Judge Ruled California Residents Can Buy More Than One Gun a Month

Residents in the most populous state will no longer be limited to purchasing a single firearm in a 30-day period. On Monday, a federal judge struck down the California law, saying it violated the Second Amendment, while he rejected historical comparisons.

“Nothing in the text of the Second Amendment suggests that the Second Amendment is limited to possession and acquisition of a single firearm … if anything, the usage of the term ‘arms’ in plural suggests the opposite,” said Judge William Q. Hayes, of the U.S. District Court for the South District of California.

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California doesn’t have a reputation for being the most Second Amendment-friendly state – but a judge has upheld the Second Amendment rights of citizens in the Golden State.

Though Hayes sided with a group of California residents, gun retailers, and gun rights nonprofits in finding that the one-gun-a-month law did not fit within the nation’s historical tradition of firearms regulation, it will remain in place for now as he stayed his ruling for 30 days to give the state time to appeal.

A spokesperson from the California attorney general’s office, which defended the law, told Reuters that it was reviewing the ruling. The law, which was also updated to include additional restrictions in 2021 and again this year, was introduced to cut down on so-called “straw purchases” of firearms, where one person buys a gun for another person who may be legally barred from purchasing it themselves.

Gun rights advocates had countered that the limits were an arbitrary and impermissible burden on constitutionally protected commerce.

As the lawsuit in the Golden State was pending, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling holding for the first time that the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense. The high court further directed the lower courts to compare state gun laws with colonial-era regulations to evaluate whether such legislation would fit with what the country’s founders imagined when the U.S. Constitution was drafted.

The ruling in California is just the latest to deem a state gun law unconstitutional in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which dramatically expanded gun rights.

Historical Review

As directed by the high court, Judge Hayes turned to a review of historically analogous regulations that could be comparable to California’s modern-day gun rationing scheme. California lawmakers had proposed late 18th-century laws that called for regulating the storage of gunpowder, while there were also colonial-era laws restricting the sale of firearms to Native Americans, mid-19th-century laws prohibiting the sale of certain knives and pistols, and founding-era laws requiring licensing and taxes to sell firearms.

However, Hayes subsequently rejected the state’s suggestions as not “relevantly similar” in “how and why” each restriction impacted the right to keep and bear arms.

“The taxing and licensing regulations are not ‘relevantly similar’ to the OGM (one gun-a-month) law,” Hayes wrote in his decision. “Unlike the OGM law, taxing and licensing regulations placed no limit on the quantity or frequency with which one could acquire firearms. The licensing regulations proffered by Defendants imposed no burden on the acquisition of firearms; they regulated only the seller. Accordingly, these laws do not establish a ‘tradition of firearm regulation’ similar to the OGM law.”

Monday’s ruling still gives the parties to the case seven days to file a proposed final judgment, and the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) – which first sued California over the law in December 2020 – said it expects the fight over the law to continue.

Oklahoma OKs Greater Second Amendment Protections

Legislation that could increase Oklahoma’s Second Amendment protections passed the state house and is headed to the Senate. It would add more specific, protective language to the Sooner State’s constitution. House Speaker Charles McCall, Rep. Kevin West, and Sen. David Bullard spearheaded the efforts behind House Joint Resolution 1034.

Oklahoma currently does not require licensing, permits, or registration to buy firearms. If the legislation passes the Senate, it will then be up to the voters to make the final call. However, the last time Oklahomans last amended the state constitution was in 2020 when they approved medical marijuana laws.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based freelance writer who regularly covers firearms related topics and military history. As a reporter, his work has appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers, and websites. Among those are The National Interest, Forbes, and many others. He has collected military small arms and military helmets most of his life, and just recently navigated his first NFA transfer to buy his first machine gun. He is co-author of the book A Gallery of Military Headdress, which was published in February 2019. It is his third book on the topic of military hats and helmets.

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