Fallbrook gun shop is plaintiff in under-21 gun rights lawsuit v. California Attorney General


Last updated 9/20/2019 at 9:01pm

FALLBROOK – A Fallbrook gun shop is a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging California’s gun law banning the sale of firearms to those under 21. The lawsuit recently filed in San Diego argues that adults over age 18 who are not convicted felons or mentally ill should have access to the full scope of the Second Amendment.

Thomas Furrh of Vista and Matthew Jones of Santee, both under 21, are listed as plaintiffs, along with four gun advocate groups and three retail gun shops in San Diego County.

The four gun advocate groups include the Calguns Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation and Second Amendment Foundation. The three retail gun shops include Poway Weapons and Gear, North County Shooting Center in San Marcos and Beebe Family Arms and Munitions in Fallbrook. The lawsuit was filed by John Dillon, associate attorney with the Carlsbad-based law firm of Gatzke Dillon and Ballance LLP.

“Once individuals turn 18, they are considered as adults in the eyes of the law,” Dillon said. “Therefore, law-abiding adults are entitled to fully exercise all of their fundamental rights, including their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for all lawful purposes, not just hunting or sport.

“We’re asking the court to rule the state’s law as an unconstitutional infringement so that law-abiding adults over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 can exercise their fundamental Second Amendment right to purchase and possess firearms. The state’s actions and policies to deny Californians their fundamental rights are unconstitutional and wrong,” he said.

Defendants in the federal lawsuit are listed as California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Martin Horan, director of the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms.

Legislation to ban the sale of firearms to those under 21 was introduced last year by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, a La Canada-Flintridge Democrat, in response to the February 2018 shooting deaths of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school by a 19-year-old gunman. The new gun law signed in September 2018 by former Gov. Jerry Brown took effect Jan. 1. It expanded previous restrictions that prohibited people under 21 from buying handguns. Military service members, law enforcement officers and licensed hunters are exempted from the law and can own firearms.

“Last year’s legislation was nothing more than a knee-jerk, political reaction to what happened in Florida, which has nothing to do with California, or the plaintiffs in this case,” Dillon said. “The law is discriminatory and abuses California gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.”

Dillon said Californians who are at least 18 but not yet 21, who are not otherwise prohibited from purchasing firearms and who were denied their right to purchase a firearm, are invited to contact him at http://www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline or (855) 252-4510.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found at http://www.firearmspolicy.org/jones.

“The Second Amendment fully applies to all non-prohibited adults, period,” Gene Hoffman, chairman of Calguns Foundation, said. “California cannot deny a fundamental, enumerated right to adults over the age of 18 that have no disqualifying criminal or mental health history.”

“The Second Amendment is not a second-class right and adults over the age of 18 but under 21 are not second-class people,” Brandon Combs, president and chairman of Firearms Policy Foundation, said. “This case seeks to restore the Second Amendment human rights of legal adults who are being prevented from exercising them because of unconstitutional laws, policies, practices, customs that the state of California defendants are known to enforce.”

“We’re going to court against this law because it clearly violates the Second Amendment rights of young adults,” Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of Second Amendment Foundation, said. “When a citizen turns 18 years old in this country, they is considered a legal adult, free to exercise their rights under the Constitution, and that certainly should include the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. But this California law turns that concept on its ear, with very few exceptions, such as possessing a valid hunting license. Our individual plaintiffs do not hunt and have no intention of pretending to be hunters, just to exercise their constitutional rights.”

Submitted by Attorney John Dillion.


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