B.L.U.F. In a strategic move the State of California is appealing to the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals in the “Unsafe Handgun Act” case. The district judge found the UHA unconstitutional by requiring Chamber Load Indicator(CLI), Magazine Disconnect Mechanism (MDM), and microstamping. The state is appealing the CLI and MDM but NOT microstamping.
US District Court Judge for the Central District of California, Judge Cormac J. Carney, came to the right decision but his analysis to get there was and is weak. This has lead to the likelihood of this appeal being granted. It was likely to be granted by the Ninth Circuit Court because the en banc court hasn’t seen an infringement they didn’t support.
The Ninth Circuit court is so anti-gun that when a three judge panel found in favor of the plaintiffs(good guys) in Duncan v. Bonta the Second Amendment community was shocked. One of the judges on that panel wrote an opinion explaining exactly how the en banc court was going to find for the state infringements.
In Boland v. Bonta the judge did not find that the UHA was a ban, instead he found that requiring CDL, MDM, and microsamping created a de facto ban which made that part of the UHA unconstitutional.
Consider a regulation that says “You are not allowed to have any firearm with a barleycorn front sight”. This reads like a ban because it is a ban. Now consider a regulation that says “You are only allowed to have firearms with barleycorn front sights.” This is also a ban. It just doesn’t read as clearly as the first.
Now consider a regulation that says “You are only allowed to have firearms that are on this approved list.” That sounds sort of like a ban but maybe not. If the list is comprehensive to the point where you can buy whatever you want it doesn’t feel like a ban. In order to even have standing to challenge the ban you would have to prove to the court that you wanted to purchase a firearm not on the list and had attempted to do so.
Now what if we add another part to the regulation “only firearms with barleycorn front sights can be placed on the list.” This has exactly the same effect as “You are only allowed to have firearms with barleycorn front sights.” It is a ban. If the state changes the list of firearms that it allows, it is still a ban.
This is how the state of California bans handguns. They just don’t put modern handguns on the rooster and thus ban them from the State of California.
— Emergency Motion to Stay lower court action at P.19
As mentioned in many of these analysis, The Question is often the most important pre-opinion part of a case. If the court can be convinced to think of the question in one way it is more likely to judge favorably. If the court is convinced to use the other party’s question they are likely to decide in the other party’s favor.
We see that in play here. It is unlikely that any court would find that it is unconstitutional to
prohibit a State from imposing commonsense safety requirements — Id.. It isn’t that the state is banning most handguns, they are just looking out for your safety by making sure that certain common sense safety requirements are in place.
An alternative question might be “Does the state have the right to ban handguns based on arbitrary characteristics?”
Besides, it will require to much work
The state is very concerned about the additional significant administrative burden on the state, besides, there are only two labs in the nation that are certified to do California’s required safety tests.
— Id. at P.9
Would you look at that? The state admits that they have not added a single firearm to the roster in over 15 years.
Also, be very careful about any numbers the state gives regarding number of firearms on the rooster. As an example a Sig-P938 has 4 different versions. What are the differences in the versions? Not much. Some firearms have multiple versions based on the grip art or the slide art. They are the same firearm but each variation requires a separate entry in the Roster. So when the state says
Those commonsense safety requirements have not only been proven to save lives, but manufacturers have historically abided by them, adding 34 semiautomatic pistols to the Roster with these features before the microstamping requirement took effect in 2013 — Id. at P. 18 it isn’t being entirely forthcoming.
In addition the state collects $200/year for each handgun on the roster.
Why Ignore Microstamping
It is pretty clear that the state will not prevail on the merits in regards to microstamping. It doesn’t exist. If the state were to require that all handguns have at least 0.1 grams of unobtainium in each firearm sold it would be just as ridiculous.
If they are going to lose on the merits it is better not to have a Circuit Court opinion hanging over their heads. Even if it is in regards to a simple stay on a preliminary injunction.
If the Ninth Circuit accepts the states argument that there are firearms that have both CLI and MDM and that makes the requirement realistic, then the Ninth Circuit will grant the stay. This would mean that the number of firearms that could be submitted for testing is drastically reduced. There might be as few as a dozen or as many as a hundred, but that is a very small number over all compared to the hundreds that the state fears could be submitted under the preliminary injunction.
In addition, there might be some wiggle room where the court decides that it is an either/or situation.
Opening the roster even a little will make it harder for the plaintiffs to argue it is a de facto ban.
Just thinking on this, would any leftist accept the argument that there is one Planned Parenthood in the state, that means you have access to abortion services? It is the same here. The state does not have the authority to regulate which handguns The People choose to arm themselves with.
One thought on “<i>Boland v. Bonta</i> Update.”
Offhand the only foundung-era firearm safety “feature” requirement I can think of, is proof testing for arms intended for the military. That would suggest at least some of the UHA could survive. Sigh.
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