California gun owners got great news today when Judge Roger Benitez announced he is upholding CRPA’s challenges in Rhode v. Bonta.
This case seeks to overturn the state’s restrictions on ammunition purchases. Prop 63 was passed eight years ago and places restrictions on law-abiding citizens purchasing ammunition, such as: background checks for purchases, paying for an ammo purchasing permit, only transferring ammunition through a licensed dealer, no purchasing ammunition online for direct shipment to the buyer, and DOJ creating a centralized list of all persons permitted to purchase ammunition.
Rhode v. Bonta has worked its way up and down the court system for eight years.
Along with Duncan v. Bonta, these cases were both at the Ninth Circuit level last year, awaiting the much anticipated Bruen decision by the Supreme Court. Once that decision came down, Rhode and Duncan were both remanded back to the lower courts for supplemental briefing. Our friends at Ammunition Depot, Able Ammo, and Sam’s Shooters Emporium joined with CRPA and other individual and company plaintiffs to support this case through all of the legal twists and turns.
The Court did not hold back in their analysis stating that “the state’s ammunition background check regime turns…constitutional presumptions the wrong way around. It treats all citizens as if they do not enjoy a right to buy ammunition. It forces Americans to entreat and supplicate the state for permission. This is not the language of a right; this is the language of a government license or grant of a privilege.”
The court rightly, and for the second time, enjoined the law.
Named plaintiff and Olympic champion Kim Rhode celebrated the announcement: “Like I initially stated to Gavin Newsom, “always happy to teach you about the guns and ammo you don’t trust me to own.” I’m happy that the courts agreed with me. Many generations of hunters, outdoorsmen and Olympians will be able to train and pass on the shooting heritage for many generations. I will never stop fighting for the 2nd Amendment and what I believe to be right and the court’s ruling supports that.”
Both cases were intensely watched by Second Amendment advocates buoyed by the announcement of the Bruen decision last summer. Today’s ruling, while the state will most certainly appeal them, represent continued progress in rolling back decades of attacks on the rights of lawful gun owners.
Today’s ruling represents continued affirmation that the Bruen decision, and Heller before that, represent a sea change in the way courts must look at these absurdly restrictive laws. The state will appeal, but the clock is ticking on laws that violate the Constitution.
Lead attorney for the Rhode case, Sean Brady of Michel & Associates, noted, “this particular background check system, instituted by California law, was so egregious and over the top that Judge Benitez never faltered in his determinations from his earlier rulings which gave gun owners a win. Today’s ruling reiterates that California’s restrictions on ammunition purchasing are unconstitutional under yet another ruling in our favor and one that is in line with the Supreme Court opinion in Bruen.”
CRPA is proud to stand side by side with plaintiffs like Ammunition Depot, Sam’s Shooter’s Emporium, and Able Ammo in this major challenge to unconstitutional laws in California. It takes this type of collaboration to bring about big wins for gun owners.
Stay tuned to CRPA News, emails, and social feeds for continued updates as our legal team breaks down the rulings and provides a roadmap for what lies ahead. We will also have more information as Judge Benitez’s decision is analyzed, and we can determine what happens next for these cases and your rights as gun owners.
In the meantime, you can give to cases like these, DONATE, to help us keep the wins coming! We are NOT DONE YET!
Rhode v. Bonta Decision
About C.D. “Chuck” Michel
C.D. “Chuck” Michel is Senior Counsel and owner of Michel & Associates, P.C. a law firm located in Long Beach, California. (www.michellawyers.com). The firm focuses on civil rights advocacy, primarily involving the Second Amendment. Other civil and criminal practice areas include business litigation, land use, environmental, and employment law.
Chuck is also the volunteer president and general counsel for the California Rifle & Pistol Association (crpa.org) and the Second Amendment Law Center (2ALC.org).
He is the author of California Gun Laws: A Guide to State and Federal Firearm Regulations (www.