A U.S. District Court judge issued an injunction Tuesday against the citizen-only requirements of Arkansas’s concealed carry laws.
This came in the case of Martin Pot, a 52-year old Dutch citizen who received his permanent resident visa in 1984, but was denied a concealed carry permit by the Arkansas State Police after he did not meet the state’s standard of being a U.S citizen.
Federal Judge Timothy L. Brooks issued the permanent and standing injunction May 13, calling the state’s requirement unconstitutional.
“Mr. Pot is a law-abiding resident of Eureka Springs, and has been so since 1986,” said Second Amendment Foundation Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb in a statement Tuesday. The SAF supported Pot’s suit and arranged for his representation in the case.
Gottlieb maintained that Pot was denied his self-defense rights to protect his family, saying, “He is self-employed, and is a productive member of the community, with an American-born wife and family. He came here almost 30 years ago, met and married his wife, and has many solid connections in his community.”
Pot had previously been issued a concealed carry permit by the state police but after Arkansas changed its permitting requirements to prohibit non-U.S. citizens, he was denied renewal once his permit expired in August 2013. This led Pot to the Second Amendment Foundation, of which he was a member.
“When I first spoke with Mr. Pot over the telephone, I was alarmed at the prospect of his being denied a fundamental constitutional civil right because of the discriminatory citizenship requirement that was added to the law,” said Miko Tempski, SAF general counsel.
His suit was filed as a violation of the Civil Rights Act in November 2013 against Col. Stan Wit, commander of the Arkansas State Police. In it, SAF’s lawyer, David Sigale, argued that Pot was denied protection under the 14th Amendment, which states that no state can “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks, a recent Obama-appointment, agreed with Sigale’s argument and found for Pot and the SAF, awarding the group $10,726.41 in legal fees and court costs in addition to the ruling.
“It is further ordered that the Defendant shall allow Martin Pot and other lawful permanent residents residing in Arkansas to apply to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun provided that they are otherwise qualified to obtain a license under Arkansas’s Concealed Handgun Statute,” wrote Brooks in his ruling on Pot v Wit.
Gottlieb noted that Pot’s case is not unique, saying, “SAF has successfully challenged other state laws, in New Mexico, Washington, Nebraska, and Massachusetts. Legal resident aliens should not be penalized at the expense of their self-defense rights. This was a good outcome to a case that should help lots of people.”