Federal Court: California DROS Fees Not Unconstitutional

Earlier today, a federal district court judge ruled that California’s “Dealer’s Record of Sale” (DROS) fees paid by law-abiding gun owners do not amount to a violation of Second Amendment rights.

“According to Plaintiffs,”Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill said in the decision, “this case presents the issue of whether the state can mandate that all law-abiding individuals who seek to exercise their right to acquire firearms bear the full cost of a law enforcement scheme designed to ferret out and confiscate firearms from those who unlawfully possess them.”

The ruling held that the DROS fees are a permissible use of the state’s police powers. “Plaintiffs have operated on the assumption that regulations on firearms commerce fall within the scope of the Second Amendment. But Plaintiffs do not provide—and the Court cannot find—any binding authority that so holds.”

While noting that “Courts within the Ninth Circuit and elsewhere are split on the issue, and also are split on the applicable standard of scrutiny to apply,” Judge O’Neill’s decision ultimately found that “the DROS fee is constitutional because it falls outside the historical scope of the Second Amendment.”

In dicta, the court also said that, “In any event, the DROS fee imposes only a $19.00 fee on firearm transactions. Under any level of scrutiny, the DROS fee is constitutional because it places only a marginal burden on the core of the Second Amendment, which is the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.”

The full court decision for Bauer v. Harris can be read here.