BELLEVUE, WA – A federal judge has declared California’s controversial “fee-shifting” tenet of the state’s new gun control law to be unconstitutional, and permanently enjoined the state from enforcing this provision, known as Section 1021.11.
It’s a victory for the Second Amendment Foundation and its partners in their lawsuit challenging the statute. SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb said this is a major setback for the gun control extremism that has been running rampant in California. The case is known as Miller v. Bonta.
“Christmas came early for Golden State gun owners and rights groups everywhere who find it necessary to challenge the state’s restrictive firearms regulations,” Gottlieb said. “Section 1021.11 would have penalized gun rights groups, and their attorneys, for having the courage to take the state to court.”
SAF was joined 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, for whom the case is named. Representing SAF and its partners are attorneys Bradley A. Benbrook at the Benbrook Law Group, PC and David H. Thompson at Cooper & Kirk, PLLC.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez observed, “This Court concludes that the purpose and effect of § 1021.11 is to trench on a citizen’s right of access to the courts and to discourage the peaceful vindication of an enumerated constitutional right. Because the state fee-shifting statute undermines a citizen’s constitutional rights, it is this Court’s role to declare its invalidity and enjoin its threat.”
The judge’s ruling also applies to a virtually identical challenge involving SAF’s sister organization, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, known as South Bay Rod & Gun Club v. Bonta. CCRKBA and the gun club are joined by the California Rifle & Pistol Association and several other plaintiffs.
“We’re grateful that Judge Benitez saw this provision for what it is, an effort to chill opposition to California’s increasingly restrictive gun control laws,” Gottlieb concluded.