We’ve got a special Friday edition of Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co today, and I’m really pleased that California Rifle & Pistol Association head and Second Amendment attorney C.D. “Chuck” Michel could join the show to update us on several of the cases that he’s currently working on and involved with; not only in California but in Illinois as well, where Michel is the lead attorney in the lawsuit filed by the Illinois Gun Rights Alliance.
We kick off the conversation with California, where Michel and gun owners are awaiting U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez’s opinion in four separate legal challenges:
- Miller v. Bonta (taking on California’s “assault weapons” ban)
- Duncan v. Bonta (a challenge to the state’s ban on “large capacity” magazines)
- Rhode v. Bonta (challenging the state’s ban on out-of-state ammo purchases and background checks on in-state ammunition purchases)
- Fouts v. Bonta (targeting California’s ban on “billy clubs”)
Michel says all four cases have had “tortured paths” in the courts to date, with Benitez already ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in several of the lawsuits. But in the wake of the Bruen decision the Ninth Circuit kicked all of these cases back to Benitez’s courtroom for a do-over, even though there’s little doubt that Benitez is once again going to find that these statutes are still unconstitutional under the “text, history, and tradition test” laid out by SCOTUS last year.
The last briefs in all four cases have been submitted to Benitez for his consideration, and now we’re just waiting for his opinions to come down. Michel says he’s curious to see if the judge releases all four opinions at once or separately, musing that Benitez may decide to give each case a spotlight of its own in order to poke at California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who’s repeatedly attacked Benitez for his rulings.
Michel and I also discussed Boland v. Bonta, which is a challenge to California’s handgun roster law; a bizarre gun control artifact that has placed many commonly-owned arms out of reach of most California gun owners. U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney held a hearing on Michel’s request for an injunction back in January, and his decision could come down at any time.
I also spoke with Michel about the CRPA’s “CCW Reckoning Project”. The organization has been busy sending pre-litigation demand letters to jurisdictions across the state that are still screwing around with the right to bear arms, including one that was recently delivered to the Laverne, California police department. The Los Angeles County city has set a fee schedule for concealed carry applicants that will force them to pay more than $1,000 in order to obtain a carry license. Michel says that places like Laverne will either “see the light or feel the heat” of a lawsuit, but noted that most of the departments that the CRPA has contacted have actually responded positively; increasing staff and decreasing the amount of time it’s taking to process carry applications rather than trying to defend their previous policies in court. Even cities like San Francisco have started issuing concealed carry licenses, so while the pace may be slower than California gun owners would like, genuine progress is being made.
I guess the same could be said for Illinois as well. Several county judges have granted temporary restraining orders or injunctions against the state’s new ban on so-called assault weapons and “large capacity” magazines, but those decisions only apply to the plaintiffs who’ve actually filed suit. There are multiple lawsuits in federal court that are seeking a broader injunction that would apply statewide, and U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn is set to hold oral arguments on that request in mid-April. Michel says that Illinois’ defense of its ban is fundamentally no different than California’s, including providing the courts with a laundry list of ordinances, laws, and even letters from historical figures like George Washington that anti-gunners claim are historical analogues to the sweeping bans on commonly-owned firearms enacted by anti-2A lawmakers.
Michel is unimpressed with their findings, and says the laws cited by the AGs in California and New York simply aren’t anywhere close to the kind of bans currently in place in those states. He and his associates have been doing some research of their own as well, and as you’ll hear in the conversation below, recently came across a letter from one Founding Father to another discussing “rapid, reloading muskets” which demolishes the argument by gun control activists that the Founders could never have imagined a world with repeating, multi-shot firearms.
Of course, the fact that multi-shot firearms already existed at the time the Second Amendment was written hasn’t stopped anti-gun activists from peddling that particular claim, so I’m sure they’ll ignore this latest evidence to the contrary as well.
It’s a fascinating conversation with Chuck Michel, and I encourage you to check it out for yourself in the video window below. I’m hoping to get Chuck back on the show in the next couple of weeks for another update, but it might be sooner than that if Judge Benitez delivers more victories for California gun owners before then.