California's Assault Weapon Ban Challenged in Federal Court

The Second Amendment Foundation sues to challenge California's assault weapon ban. Details from its press release:

The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons,” claiming that the statute is “vague and ambiguous” in its definition of assault weapons, leading to the arrest of a California man on two different occasions.

SAF is joined in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, by the CalGuns Foundation and Brendan John Richards, an honorably-discharged Marine and Iraq war veteran, who was arrested and jailed in May 2010 and August 2011. On both occasions, charges against Richards were dismissed when it was determined that he had not violated the law because firearms in his possession on both occasions were not “assault weapons” as defined by California law....

“It’s an insult to be arrested once for violating a law that is so vague and ambiguous that law enforcement officers cannot tell the difference between what is and what is not a legal firearm under this statute,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “but to be arrested and jailed twice for the same offense is an outrage. Brendan Richards’ dilemma is a textbook example of why the California statute should be nullified.

“On both occasions,” he continued, “Mr. Richards was jailed and had to post non-refundable bail fees. He lost work due to his incarcerations....Mr. Richards now has a reasonable fear that his exercise of his fundamental Second Amendment rights will result in more wrongful arrests. We’re delighted to step in, with the CalGuns Foundation, on his behalf."

Way the heck back in 1994, Jacob Sullum explained the silliness of "assault weapon" bans.

Past reporting from me on some past SAF-backed gun rights lawsuits and related issues in the wake of their 2010 victory in the Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago, which established that the Second Amendment does indeed bind states and localities in their gun regulations.

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  • There is no "we"||

    As written, the Second Amendment makes a stronger case for ownership of "assault weapons" -- nay, machine guns -- than ownership of handguns. If the "militia" is to maintain readiness for it's constitutional mission of 'repelling invasions,' 'suppressing insurrections,' and 'executing the laws of the union,' then it needs military-grade weapons. Whether these should be kept in the private home or not is more debatable. Such weapons may demand stronger security in storage, like an armory. Heller gave us the bedroom handgun, but if we are to vindicate the Second Amendment as written, I think we need to be able to own M-16s, even if we have to keep them locked up at an armory between days at the range.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: There is no "we",

    As written, the Second Amendment makes a stronger case for ownership of "assault weapons" -- nay, machine guns -- than ownership of handguns.


    You're stupid beyond repair.

    Such weapons may demand stronger security in storage, like an armory.


    Or a very heavey armoire.

    Again, you're stupid beyond repair. The 2nd Amendment cannot be construed as indicating the type of arm a person can bear as it says no such thing. It's obviosu even for me, a person who is not a native English-speaker. But the reason why you think otherwise may be because you're simply stupid beyond repair.

  • There is no "we"||

    ???

    You think the militia could discharge its constitutional duties with deer rifles and katanas?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: There is no "brain",

    I'm going to risk a prediction regarding your life, There is no brain:

    If you stopped saying really dumb things, people will stop thinking you're dumb.

    I'll stake my house on that one. How about you?

    Stupid beyond repair.

  • There is no "we"||

    Nobody can even figure out what you are talking about. It's not even clear if you are being pro or anti civilian gun ownership here.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: There is no "brain",

    Nobody can even figure out what you are talking about.


    Don't project your own incompetence towards everybody else, There is no brain: The fact that you cannot follow a conversation does not mean everybody else must share your condition.

    Only once will I let you ask about my business, Kate:

    The 2nd Amendment only states that because and especially because people need to practice to know how to shoot, the right of the people (that means everybody) to bear arms shall not be infringed. That means from stone knives, peashooters and slings to automatic weapons. It makes NO distinction. NONE.

    It does not mean that only militias get to carry weapons. Only people stupid beyond repair think that, There is no brain.

    Oh, and get a brain - you need it.

  • There is no "we"||

    Two Questions:

    (1) Can you own an anti-tank rocket?

    (2) Can you keep it under your bed in a double-wide trailer with a rusty lock on an aluminum door?

    [My answers would be (1) yes, and (2) no, you need to keep it someplace more secure.]

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: There is no "brain",

    Get a brain, bud. Really, you will understand the world better with one.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: There is no "brain",

    (1) Can you own an anti-tank rocket?

    (2) Can you keep it under your bed in a double-wide trailer with a rusty lock on an aluminum door?


    I do own a semiautomatic foobleblaster which I keep under my bed.

    Does that count?

  • There is no "we"||

    If you thought you could win the argument, you wouldn't run away from it.

    I've made reasonable points and asked reasonable questions. You resorted to fart noises and name-calling right from the outset.

    There's a reason people like you are perpetually kept at the margins, and your behavior here is an object lesson anent same.

    These exchanges are not as pointless and unedifying as you want them to be, because they show other people what you really are.

  • Britt||

    You've made no reasonable points, in point of fact.

    A militia, by definition, is plain old citizens armed with whatever weapons they own. If a citizen owns it, it's a militia weapon.

  • There is no "we"||

    "If a citizen owns it, it's a militia weapon."

    That settles exactly nothing.

    Citizens do not now own rockets. Should they? You are afraid to answer the question, because you are in over your head. You don't even know where to go with your argument because you have confused yourself, and aren't even sure what you should think, or how you should answer.

    Run away little coward, and leave your stinking little trail of petty attempted insults behind you. Squee squee squee squee!!! There you go, little piglet.

  • ||

    I assume u r unaware of the NFA act? U pay $200 tax and legally own, bear everything but new machineguns or nukes unless sale to law enforcement, Govt use(ect).
    Stop arguing bout things legal almost 96 years.Only 1 crime in history with legal owned NFA weapon,COP shot wife cause she cheated and was caught. Shot her with dept owned and issued machinegun.
    Fire that bunch of Stink Twats SOME of you goofs elected,like Polosi and Feintstinktwat, not 2 mention Brown Streak in underwear. Take ur state back, They are traitors and let them know in the elections they are through being "Career" politicians.Everyone who is not a felon should own a firearm and know how to use it. By the way, Fuck You Pelosi, Fuck you Feinstinktwat and Fuck you Brownstain. They should be hung in public as traitors to the US constitution. Read The Federalist Papers and stop smokin that crack!!!!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: There is no "brain",

    I've made reasonable points and asked reasonable questions. You resorted to fart noises and name-calling right from the outset.


    No, you didn't. You simply engaged in misconstruing and equivocation. That makes you either terribly incompetent or a liar. Since I don't believe you're sufficiently sophisticated to be a liar, then I concluded you must be stupid beyond repair.

    There's a reason people like you are perpetually kept at the margins, and your behavior here is an object lesson anent same.


    There IS a reason why people (not just me) will call you an idiot. Again, get a brain and you will see the world in a different light.

    And again, reading something that's not there in a text written in plain English is not evidence of intelligence, There is no "brain". Neither is your stupid nick, as indeed there is NO "we", you fucking collectivist moron.

  • protefeed||

    (1) Can you own an anti-tank rocket?

    (2) Can you keep it under your bed in a double-wide trailer with a rusty lock on an aluminum door?

    1) Yes.

    2) Yes, if you're an idiot, but expect it to get stolen if you're that careless about security.

    Why would you think it is OK for any individual to own such a weapon, but think they must be required by law to keep it secure from theft by other individuals?

  • ||

    At the time the 2A was written, militia members were not permitted to personally own cannons, for instance, but artillery was a necessity for battles of the time.

    I would say that the 2A applies to weapons that infantry commonly carry on their person, and whose activation requires their presence. So automatic rifles, yes. Grenades, no; artillery, no; nuclear missiles, fuck no.

  • ||

    Absurd. As of the Revolutionary war, most of the cannon that the rebels had were privately owned pieces.

  • R||

    At the time the 2A was written, militia members were not permitted to personally own cannons...

    WTF? Yes, as a matter of fucking fact, they were. Hell, you ever hear of a fucking privateer? It was a war ship, equipped with cannon (sometimes dozens of them), used to take out enemy merchant shipping. Why were they called privateers? Because they were privately fucking owned

    So, basically, back then, private citizens were allowed to own frigates and other warships, which were the height of military technology. The modern-day equivalent to most privateers would be a civilian owned destroyer.

  • R||

    Also, WTF server squirrels? I made my post almost four hours after mediageek did, but you put my post before his post and Tulpa's idiocy. Stupid squirrels.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    At the time the 2A was written, militia members were not permitted to personally own cannons

    Cite, please.

    I agree with the general proposition that the "arms" covered by the 2A cover the types of arms that light infantry would carry - i.e., rifled and smooth-bore long guns, sidearms, cutlasses and sabers - AND small mortars and cannon. E.g., the same types of weapons the patriots were trying to secure from the British at Lexington and Concord.

  • ||

    I mean, you can't "bear" an anti-tank rocket, so a right to keep and bear one is obviously not intended to apply.

  • mediageek||

    I'll be happy to argue about whether or not people should be allowed to own rocket launchers just as soon as the state stops locking people up because an ignorant cop thinks that some citizen's rifle matches the vague definition of an "assault weapon."

  • R||

    I mean, you can't "bear" an anti-tank rocket, so a right to keep and bear one is obviously not intended to apply.

    Ever here of a LAW, or an AT-4?

  • ||

    There are most definitely man-portable anti-armor weapons. Google is your friend.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I mean, you can't "bear" an anti-tank rocket, so a right to keep and bear one is obviously not intended to apply.

    Uh - wut?

    You sure as shit CAN "bear" an anti-tank weapon.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Where in the Second Amendment does it say anything about a requirement that you must keep your "arms" "someplace secure?" And where does it indicate that "how secure" it needs to be depends on what kind of gun it is?

  • ||

    You most certainly own and bear a Rocket Launcher, Destructive Device, Hand Grenade,Tank with live 75mm cannon, belt fed machinegun. Its called SOT class 7 or class 2. Those items have never been illegal, you have to go through the proper govt process and pay the tax. I dont see unrest and mayhem so to speak in the states that let you own, carry and drive these things, inclouding no permit required for concealed carry. Its quite peaceful actually. The politicians in CA are scared that the public will catch on to what kind of traitorism their up to and actually do what really should be done.I firmly believe there must be voter fraud. Did you folks actually vote for Feinstein and Polosi??????? What a bunch of goofs. Take your state back guys and gals!!

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    It does not mean that only militias get to carry weapons.

    I don't see anyone making that argument. The question here is not whether the right is individual or "collective". The question is what are the "arms" covered by the Second Amendment.

    The SCOTUS in U.S. v. Miller essentially took for granted the proposition that the right was an individual one.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Old Mexican:

    Looks like you need to read U.S. v. Miller, in which the SCOTUS ruled that the 2A protects only those "arms" that are of a type useful to an orderly militia for the common defense. In essence, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled about 80 years ago that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own military-style firearms. Because nobody had introduced evidence at trial that the short-barreled shotgun at issue in that case was the type of "arms" that would have been useful to a well-organized militia acting in the common defense, the Court ruled that there was no evidence supporting the argument that Mr. Miller had a right under the Second Amendment to own it.

    This, despite the fact that short-barreled shotguns have been used for a couple hundred years in armed conflict.

    Miller is a bit of a tough read, but essentially, it stands for the proposition that the 2A protects an individual right to own the same types of "arms" that a militia (i.e., light infantry) would carry - to wit: so-called "assault weapons."

  • Brendan Perez||

    Thanks for pointing this out.

    I've found it amusing that gun control supporters would use Miller to support their call for gun control.

    If there was no individual right own firearms, the court would have focused on Miller's militia status or whether or not he was in a militia.

    They would NOT have focused on the firearm itself and whether it was used in militias. If there is no individual right to own guns, then the type of gun doesn't matter.

    The court's statements imply that had they had evidence that a short barreled shotgun was useful in the preservation of a militia, they would have ruled differently. Of course, they had no such evidence because the government did not present any. The defense was absent for the proceedings.

  • Old Mexican||

    The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons,”


    I already left California, you tardy assholes!

  • ||

    FUCK YES. The only reasonable thing to do is nuke California's statist regime from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  • Warty||

    This would go a long way toward making California a fit place to live.

  • Detroit||

    Says the guy who lives in Cleveland.

  • JD||

    I doubt that it would do that directly. The lawsuit asserts that California's laws are unconstitutionally vague regarding when a semiautomatic firearm is an "assault weapon." Even if they succeed, California is just going to pass a better-defined ban.

    I could even see them passing an absolute ban on all semiautomatic rifles--maybe just those with a detachable mag, may be not. Of course, that would invite a Second Amendment challenge, which I'm sure the SAF would be glad to mount.

  • SIV||

    It would still require doing away with California's vehicle pollution/safety regulations.

  • ||

    This is just like what happens when you send your taxes to 10 different accountants and get back 10 different answers about your tax liability. There are so many bullshit laws on the books that there's just no way any given cop can know them all. If some guy's firearm is right on the line....better safe than sorry...arrest the guy and let the courts figure it out.

    I don't see how this will make things better. California will argue that the statute isn't vague since the courts sorted it out with the same decision after both arrests. The cops still won't know the technical details of the law, and Brendan Richards will be arrested again.

  • There is no "we"||

    They shouldn't argue vagueness, at least not exclusively. They should argue the law bans guns that civilians qua militia candidates have a right to own.

  • ||

    I can't imagine cops enforcing a vague, stupid and unjust law in an arbitrary manner. Even if they do, Dunphy told me it is not their fault.

    Our torches and pitchforks are gathering dust.

  • ||

    I'm glad I don't live in Cali. My neighbor is absolutely convinced my M1A is fully automatic because he's heard me bump fire it in my back yard. The sherrif's deputy 3 houses down? Has never stopped to ask me about it.

  • mediageek||

    Bump firing is for yokels who want to scare yuppies.

    Hitting targets within the effective range of the rifle and cartridge, now that's something to get excited about.

  • ||

    Bump firing is for yokels who want to scare yuppies.

    NTTAWWT!

  • ||

    I find it, less than odd and yet again disheartening, that the NRA, the largest pro-second amendment org in the country yet again sits this one out.

    Just as they did with Heller, they will refuse to take a stand until it's clear it's going to the SCOTUS with or without them. Between this inaction and the continued push for stricter "felons with guns" punishments that their lobbying arm (NRA-ILA) has continued with I'm glad I don't support them. They sure don't support me.

  • Yatin Mondkar||

    I'm glad somebody is challenging this dumb law. Where is the NRA on this!?

  • StalkedbyBrendanRichards||

    Brendan John Richards was arrested twice, because he was stalking people with firearms in his vehicle after making threats. Brendan John Richards has a history of cyber bullying and computer hacking. Mr. Richards likes to uses an IP spoof application on his phone to harass people anonymously.

    Due to his military status, Brendan John Richards was let off with a slap on the wrists by the arresting officers and not charged with felony stalking. The arresting officers in May removed a large knife from Mr. Richards and refused to take statements from a handicapped man that he was stalking at the time of his arrest. This pass was the only reason he was not charged with felony stalking despite having automatic weapons in his car and a knife on his person. Mr. Richards has a history of mental illness and lied to the Marine Corp in order to gain membership.

    Furthermore, Mr. Richards carved a girl's name into his arm that he had previously stalked. Brendan John Richards is no hero. Mr. Richards also has a history of stalking and harassing prostitutes. I encourage him to sue me as I have evidence, witnesses, and a log of everything. STOP BREAKING INTO MY ACCOUNTS

  • sactech||

    its so sad that we need to sue our govt just to get rid of nonsensical laws, there is a great article and video about this on www.californiagunlaws.net under assault weapons.

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