In the crime-free, gun-controlled utopia of California, guns available for sale to civilians are subject to something called the Unsafe Handgun Act. The law mandates that guns sold there have three features: 1) a magazine disconnect safety, 2) a loaded chamber indicator and…wait for it…3) microstamping capability.
Gun models sold before the law was enacted were grandfathered in. But since microstamping doesn’t work and no manufacturers produce guns capable of uniquely marking casings, the law has resulted in a gradual reduction of the number of guns available for sale in the state. As far as California’s concerned, that’s not a bug, it’s a feature!
A federal lawsuit, Pena v. Lindley, argued that result constitutes a violation of Californians’ Second Amendment rights.
Earlier this year, the Ninth Circus, as it’s done so many times in the past, disregarded the Supreme Court’s Heller decision and ruled that the Unsafe Handgun Act is A-OK as far as they’re concerned. Second Amendment and Heller be damned.
The panel held that the requirements for a chamber load indicator and a magazine detachment mechanism reasonably fit with California’s interest in public safety. The panel further held that California had met its burden of showing that the microstamping requirement was reasonably tailored to address the substantial problem of untraceable bullets at crime scenes and the value of a reasonable means of identification. The panel rejected plaintiffs’ claim that they have a constitutional right to purchase a particular handgun and their claim that the provisions violate the Equal Protection Clause.
Now, the Second Amendment Foundation has filed for Supreme Court review of the Pena decision. Here’s SAF’s press release:
SAF SEEKS SUPREME COURT REVIEW IN CHALLENGE OF CALIF. HANDGUN STATUTE
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a review of their challenge to California’s “Unsafe Handgun Act,” a part of that state’s penal code that violates the Second Amendment by banning handguns of the kind in common use for traditional lawful purposes.
SAF and Calguns are joined by private citizens Ivan Pena, Dona Croston, Roy Vargas and Brett Thomas. They are represented by attorneys Donald Kilmer of California and Alan Gura of Virginia. The case is known as Pena v. Horan.
“Our challenge of the California Unsafe Handgun Act (UHA), if the high court accepts it for review, could be a critical wake-up call to lower federal courts that continue to employ what they call an ‘interest-balancing approach’ to deciding gun control cases because that strategy is forbidden by the 2008 Heller decision,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “It is time to bring a halt to what is essentially a revolt by the lower courts against the landmark Heller opinion, and the Pena case could provide that vehicle.”
California’s Unsafe Handgun Act generally prohibits the manufacture, import or distribution of handguns that do not meet the state’s extremely restrictive design requirements under the state penal code. The result, as the plaintiffs contend in their petition for high court review, is that the state is gradually achieving a handgun ban because they cannot meet the impossible requirements, which include microstamping. That technology is not offered by any handgun manufacturer because it cannot be practically implemented, the petition notes.
“The landmark Heller ruling cannot become just a footnote in history,” Gottlieb observed, “but that appears to be the ultimate goal if such laws as California’s are allowed to stand. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court, with the benefit of fresh perspectives from two recently-seated associate justices, agrees that it is time to once again visit the Second Amendment and further restore its rightful place as a cornerstone of the Bill of Rights.”
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.