Judge Issues Injunction on California's Fee-Shifting Scheme for Gun Law Challenges

AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File

The battle to defend the Second Amendment doesn't end in the legislative chambers of this country. If it did, then any piece of gun control enacted, no matter how onerous, would simply be law and we'd be stuck with it until the nature of that particular legislature changed to one more amenable to the right to keep and bear arms.


No, as we all understand, many of those battles take place in the courtroom.

However, California got tired of fighting. They lost an awful lot, after all, and even when they won, it was expensive and often potentially fleeting. 

So, they concocted a scheme to dissuade people from challenging gun control laws. They simply shifted the fees onto the plaintiff.

Unfortunately for them, a judge just told them that, for the time being, they can't do that.

Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an injunction pending appeal in its FPC v. San Diego lawsuit, which challenges a California law that targets only pro-Second Amendment advocates with potentially ruinous consequences for litigating gun rights cases. The injunction, which prevents the defendants from enforcing the scheme during the pendency of the appeal, can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.


“This unconstitutional and immoral law was explicitly designed to prevent liberty advocates from challenging other unconstitutional regulations,” explained FPC founder and President, Brandon Combs. “We are gratified by the Court’s issuance of an injunction pending appeal and look forward to eliminating this tyrannical scheme altogether.”

“Even in the face of certain defeat, these municipal defendants have refused to agree to non-enforcement of this unconstitutional law,” said FPC Action Foundation’s President Cody J. Wisniewski, counsel for FPC. “The Ninth Circuit has now made clear that the defendants cannot enforce this against FPC and the other named plaintiffs while this case is addressed on appeal. This was the right result and we look forward to litigating this case to a final conclusion and permanent injunction.”


And let's understand that this was expressly against those challenging gun control laws, meaning pro-Second Amendment groups and individuals. Challenging a pro-gun measure invoked no such potential penalties, which alone makes it unconstitutional under equal protection guidelines.

But the truth is that this was nothing more than the actions of a sore loser.

California knows it's laws are unconstitutional. They know that each gun control law they pass is more and more likely to be overturned by the courts. So, they need to make it more risky to challenge them.

If you've never been involved in a lawsuit, trust me when I say they're expensive. They're long, drawn out, and attorneys don't come cheap. Not if they're any good, anyway.

All of this makes a lawsuit cost tens of thousands of dollars. 

When you're challenging gun laws, though, you don't just go to court and call it a day. You know good and well that the losing side will appeal and you'll go up the judicial chain, thus increasing the costs.

What California is trying to do is make the risk even greater. Not only do you risk losing, but if you do, you have to pay for the state's legal fees while they'll be under no obligation to do so if you win. It's a way to make the risk even greater in hopes that some will simply decline to do so.


And again, it only applies to gun rights advocates challenging the state's blatantly unconstitutional laws. Anti-gunners face no such risk, nor do literally any other group that might file a lawsuit against the state. 

I'm glad the injunction has been issued and I hope that this travesty is killed permanently once and for all soon.

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