Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a press release that a Fresno firearms dealer, Albert Sheakalee, was arrested “due to a prior mental health hold.” This prohibited him from owning firearms and allegedly landed him in the state’s Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) database.
Sheakalee had 541 firearms seized from his store after he was arrested.
Now, it seems the whole thing was done for political gain.
But the state never filed any charges. After receiving national media attention—including a press conference displaying all 541 guns—the case never moved forward.
“As far as I am concerned, it was a real political deal,” Sheakalee’s attorney, Mark Coleman, told the Fresno Bee. “(California Attorney General Kamala) Harris was running for senator.”
Harris, who won her Senate seat last November, said in 2015 that “removing firearms from dangerous and violent individuals who pose a threat to themselves and the public is a top priority for the California Department of Justice.”
Perhaps the state decided not to file charges when they realized Sheakalee had no criminal record, legally owned all his firearms, owned a retirement home, and was the retired budget director of Fresno Community Hospital.
Sheakalee’s attorney argued in court that the state neglected to notify his client of his ineligibility to own firearms until AFTER the raid took place. This was proven by using postal records.
Also noted was the fact that the DOJ broke a promise to Sheakalee to keep the raid confidential. They weren’t supposed to release anything until a court hearing determined whether he was mentally fit to own guns.
“The problem is with the way (the guns were seized),” Coleman said. “This has been a pretty traumatic experience for the family.”
All of Sheakalee’s firearms have been returned to him and his family, including 209 handguns, 88 shotguns, 234 rifles, 100,000 rounds of ammunition and 10 guns designated assault weapons under California law, including a .50 caliber bolt-action rifle.
While Sheakalee’s victory is cause to celebrate, misapplied prohibitions against firearms ownership for the mentally incompetent will continue to be a battle for the pro-gun community.
As Coleman pointed out to the Bee, targeting those seeking mental health care is “going to result in people refusing to seek mental health treatment” because they do not want to be in a database, causing “an incredible chilling effect.”
Clearly this was some liberal politician trying to make a point to get elected to office. The state should be paying MILLIONS in damages to this family.