RED BLUFF Daily News
Friday June 29th, 2001

Lawmakers eroding U.S. Constitution, plaintiff says


Donald Bird is suing state lawmakers for infringing on his Second Amendment right. Daily News photo by Jack Moran.

By JACK MORAN-DN Staff Writer

The only thing Rancho Tehama resident Donald Bird is asking for is a fair trial by jury.

Whether he can find a federal court judge who will take up his case is another thing, since Bird knows chances are slim he will be successful in a civil lawsuit he has filed against Gov. Gray Davis and various California legislators, alleging their passage of gun control laws has infringed upon his Second Amendment rights

"To me, it will be worth the $150 I paid to file the suit just to have a jury hear my complaints," said Bird, who filed his legal papers this month in United States District Court. "I want to see how (the elected officials named in the suit) can take their oath of office and then turn around and support legislation that infringes upon my Second Amendment rights.

"I don't have pride or anything else to lose." he said. "What I'm losing right now is my Bill of Rights."

The lawsuit states, in part, "this case will be a very simple case to argue. The defendants will only need to explain to the jury the meaning of one word...infringe. The jury will only be asked to explain what this one word means to them..."

Bird, 67, said his objective "is just to get it heard in court."

"I would just like to get a jury to sit and hear it, and I want to ask their definition of infringement."

Bird is a member of a north state organization called Patriots 4 the Second Amendment, but it is as an individual that he is taking his case to court.

"The most important amendment to me is the Second," he said. "Like Ben Franklin said, the Second Amendment is only important when you have to use it."

Bird, a retired contractor who has no formal training in the law, plans to advance the case without hiring an attorney. He is hoping others will follow his lead and file additional lawsuits claiming an infringement of Constitutional rights.

"I am not an attorney," he said. "If I get beaten up in court, at least I will get a chance to find out what my mistakes were. If I'm not successful, I'll just try again. Hopefully, others will see what I've done and can improve on the lawsuit. Maybe there's a lawyer out there who believes in the Constitution and could help.