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

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Article first appeared at Ammo Land.

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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.

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