SANTA ANA, Calif. – The California Attorney General’s Office Tuesday was weighing an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s Unsafe Handgun Act.
U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney issued a preliminary injunction Monday in a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s law requiring specific devices on guns to improve their safety and to identify fired bullets.
“We will continue to lead efforts to advance and defend California’s gun safety laws,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. “As we move forward to determine next steps in this case, Californians should know that this injunction has not gone into effect and that California’s important gun safety requirements related to the Unsafe Handgun Act remain in effect.”
The Attorney General’s Office was given two weeks to file an appeal.
Carney’s ruling does not affect the state’s requirement that guns for sale must be in the state’s list of weapons that have passed other safety tests.
Carney referred to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found the government cannot just cite the promotion of an important public interest and that any gun safety laws must be “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
Carney said the state’s requirements “unquestionably infringe on the right to keep and bear arms” as guaranteed in the Second Amendment.
“Plaintiffs seek to purchase state-of-the-art handguns for self- defense,” Carney wrote. The state’s requirements “prevents this,” he added.
“To acquire the latest model of a semiautomatic handgun, plaintiffs must buy one secondhand if they can find one, and at a high markup,” Carney said.
The state’s law requires safety features aimed at reducing the chances of accidental discharges of guns. It also requires a device that leaves an identifiable mark on spent shells that law enforcement can use to identify the gun.
“The microstamping requirement has prevented any new handgun models from being added to the (state’s list of safe guns) since May 2013,” Carney wrote. Gun manufacturers don’t make a weapon with this technology, the judge noted.