From the December 2003 Idaho Observer:

It's a simple question: “Do we have the right or not?”

Persistent California patriot wants to know why the contemporary courts will not admit whether Americans have the right to bear arms or not

CORNING, Calif. -- Don Bird, 69, is suing three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for $56.5 million each. Bird is claiming a multitude of damages that have resulted in judges Stephen Reinhardt, Pamela Ann Rymer and Barry G. Silverman being sued for refusing to issue a ruling in a lawsuit originally filed in Nov. 2001.

Two years later, Bird still hasn't received an answer to his question: “Do American citizens have the right to keep and bear arms.”

Bird began his quest by filing a Writ of Mandamus in federal district court intended to force California Governor Gray Davis and Attorney General Bill Lockyer to admit whether or not the 2nd Amendment applies to contemporary Californians.

When the district court denied his writ, he appealed the denial to the 9th. When the 9th refused to rule on his appeal, Bird filed a Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. Though he received a docket number in the nation's high court by March, 2003, his writ was denied two months later.

Not willing to take no for an answer, Bird is starting all over again in California federal court. His new action alleges First Amendment violations to free speech and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

Bird is also claiming the judges are participating in fraud, have violated their oaths of office and that their unlawful actions have caused him a great deal of physical and emotional distress.

“I'm not in this for the money,” said Bird who decided to make claims for damages so the court would not summarily dismiss this suit like it has the others.

To make sure he had the court's attention, Bird's filing states, “Donald M. Bird has and is suffering extreme emotional stress, insomnia, anxiety and frustration never before experienced.”

Bird even stated that the defendants' refusal to answer his simple question has left him so angry he is considering “anger management” classes to help him cope with court-induced frustration.

“I'm just looking for answers. If they don't want to hear my case I want them to state on the record why they won't hear it.”

In response to the passage of California's SB 23 -- a 2nd Amendment-violating gun control bill that went into law Jan. 1, 2000 -- Bird wrote an open declaration clearly stating his position with regard to California gun control laws (The Idaho Observer, March, 2001). The former Marine used eight points to describe that he has been a good, law-abiding citizen his whole life and that his guns and ammo were purchased legally.

“At no time ever will I allow a peaceful entry into my home from any Search and Seizure Warrant. I feel at this time and in the future no judge could have 'Reasonable Cause' to invade my home,” Bird stated and then concluded, “At age 65, I am willing to pay the extreme price to defend my rights!”

Shortly after declaring his intent to defend his 2nd Amendment rights, Bird filed his original Writ of Mandamus in an effort to defend the rights of all law-abiding Californians to defend themselves. “This will be a very simple case to argue,” Bird said in July, 2001. “The Defendants [the governor and the attorney general and a few John Does] will only need to explain to the jury the meaning of the word 'INFRINGE.'”

In the original action, Bird sought an award of $1,775 for general damages; $1,775 for compensatory damages and; $1,775 in punitive damages.

All the government needed to do was simply admit to this principled man whether or not Americans still have the right to keep and bear arms.

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