The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has done it again, this time issuing a 3-0 opinion that the State of California's Dealer's Record of Sale ("DROS") fee collection and expenditures are constitutional.
In yet another anti-gun owner opinion penned by Chief Judge Sydney Thomas -- see our recent article "It’s Time to Break Up [With] the 9th Circuit" for more on Judge Thomas' history of anti-gun opinions -- the Court said that:
In this appeal, we consider whether California’s allocation of $5 of a $19 fee on firearms transfers to fund enforcement efforts against illegal firearm purchasers violates the Second Amendment. We conclude that, even if collection and use of the fee falls within the scope of the Second Amendment, the provision survives intermediate scrutiny and is therefore constitutional. We affirm the judgment of the district court.
Interestingly, the Court found that the "[Armed Prohibited Persons System] program is, in essence, a temporal extension of the background check program. The APPS program therefore, can fairly be considered an 'expense of policing the activities in question....or an 'expense incident to . . . the maintenance of public order in the matter licensed'..."
Ultimately, the Court concluded that
Where a law poses a minimal burden on core Second Amendment rights in furtherance of an important government interest, the federal courts have universally upheld it. We do the same here. In doing so, we need not—and do not— decide whether the fee implicates the Second Amendment, nor do we decide whether First Amendment fee jurisprudence should be applied in analyzing whether the provision passes the intermediate scrutiny test. Because, even assuming the Second Amendment applies in this context, California’s use of the DROS fee to fund the APPS program survives intermediate scrutiny under either test, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the State.
The National Rifle Association, California Rifle & Pistol Association Foundation, Herb Bauer Sporting Goods, and 3 individuals (including Barry Bauer) are plaintiffs in the case.
You can read the full decision here.
The 9th Circuit oral arguments -- which were held just weeks ago on April 19, 2017 -- can be viewed below: