The Gun Owners Foundation exists in order to educate the public about the importance of the Second Amendment and to provide legal, expert and support assistance for law-abiding individuals involved in firearms-related cases. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Contributions to Gun Owners Foundation are fully tax-deductible.
The Foundation continues to research, publish and distribute numerous books, monographs, issue briefs, audio and video tapes, and other educational materials relating to firearms rights. Among the many books being disseminated are:
- That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right. Written by Second Amendment attorney Stephen P. Halbrook, this book provides a definitive account of the individual’s right to keep and bear arms as set forth in the Second Amendment.
- To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo American Right. Joyce Lee Malcolm illuminates the historical facts underlying the passionate debate about gun related violence and the Brady Act, revealing the original meaning and intentions behind the individual’s right to keep and bear arms.
- On the Firing Line: Essays in Defense of Liberty. GOF Executive Vice President Larry Pratt provides this collection of thought-provoking essays for those wanting to avail themselves of rational and coherent information relating to firearms rights.
- Origins and Development of the Second Amendment. Drawing upon and presenting a large number of original sources ranging from medieval statutes to James Madison’s private notes, author David Hardy demonstrates why this right had to be recognized in the Bill of Rights alongside other key personal liberties.
The Foundation has been involved in numerous cases of assistance to organizations and individuals against federal firearms charges, as well as state and local prosecutions for the use of a firearm in self-defense.
GOF has been active not only in criminal cases, but also in civil and administrative matters. Examples of past legal assistance being provided include the following:
- In November 2014, GOF filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Kolbe, et al. v. O’Malley, et al. on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, in support of two Maryland residents in their challenge to the ban on the acquisition and possession of popular semiautomatic rifles and the acquisition of standard capacity magazines in the Maryland Firearms Safety Act of 2013. The case is awaiting oral argument.
- In September 2014, GOF filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Heller, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al. on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in support of five District of Columbia residents who are challenging the District of Columbia’s registration and licensing regulations enacted in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller. The case is pending.
- In July 2014, GOF filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Jackson, et al. v. San Francisco, et al. on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in support of six San Francisco residents who are challenging San Francisco’s ordinances requiring handguns in the home to be worn on the body or locked away. The petition for rehearing was denied. The residents are now seeking U.S. Supreme Court review.
- In May 2014, GOF filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Shew, et al. v. Malloy, et al. on appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, in support of four Connecticut residents challenging Connecticut’s 2013 ban on certain firearms and magazines, including the provision which grants permanent exemptions to various state officials. This appeal is pending.
- In January 2014, GOF filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Quinn v. Texas on petition for writ of certiorari, in support of a Texas resident who was shot in his home by police during a no-knock raid, which the police justified on the ground that they believed the resident owned firearms. GOF’s brief argued that the law should not permit police to violate a person’s Fourth Amendment right to be secure in his home simply because he has chosen to exercise his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The petition for writ of certiorari was denied.
- In December 2013, GOF filed an amicus curiae brief on the merits in the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Castleman, in support of a Tennessee resident, who challenged whether a minor misdemeanor domestic assault under Tennessee law constitutes a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence under the federal statute, the penalty for which is a lifetime ban on firearms ownership. Federal charges against Castleman were dismissed by the district court, the court of appeals affirmed, and the government appealed. The Supreme Court ruled against the defendant.
- In December 2013, GOF filed an amicus curiae brief on the merits in the U.S. Supreme Court in Abramski v. United States, in support of a Virginia resident’s challenge to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ definition of what constitutes an illegal “straw purchase” of a firearm. In July 2013, GOF also had filed an amicus curiae brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear this case, and oral argument took place in June 2014. The Supreme Court ruled against the defendant.
- In August 2013, GOF filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Woollard, et al. v. Gallagher, et al. on petition for writ of certiorari, in support of a Maryland resident challenging the Maryland State Police and Maryland Handgun Permit Review Board’s refusal to grant him CCP renewal. The petition for writ of certiorari was denied.
- In July 2013, GOF’s legal team filed an Appellees’ brief for three members of the Reese family in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in United States v. Reese. The Reese family ran a gun shop in Deming, New Mexico, and were targeted by the ATF in sting operations related to the Fast and Furious scandal. Convictions were obtained based on the testimony of a deputy sheriff who himself was the target of a federal criminal investigation. The government withheld exculpatory evidence and opposed allowing the Reeses a new trial, as ordered by the trial judge.
- GOF filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2009 in McDonald v. City of Chicago in support of four Chicago residents seeking to invali- date a city ordinance prohibiting them from owning or possessing a handgun in their own homes. In a June 2010 decision, the Court held that the Second Amendment applies to the states, and found Chicago’s handgun ban to be unconstitutional.
- GOF filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 supporting the respondent in the D.C. gun-ban case, District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller. In its 5-4 decision, the Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes.
The law firm of William J. Olson, P.C. serves as Legal Counsel for Gun Owners Foundation. This law firm advises on scores of cases a year involving individuals and companies seeking legal counsel, and has written and argued friend of the court briefs for the Foundation. The Olson firm coordinates the Legal Advisory Committee which advises the Foundation on which cases should receive financial support.
Legal Advisory Committee members are:
David Hardy, an attorney and an author who has published many law review articles has also served as an associate editor of the Arizona Law Review. Hardy represented Sheriff Richard Mack in his landmark case that went to the Supreme Court. Mack successfully challenged the Brady Act requirement that local law enforcement officials perform a background check on gun buyers.
William F. Harvey is an attorney, and the former Dean of the Indiana University School of Law.
Kerry Morgan, who is an attorney, has been a firearms dealer, and has published a number of articles in the area of natural law and unalienable rights, and a book, Real Choice, Real Freedom in American Education.
Paul Paskey is an attorney. While at Regent University Law School, he won the Firearms Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund essay contest. This essay was later included in a collection published by Gun Owners Foundation entitled Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Citizen Militias.
Robert E. Sanders is an attorney, and a former Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (“BATF”).
The Directors of Gun Owners Foundation are:
- Tim Macy, President
- John Velleco, Executive Vice President
- Erich Pratt, Vice President
- Samuel A. Paredes
- Steven Hummell
- William Kuchan
- Dan Larocca
- Gerry Ognibene
- David Rush
- David Whitt
- John Williams
Many of the Foundation’s fundraising services are donated to the organization. The most recent annual audited financial statements of GOF demonstrate that fundraising expenditures constitute less then two percent of the Foundation’s total support and revenue.
Here’s What They Are Saying About Gun Owners Foundation
“For over three years I was involved in a legal battle with the BATF. GOF was extremely supportive and helpful the entire time. In fact, I sincerely believe that if it wasn’t for the assistance of GOF in helping to prove my innocence, I’d probably be sitting in a Federal prison right now. Thank you so much.” — Darryl Evans, Los Angeles, California
“When you are the subject of a malicious prosecution, it is very encouraging to know that you are not alone. The City and County tried to run my firearms business into the ground through a frivolous prosecution. I am very grateful to Gun Owners Foundation for helping me.” — General Laney, Detroit, Michigan
“Thank you so much for your efforts. GOF was there with the necessary assistance to help us fight this governmental abuse of power, and overturn the county gun ban in court.” — Tracy Finnell, Springfield, Virginia
“When the local police violated my right to self defense with a handgun after I was threatened by neighborhood thugs, I had to fight city hall. I really appreciate Gun Owners Foundation’s support in this fight.” — Richard Manuel, Columbus, Ohio
“Without the help of the Foundation, all of the seized firearms would have been destroyed. I have worked with a number of other organizations that assist with good causes, but never one like GOF that was willing to ‘roll up its sleeves’ and dive unreservedly into a fight to protect a good family man from ruin.” — Andrew R. Haut, Bakersfield, California
“Were it not for Gun Owners Foundation, I would have had to fight bogus gun charges brought by a biased local system without the aid of any Second Amendment organization. I would have lost everything without GOF standing by me.” — Laura Kuriatnyk, Rocky Comfort, Missouri