Parker vs. California: Ammo Bill Defeated in Court


Great News from the Bench!

Gun Owners of California has always had a three pronged approach in fighting to protect and defend the Second Amendment. We lobby in the legislature, we work in the elections, and we fight in the courts. We are happy to report that your support of Gun Owners of California allowed us to play a significant role in a great victory!

Just when you thought your gun rights in California were circling the drain and about ready to go down the tube, we received great news that the California 5th District Court of Appeals. On November 6, 2013, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s decision that AB 962, by then-Assemblyman (now Senator) Kevin de Leon, was unconstitutionally vague and could not go into affect under California Statutes. This was a bill, passed by the Legislature and signed into law by anti-gun Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, that would require licensing and registration regarding handgun ammunition sales in the Golden State. It also banned mail-order delivery of handgun ammunition. The case was Parker v. California.

To read the entire opinion click here

In a legislative alert, published by our friends at the National Rifle Association they explain as follows:

…The lawsuit, litigated by the NRA’s California counsel at Michel and Associates, P.C., was prompted in part by the many objections and questions raised by confused police, ammunition purchasers, and sellers about what ammunition would have been covered by AB 962.  In a move that reflects growing law enforcement opposition to ineffective gun control laws, former Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.  Other plaintiffs included the CRPA Foundation, Herb Bauer Sporting Goods, ammunition shipper Able’s Ammo, collectible ammunition shipper RTG Sporting collectiblesand individual Steven Stonecipher.

In addition to these plaintiffs, Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman, along with ammunition shippers Midway USA, Natchez Shooters Suppliesand Cheaper Than Dirtalso submitted declarations in support of the lawsuit.  Amicus briefs were submitted to the Court of Appeals by the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, Gun Owners of California, and FFLGuard.


The Court of Appeals agreed with plaintiffs’ claims that AB 962 is unconstitutionally vague because it fails to provide sufficient notice of what ammunition is “principally for use in a handgun,” and thus considered “handgun ammunition” under the law.  The court explained that it would be practically impossible for consumers, retailers, and law enforcement to determine whether any of the thousands of different types of ammunition cartridges that can be used in handguns are actually used more often in a handgun.  The proportional usage of any given cartridge is impossible to determine, and it changes with market demands… 

As we have always reported to our members and friends when explaining the nature of our opponents, they, the anti-gun Assemblymen, Senators and the Governor, knew full well that AB 962 had fatal constitutional problems because we informed them of that fact every step of the way. But predictably, like the proverbial 3 monkeys who shout “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” they all shouted “See no Constitution, hear no Constitution, speak no Constitution.” (Just in case any of you anti-gun yahoos are reading this, don’t get your panties in a bunch. I am not referring to the legislature as monkeys.) They did not care and would not listen.

The net result of their intransigence is as follows:

1. The legislature’s definition of what constitutes handgun ammunition was unconstitutionally vague.

2. The court took this as an opportunity to address an issue that has been unsettled for many years, that being the standard of review that should be applied in constitutional vagueness challenges. Our friends at Michel and Associates put it this way, “The Court expressly confirmed that a law need not be vague in every conceivable application to be found unconstitutionally vague on its face, particularly when the law regulates constitutionally-protected activity, in this case the transfer of ammunition. In that respect the opinion brings some much needed clarity to this general area of the law.”

3. One more thing, when the government is found to be wrong on these types of issues, they have to pay our legal fees.

The sound heard from the radical anti-constitutional leadership at the Capitol was a collective “Oops!”

As a member and supporter of Gun Owners of California, you supported this lawsuit in cooperation with some of our pro-Second Amendment friends. We are most grateful but also fully aware that there is still a long way to go.

It is true that radical anti-gunner CA Attorney General Kamala Harris has one more bite at the apple and could appeal this decision to the CA Supreme Court. Supported by that endless pool of financial resources, also known as our tax dollars, we fully expect that she will take it to the limit.

The fight for freedom and liberty never ends.

We want to extend a special thank you to all of the individuals, companies and organizations who played a role in achieving this victory…and a special thanks to NRA and the law firm of Michel and Associates for running point on this effort.

Amazing what you can do when you work together…