Federal Judge Knocks Down California’s Approved Handgun Roster
The Bruen decision has claimed another gun control law in the battle over firearm rights. The California Pistol Rifle Association and several other plaintiffs, including YouTuber Reno May, have won a preliminary injunction in federal court against the California approved handgun roster.
The case, Boland v. Bonta, saw a group of plaintiffs challenge the Constitutionality of the California approved handgun roster. The Golden State limits the handguns a firearms owner can purchase. The handguns on the list are firearms submitted by companies to the California Department of Justice for testing prior to 2013. Those guns were drop tested, fired, and had other safety testing done. California has also made it nearly impossible for new firearms to be added to the roster because the state now requires microstamping, magazine disconnectors, and loaded chamber indicators.
Microstamping is especially problematic because no handgun currently on the market has microstamping. The technology is expensive and doesn’t work. Anti-gun groups have pushed for microstamping laws for many years, even though any practical application for the feature is science fiction. Currently, no gun on the Handgun Roster includes microstamping, and most do not have magazine disconnectors or loaded chamber indicators. Many in the gun community believe that California has added the requirements to stop new firearms from being added. This method of blocking new guns is something that has been in Brady’s United playbook for years.
Federal District Court Judge Cormac Carney saw the problem caused by requiring technology that doesn’t exist for a gun to be added to the approved handgun roster.
Judge Carney seems to have seen through California’s thinly veiled attempt at banning new handguns from being added to the roster. The judge highlighted that it had been a decade since the last firearm was added.
“Since 2013, when the microstamping requirement was introduced, not a single new semiautomatic handgun has been approved for sale in California. That is because the technology effectuating microstamping on a broad scale is simply not technologically feasible and commercially practical. The result of this is that when Californians today buy a handgun at a store, they are largely restricted to models from over sixteen years ago,” the court’s decision read.
Judge Carney also took to task the state for claiming that off-roster handguns are more dangerous than those on the roster. For example, a Gen 3 Glock 19 is on the roster, but a Gen 5 Glock 19 is not, even though both have the same features and lack microstamping, a magazine disconnect, and a loaded chamber indicator. He pointed out that only 32 of the 832 handguns on the roster have both a magazine disconnect and a loaded chamber indicator. The judge also pointed out that California police use guns that the state considers dangerous. The judge even used the state’s own witness’s testimony in his decision.
“Indeed, the government’s own witness, Special Agent Salvador Gonzalez, testified that he uses an Off-Roster duty handgun without a CLI, MDM, or microstamping capability,” the judge wrote.
The judge also called the state to the carpet for not bringing adequate historical analogues. He argued that Californians not only have the right to have a handgun, but they have a right to the latest and most advanced guns on the market. He says the requirements in California law violate the plaintiff’s Second Amendment rights.
“Californians have the constitutional right to acquire and use state-of-the-art handguns to protect themselves. They should not be forced to settle for decade-old models of handguns to ensure that they remain safe inside or outside the home. But unfortunately, the UHA’s CLI, MDM, and microstamping requirements do exactly that. Because enforcing those requirements implicates the plain text of the Second Amendment, and the government fails to point to any well-established historical analogues that are consistent with them, those requirements are unconstitutional and their enforcement must be preliminarily enjoined. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction is GRANTED,” the order reads.
AmmoLand News spoke to Chuck Michel, whose law firm represented the plaintiffs about the win. Mr. Michel was happy with the victory and hoped that Californians would soon be able to purchase the same guns as their fellow Americans.
“For decades, this ‘roster’ law has deprived law-abiding citizens of the right to choose a handgun appropriate for their specific individual needs,” Michel said. “The loaded chamber indicator, magazine disconnect, and microstamping requirements were impossible to satisfy, so the number of different models of approved handguns available to buy dropped from thousands to barely 200 older models.”
“If we can hold on to this great Second Amendment win, people will be able to choose from among thousands of the latest, greatest, and safest handguns made today,” Michel continued.
This win is just one of many legal victories from around the country dealing with the Second Amendment thanks to the Bruen decision.
The elimination of the two-step test, which balanced the government’s interest against the right of the people, has been a game changer. With the government only allowed to use the actual text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment to defend their anti-gun laws, their task becomes almost insurmountable.
The preliminary injunction is set to take effect in 14 days. It is suspected that the state will use that time to ask the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the District Court’s decision until an appeal happens. The Ninth Circuit has stayed multiple District Court rulings leaving the cases in legal limbo until the Court decides to hear and rule on them.
AmmoLand News contacted California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office for comment, but he has not returned our request.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.