Submitted by Firearms Policy Coalition – January 3, 2018
Attorneys for 5 California gun owners and 4 civil rights advocacy organizations filed for an injunction against the state’s Department of Justice regulations on so-called “assault weapons.”
In the request for an injunction, the plaintiffs argue that “they, and many others similarly situated, will suffer irreparable injury if they are forced to comply with the registration requirement in accordance with the Challenged Regulations by the statutory deadline of June 30, 2018. In essence, they and many others would either be illegally forced to register or illegally denied the ability to register their firearms.”
Also filed was an amendment to the case, adding Craig Stevens as an individual plaintiff suing over the regulations. According to the filing, Stevens is “currently an active-duty member of the California Army National Guard, having the rank of Sergeant First Class (SFC), and is currently and as of December 23, 2017, deployed overseas to the Middle East.”
Stevens has tried multiple times to comply with the DOJ regulations on “assault weapons,” but the DOJ rejected his application even though there was no legal basis for them to deny him the registration of his firearm. “The declaratory and injunctive relief, and/or mandamus relief, sought in this action are necessary as set forth herein, to vindicate his right (and obligation), and the rights (and obligations) of others similarly situated, to register this legally-owned firearm as the only available means by which to maintain lawful possession of such firearms according to the DOJ’s regulatory scheme,” the court filing says.
About the new filings, plaintiffs’ attorney George M. Lee explained, “As we show in our motion for an injunction, the State’s regulatory and enforcement scheme was designed and functions to separate law-abiding people from their rights, property, and statutory obligations. We seek in this case to make DOJ follow the same laws they impose on others – and protect law-abiding gun owners in the process.”
Raymond DiGuiseppe, co-counsel and former California deputy attorney general, agreed. “The Department of Justice has grossly exceeded their authority and is illegally imposing its will on thousands of California gun owners. Their regulations and actions undermine the rule of law and put potentially hundreds of thousands of people at risk for serious criminal liability. We look forward to resolving these issues as quickly as possible and protecting California’s law-abiding gun owners from this regulatory overreach.”
Named as defendants are California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Chief of the DOJ Bureau of Firearms Stephen Lindley, the California Department of Justice itself, Director of the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) Debra Cornez, and State Controller Betty Yee.
The lawsuit is backed by The Calguns Foundation (CGF), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF).
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