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California: The NRA Intends to File Legal Challenge if Governor Brown Signs Unconstitutional Semi-Automatic Firearm Ban into Law

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

There are currently several gun control bills sitting on Governor Brown’s desk that he will either veto or allow to become law by October 13, 2013. Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms has never been as seriously threatened in California as it is today. After years of incrementally adopting gun control measures, this year the Legislature decided to propose new laws adopting everything on the gun ban lobby’s wish list. Many of those bills were successfully opposed by the NRA and died in the Legislature, but unfortunately some did not.

These bills pending before the governor include a ban on lead ammunition for hunting and a limit on how many handguns one can transfer in a year. California gun owners should review the NRA’s Action Alert to learn more about the bills and should contact the Governor to request vetoes of all these gun control bills.

Perhaps the worst of the worst of the lot is Senate Bill 374 (“SB 374"), which would make unprecedented changes to California’s already unjust and byzantine “assault weapon” law. Under current California law, these firearms can only be possessed if they are properly registered, can only be used for limited purposes, and, with few exceptions, cannot be transferred to anyone in the state. SB 374 would drastically expand the definition of “assault weapon” to include any “semi-automatic rifle that does not have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept no more than ten rounds.” (Yes, that quote contains a double negative, and no, we have no idea what that means). The bill defines a fixed magazine as “an ammunition feeding device contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm in such a manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action.”

Under SB 374, all rifles meeting this description must be registered as “assault weapons” by July 1, 2015. It is practically impossible to know which firearms meet the new definition of “assault weapon,” however, as “disassembly of the firearm action” is undefined and nobody (least of all the legislators who voted for it) knows what it means, or for that matter even what a firearm “action” actually is.  Millions of semi-automatic rifles have magazines that can be removed with the push of a button, and, at a minimum, those will likely be considered “assault weapons” under SB 374.  That classification would include classic hunting rifles like the Remington Woodsmaster, Browning BAR, and the Ruger 99/44, among many others.

SB 374 will restrict the use and ban the transfer of millions of commonly owned and constitutionally protected semi-automatic, center-fire rifles, making those rifles completely unavailable to future gun owners. Possession of currently owned rifles meeting the new definition will remain legal, but only for those who register their firearms in time and limit their use of the firearms to the specific activities California permits. Those who don’t register and limit their use of those guns will become felons.

Unlike with previous registration requirements, there is no planned public education campaign to notify people about the new law and its mandates. So the tens of thousands of firearm owners who do not hear about or understand SB 374 are out of luck if found with an unregistered firearm that falls under the new definition of “assault weapon.” And even those who do register their firearms on time will be precluded from ever selling them or passing them down to their children or grandchildren.

By banning millions of the most common hunting, sporting, and self-defense rifles in existence, SB 374 is in direct conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller decision.  In Heller, the Court made it clear that arms “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes” or those “in common use” are constitutionally protected.

If SB 374 is signed by the Governor, the NRA intends to immediately file suit challenging this unconstitutional law.  To help with that effort, please consider making a donation to the NRA Legal Action Project here

This lawsuit would join previous NRA legal challenges in California such as our suit against AB 962, the “handgun ammunition” regulatory scheme passed in 2009 in the Parker v. California case; our suit against the California Department of Justice over SB 819, which authorized misuse of the fees firearms purchasers are required to pay in Bauer v. Harris; and our challenge to SB 140, which stole $24 million from the firearm-purchaser-fee account and gave it to DOJ for political projects. To learn more about additional actions the NRA’s legal team is taking on behalf of California gun owners, click here.

Second Amendment supporters should also be careful about supporting litigation efforts promised by other individuals and groups without access to the necessary funding, relationships, firearm experts and experienced lawyers on the NRA’s California and national legal teams. Our network of esteemed civil rights attorneys and scholars has the resources, skill and expertise to maximize the potential for victory, along with a track record of challenging anti-gun legislation with positive results.

Please donate to the NRA Legal Action Project today!



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Appropriations Act Signed Into Law With Important Pro-Second Amendment Provisions

On Wednesday, November 25, the President signed S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 into law. Included in the bill were some very important pro-gun provisions that represent the culmination of long-term efforts by ...

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

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Friday, November 20, 2015

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Recently, we reported on Hillary Clinton’s praise for local firearm “buyback” events and her view that forcing Americans to participate ...


Friday, May 15, 2015

Obama Administration Opposes CMP Handgun Sales

The House of Representatives has approved Congressman Mike D. Rogers’ amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which—if accepted in ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Anti-gun Politicians, Media Exploit Paris Attacks in “Terrorist Gap” Rehash

The Paris terrorist attacks were not easily pinned on America’s supposedly lax gun laws or the NRA, but ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Brussels Pushes Gun Control in Wake of Paris Attacks

On November 18, the European Commission expedited a plan to overhaul the European Union’s already restrictive gun control laws. The ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Michigan: Governor Snyder Signs Firearm Inheritance Protection Act

Today, November 24, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed Senate Bills 225 and 226.

Washington Times  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

White House to GOP: Worry about gun control

The White House said Monday that Republicans concerned about Syrian refugees waging terrorist attacks in the U.S. should focus their energy instead on banning guns sales to people on the government’s terrorist watch list.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Overwhelming 81 Percent of Current and Former Military have Unfavorable View of Clinton

More bad news for Hillary Clinton. Coming off the heels of survey results that found the former Secretary ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Bloomberg’s Lackeys Tweet Solace to Unarmed Victims of Paris Attacks … Some of Them, Anyway

On Friday, Nov. 13, Islamic terrorists carried out a series of coordinated attacks in Paris, France, that left ...


Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.