State of Jefferson supporters take on new fight 

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Mark Baird, spokesman for the State of Jefferson movement, speaks to supporters at a meeting Saturday in Williams about filing a second amendment lawsuit against California over the right to carry.

The same people taking on the State of California over fair representation are taking on a new challenge. 

Mark Baird, the spokesman for the State of Jefferson movement, announced on Saturday plans to file a lawsuit against California challenging the state’s ban on the open carry of weapons. 

The announcement was made at a well-attended meeting of State of Jefferson supporters from around the North State at the Granzella’s Inn Conference Room, in Williams. 

The lawsuit could be filed by the end of the week by Patriots Educating Concerned Americans Now, a non-profit group out of Redding, which is currently raising money for the case to move forward. 

“In California, unfortunately, our liberty is gone,” Baird said. “We lost it. It is absolutely gone. We have none. It was taken from us.” 

Baird said California’s attack on guns began in the late 1960s, largely in an effort to disarm the Black Panthers, who had taken to the streets of Oakland with weapons to protect young African Americans from attack. 

Since then, Baird said most Californians have been complacent in letting the State chip away at gun rights – something that he and many people have come to regret. 

“The good news is that we can fix this because we are the people,” he said. “We have all the power. We’ve always had all the power. We have it in article 2 section 1 of the California Constitution: Government was formed to serve the people. Government was instituted for their benefit, not for government’s benefit.” 

Baird’s lawsuit follows a stunning victory by George Young (Young v. Hawaii) in July when the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a gun openly in public for self-defense.

Both California and Hawaii ban open carry of firearms, and also strictly limit the ability to carry a concealed weapon.

Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, writing for the Circuit Court’s majority said, “We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence. But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”

The State of Hawaii filed an appeal in September. 

Baird said if the Supreme Court decides to take the case, should the full 9th Circuit Panel overturn the decision, open carry of a handgun for self-defense could become legal in all 50 states, including California. 

Meanwhile, Citizens for Fair Representation, a group also connected with the State of Jefferson movement, has filed an appeal of the decision of U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller, who dismissed their lawsuit against Secretary of State Alex Padilla in November. 

The group ultimately hopes to compel state lawmakers to either create a better balance of representation in the Legislature, or allow California to be split into two more manageable states.

The appeal is expected to take at least six months before it will be heard again in court, Baird said. ■