Gun Rights Video News

SAF's Alan Gottlieb on MSNBC's Hardball


‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

Wednesday, April 1st, 1998

The Third District Court of Appeals ruled a major portion of California’s ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban is a violation of the separation of powers doctrine and the due process of law. The three-person panel also directed a lower court to review the possibility of throwing out the entire act.

“This is a huge blow to gun ban advocates,” proclaimed Alan Gottlieb, Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. “California was their model for the nation, and now that it is being stamped out in the courts, the Clinton gun ban may not be far behind.”

While many groups are taking credit for this major victory, plaintiff Peter Alan Kasler and attorney Don B. Kates, Jr. credit the Second Amendment Foundation for their role in this lawsuit. Yesterday, Kasler reiterated that, “Don Kates and I drafted this case for the Second Amendment Foundation back in 1989.”

The Second Amendment Foundation, in conjunction with Colt’s Manufacturing, filed suit against the Roberti-Roos Act in 1989 after anti-gun Attorney General Dan Lungren tried to add the Colt Sporter target rifle to the California gun ban list. SAF won a permanent stay against adding the Sporter and other new guns to the list of prohibited firearms pending an appeal by the state attorneys in 1994.

This week’s decision threw out the entire add-on provision, saying it was vague and violated equal protection principles. The panel unanimously decided that asking judges to add new guns like the Colt Sporter to the list was a legislative issue, not a judicial matter. In addition, the court was extremely critical of the whole add-on process, noting that, “The new ‘list’ is effective before it is published. This is intolerable.”

The majority of the judicial panel was extremely critical of the entire gun ban. The judges noted that a wide variety of firearms were left off the list yet are functionally the same as those included in the list. In addition, the panel reminded that some guns, like the, “Mini 14, the M1 and M1 Garand,” were spared based solely on their popularity.

This panel issued a great detailed decision based on the rule of law and common sense,” stated Gottlieb. “California banned guns not because of their dangerousness, but for their appearance and rarity.”

“The stage is set to overturn the entire Roberti-Roos act and then Clinton’s gun ban. It took almost nine years for justice to prevail, but defending people’s rights is never easy yet always rewarding,” concluded Gottlieb.