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Summary: Federal Second Amendment challenge to the State of California’s ban on firearm purchases by legal, law-abiding adults over the age of 18 but under the age of 21.

Plaintiffs: Matthew Jones, an adult under the age of 21; Thomas Furrh, an adult under the age of 21; PWGG, L.P. (D.B.A. Poway Weapons And Gear and PWG Range); North County Shooting Center, Inc.; Beebe Family Arms and Munitions Llc (D.B.A. BFAM and Beebe Family Arms And Munitions); Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc.; Firearms Policy Foundation; The Calguns Foundation; and Second Amendment Foundation

Defendants: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra; California DOJ Bureau of Firearms Chief Martin Horan; Does 1-20

Litigation Counsel: John W. Dillon, Gatzke Dillon & Ballance LLP


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Key events & filings:

2019-7-1: Complaint for Declaratory & Injunctive Relief

Related news releases:

2019-7-1: Gun Owners, Rights Organizations Sue California, Attorney General Becerra in New Federal Lawsuit Over State’s Age-Based Ban on Firearm Purchases

How to support this case:

1) 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 should contact attorney John Dillon or the organizations’ Legal Action Hotline immediately at www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline or 855-252-4510 (24/7/365).

2) Make a tax-deductible donation to support the work

3) Share this important lawsuit and news with your friends and family!

Why does this case matter?

All adults not otherwise prohibited from having firearms have the same rights as others. Age-based discrimination in this context is unconstitutional and morally wrong. These adults could be called to fight and die for their country, but the State of California had prevented them from accessing the full scope of constitutional rights entitled to them under natural law and the Constitution. 

Individuals 18 years and older are considered adults for almost all purposes. For example, at 18 years old, U.S. citizens can (i) vote, (ii) fully exercise their freedom of speech, (iii) receive the full protections under the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments, (iv) enter into contracts, and (v) serve in the United States military. Indeed, male citizens over 18 years of age are designated members of the militia pursuant to federal statute, 10 U.S.C. § 246(a), and may be selected and inducted for training and service into the United States armed forces, 50 U.S.C. § 3803(a). As such, they are eligible to serve in the military, and to die for their country.

In addition, the “militia of the State” consists of both the organized and unorganized militia. Specifically, the State’s organized militia encompasses the National Guard, State Military Reserve and the Naval Militia. (Cal. Military and Veterans Code Section 120.)

“The unorganized militia consist of all persons liable to service in the militia, but not members of the National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia.” (Cal. Military and Veterans Code Section 121.)

The Supreme Court in D.C. v. Heller recognized that through Congress’ plenary power, it organized all able-bodied men between 18 and 45 as part of the militia in the first Militia Act. (Heller, 554 U.S. at 596.) Thus, the Supreme Court recognized 18-to-20-year-olds as part of the militia; and as such, they necessarily have the right to keep and bear arms. Further, as affirmed in Heller, the right to keep and bear arms extends beyond the militia, reserving an individual right to keep and bear arms for all lawful purposes, “most notably for self-defense within the home.” (McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, 780 (2010).)

This case seeks to protect and restore the Second Amendment rights of legal adults who are being prevented from exercising them because of California’s statutes and the Defendants’ policies, practices, laws, and customs they enforce.

What are the plaintiffs seeking? 

Plaintiffs are requesting that the Court: 

(1) Declare that California’s law, Penal Code section 27510(a)-(b), and Defendant’s policies and practices of enforcing such law, which prohibits adults not otherwise prohibited between the ages of 18 and 20 from acquiring or purchasing any firearm (hereinafter the challenged “California Age-Based Gun Ban”), as an unconstitutional infringement of Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution

(2) Permanently enjoin Defendants from enforcing Penal Code section 27510(a)-(b)