California gun owners filed a complaint in federal court Friday deeming the state’s large capacity magazine ban unconstitutional.
The Calguns Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation and the Second Amendment Foundation joined seven private citizens in the suit filed against Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Chief of the Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms Martha Supernor over a law passed last year banning magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
“California’s magazine laws will turn many thousands of good, law-abiding people into criminals, but do nothing to advance public safety,” said Brandon Combs, president and chairman of FPF, in a statement Friday.
“While California’s political leadership might prefer some kind of police state without any Second Amendment or property rights, we believe that the Constitution takes their policy preferences off the table. This lawsuit is one of many that we hope will help restore fundamental freedoms in the Golden State and across the nation,” the group said.
Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of legislation tightening firearm regulations statewide, including a ban on large capacity magazines. A 1999 law initially barred the further import and sale of such magazines in California, but provided a provision “grandfathering” existing owners in, therefore precluding them from legal punishment.
Senate Bill 1446, and later Proposition 63, eliminate the exemption entirely and instead require existing owners to sell, turn over or destroy their large capacity magazines within six months.
“Enforcement of this ban would immediately place thousands of law-abiding California gun owners in jeopardy of criminal liability and subjects their personal property to forfeiture, seizure and permanent confiscation, which is government taking, without due process or compensation,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M.Gottlieb in a press release Friday. “We cannot allow that to go unchallenged.”
In the 25-page complaint filed in the Eastern District of California Friday, gun owners assert “the large-capacity magazine ban is, effectively and now, actually, a confiscation, in part, of bearable arms.”
“The large-capacity magazine ban is hopelessly vague and ambiguous, as it fails to provide fair or even adequate notice to law-abiding gun owners of what they may do with their personal property without being subject to criminal sanctions,” the plaintiffs allege in court documents. “And fails to inform them of which version of the statutes may apply, or whether they are subject to an exception thereunder.”
“The State of California’s ban scheme stands for the proposition that most any personal property can simply be taken away from you or forced out of your possession without due process or just compensation by legislative fiat,” said CGF Chairman Gene Hoffman Friday. “Today it’s firearm magazines, but tomorrow it will most certainly be some other constitutionally-protected private property.”
The plaintiffs are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.