Federal Judge Challenges California Gun Law

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U.S. District Chief Judge Dana Sabraw has ruled that California’s new handgun law provision requiring the removal of three grandfathered handguns for every new handgun added to its list of guns that can be sold in the state “substantially infringes” Californians’ ability to purchase handguns for self-defense, reports the Courthouse News Service. Sabraw found the “three-to-one” provision of California’s Unsafe Handgun Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, “imposes a greater restriction on the pool of handguns available for sale in California” and may violate the Second Amendment.” It is not the first time the gun lobby has challenged California’s Unsafe Handgun Act, which regulates the sale of firearms by maintaining a roster of handguns deemed “not unsafe” based on certain requirements and therefore saleable in the Golden State. To be deemed “not unsafe” handguns sold in California must have certain features. Semiautomatic pistols, for example, must have a chamber load indicator, magazine detachment mechanism and microstamping technology that places identifying information fired shell casings to assist law enforcement.

The number of handguns on the roster which can legally be purchased in California has shrunk significantly since the UHA added the microstamping requirement in 2013.At the end of 2013, there were 1,273 makes and models of approved handguns on California’s roster. By Nov. 8, 2020, more than 400 handguns had been removed. California argued the three-for-one provision furthers public safety by removing grandfathered handgun models when new models complying with applicable features are added to the state’s roster, facilitating “a transition over time toward full compliance.”

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