Another Brick in California's Gun Control Wall Crumbles

California Attorney General Rob Bonta wasted little time after Judge Roger Benitez issued his decision tossing out the state’s ammunition background check law and prohibitions on online and out-of-state ammo purchases for California residents before filing his appeal with the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday evening. As of mid-day Thursday, the Ninth Circuit had yet to respond to Bonta’s request, which led to the AG sending out this notice to FFLs and ammo sellers in the state.


Bonta may be gritting his teeth today, but California Rifle & Pistol Association president and general counsel Chuck Michel was all smiles when we spoke late Wednesday afternoon for today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co.

“It’s a happy day. We have to hang on to it [Benitez’s decision], but it’s a great launching pad for litigating in the Ninth Circuit and maybe the Supreme Court,” Michel relayed.

The longtime Second Amendment attorney was not only thrilled by Benitez’s ruling in Rhode v. Bonta, but by the specific language that he used to call out California’s attorney general’s attempt to justify the law through some morally repugnant 18th and 19th century ordinances.

What are the 50 historical laws dating from 1789 to 1868 that the Attorney General has compiled as potential historical analogues? One would expect to find laws or ordinances that required a gunsmith to check with the local sheriff before selling a firearm. Or one might expect to find laws that restricted gunsmiths from selling to any customer who was a stranger in his community. Or perhaps there would be historical laws uncovered requiring a customer’s proof of citizenship before a merchant was allowed to sell him gunpowder. These could be apt analogues to demonstrate a related historical tradition of constitutional regulation.

Nothing like this appears in the State’s compilation of laws. The State’s compilation lists 48 laws which made it a crime to possess a gun and ammunition by Negros, Mulattos, slaves, or persons of color, and two laws that prohibited sales to Indians. For example, the Attorney General lists a 1798 Kentucky law which prohibited any “Negro, mulatto, or Indian” from possessing any gun or ammunition. An 1846 North Carolina law offers another example wherein it was prohibited to sell or deliver firearms to “any slave.” This is the third time the Attorney General has cited these laws in support for its laws and restrictions implicating the Second Amendment. These fifty laws identified by the Attorney General constitute a long, embarrassing, disgusting, insidious, reprehensible list of examples of government tyranny towards our own people.


“Gavin Newsom should have that tattooed on his forehead,” Michel joked, before turning serious.

“This is what they don’t get. I mean, they are marching down the road to tyranny by disarming people. That’s what it’s always been about for Newsom and the anti-gun owner bureaucrats in Sacramento. It’s murdering the gun culture. It’s culturecide. They want to do everything they can so that people can’t exercise their right to choose to own a gun for sport, or self-defense, or defense of their family. They want to make it take too long, too much red tape, cost too much money. That’s playing out with the concealed carry permits. We’re suing the L.A. County Sheriff right now because it’s taking them a year to process applications, and La Verne and San Jose are charging $1,000 to go through the application process, which only gets you a CCW for two years.”

Michel sounds pretty confident that CRPA v. LASD is going to be another district court victory for the organization, which has racked up an impressive series of wins, at least in the lower courts, since the Bruen decision was handed down. Judge Benitez’s ruling in Rhode v. Bonta was preceded by his decisions overturning the state’s ban on so-called assault weapons in Miller v. Bonta and California’s ban on “large capacity” magazines in Duncan v. Bonta, while other district court judges have found fatal fault with the state’s prohibition on gun shows in government-owned facilities, the handgun roster that has artificially suppressed new makes and models of pistols from being sold in the state, and the “gun-free zones” imposed by the state legislature in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen.


They’ve even seen success at the Ninth Circuit, or at least with three-judge panels, and Michel says it’s a pleasure to see the state on the defensive… or at least it would be if lawmakers and officials like Newsom weren’t still so intent on flagrantly disregarding the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence.

Benitez has become Gavin Newsom’s bête noire over the past couple of years, and Michel says there’s one more decision pending that could send the governor into another tyrannical tizzy; a challenge to California’s prohibition on billy clubs and police batons.

“It’s not just about firearms. It’s about any bearable arms, for offense or defense. Body armor is banned too,” Michel noted. “We’ll see what he does there, but that should be really interesting because the states are trying to claim that the only arms the Supreme Court has said are protected are arms that are used for self-defense. They would prefer that they didn’t get into hunting or competitive and recreational shooting or any kind of target shooting… or training. They don’t want any of that to be covered by the text of the Second Amendment.”

That would be the text that says nothing about target shooting, hunting, recreational shooting, or self-defense. It’s simply our right to keep and bear arms, and the Supreme Court has already stated that while self-defense may be the central component of that right, it extends to all lawful purposes. Michel is spot on when he says that anti-gun states are continuing to play games with that right, and groups like CRPA will continue to hold them to account.


Check out the entire conversation with Chuck Michel in the video window below, and if you’re a California gun owner, enjoy your newly-restored freedom to purchase ammunition online, out-of-state, or at your local gun shop without being subjected to a background check… at least until the Ninth Circuit responds to Bonta’s demand for an injunction.



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