Federal Judge Allows FPC Lawsuit Against California Handgun Roster Ban to Move Forward

May 11, 2021 | 0 comments

SAN DIEGO, CA (April 27, 2021) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced that Southern District of California Federal District Court Judge Dana M. Sabraw denied in part California’s motion to dismiss in FPC’s challenge to the handgun “Roster” ban laws, Renna v. Bonta. The order can be viewed at FPCLegal.org

After the case was filed in November of 2020, the State of California defendants moved to dismiss the case. Following briefing on the motion, the Court ruled that some parts of the case could proceed. The Court began by determining whether the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Pena v. Lindley barred the claims made in the lawsuit, and found that “[t]o the extent Plaintiffs challenge those provisions [of the handgun roster] as unconstitutional here, their arguments are foreclosed by Pena and therefore rejected.” This result was expected, and those claims will be addressed on appeal.

The Court denied the State’s motion as to the new changes to the handgun “Roster” laws enacted last year, allowing those claims to proceed by finding that “Pena did not address the issue of the removal of handguns from the roster, and the enactment of AB 2847 postdates Pena.” The court also determined that the plaintiffs had standing to bring the lawsuit. Citing FPC’s federal lawsuit against California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons,” the Court determined that the “Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged facts to establish standing and ripeness.”

In finding that the plaintiffs sufficiently allege that California’s Unsafe Handgun Act violates the Second Amendment, the Court noted that it “is not persuaded there is a ‘reasonable fit’ between the state’s asserted objective and the [AB 2847’s] three-for-one provision,” and that “Defendants offer no justification for why the statute requires the removal of three handguns for each new handgun added, instead of, for instance, a proportional one-to-one.”

“We are gratified that the Court has allowed the case to proceed to its ultimate resolution and we look forward to moving this important lawsuit forward very soon,” said Adam Kraut, FPC’s Senior Director of Legal Operations. “Through this case, we seek to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s wrongly decided 3-judge panel opinion in Pena by a court competent to do so, vindicate the rights of our clients and all Californians, and strike down the unconstitutional handgun Roster.”