californians," Kraut said.
Firearm Policy Coalition says the Sheriff's office withheld information related to confiscations, records, and policies. One particular incident involved the confiscation of firearms from Andrew Richard Casarez, an Orangevale resident accused of belonging to an alleged Dylann Roof-inspired white supremacist group, the Bowl Patrol.
The Sacramento County Sheriff's office seized Casarez's 9mm firearm using a gun violence restraining order after obtaining a warrant. Later a Sacramento Superior Court Judge David De Alba extended the order by one year.
Although Casarez was accused of inciting violence, he wasn't arrested or charged with any crimes at the state and federal levels.
The Firearm Policy Coalition requested Casarez's gun violence restraining order documents in early August. The group also requested Sacramento County Sheriff Department's policy documents regarding gun violence restraining orders, petitions, warrants, and confiscations, including the intervening evidence such as body and dashboard cameras and audio, video, and radio recordings.
However, on Aug. 26, the Sheriff provided inadequate responses and withheld most of the information requested. Additional requests for information went unanswered, forcing the group to move to court.
Paul Nicholas Boylan, FPC's lawyer, said that the California Constitution guarantees the right to a transparent and accountable government. He decried the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office's violation of the laws.
"We are hoping that by demanding transparency of the SCSD in this case, it will curtail future infringements on the public's rights to access information held by public agencies," Boylan said.
Sacramento County Sheriff's Office is known for its anti-gun stance. Unsurprisingly, it wouldn't hesitate to violate the constitution to defend its political position. The office may be aware of certain laws, procedures, or policies that could be unpalatable to pro-constitution groups. Sheriff Jones, although a Republican, embraces the disarmament policies Democrats in the Golden State.
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