Court Rules In Favor of CA's Transfer Fee

Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s firearm transfer fee. The court decided to uphold the $19 fee, saying it had a ‘minimal’ burden on Californians’ Second Amendment rights.


The lawsuit was originally brought about by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation’s (CRPAF) and four individuals. The two groups wanted to fight the Golden State’s fee because $5 out of every fee is utilized to fight illegal firearm purchases.

The fee amount was called into question when gun rights activists highlighted a Second Circuit Court case that suggested a $340 transfer fee would burden potential gun owners. Their argument? Any kind of fee on the Second Amendment is unconstitutional.

“Although [individual Barry] Bauer suggests that a hypothetical $1 million fee could effectively eliminate the general public’s ability to acquire a firearm, that extreme comparison underscores the minimal nature of the burden here,” the 21-page opinion states.


In the court’s eyes, the plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of proof.

“The government has demonstrated an important public safety interest in this statutory scheme, and there is a reasonable fit between the government’s interest and the means it has chosen to achieve those ends,” Chief Judge Sidney Thomas wrote.

According to the ruling, the state had more than 18,000 illegal gun owners when California enacted the public safety fee in 2011.

The decision was upheld in a unanimous 3-0 vote.

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