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Ninth Circuit Rejects Challenges to Two California Gun Safety Laws

September 6, 2018

On August 3, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra hailed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recent rejection of challenges to California's Gun-Free School Zone Act in Gallinger v. Becerra, and California's Unsafe Handgun Act in Peña v. Lindley.

"The Court ruled in favor of protecting our children, our law enforcement, and our public safety,” said Attorney General Becerra. “California will continue to lead and remains committed to protecting its residents and reducing gun violence.”

In Peña v. Lindley, the Ninth Circuit rejected a Second Amendment and equal protection challenge to California’s Unsafe Handgun Act. The Act requires handguns sold in the State to come equipped with basic safety features. The plaintiffs challenged the requirements that certain new handgun models must include a chamber load indicator and a magazine detachment mechanism. These features are designed to limit accidental discharges that occur when someone mistakenly believes that there are no more rounds in a gun’s chamber. Plaintiffs also challenged the microstamping requirement, which is intended to help solve crimes by providing law enforcement with identifying information about the handgun used at a crime scene.

In Gallinger v. Becerra, the Ninth Circuit similarly rejected an equal protection challenge to a portion of California’s Gun-Free School Zone Act. Under the Act, individuals who obtain a concealed-carry weapon license may not carry loaded firearms onto school properties. The Act, however, does permit specified retired peace officers—and specified others, including current peace officers—to carry loaded firearms onto school properties. The Ninth Circuit ruled that it was reasonable for the Legislature to conclude that allowing retired peace officers to carry weapons on school premises promoted those officers’ safety and that of the general public.  

Source: California Department of Justice

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