Big Win In California

Olympian Kim Rhode and the California Rifle & Pistol Association won a preliminary injunction against enforcement of California’s ammunition background checks and importation ban yesterday.

US District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez opened his 120 page opinion granting the preliminary injunction by saying:

The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted.
California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured. In this action, Plaintiffs seek a preliminary injunction enjoining California’s onerous and convoluted new laws requiring ammunition purchase background checks and implementing ammunition anti-importation laws. For the reasons that follow, the motion for preliminary injunction is granted.

This is a big win for the CRPA, attorney Chuck Michel, and especially the gun owners, new and old, of California.

Judge Benitez went on to conclude:

Together, the background check requirement for all ammunition purchases in California and the anti-importation provisions that prohibit direct sales to residents often effect a complete statutory barrier to the lawful purchase of ammunition. Moreover, the provisions are interlocking and derive from the same section of Proposition 63. See §§ 8.1 through 8.16. The anti-importation provisions are not severable from the ammunition background check requirements. Even if only one part was unconstitutional both parts would need to be enjoined. But severability does not matter here, as both parts fail constitutional muster and require injunctive relief….

It is not the Court’s role to dictate to a state how it should go about attempting to accomplish its goal. If the state objective is to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for its law-abiding citizens to purchase protected ammunition, then this law appears to be well-drafted. However, if the genuine object is to keep ammunition out of the hands of those who should not be able to buy it, perhaps the State could create a database (that would include persons prohibited, i.e., aliens
unlawfully present, felons, and others) and simply make that information available to sellers by cross-checking with the magnetic strip on a standard driver’s license and by allowing out-of-state vendors the same ability to engage in commerce as it does California vendors.

I would wager house money that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will appeal this ruling. As of this morning, he has not nor has he published a press release indicating any acknowledgement of the Judge Benitez’s ruling. If the state does appeal, the question then becomes will they be granted a stay to the preliminary injunction while they appeal the ruling. We will see.

In the meantime, Californians are free of an onerous and unconstitutional burden on their Second Amendment rights.

5 thoughts on “Big Win In California”

  1. Wonder what happens today, while the injunction is in force, when people go to the store and try to buy ammo. I’ll bet that very few store owners will just sell ammo without the required ppwk based on a judicial ruling. They will wait for clarification from the CA Justice Dept, which will not be quickly forthcoming.

    I am reminded of when I was transferred to CA in 1991 with the military. I was told through the grapevine that I had to register my “assault rifle”. It was a plain jane SKS with no modifications. I popped around to the police station and they confirmed that rumor and gave me paperwork to fill out. I took it home and was in the process when I happened to stop by a local gun store. Turns out that the SKS did not fall under the requirement but the local PD were happy to register any and all firearms and lie about the requirement. Needless to say I didn’t register it.

    1. I would tend to agree. The preliminary injunction give Becerra 10 days to file a notice informing law enforcement and ammo dealers of the injunction.

  2. I doubt that will be the case, not if they want to stay in business. This ruling is from the same judge who shot down the CA +10 rnd mag ban last year, and he had the same 10 day notification requirement in that ruling. Plenty of vendors sold normal mags to CA from the moment the decision was released. Many vendors prioritized CA mag orders even to the point of cancelling non CA orders so the mags could be sent behind enemy lines. Anybody that tried to hide behind the old law were noted, lists made, and they are remembered.

    With this ruling, the same thing is happening, vendors are offering to prioritize CA orders and people are reminding each other that stores like Cabelas were afraid to deal with CA when perfectly legal. The only unfortunate part is this surge on top of the virus panic buying means ridiculous prices for the suddenly free CA buyers.

    While the ruling is 120 pages long, it’s worth the read. Not only does the judge shoot down the law with the simple Heller test, he takes the time to destroy all the 2A 2-step BS reasoning used in the past to support these restrictions. He wrote the decision for the supremes, using their cases and quotes throughout the ruling. His take-down of supposed judicial deference to state laws and legislatures is fun to read and will hopefully be applied elsewhere, too. The mag ban ruling is equally fun to read, Duncan v Becerra.

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