The National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association plan to file several lawsuits against the State of California for several new gun restrictions that were signed into law in 2016.
The first lawsuit will target the Assault Weapon Control Act, a bill that puts a slew of restrictions on assault weapons and limits ammunition sales in the state. The AWCA and other gun control measures were signed into law on July 1, 2016 by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown of California. Those new laws were enacted partially in response to the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack, in which two people armed with assault weapons killed 14 people and injured dozens more, according to The New York Times.
The NRA and CRPA have described the AWCA as draconian in effect and complain that the law "inappropriately demonizes and condemns" firearms that are widely used.
"I mean, there’s millions of them, and they are the most common and popular rifles used for self-defense and for competition," said NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter, according to KQED.
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"One critical aspect of this new over-reaching law is that if you own a firearm equipped with a 'bullet button' you must now register the firearm as an 'assault weapon,'" the CRPA said in a statement posted on its website. "Other provisions would prohibit owners from transferring or selling these firearms to anyone in the state of California, including their own children or heirs upon their death."
The gun rights groups hope to have the courts declare the AWCA as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment and intend to demonstrate that it does nothing to prevent terrorists and violent criminals from obtaining assault weapons.
Democrats criticized the NRA and CRPA for fighting against a law that gun control advocates believe can save lives.
"[M]ilitary-style weapons with detachable magazines that have been used to murder countless Americans," said Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine, according to KQED. "These have been extraordinarily sad, tragic events that continue to occur. Gun deaths are preventable."
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At the time of the AWCA's signing in July 2016, Hunter blasted lawmakers for using the San Bernardino attack as an excuse to impose more gun regulation.
"The governor and legislature exploited a terrorist attack to push these measures through even though the state’s already-restrictive laws did nothing to stop the attack in San Bernardino," she said, according to the New York Times.
Levine also scolded the NRA and CRPA for waiting until the Supreme Court had a Republican majority before filing suit.
"It was a cynical ploy by the gun lobby to undermine laws to protect innocent people," Levine said. "They plotted to wait until they had a Supreme Court stacked in their favor."