California Gun Rationing Law Faces Federal Court Challenge

The California law limiting residents to one handgun purchase every 30 days is now facing a federal court challenge after several Second Amendment organizations and individual plaintiffs filed suit against Attorney General Xavier Becerra and other state officials on Friday.

The Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition, along with San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, several businesses, and six individuals brought challenge months before the state’s gun rationing law is set to expand to include purchases of centerfire semi-automatic rifles next July. Second Amendment Foundation executive director and founder Alan Gottlieb says the law is simply unconstitutional. 

“The policy discriminates against private citizens because it does not apply to motion picture, television or video production companies, which we call the ‘Hollywood exemption.’ The way Becerra and Lopez enforce the law amounts to an infringement on the individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment, and a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.”

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that California’s anti-gun lawmakers have carved out an exception to the law for the entertainment industry. After all, Gov. Gavin Newsom did the same when it came to shutting down outdoor dining, leading to scenes like a huge catering tent for entertainment industry workers set up within view of a restaurant’s outdoor tent that had been declared off-limits to the public.

If it weren’t for double standards, in other words, the Democrats in control of California wouldn’t have any standards at all.

“California’s ban on multiple-firearm purchases in a thirty day period is without rhyme or reason, particularly when that prohibition is compared to those who are exempt from the ban,” explained Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy. “Such a restriction on the acquisition of arms plainly violates an individual’s Second Amendment rights. We look forward to challenging this ban and are cautiously optimistic that the Court will find, as the D.C. Circuit already has, that the restriction is unconstitutional.”

As attorney Adam Kraut notes, back in 2015 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that Washington, D.C.’s one-gun-a-month law infringed on the rights of residents, though the city had claimed that the gun rationing scheme was a valuable public safety tool.

Writing for the majority, Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg said the government’s claim that registration limits reduce the number of guns on the street “does not justify restricting an individual’s undoubted constitutional right to keep arms (plural) in his or her home.”

“Taken to its logical conclusion, that reasoning would justify a total ban on firearms kept in the home,” wrote Ginsburg, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. Ginsburg was joined by Judge Patricia A. Millett, who was appointed by President Obama.

Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson disagreed, calling the one-gun-a-month limit a temporary, acceptable burden.

“Today I fear the majority has initiated a retreat — at least in part — from the practice of restraint,” wrote Henderson, who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush.

The plaintiff’s argument, she wrote, “has no stopping point: it would authorize everyone to possess his own Rambo-style armory.”

We call that a gun collection, and there’s nothing in the Constitution prohibiting citizens from keeping and bearing as many arms as they want and can afford. A Washington, D.C. or California resident amassing their own personal armory may be “extreme” to some, but it’s constitutional, unlike an extreme gun rationing law that arbitrarily governs imposes limits on the Second Amendment rights of American citizens.

You can check out the initial filing in the new case known as Nguyen vs. Becerra here, and I wish the SAF, FPC, and all the other plaintiffs luck in their pursuit of justice for California gun owners who are being subjected to the throttling of their right to keep and bear arms.