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Gun-rights groups are suing California’s Riverside County and its sheriff after a legal U.S. resident from the Netherlands who has lived in the country for 35 years says he was denied a concealed-carry permit on the grounds that he isn’t a U.S. citizen.
The case is the latest challenge to touch on the intersection of guns and immigration, two of the thorniest political issues.
Arie Van Nieuwenhuyzen, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. who has lived in the country since 1983 but retains citizenship in the Netherlands, says the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department told him earlier this month that only U.S. citizens can be granted a concealed-weapon permit, and discouraged him from going through the process to get one.
Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyzen says the sheriff’s department is violating his Second Amendment right to bear arms and his 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the law, according to the lawsuit filed last week in federal court.
“Mr. Van Nieuwenhuyzen has a fundamental human right to carry his gun outside his home for self-defense, but Sheriff [Stan] Sniff’s policies and practices prevent him from doing so,” said George M. Lee, the lead attorney on the case.
The sheriff’s department said Tuesday it would be inappropriate to comment publicly on pending litigation.
Courts have rejected similar refusals in other states, finding that there’s no security reason to deny legal permanent residents the same gun rights that citizens have.
In the last decade, gun-rights advocates — with support from the American Civil Liberties Union in some cases — have won injunctions against similar laws in a handful of states, including North Carolina, New Mexico and Nebraska.