Several organizations that advocate for the Second Amendment are taking to the U.S. Supreme Court a strategy by the state of California to impose literally impossible demands on gun makers to eventually eliminate their ability to market to customers in the state.
Officials with the Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation have submitted a petition to the court to review their challenge to the state’s “Unsafe Handgun Act,” which purports to crack down on cheap “Saturday Night Special” weapons that could be unsafe.
Instead, what it does is create insurmountable obstacles for even the most reputable manufacturers, the challenge charges.
The UHA is part of California’s penal code “that violates the Second Amendment by banning handguns of the kind in common use for traditional lawful purposes,” the organizations announced on Friday.
The groups were joined by individuals Ivan Pena, Dona Croston, Roy Vargas and Brett Thomas, and they are represented by attorneys Donald Kilmer of California and Alan Gura of Virginia.
“Our challenge of the California Unsafe Handgun Act, if the high court accepts it for review, could be a critical wake-up call to lower federal courts that continue to employ what they call an ‘interest-balancing approach’ to deciding gun control cases because that strategy is forbidden by the 2008 Heller decision,” noted SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “It is time to bring a halt to what is essentially a revolt by the lower courts against the landmark Heller opinion, and the Pena case could provide that vehicle.”
California’s law generally prohibits making, importing, or selling handguns “that do not meet the state’s extremely restrictive design requirements,” the groups explained.
“The result, as the plaintiffs contend in their petition for high court review, is that the state is gradually achieving a handgun ban because they cannot meet the impossible requirements, which include microstamping. That technology is not offered by any handgun manufacturer because it cannot be practically implemented, the petition notes,” they said.
“The landmark Heller ruling cannot become just a footnote in history,” Gottlieb observed, “but that appears to be the ultimate goal if such laws as California’s are allowed to stand. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court, with the benefit of fresh perspectives from two recently seated associate justices, agrees that it is time to once again visit the Second Amendment and further restore its rightful place as a cornerstone of the Bill of Rights.”
The Heller case was decided by the Supreme Court several years ago. It came out of the District of Columbia and found that the Second Amendment actually does protect an individual’s right to “keep and bear arms.”
The ruling left states with the power to impose some restrictions on handgun ownership and possession, but they cannot ban it.
A followup decision in a second case, the McDonald case, found that the Second Amendment-protected right was incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment against the states.
WND columnist Jeff Knox earlier had described the fight as it was ramping up in California.
He explained the state’s aggressive moves against “poorly made” handguns: “Back in 2000, California legislators instituted a system supposedly intended to protect the state’s citizens from cheap, poorly made, unreliable handguns. This was in addition to their laws restricting so-called ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high-capacity’ magazines. The rationale was that these types of handguns were disproportionately being used in crime and therefore needed to be banned. Like the ongoing arguments about ‘assault weapons,'” the challenge with restricting ‘junk guns’ and ‘Saturday night specials,’ as they liked to call them – aside from the fact that such laws have no impact on criminals – lies in effectively defining exactly what’s being banned. In this case, rather than identifying specific makes, models, composition and features, the legislature went the opposite route, creating a roster of approved, ‘safe’ handguns and banning as ‘unsafe’ any handgun that is not listed on the roster.”
He said, “For a gun to be included on the roster, it must be submitted to a panel of ‘experts’ who test and evaluate it in accordance with a long, convoluted list of criteria. Gun companies are charged for this ‘service’ and must pay thousands of dollars for evaluation of each model and variation they wish to sell in the state. Even cosmetic features such as a gun’s color and finish are included in this requirement, resulting in idiotic conclusions that a particular model with a black finish might be approved as ‘safe,’ but the exact same make, model and caliber of gun from the same manufacturer but sporting a silver or dark gray finish would be designated as ‘unsafe’ and illegal for sale because the manufacturer didn’t pay to have that variation evaluated.”
Shortly after came the demand for microstamping, he said.
“That’s a process whereby identification marks laser engraved into a gun’s firing pin, bolt face, or chamber are transferred to the shell casing during the firing process. They decreed that this provision would only go into effect after at least two companies were offering the technology without patent or licensing issues and the state’s attorney general determined that Microstamping was reasonably practicable,” he said.
However, “There are no major handgun manufacturers currently including Microstamping in their handguns – none. Furthermore, Ruger, Glock and Smith & Wesson have all declared that they have no intention of including Microstamping technology in any of their current or future guns,” he noted.
And he pointed out, “As has always proven to be the case, gun control laws in California are having no effect on their disproportionately high crime rates – representing 68 percent of all ‘gun murders’ in the nation – but are seriously impacting the ability of honest citizens to acquire the firearms of their choice.”
Just recently, the state was found to be denying permission to buy guns to people who had convictions in other states that had been set aside, or expunged.
The state also is involved in cases involving gun store signs, gun registration, waiting periods, vagueness in its gun laws, bans on weapons of a certain size, handguns, assault weapons and more.