June 7, 2022 By Wallin & Klarich

The California Court of Appeal discussed the issue of whether California’s ban on semiautomatic rifles for young adults violated the Second Amendment by burdening the right to home self-defense and did not reasonably fit the objective of reducing violence. 

In 2021, California prohibited the sale of semiautomatic rifles to young adults under the age of 21 who do not have hunting licenses, are not active military service members, and non-law enforcement members. This law was argued by several groups of people who believed it violated the Second Amendment, but the court disagreed and allowed the law to stand. The plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, the court applied a two-step test for Second Amendment challenges: A historical analysis of whether the law burdens conduct protected by the Second Amendment, then a determination of the appropriate level of scrutiny that this new law caused. In this case, the law burdened conduct protected by the Second Amendment because young adults having the right to bear arms, as well as purchase them, was deeply rooted in the laws and customs at the time it was created. In addition, the level of scrutiny that applied to this law was high because it limited the purchase of semiautomatic rifles to only two occupational groups (military and police). 

This law was shut down largely due to the impact that former president Donald Trump had on the Second Amendment and his push to protect United States citizens Second Amendment rights. Trump appointed several judges to the federal court system, a few being Judge Ryan Nelson and Judge Kenneth Lee, for the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Nelson wrote the opinion discussed above which held a decision in favor of keeping Second Amendment rights for those aged between 18-20. For the time being, with these Trump appointed Judges still holding positions, it looks as if many states who wish to impose laws restricting young adults from purchasing semiautomatic centerfire rifles will be put on pause. 

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With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles, and San Diego, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense lawyer available near you who can aggressively defend you. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, give us a call and we will do all we can to help you win your case. 

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