Existing Law Requires Gun Owners to Pay for Government’s ‘Mistakes’

By David Codrea

Second Amendment Courts Judges Strict Scrutiny
What kind of justice can wronged gun owners expect under the current way the law works?
David Codrea in his natural habitat.

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- The government is not required to pay attorney fees when its erroneous actions force a citizen to take it to court to get matters resolved Judge Amy Berman Jackson* of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered Friday in Ledet v. United States. Compounding the frustrating-by-design way the legal deck is stacked against citizens seeking redress of grievances against government-inflicted wrongs, Judge Berman’s reading is consistent with existing law.

“What is this case about?” Ledet attorney Stephen Stamboulieh rhetorically asks. “Well, it has to do with NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] and erroneous denials, and despite NICS having the corrected record, still denying Mr. Ledet his lawful firearm purchases. After NICS stopped processing appeals, individuals that were erroneously denied had but one option: sue the USA in federal court.

“So, Mr. Ledet did that. And in less than a few months, was successful in being declared a lawful purchaser and owner of firearms. We dismissed the case and sought fees from the government. The court denied the fee motion.”

Tangentially related, it's instructive to revisit the ethics we've seen used to obscure government incompetence and corruption from legal scrutiny, just to reaffirm the character of those who would infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms as a matter of career interests over inconveniences like oaths. As we've seen numerous times in the past –and just recently — NFRTR [National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record for NFA firearms, etc.] data is unreliable for prosecutions.

Longtime gun owner rights advocates will remember Thomas Busey, then-chief of ATF's NFA Branch, who admitted on tape:

“Let me say that when we testify in court, we testify that the data base is 100 percent accurate. That's what we testify to, and we will always testify to that. As you probably well know, that may not be 100 percent true.”

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership included the recording in its documentary, “The Gang”:

Back to the Ledet NICS case, when the government (with unlimited resources) screws up, it makes citizens (who may or may not have had their assets seized or frozen) take them to court. And when government attorneys realize they're going to lose, they back down. But due to “the law,” they are immune from paying attorney fees.

An observation by the Founders comes to mind:

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”

“Why should an erroneously denied individual be on the hook for thousands of dollars to fix the government's mistake?” Stamboulieh asks. “I've assisted in drafting some legislation that will change how these cases are litigated, but, until Congress steps in, that's the way it is.”

* Incidentally, Obama appointee Amy Berman Jackson is the same judge presiding over the case against Eric Holder.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

  • 60 thoughts on “Existing Law Requires Gun Owners to Pay for Government’s ‘Mistakes’

    1. Longtime gun owner rights advocates will remember Thomas Busey, then-chief of ATF’s NFA Branch, who admitted on tape:

      “Let me say that when we testify in court, we testify that the data base is 100 percent accurate. That’s what we testify to, and we will always testify to that. As you probably well know, that may not be 100 percent true.”

      If I, under oath in court action gave false testimony, I would be subject to being charged with perjury, while government types can and do lie, perjure themselves with impunity. Pardon a dumb question but how tghe hell does that work?

    2. Interestingly, while some law abiding types have paid for government mistakes, screw ups if you prefer, via time, effort and money, others have paid for government screw ups in a more precious coinage, that being their health, and their lives. Of course, the offending parties, government, carry on, unpunished. A sad, potentially dangerous state of affairs.

    3. you all sound like a bunch of shi* heads…not one of you has said anything that is proven true or even close to real life facts… no dam wonder this country is falling apart. hell half of you cannot even spell, or construct a real sentence..I am leaving out your twisted facts and being able to hold a topic long enough to make a point and back it up….what a mess……

    4. I believe that this article is incorrect – When someone is wrongfully denied a right that is secured by the U.S. Constitution (keeping and bearing arms in this case), “remedy and recourse” is always available, because no form of “civilized law” can exist without it. When the govt. damages someone under the “color of law”, and then forces them to reclaim their rights in court, which will involve attorney fees, there must be a means to receive remedy (set things right) and to recourse, or recovering damages (the attorney fees). The SCOTUS weighed in on this in 1980 in two cases – Owens v. Independence and Maine v. Thiboutot, which dictate that officers of the court have no immunity when violating someone’s constitutional rights. Although the court (a part of the govt.) did not violate Ledit’s rights and remedied the situation by restoring his/her right, another part of the govt. (NICS) damaged him/her financially and should be held accountable for that damage. For this, there is recourse through Title 42, USC, SEC. 1983, which dictates that: ‘Every person who, under the color of statute, etc…. that deprives another of rights and privileges that are secured by the Constitution… shall be liable in a suit of equity.’ This gives Ledit the power to sue the BATFE or FBI, whoever ran the NICS check on him for unduly incurring him/her with these costs.

      1. The article is saying to get them back you must sue and that cost money most people don’t have. Not they don’t want to, but uless you are very lucky and get a lawyer that will take the case until you win, you foot the bill and if you run out of money you loose everything, which is what happens in most cases.

      2. I don’t think that the article was wrong. Codrea was reporting the case and what the judge said. It is the judge that is wrong. The Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) authorizes the payment of attorney’s fees to a prevailing party in an action against the United States absent a showing by the government that its position in the underlying litigation “was substantially justified.” Please see 28 U. S. C. §2412(d)(1)(A). The judge had to have known about EAJA fees!
        When Codrea writes, “… it’s instructive to revisit the ethics we’ve seen used to obscure government incompetence and corruption from legal scrutiny, just to reaffirm the character of those who would infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms as a matter of career interests over inconveniences like oaths.” He is on time and on target.

      3. Please excuse my proof-read of my comment, or lack thereof, Macofjack & Wild Bill. My intent was to say that Judge Amy Berman Jackson was “incorrect” in her ruling for the reasons in my post. Also, thanks Wild Bill for the Title 28 and EAJA references.

        1. @b.Zerker – no problem, just making sure everyone is on the same page. The anti-gunners give us enough to worry with. Take care and have a nice day!

    5. I think you all are missing the big picture: The government is bought and run by the 1%. While we argue over which side of a two party system is to blame, check your billfolds, we are being robbed while we concern ourselves with trivia. The whole system is corrupt. The middle class does not have a chance in hell of surviving. I’m a Patriot and I vote Republican., as I believe it is the least of two evils. When the government comes for my guns (from First Blood), they better bring a lot of body bags! or a drone with a Hellfire misle It would sure be nice if WE ALL: could sweep out the dirt, and give Trump a chance. My only bone to pick with him is his National Energy Policy which gives is full support to coal and nucular power, oil and gas , with no mention of solar, wind, geothermal, tidal wave, or any other clean energy source. Still he has not been in that long and has had to put up with a lot of cow poop. It will happen regardless of his policy. When the government decides they are ready to take our guns only the criminals will have guns………..and a few million Patriots.

      1. @Steven Miles FitzGerald – That’s why we want President Trump to drain the swamp!!!! Parry doesn’t matter!

      2. There is nothing wrong with removing the anti-fake market handcuffs, redoubled during Obama’s rule, that punish coal and oil for the purpose of increasing the power of the anti-gun oppressor class.

        Trump’s belligerent posture with North Korea is the worst policy.

        The anti-gun abuse of laws in America are nothing, by the the way, compared to the hell they have dropped in so many wars that have nothing to do with defending borders or defending us. You think Deep State will never turn its kill lists onto you and me?

    6. You can bet that these liberal hack judges won’t find any wrong doing by their fellow liberal hacks in our gov’ment!
      But liberal judge vs legal gun owner? That’s a different story all together.

    7. The headline reads:”Existing Law Requires Gun Owners to Pay for Government’s ‘Mistakes’”

      If it turns out that the headline is correct, then there is one possible conclusion, and only one possible conclusion re “Existing Law”. Existing Law is Upgefuc””” beyond redemption, as are those who created it, those who are still with us.

      The above is possibly a poor attempt to stay within the bounds of polite conversation.I may not have succeeded, but I tried.

    8. I find myself curious as to the following. When, if ever, will the judiciary put a stop to the criminal antics of government agencies, here I reference the DOJ and ATF, more properly BATFE? Indeed when, if ever will the judiciary act to strongly check the criminality of the above mentioned government agencies or departments?

      1. @Alan, I think that you already know that the answer is NEVER! It is in the federal judiciary’s best self interest to support the other two federal branches in their deviation from our Constitution’s procedures and requirements. “You support me, and I’ll support you.”

    9. The shucking and jiving engaged in by government is a prime example of the criminality, of the criminal antics that the citizenry often mistakenly looks to government for protection against. Unfortunately it turns out that the citizen seeks aid and protection from his attackers.

    10. if you do not like this crap…then tell us all , what you did about it. NO SMOKE AND MIRRORS JUST WHAT YOU REALLY HAVE DONE TO FIX THIS SHIT……………

    11. Maybe a 42 US 1983 action against the induhvidual gubmint fu##ups would make the next one think twice about screwing with someone’s rights.

    12. @Jimmy Joe, don’t know where you are reading the things you are saying, but the people here are interested in getting the country fixed. Is the devil a democrat? Could be, seeing as how they want to hunt Republicans and kill President Trump. They praise a nutjob that goes out and does what they are preaching then try to backstep. Sorry if that doesn’t fit in your wheelhouse, but those are the facts and your showing your stupidity won’t change that one little bit!

    13. @Jimmy Joe – Cool your jets skippy. It’s not just liberals or conservatives, it’s THE GOVERNMENT! That includes both parties and I think everyone here will agree to that!

    14. The libtards in government are in cahoots with the MSM and that feeds the lemmings who continue to vote democrats into office. It is their circle of life that is killing us all. Revolution anyone?

      1. If you believe that liberals alone are responsible for the massive corruption and incompetence in our government then you are an idiot. Right now there are a great many republican/conservative politicians who were working overtime to dismantle the Second Amendment. There are a great many republican/conservative politicians who are working right now at this very minute to diminish gun rights for law-abiding citizens everywhere.
        Do yourself a favor educate yourself . Do a Google search for Republicans working in the secret in Idaho against the Second Amendment within the last six months. You’ll be surprised
        Anyone who blames Democrats/liberals exclusively for all the problems in this country is beyond stupid .

        1. @Jimmy Joe, “Do a Google search for Republicans working in the secret in Idaho against the…” from above. If they are working in secret, how can we google it?

        2. JJ, your a little touchy about being a democrat/liberal. Is my party without fault? Why no it is not. Is my party better than yours? I believe it is. If you go through most of the posts on this site you will find most name calling and personal attacks are from democrat/liberals. Common sense and a better understanding of our constitution and less reliance on how things make you feel might allow you to post without the personal attacks.

        3. In case people hadn’t noticed, there are, and long have been anti gun, anti second amendment republicans just like democrats. By the way, there are pro gun, pro second amendment democrats too.

          1. Yep you’re correct. Look at the dumbacrat who shot Scalise. Obviously her wasn’t a devout libtard because he owned guns lol. That’s why the dems want the republicans you be unarmed so they think we’re stupid enough to believe libtards don’t own guns and then they can take over forcefully, since they can’t do it reasonably.

    15. The gov will never be held responsible for anything. The american system has become a joke. We live in a time when law abiding citizens are treated worse then illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes. When law abiding citizens are attacked by terrorists and we are told its our fault we’ve been attacked because we want closed borders and the right to carry and defend ourselves. We are told that we dont have a right to defend ourselves. that the gov and police will keep us safe. We are told the gov doesn’t make mistakes its only we the people they serve who make mistakes. Proud to be an American. Hard to be proud when your government treats you like a criminal and then can’t even be held responsible when you prove in a court of law that you are not.

      1. @Macofjack, Yes, we are. And speaking of being on the hook for fees, special counsel Robt. Mueller has just hired 13 high priced attorneys to help him investigate. Each of those attorneys needs secretarial and paralegal support, and each of the newly hired attorneys is an extreme liberal. This stupid investigation is going to be off on tangents almost immediately and cost billions. The democrat party can find ways to waste money even when they are not in power.

        1. Amen brother. The swamp critters are more resourceful than ever! Keep on keeping on.
          It’s going to be a long fight!

        2. Yes, but Wild Bill, he’s going to look pretty stupid when the truth comes out about his conflict of interest (namely his friendship with Comey and his subsequent helping Comey massage his testimony). Is it proper for a supposed impartial investigator to take sides? I hope and think that Trump stands a chance of coming out of this smelling like a rose. This was a fantasy cooked up by John Podesta when he found out that Hildebeest had lost her bid to be the POTUS. They are chasing thin air, and wasting our money doing it.

          1. VE – your conclusions regarding the final outcome (who knows how long THAT will take) are most likely correct. The point Wild Bill made is highly pertinent: how much is it gonna cost the taxpayers – not to mention how much it will cost the President (money, time and effort) to defend himself, rather than tending to the Republic’ business. Plus how many pockets are going to get liberally (pun intended) lined in the process. To the libs, any opportunity to make money is never wasted…………..

        3. I suppose the next idiot thing that comes out of your mouth will be that the devil himself is a Democrat. It’s amazing how willfully blind Republicans are when it excepting responsibility for republican misdeeds. I suppose the next thing you’ll tell me is that Richard Nixon was a Democrat. Where that George W. Bush who lighters into an illegal war in Iraq and wasted $2 trillion on it was a Democrat. And I suppose the imbecile currently occupying the Oval Office and breaking constitutional laws right and left is also a Democrat. I know I know Democrats can do no right and Republicans can do no wrong. What a phenomenally childish worldview.

          1. @Jimmy Joe, What Republican misdeeds specifically are you referring to? Or do you mean that there must be some, make the accusations now, and find a misdeed later? What “constitutional laws are you referring to? Your statements might make more sense, if you could share specifics with us.

            1. @OV, you just may be center of the dot, brother! Tropical storm Cindy en route this AO. Got to start early, tomorrow.

            2. @WB how did Cindy treat you had storms her but so far they have skirted on either side . I see where justice Kennedy is teasing again, telling clerk applicants for the session starting October 2018 he’s looking at retiring. Now if Ginsberg would just buy the farm.

            3. @OV, Cindy was relatively good to us. High wind and lots of rain, but everything is bigger in Texas. No damage, and we are grateful. How is that puppy?

          2. Hey JJ; Spewed like a truly indoctrinated left winger useful idiot. Fact is, BEFORE the “Iraq War” ALL of the dimocraps in Congress VOTED FOR IT. Bill Clinton and the dimocraps ALL believed that there were weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq. GO do a little research and learn the FACTS.
            Nice to see how you respect a SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN when we just got rid of a left winger Muslim moron who NEVER held a paying job in its life, hid all of its records and registered as a FOREIGN student to get its schooling paid for. Should we mention its smoking of MJ and other criminal activities? The problem is that the dimocraps have been followers of the devil (Communist/Socialists) starting way back with Woodrow Wilson and his love of the KKK. Let us never forget FDR who managed to keep this country in a depression FAR LONGER than any other depression in history; NOR how Jimmy Carter the peanut farmer managed to make inflation sky rocket and gasoline become short.
            DO please go get an education, TRUMP is the best thing to happen to this country since Ron Reagan.

          3. Jimmy Joe what illegal war you talking about , the one that Hillary clinton , John Kerry Joe Biden, and Harry Reid all voted for. Also they did find WMD’s Ist BN 5th Marines did. st LT Mike Scotti found some . don’t itis in a 2009 documentary Sever Clear . and what laws have trump broken you liberals make a lot of noise and spin but no facts .

    16. This Gov’t and the Mickey Mouse so called laws, etc, etc – are really a severe concern! SO NICS has false information and then. a citizens has to pay god knows how much money to have to go to court to force the Gov’t to fix their mistake – what a true Cluster. The Gov’t should be forced to refund legal fees. Unreal…

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