California – Statewide
In 2009, anti-gun activists in California won passage of a law that imposed draconian new controls on transfers of “handgun ammunition,” including a complete ban on online and mail order sales. The new law applied to all “ammunition principally for use in pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person”. As all shooters know, of course, nearly any caliber of ammunition can be used in both rifles and handguns. In 2009, anti-gun activists in California won passage of a law that imposed draconian new controls on transfers of “handgun ammunition,” including a complete ban on online and mail order sales. The new law applied to all “ammunition principally for use in pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person”. As all shooters know, of course, nearly any caliber of ammunition can be used in both rifles and handguns.
In the NRA-ILA supported case Parker v. California, a group of plaintiffs — including law enforcement officials, ammunition dealers and the California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation –- successfully challenged this law, arguing that no ordinary person can easily determine whether a particular kind of ammunition is “principally for use” in handguns. The Fresno County Superior Court agreed and issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the law.That decision is now on appeal.
California – San Diego
California, like the handful of “may issue” states, allows sheriffs and police chiefs to arbitrarily reject carry permit applications from people who are fully eligible for permits under state law.
In the NRA-ILA supported case of Peruta v. County of San Diego, several individual plaintiffs (along with the California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation) are challenging San Diego County Sheriff William Gore’s refusal to issue carry permits to qualified applicants. Briefs are currently being filed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. NRA-ILA is represented as an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) by former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who is making the strong argument that restrictions on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms must be reviewed under the highest possible level of judicial scrutiny.
The case is on appeal from a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. That court came up with the notion that discriminatory permitting isn’t a burden on the Second Amendment because California law allows a person to carry a loaded firearm when in “immediate, grave danger,” and also allows a person to carry an unloaded firearm openly. Therefore, claimed the court, “Should the need for self-defense arise, nothing in [state law] restricts the open carry of unloaded firearms and ammunition ready for instant loading.”
One can only hope that the Ninth Circuit will take a more practical view of what is feasible in a self-defense emergency. (To help with that, an amicus brief from the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, authored by longtime Second Amendment scholar and NRA Publications contributor David Kopel, includes links to online video demonstrations showing how hard it is to load a gun while being physically attacked).
California – San Francisco
The right to own and carry guns would be meaningless if we were deprived of the right to buy, use and possess ammunition – let alone actually load our guns. That’s why anti-gun activists have attacked ammunition for years with prohibitive taxes, registration schemes and other ideas to make ammunition unavailable to ordinary Americans. Today, your NRA-ILA is defending against two of those assaults in court.
First is the case of Jackson v. City and County of San Francisco, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit challenges the city’s requirement that all firearms be stored inoperable in the home, which makes them useless for immediate self-defense — exactly the type of restriction that the Supreme Court struck down in its Heller decision. The case also challenges the city’s prohibition on the discharge of firearms within city limits and its ban on the sale of ammunition that “serves no sporting purpose” – in other words, self-defense ammunition.
Our efforts have already forced the city to amend its discharge ordinance to allow firearms to be used in self defense, as well as in other lawful circumstances. The plaintiffs are currently awaiting a ruling on the city’s motion to dismiss, which was argued on May 5, 2011.