In June of 2014, Lenka Knutson’s concealed carry permit application was denied by the Flathead County Sheriff’s office. But after hearing the sheriff’s decision, Knutson decided she would file something else.
The 34-year-old Slovakian woman, a legal resident with a green card who lives in Whitefish, MT with her husband and children, is now suing Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry for denying her right to carry. Knutson, who happens to be a member of the Second Amendment Foundation, filed the suit as a co-plantiff with the SAF on Monday.
Knutson’s attorney Quentin Rhoades talked about his client’s case on KGVO talk radio, saying:
“The legal issue is whether a legal alien should be allowed to have a concealed weapons permit under Montana law,” said Rhoades. “Montana statute says you have to be a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible, but that conflicts with the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause. State shall not deprive privileges and immunities to any person within this jurisdiction.”
“They can’t deprive a green card holder of privileges and immunities of a citizen of the United States,” Rhoades said. “Life, liberty, and property unless you make some sort of a finding that this person is not eligible for some other reason. Like if she is a felon or whatever the case might be, but our client is not. We have a very good argument that just because she is a green card holder that is no reason to deny her the right to have a concealed weapon.”
While the case is currently in district court, it could head to the 9th circuit court of appeals.
“This is not our first rodeo on this subject,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “We’ve successfully fought similar laws in New Mexico, North Carolina and Omaha, Nebraska. In other states, such as Washington, just the threat of legal action has resulted in a change of the law.”