Federal Judge Overturns California Law On Firearms Sale Limits

The Golden State cannot limit how many firearms a lawful buyer can purchase in a month.

United States District Judge William Q. Hayes recently ruled that the California state government cannot impose limits on how many guns a law-abiding citizens can purchase on a monthly basis. 

In a ruling that he issued on March 11, 2024, Hayes overturned California’s one-gun-a-month (OGM) restriction. He determined that that policy fell out of the scope of the United States’ historical tradition of gun regulation. In turn, such a policy violated the Second Amendment.

“Defendants have not met their burden of producing a ‘well-established and representative historical analogue’ to the OGM law,” Judge Hayes wrote in Nguyen v. Bonta. “The Court therefore concludes that Plaintiffs are entitled to summary judgment as to the constitutionality of the OGM law under the Second Amendment.”

The pro-gun organization Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), which first filed the lawsuit against California over the law back in December 2020, praised the ruling.

“Another week, another California gun control law declared unconstitutional by a federal court,” Cody Wisniewski, FPC’s General Counsel, proclaimed in a statement. “California’s one-gun-a-month law directly violates California resident’s right to acquire arms and has no basis in history.”

The legal fight kicked off after California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 61 in 2019. The law banned residents from buying a handgun or semi-automatic rifle from a licensed dealer if they had already obtained another handgun or semi-automatic rifle in the previous 30 days starting in July of 2021. The state assembly subsequently expanded this rule in 2022 with Assembly Bill 1621, which subjected any firearm or “precursor part” to the same restriction of one purchase per month.

California elected officials contended that the law is needed to help bar “bulk purchases” that could facilitate black market firearm sales to criminals. Second Amendment proponents counter that the restrictions are an arbitrary and unconstitutional burden on commercial activity that is protected by the Constitution. FPC filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf of four California firearms owners who allegedly claimed that the law infringed on their Second Amendment rights.

California is one of America’s premier anti-gun states, with it being ranked in 48th place, per Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners rankings. As a result of this political dynamic, gun owners have to use the courts to restore their gun rights, or at least roll back certain gun grabs. 

Sadly, that’s the harsh reality of living in a blue state these days. 

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