Gavin Newsom
"Thou shalt not challenge my limits on your gun rights!" (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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The Second Amendment Foundation today filed suit in federal court in California, asking for injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment against the state’s new law which includes a one-way fee shifting penalty in the government’s favor that applies only to litigation challenging state gun laws.

Joining SAF are plaintiffs James Miller; Ryan Peterson; John Phillips; Gunfighter Tactical, LLC; PWGG, L.P.; San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee; California Gun Rights Foundation; and Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc.; John W. Dillon; Dillon Law Group, P.C.; and George M. Lee. Defendants are California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Luis Lopez, Director of the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms, in their official capacities. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, and is known as Miller v. Bonta.

The complaint asserts the law violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It also says the new California law enables government defendants to recover fees if a firearms plaintiff loses on any claim in the case, while the plaintiff can only avoid liability for fees if it prevails on every claim in the case. Therefore, firearms plaintiffs cannot be “prevailing parties” under Section 1021.11, meaning they are never entitled to recover fees and costs.

As noted in the lawsuit, SAF has been forced by the law “to refrain from challenging California gun-control laws that it believes are unconstitutional, including by forcing Plaintiff SAF to remove itself from litigation that had already commenced.”

“In its effort to silence any opposition to unconstitutional gun control laws,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “the California Legislature adopted this new statute which details when and under what circumstances attorney’s fees may be awarded in cases challenging those gun laws.

“Essentially,” he continued, “this new law is designed to suppress any defense of the Second Amendment in court by imposing standards that violate the First Amendment. The law upends Congress’s regulation of fee awards by, among other things, purporting to change who may be considered a ‘prevailing’ party entitled to fees. Simply put, the new law is unconstitutional, and it should not be allowed to stand.”

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys David H. Thompson, Peter A. Patterson and Joseph O. Masterman with Cooper & Kirk, PLLC in Washington, D.C., and Bradley A. Benbrook and Stephen M. Duvernay at the Benbrook Law Group, PC in Sacramento.

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  1. Law fare. Using laws to punish your enemies.
    In this case, the state is using laws to disable their enemies, both financially and legally.

    • You are absolutely correct. Once again, Cali throws a law against the wall to see if it will stick, knowing full well that it is unconstitutional. They know that they have the money on their side.

      • Just another sneaky angle of attack taken from the democRat book of Jim Crow Gun Control. Although the characters may change it is still history repeating itself.

      • That’s been the Sacramento way for many years now. The “spaghetti on the wall” strategy…pass five gunn control laws, expect only one to prevail while the other four will eventually be knocked down, but in the meantime CA drags every court decision through the appellate process costing years and millions of $$ in costs. It’s intended to discourage challenges in the first place.

      • True, but I imagine the Feds will loan out the Jack-booted thugs to do individual state’s bidding, as long as it lines up with the socialist narrative. They are all part of the same infection.

    • democrats have been doing this for years. Nearly the entirety of the Investigations into Trump have been classic Lawfare. Certainly Flynn’s prosecution was a classic law fare situation.

      We’re at the point that almost everyone needs “lawsuit” insurance. Now it seems, even the lawyers may need “lawsuit insurance”.

    • the only way these a$$holes will learn is if some of them start getting their lead deficiency cured.

  2. Lawyers are a necessary evil, without some willing to accept the challenge, all would be lost in Commiefornia. If left unchallenged they would do the same with 1A. Newsom thinks he will be the next president, clearest example of the Peter Principle in action.

    • my father in law used to say, “you will be promoted to your highest level of incompetency.”
      the saying at the corp. i sold my soul to is, “f up to move up.”

  3. As usual, they play the long game.

    The purpose of this law is to delay litigation that they know they will lose. And from the article, it has worked.

    “SAF has been forced by the law “to refrain from challenging California gun-control laws that it believes are unconstitutional, including by forcing Plaintiff SAF to remove itself from litigation that had already commenced.””

    They delay in the eternal hope that the judicial climate will change in their favor.

    Just like after they lose an election, their rally cry is “Resist!”

  4. They knew it was illegal when they passed it. Just another way to delay and drag it out. What do they care not their money

  5. California Democrat governor Gavin Newsom is as anti-civil rights as Alabama Democrat Governor George Wallace.

    And the 21st century slave states, the federal government is not coming to save you. You are on your own. You have Obama, a Democrat who gives guns to the Department of Education. And other non-police agencies as well. And the justice department says parents who complain are terrorists.

    And this is why in the 18th century the founders wrote the second amendment.

    video 6 min long

  6. This might be something to use on them in return, in states that are pro-2A.

    Try and violate someone’s (or some company’s) 2A rights, get clobbered financially… 🙂

  7. This should be a civil rights lawsuit. Hopefully they get a big score and I would be asking for punative damages as well. They should be able to put a number on the litigation that this has held up.

  8. Too many politicians believe the Bill of Rights should contain only the sentence, “You have the right to shut up and do as you are told.”

  9. The issue at hand implicates more than just firearms.

    The tactic has been debated often: frivolous law suits. There is a plus: avoiding/recovering taxpayer expenses in defense of a law suit. The minus is disabling important law suits that, without guarantee of recovery in victory, are financially prohibitive.

    What is the proper method to eliminate “sue the government, and hope to hit the jackpot”, without throttling legitimate legal complaints?

    • “and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ”

      So, no method? The state/federal budget isn’t the concern of the petitioner.

      • “and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ”
        So, no method? The state/federal budget isn’t the concern of the petitioner.”

        A proper response will require more than two, or three, sentences. Would you like me to proceed?

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