California’s gun laws, so strict that some in the press are labeling it “the capital of gun control,” are under attack from a local affiliate of the NRA through a recently filed lawsuit, one that promises to be only an opening salvo of federal court actions.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the California Rifle & Pistol Association filed a lawsuit Monday against the state in federal court targeting six laws that took effect January 1.
The suit deals primarily with the state’s ban on almost every style of semi-automatic rifle, dubbing them “assault rifles.”
“The Second Amendment squarely protects (the) right to keep and bear arms, typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” the lawsuit says. “California plainly infringes (on) that right by completely barring plaintiffs from acquiring, transferring or possessing commonly owned rifled that is pejoratively labels ‘assault weapons’—a non-technical, political term of ever-changing definition and scope with no connection to the public safety interests that the law purports to serve.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says he will “rigorously defend California law.”
Last year, when the successful ballot initiative known as Proposition 63 was backed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the NRA vowed to fight the measure, which passed with more than 63 percent of the vote after it was introduced on the heels of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino.
Among other restrictions, Prop 63 bans the possession of magazines holding more than 10 rounds and strengthens background check rules. The laws, which were signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, also prohibit semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, making many common firearms illegal, including most AR-platform rifles.
“The Assault Weapons Control Act has never worked in California,” said the NRA in a statement, referring to the state gun control legislation approve din 1989, “and instead of facing that fact, legislators continue to expand it rather than look to enact change that actually reduced crime.”
The story says state officials obviously oppose the lawsuit’s claims.
“Background checks and other gun laws California has enacted have saved lives and are key in making our mortality rate one of the lowest in the nation,” state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said in a statement. “I am confident that the courts will reject the NRA’s arguments.”
According to this story from Fox News, the CRPA filed the suit in Santa Ana and plans to file more in the coming days and weeks.
“They're coming at gun ownership from every angle,” said Chuck Michel of the California Rifle and Pistol Association in the Fox story. “It's all completely inappropriate and it's part of an agenda that I think the Trump administration rejects.”
The group says it plans to challenge the state’s magazine law and other gun control measures passed last year.
There’s certainly plenty to choose from. California law limits handgun purchases to one a month, and the gun-sale waiting period has been expanded to 10 days. The state also requires a background check for all ammunition purchases.
“The NRA affiliate likely waited for the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to file its suit. Gorsuch, like former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is generally seen as friend to the Second Amendment.”