Feature Article: Illegal Gun Laws

Third in series of NRA/CRPA lawsuits filed against illegal California gun laws

Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Sep 13, 2017



On Sept. 7, attorneys for the National Rifle Asso­ciation (NRA) and the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA), filed the third in a series of planned lawsuits that challenge California’s recently enacted anti-gun restrictions collectively known as “gunmageddon” among gun owners.

This latest lawsuit, titled Villanueva v. Becerra, challenges the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recently enacted “assault weapon” new laws passed in 2016 (AB 1135 and SB 880) banning the sale, transfer, and possession of certain rifles and pistols equipped with magazine locking devices, typically known as “bullet buttons.”

These firearms were pre­-viously not considered “assault weapons,” but must now be registered as such with DOJ. California gun owners own thousands — potentially hundreds of thousands — of such firearms.

The DOJ was warned that enacting the laws without public input was illegal, but they did it anyway, inviting legal action. There is a narrow exception in the law that allows DOJ to bypass the APA for regulations that set up the “assault weapon” registration process, but DOJ’s regulations go far beyond what is necessary for the registration of newly classified “assault weapons.”

In addition to creating over 40 new definitions, the regulations revise existing “assault weapon” regulations, require excessive personal information as a condition of registration (including where and how the firearm was acquired and a requirement to provide DOJ with photographs of the fire­arm), require home-built fire­arms first obtain a DOJ-approved serial number as a condition of registration, expand the definition of an “assault weapon” to certain shotguns, and restrict the modification or reconfiguration of a firearm after it is registered.

The NRA and CRPA attorneys filed the Villanueva lawsuit in Fresno Superior Court, challenging the regulations as violating the APA on the grounds that the regulations lack appropriate legislative authority and otherwise conflict with existing state laws.

To learn more, subscribe to NRA and CRPA e-mail alerts, and visit the NRA and CRPA’s websites at and

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