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Gun Rights Groups Sue Xavier Becerra Over California's One-Gun-Per-Month Purchase Limits

A coalition of gun rights groups, firearms businesses, and private citizens filed a lawsuit in United States District Court for the Southern District of California challenging the state’s one-gun-per-month purchase limit.

The lawsuit claims that the prohibition violates the Second Amendment rights which guarantee the right to keep and bear weapons, and the Fourteenth Amendment rights guaranteeing equal protections for Americans.

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), alongside The Firearm’s Policy Coalition (FPC), San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, North County Shooting Center, Inc., PWGG, L.P., and six private citizens filed the Nguyen v. Becerra lawsuit, on Friday.

The suit names California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Director of the Attorney General’s Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms Luis Lopez as the primary defendants.

The lawsuit points out that the defendants “unconstitutionally prohibit—under pain of criminal penalty—the typical, law-abiding adult who is not prohibited from possessing and acquiring firearms—even those known to Defendants as such—from purchasing or receiving more than one new handgun at a time.”

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The plaintiffs add that the new prohibition would extend to “large categories of constitutionally protected firearms” commonly used for lawful purposes. SAF, FPC, and others indicate that the state government could address public safety concerns through other methods such as addressing the illegal gun trafficking trade and curbing "straw purchases" instead of violating the rights of the law-abiding citizens.

Commenting on the lawsuit, SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, said:

“The policy discriminates against private citizens because it does not apply to motion picture, television or video production companies, which we call the ‘Hollywood exemption,’” Gottlieb said. “The way Becerra and Lopez enforce the law amounts to an infringement on the individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment, and a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.”

Although California had a one handgun-per-month purchase limit since 1999, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 61 extending the purchase limit to all firearms in 2019. The law will take effect on July 1, 2021.


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