Friday, May 1, 2009

Lawsuit Challenges California DOJ Handgun Roster

The Second Amendment Foundation
and Calguns Foundation have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the California Department of Justice Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale.

For the benefit of readers located outside of California, California permits only handguns that have passed certain safety tests. A description of the requirements for handguns may be found here. Manufacturers must submit firearms for testing and pay a fee to get a firearm on the list, adding additional cost to marketing a product in California. If a manufacturer decides not to submit a pistol for testing, then it is "unsafe" and may not be sold in California.

This lawsuit challenges this approval process by characterizing it as a de-facto ban on those handguns not submitted or listed. As noted in the Calguns Foundation press release:

Co-counsel Jason Davis remarked, "The California Handgun Roster has always been about making the possession of handguns for self defense more difficult by imposing arbitrary and unconstitutional restrictions that limit choice and increase the cost of exercising a fundamental right."

This is indeed true, as can be seen by the Microstamping law California passed, which I described in more detail here. Microstamping ability will be added to the safety requirements of handguns sold in the state, but I fail to see how microstamping make a handgun "safer" to operate.

While it will take a loong time, the journey of this lawsuit through the courts will be interesting and important. It is not the lawsuit I would have expected after the Ninth Circuit ruled in 2nd Amendment Incorporation, but it will be an important case helping to define the limits of gun control in the post-Heller United States.

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