On Thursday, three San Diego men joined a gun-rights group to file a federal lawsuit challenging California’s assault weapon ban.
California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, but in June U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez ruled that California’s ban on high-capacity magazines was unconstitutional. John Dillon, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, argued that if ownership of such magazines is legal, then using them should also be legal, as Herald-Mail Media reports. He stated, “This is a straightforward case to protect our clients’ constitutional rights and property. The state of California’s ban on these firearms will fail constitutional scrutiny for the same reasons that its ban on firearm magazines did.”
Attorney George M. Lee, also representing the plaintiffs, added, “The government cannot ban the constitutionally-protected firearms at issue in this case. We look forward to proving that the state’s statutes, policies, and practices at issue in this case are both unconstitutional and irrational.”
James Miller, Patrick Russ and Ryan Peterson joined the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee to state in their lawsuit that California’s use of the term “assault weapons” is “a politically-concocted pejorative term designed to suggest that there is an inherently unlawful or illegitimate basis for owning otherwise common firearms protected by the Second Amendment.” The lawsuit names state Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the head of the state Department of Justice firearms bureau, The Daily Mail reports.
A California law that was implemented on January 1 of this year states that residents younger than 21 cannot purchase rifles or shotguns unless they are in the military or law enforcement.
In September 2018, California’s 22nd District Agricultural Association Board of Directors, which oversees the Del Mar Fairgrounds, voted to temporarily ban the sale of guns and ammunition at the fairgrounds, but in June, U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo issued a preliminary injunction permitting gun shows to continue at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Michael Schwartz, San Diego County Gun Owners executive director, commented, “The injunction shows that the judge agrees there is a valid and important case to be made on behalf of California gun owners. For over 30 years San Diego has enjoyed a professional, educational, legal, and responsible gun show at a publicly owned venue. It is unconscionable that a very few people would use the force of government to discriminate against fellow San Diegans simply because they dislike them for exercising their rights. Although the decision is not final, gun owners are happy with the judge’s decision to stop bans on gun shows while the lawsuit makes its way through the courts,” Schwartz added. “There is nothing reasonable about a total ban.”
In late July, local residents spoke out against Bencivengo’s ruling. Rose Ann Sharp, founder of NeverAgainCA, said, “The arc of history is bending in your direction. It should now be clear to everyone how the story will end in Sacramento.” Solana Beach City Councilwoman Kelly Harless added, “You have the truth on your side, gun shows do harm our communities … make no mistake about it, the cost of defending this lawsuit is nothing compared to the cost if something goes wrong in terms of liability and lives lost.”