The Second Amendment Foundation and two California gun rights groups—the California Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. (CRPA), South Bay Rod and Gun Club, Inc.—have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s new restrictive regulatory scheme covering the sale of firearms and ammunition as it applies to gun show operations in the state.
They are joined by B&L Productions, Inc./Crossroads of the West, Captain Jon’s Lockers, LLC; L.A.X. Firing Range, Inc./LAX Ammo and several private citizens.
At issue is Assembly Bill 893, which forbids the sale of firearms and ammunition at places such as the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego County, but has statewide implications. SAF and CRPA say the new legislation could put gun show events out of business.
Named as defendants in this case are California Gov. Gavin Newsom in his official and personal capacity, Attorney General Robert Bonta, California Department of Food & Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, San Diego County District Attorney Stephan Summer, San Diego County Counsel Thomas Montgomery, the 22nd District Agricultural Association and Does 1-50. The 57-page federal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
This is not the first time around for SAF and CRPA relating to the Del Mar Fairgrounds and gun shows operated by Crossroads of the West. An earlier lawsuit in federal court resulted in a ruling for the plaintiffs and payment of more than $500,000, as well as allowing gun shows to be held at the fairgrounds, CRPA recalled in a news release.
“Boiled down to the basics,” explained SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “the state has been regulating gun show operations almost out of existence, and more restrictive than brick-and-mortar retail gun shops or even internet sales. This amounts to deprivation of rights under color of local law, including the First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of assembly, and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection under the law.
CRPA President and General Counsel, Chuck Michel issued a statement: “We are proud to bring this legal action on behalf of the Second Amendment community of vendors, promoters, advocates, and individual gun enthusiasts. Where the government discriminates and attempts to chill the speech of those who they do not agree with, it is just another example of the cancel culture attitude that is so prevalent with gun control politicians. CRPA will continue to fight for the constitutional rights of the gun culture.
“Gun shows in California,” Michel added, “are some of the most regulated businesses in the state. CRPA has submitted over 35 public records requests to numerous government agencies, and not one of those requests returned any proof of dangerous activity at the Del Mar Gun Show.”
“What is alarming to us,” Gottlieb concurred, “is that Crossroads of the West has followed the rules, and so have vendors at their gun shows. Yet, the state is attempting to prohibit constitutionally protected activities that are perfectly legal, and are already highly regulated.
“Like it or not,” Gottlieb observed, “gun shows are public forums where like-minded people can meet and discuss various issues, engage in firearm sales and purchases, learn about gun safety and enjoy the camaraderie inherent at such events. Obviously, the defendants don’t like that, but they simply cannot violate constitutional rights to satisfy a personal disdain.”
CRPA’s Michel said his organization expects even more legal action following passage of SB 264, which appears aimed at gun shows in Orange County.