BELEVUE, WA – Attorneys representing the Second Amendment Foundation and its partners in a challenge of California’s fee-shifting law have filed a consolidated response to court briefs filed by Attorney General Rob Bonta and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
California’s new law includes a one-way fee-shifting penalty to discourage lawsuits against restrictive gun laws, creating a chilling effect on the ability to challenge unconstitutional laws that restrict individual rights and freedoms.
This is the case in which Newsom has intervened with his own attorneys because Bonta recently stepped away from defending the California statute because it is based on a Texas law, known as S.B. 8, which Bonta has already asserted is unconstitutional. The Texas statute deals with abortion. Newsom and state lawmakers created Section 1021.11 in the California statute and admit it was in retaliation against the Texas law.
As noted in the brief, “By intervening here, the Governor has thus offered further proof that Section 1021.11 is an act of political retribution that he intends to follow through on, at the expense of California citizens’ fundamental rights, if S.B. 8 is upheld. Meanwhile, he has failed to offer any colorable argument that Section 1021.11 is constitutional. It is not. The Court should declare Section 1021.11 unconstitutional and permanently enjoin all Defendants from enforcing it.”
Representing SAF and its partners are attorneys Bradley A. Benbrook at the Benbrook Law Group, PC and David H. Thompson at Cooper & Kirk, PLLC. SAF is joined in this case by the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee, California Gun Rights Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc., John W. Dillon, Dillon Law Group, P.C., George M. Lee, Gunfighter Tactical, LLC, John Phillips, PWGG, L.P., Ryan Peterson and James Miller.
The 21-page response was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, where the case is being heard by District Judge Roger T. Benitez.
“If it weren’t for the serious nature of the law, which seeks to penalize and discourage legal challenges to California gun control laws by essentially forcing plaintiffs and their attorneys to pay all legal costs,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “we would say their arguments are just getting nuttier. But this is a serious matter, designed to squelch legitimate challenges to California’s increasingly restrictive and constitutionally-questionable firearms regulations.”