Red taping gun rights to death
California voters approved a series of gun control ballot initiatives that, left unchecked, would make gun ownership in the state increasingly difficult. However, gun rights advocates are planning to fight back in court, with a series of lawsuits they hope will ease the burdens, or remove them entirely:
The legal action is meant to challenge the California Department of Justice’s regulations for six gun control measures enacted by the Legislature this year, and for Proposition 63, which voters approved in November.
The laws will institute requirements such as reporting of lost firearms, require background checks for ammunition purchases, and ban ownership of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Some regulations already have taken effect, and the implementation of others is staggered through 2019.
“It’s difficult to say whether we will be able to get some relief before the laws takes effect,” said Chuck Michel, a Second Amendment lawyer representing the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association in the pending lawsuits.
“We are trying to do them as quickly as we can, but you have to do it in a way that doesn’t get you thrown out of because it’s not timely,” he said.
Some local jurisdictions are already using the new laws to crack down on gun sales:
In a preemptive crackdown, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit against five online firearms suppliers last week in a bid to block sales items that will be expressly prohibited to possess under the new laws.
The sale of large-capacity magazines has been banned in the state since 2000, but beginning July 1 anyone who still possesses a high-capacity magazine will be required to either turn it over to police or store it out of state.
The lawsuit claims that the online suppliers, all of which are based outside California, are “blatantly violating California’s prohibition on selling large-capacity magazines” by labeling dissembled large-capacity magazines as “repair kits.”
“These kits are not individual magazine parts to replace, say, a worn-out spring or a cracked baseplate in a lawfully possessed magazine,” the lawsuit states. “Rather, they are the complete parts of disassembled large-capacity magazines packaged under the guise of a ‘kit.’ Purchasers can readily assemble the parts into brand-new, fully functional large-capacity magazines.”
In filing the lawsuit before the ban on possession of the large-capacity magazines takes effect, the city is “being proactive,” said John Cote, a spokesman for the city attorney.
We give them points for zeal, but are forced to wonder whether they would be as eager to enforce measures that placed restrictions on, say, abortions, or illegal immigration. Not really. The San Francisco's city attorney would pretend such laws didn't exist.
The legal fight promises to be tough, and could go on for some years, as not all of the restrictions have yet come into force. The California fight is very important because it represents a new(ish) strategy for the anti-gun left:
“The red-taping things to death is absolutely part of their strategy,” said [Chuck] Michel.