The National Rifle Association has filed the first in a series of planned court challenges opposing sweeping new gun control laws approved in California after the San Bernardino terror attacks, the Los Angeles Times reports. The flurry of legal action comes as Neil Gorsuch takes his Supreme Court seat, returning a conservative majority to the court. As the Republican administration begins appointing judges to the federal court system, gun-rights advocates hope that some of the more restrictive laws imposed in recent years will be vulnerable to legal challenge. California is a natural target for the gun lobby. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed several gun control bills, including a prohibition on the sale of semiautomatic rifles equipped with so-called bullet buttons that allow for the quick removal and replacement of ammunition magazines.
The first lawsuit was filed yesterday in federal court in Santa Ana by the California Rifle and Pistol Association, the state affiliate of the NRA. It asks the courts to declare the expanded assault weapon law unconstitutional. “It criminalizes possession of firearms which are commonly possessed for lawful purposes by law-abiding citizens for self- defense or shooting sports,” said Chuck Michel, attorney for the gun rights groups. The legislation and other bills, including a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines, were approved by Brown and the legislature in response to a 2015 terrorist shooting in San Bernardino in which weapons including AR-15 rifles were used to kill 14 people attending a holiday party. The new law “will do nothing to stop terrorists or violent criminals, and infringes on the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment,” pro-gun groups said yesterday.