U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Ninth Circuit Upholds California Handgun Rules

In a pair of recent panel decisions before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, major California gun-control legislation was upheld over challenges from special interest, gun advocacy groups.

One panel, as explained by Reuters, upheld a recent amendment to California's Gun-Free School Zone Act, prohibiting individuals with a concealed carry permit to have a gun on school grounds unless they are an active, off-duty, or retired peace officer (Case: Gallinger v. Becerra). The other panel upheld a short list of physical requirements gun manufacturers must meet in order to sell a new firearm in the state.

No New "Unsafe" Guns

The physical manufacturing requirements, at issue in Pena v. Lindley, that were upheld include two mandatory safety devices, and one tool to aid law enforcement investigations.

The safety devices mandated include "chamber load indicators" and "magazine detachment mechanisms." The chamber load indicator allows a gun user to easily see if a bullet is in the chamber waiting to be fired. The magazine detachment mechanism prevents a gun from being able to fire if the magazine is detached.

Both of these requirements are aimed at reducing accidental shootings. And according to the appellate court, both cut Constitutional muster, and don't infringe upon the Second Amendment. Applying intermediate scrutiny, regardless, it found that the restrictions are reasonable, and narrow, and don't impact the right to possess, only the right to sell certain firearms. Notably, many guns without these features are "grandfathered" in.

Bullet Stamping Upheld

Taking a tip from Chris Rock and his famous Bullet Control bit, California lawmakers actually passed a law requiring gun manufacturers to use "bullet stamping" technology. The idea is that each time a gun fires a bullet, the gun stamps the bullet casing with the gun's serial number. The court upheld this restriction as well, though one judge did issue a lengthy dissent finding these provisions were a bit too much to bear.

Related Resources: