In the final week of 2023, America’s Future filed Amicus briefs with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in connection with two separate Second Amendment federal court cases involving challenges to specific provisions of California gun laws. America’s Future fully supports the respective plaintiffs-appellees in their pursuit to exercise the right to bear arms.
The cases are summarized below.
Virginia Duncan, et al, v Rob Bonta, in his official capacity as the Attorney General of the State of California, No. 23-55805
On Thursday, December 28, 2023, America’s Future filed its third Amicus brief in the Duncan v Bonta court saga. This case is well-traveled having been up and down the California federal court system since late 2016 and even reaching the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) docket during its October Term 2021. As noted on page 2 of the brief, this protracted litigation “represents yet another chapter in the ongoing battle between the State of California in its efforts to restrict firearms and those seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Eight other nonprofits joined the brief.
At the trial court level, the federal district court granted summary judgment in favor of Ms. Duncan. The district court’s sound and well-reasoned ruling was reversed and on more than one occasion, Ninth Circuit activist judges ruled in favor of California’s leftist regulations and policies.
Eventually, on August 1, 2022, SCOTUS expeditiously disposed of the case, ruling in favor of Ms. Duncan and, in doing so, vacated the Ninth Circuit’s judgment with instructions to reconsider applicable law in light of the SCOTUS landmark ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen 597 U.S ____(2022).
The Bruen case has altered the framework of Second Amendment judicial resolutions. The landmark decision respects our Framers and our Constitutional Republic. It stands for the notion that our God-given individual inalienable right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed by overzealous government officials seeking to subjugate the citizens of this great nation, flexing political power over citizens they view as their subjects.
As explained in our brief,
The California government is led by officials who have demonstrated hostility not just to the ‘right to keep and bear arms,’ but also to the Bruen decision. When Bruen was before the Supreme Court on the merits, California joined other states in filing an amicus brief urging virtually unlimited latitude for states to restrict gun rights, in stark opposition to the approach eventually taken by the Bruen Court. Since the Bruen decision was issued, California Governor Gavin Newsom has roundly criticized it, the Supreme Court generally, and those circuit courts that have followed it.”
America’s Future takes the position that “the district court correctly concluded that Appellant ‘did not succeed in justifying its sweeping ban and dispossession mandate with a relevantly similar historical analogue.’”
We urge the Ninth Circuit to quit lallygagging and promptly issue a final judgment in this case – one that is compatible with Bruen and the U.S. Constitution. It is clear the district court’s order of summary judgment in favor of Ms. Duncan should be affirmed and the California statute, at issue, should be stricken as unconstitutional.
James Miller, et al. v. Rob Bonta, in his official capacity as the Attorney General of the State of California, No. 23-2979
On Friday, December 29, 2023, America’s Future filed an Amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Miller v Bonta, a Second Amendment case challenging California’s list of banned firearms that fall within the state’s expansive definition of “assault weapons”. The list includes certain semiautomatic firearms customarily owned by individuals in accord with the Second Amendment.
The brief provides the Ninth Circuit with insight from a historical perspective in the hopes of opening eyes to the import of our Founder’s intent.
As explained in our brief,
In the Declaration of Independence, America’s founders viewed armed resistance to tyranny as not only a ‘right,’ but also a ‘duty.’ Having experienced the loss of their rights as Englishmen, the American people were not so sanguine to think that the new governments they were creating could not, themselves, devolve into despotism.
Here, the California “assault weapons” ban is incompatible with Bruen and violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms. California’s gun regulations display an unreasonable hostility towards the Second Amendment. Enacting laws that criminalize possession of widely owned weapons such as semiautomatic rifles, handguns, and shotguns is exactly what Bruen warns against. California’s ban is arbitrary, overly broad, and cannot stand. As our brief explains, “if California wants to defend its law and rebut the presumption that the Second Amendment protects so-called ‘assault weapons,’ it has the burden to demonstrate relevant historical analogues. California cannot evade that burden.”
America’s Future urges the Ninth Circuit to affirm the judgement of the lower court, finding in favor of the plaintiff and invalidating California’s state statute respecting “assault weapons.”
Editor’s Note: Earlier articles regarding Duncan v Bonta, along with the Amicus briefs, can be accessed on our Law & Policy page.