Armed Scholar

California Handgun Roster Cases: Updates and Implications

Video Highlights

  • Update on the California handgun roster cases heard by the Ninth Circuit
  • Two cases discussed: Bowling v. Bonta and Renova v. Bonta
  • Preliminary injunction granted against safety feature requirements in the Unsafe Handgun Act
  • Positive arguments made during oral arguments, with potential ruling in favor of striking down micro stamping requirement
  • Likely two-to-one decision in favor of the State of California, but micro stamping requirement may not survive

Video Summary

In a recent video, the speaker provides an update on the California handgun roster cases, specifically the cases of Bowling v. Bonta and Rena v. Bonta. These cases challenge the constitutionality of the handgun roster and its safety feature requirements. The speaker gives their impressions on the oral arguments that took place before the Ninth Circuit, and speculates on how the court might rule.

The California handgun roster is a law that imposes certain requirements on handguns for them to be deemed safe for sale to the general public. These requirements include drop testing, microstamping technology, a loaded chamber indicator, and a magazine disconnect. Handguns that do not meet these requirements are considered unsafe and cannot be sold to the public in California.

In the Bowling v. Bonta case, the plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction against the safety feature requirements of the handgun roster, specifically the magazine disconnect, loaded chamber indicator, and microstamping requirement. A federal district court judge granted the injunction, which temporarily halted the enforcement of these requirements. However, the state of California received a stay from the Ninth Circuit, which only applied to the chamber indicators and magazine disconnects. The microstamping requirement is still under injunction, allowing some handguns without microstamping to make their way onto the roster.

Following the Bowling decision, another positive decision was issued by Judge Dana Sabraw in the Rena v. Bonta case, which is an FPC case. These cases were then consolidated and heard before a three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit. The panel consisted of Judges Berzon, Rollinson, and Breeze. Given the makeup of the panel, with two left-leaning judges, it was expected that the ruling would favor the state of California.

The speaker watched the oral arguments and shares their impressions. They believe that the arguments went as well as could be expected, given the panel's composition. Judge Berzon, who has previously ruled against Second Amendment cases, showed some skepticism towards the microstamping requirement, suggesting that it is infeasible and that the state of California has not provided evidence to support its viability. The speaker believes that the panel is leaning towards upholding the lower court's decision to strike down the microstamping requirement, while potentially leaving the other requirements intact.

During the oral arguments, there was also discussion about whether the lower courts had issued a mandatory injunction, which would require the state of California to take certain actions. One of the judges seemed inclined to view it as a mandatory injunction, while Judge Berzon disagreed, stating that it only tells the state what they cannot do and that it forces them to apply the roster evaluations already set by current law.

The speaker cautions that despite these positive signs, the overall outcome of the case is likely to be against the Second Amendment. They believe that the microstamping requirement is unlikely to survive the panel's ruling, but the loaded chamber indicator and magazine disconnect may be found constitutional. They anticipate a 2-1 decision in favor of the state of California. However, they also predict that the case will ultimately be appealed to an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit and potentially to the Supreme Court.

In conclusion, the speaker provides information on how viewers can support organizations like the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) and Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), which are fighting for Second Amendment rights in California. They encourage viewers to donate to these organizations and promise to provide updates as the case progresses. While the outcome of the case remains uncertain, the speaker emphasizes the importance of supporting organizations that defend the rights of firearms owners.