Gun groups challenge California gun law modeled on Texas abortion measure

A collective of gun rights groups and individuals have argued that the California law is unconstitutional because it limits their ability to challenge gun laws. A lawsuit filed in the Southern District of California specifically opposes a provision of the law requiring people who challenge California gun laws to pay the opponents’ attorney fees if they don’t prevail.

The lawsuit argues that this provision « isolates the protected activity of gun advocates and seeks to stifle their access to the courts. » Some of the plaintiffs also sued California to overturn its ban on assault weapons.

“The plaintiffs hope to challenge a state law restricting their right to own firearms, but they (and their attorneys) fear it will put them out of business,” the complaint states.

While the lawsuit does not explicitly challenge the private prosecution component of SB 1327, it nonetheless targets a common feature of California’s gun law and Texas’ abortion measure, which also requires challengers to pay legal fees. California Attorney General Rob Bonta criticized the Texas provision in an amicus brief, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor raised due process issues.

Groups challenging the California law noted that California « adopted this fee-shifting system in response to – and apparently in retaliation for – a similar fee-shifting system that Texas adopted as part of the abortion ».

« But tit-for-tat is not a rational or permissible justification for the classifications in this case, » the lawsuit states, adding that « punishing Second Amendment litigants in retaliation against Texas for enacting its own restrictions on the Abortion in SB 8 is clearly illegitimate.”


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