Friday, November 8, 2013

Glock Steps Up In Challenge To California's Handgun Roster

Glock, Inc. filed a amicus brief last Friday the case challenging California's handgun roster. The case, Pena et al v. Lindley, was originally filed in 2009 in US District Court for the Eastern District of California. Glock's amicus brief was filed in support of the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment.

It is rare to see an individual firearms company take a stance such as this. These briefs are usually filed on behalf of a group like the National Shooting Sports Foundation. That said, it makes good business sense for Glock to support this case as none of their Gen4 pistols can be sold in California as they don't have magazine disconnects and aren't microstamp-ready.

The brief was written by attorney Erik Jaffe and Chapman University School of Law Professor John C. Eastman. Both Jaffe and Eastman served as law clerks for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. They argue that given the ubiquity of the Glock pistol throughout the United States that it meets the Heller decision's common use test. Because of this, banning the sale of the Glock in California runs afoul of the Second Amendment.

They start their argument by attacking the requirements for a magazine disconnect and for microstamping technology. The brief states that a magazine disconnect is a disadvantage in that a chambered round cannot be fired without a magazine in place.
GLOCK pistols can be fired if the magazine is lost or damaged, and a round in the chamber can be fired if necessary while the user is in the process of changing magazines. A pistol with a magazine disconnect mechanism would not be capable of firing under those circumstances. For those reasons and others, the overwhelming majority of law enforcement agencies require pistols that do not have a magazine disconnect mechanism. In addition to GLOCK pistols, the majority of semiautomatic pistols sold today do not include a magazine disconnect mechanism because of its significant disadvantages. Accordingly, the pistols that are in “common use” by “law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” Heller, 554 U.S. at 625, 627, generally do not include a magazine disconnect mechanism.
They attack microstamping as "novel and essentially theoretical" technology which does nothing to enhance the firearm's safety which is the purported purpose of the handgun roster. It is meant to possibly help law enforcement. The absence of a magazine disconnect and microstamping does not make a pistol either unsafe or more dangerous.

Jaffe and Eastman argue that:
California has in essence reversed the Supreme Court’s “common use” test and prohibited the sale and possession of those pistols that are commonly used by “lawabiding citizens for lawful purposes,” Heller, 554 U.S. at 625, 627, and allowed only the sale of those pistols that are not in common use and, in fact, are not even commercially available. The absence of a magazine disconnect mechanism and microstamping technology in the Gen4 GLOCK pistols does not render them the type of “dangerous and unusual weapons” that the government may prohibit, id. at 627, because they are functionally identical to the earlier grandfathered versions of the GLOCK pistols that also lack those features.
They attack California's claim that the burden caused by the handgun roster is minimal. Consumers are not able to buy newer - and presumably safer - handguns while at the same time older handguns on the roster are exempted from the mag disconnect and microstamping requairements. As they note, this serves to weaken California's argument that there is public safety interest in these requirements.
That the government continues to allow sales of numerous handguns lacking these features, and completely exempts law enforcement from regulations designed to exclude the sale of allegedly “unsafe handguns,” shows at best an equivocal interest in the supposed benefits from those technologies, not the type of substantial government interest that would justify restricting an enumerated right.
They continue by saying:
In fact, the largest actual effect from the expanding list of novel technological requirements for new models of guns is to prevent California consumers from being able to obtain the new models of handguns, such as GLOCK’s Gen4 pistols, that incorporate the latest improvements. It makes absolutely no sense to force consumers to purchase older model handguns that lack the same features that the government is relying on to prohibit the sale of newer model handguns. Justifying such a scheme in the name of consumer safety or crime fighting is nonsensical, or simply disingenuous... Indeed, the very absurdity of the scheme suggests that the actual objective of the challenged roster requirements is not safety, but to create increasingly more problematic and expensive hurdles to the sale of handguns in order to make the process more difficult and thereby deter the sale and purchase of new handguns in California, an objective that cannot be squared with the Second Amendment.
They conclude that the burden is substantial and that California has a "minimal government interest inconsistently pursued" in maintaining the restrictions imposed by the handgun roster.

I'm glad to see Glock stepping up in this fight. The California handgun roster is a joke. Any roster such as the one in California that makes a distinction between a pistol based upon whether it is all stainless or all blue and then bans a two-tone version of the same pistol  has just proved this.

The amicus brief can be found here.


  1. Thank you Glock! I still have dreams of a gen 4 in Kalifornia.

    1. I have a Gen 4 for say with an exemption $750 with two holsters

    2. I have a Gen 4 for say with an exemption $750 with two holsters

    3. I am not going to hold my breath given the insane Democratic Party politicians that RULE this state and the constant laws they conjure up and pass to limit our 2nd amendment rights. Outlawing ammo will be their next backdoor attempt to achieve their gun free utopia where criminals run wild.

  2. In the event that Glock was victorious here, I wonder if this would have any direct effect on the similar roster in MA. One can hope.


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  4. What can we do to help this? I am already posting it to my FB accounts and other forums I am on.

  5. As a retired law enforcement officer, I have, many times, commented on the stupidity of the California gun roster. I have often wondered what would happen in a civil lawsuit if law enforcement officers shot and killed a suspect with a firearm that was declared 'unsafe' for ordinary citizens to purchase. When I retired 16 years ago, my duty gun was a 16-shot S&W. I can't even buy magazines for the gun I carried for years due to the magazine capacity and the dropping of the gun from the roster. Stupidity seems to be the rule of the day in electing California law makers.

  6. I have an even "stupider" example for you: I was looking to buy a CZ .45 (they only make one model). It comes in 2 colors, the original black, and a nice polished blue. The black is on the approved list, but the blue is not (the state actually lists the colors of the various approved guns: black, silver, blue, etc.) . They are identical guns, made on the same assembly line, only the color is different. What the heck does the color have to do with safety? The lawyers should add this to their suit. This is further proof that the approved list is more about hindering the purchase of handguns than it is about safety.

    1. Actually California gets paid a significant amount by the gun manufacturers for each gun that they have to "Test" for safety. Thus it makes monetary sense for them to require that they test both the blued and the stainless steel version if the manufacturer will stand for it.
      The really stupid thing is that the tests have to be repeated annually, even if the guns don't change at all.

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  8. I live in California, and was born and raised here, but gun laws here make me want to abandon my home state. The gun roster is nothing more than a bunch of B.S. that the morons in office want you to think that they have "OUR" safety in mind when it comes to being able to buy a pistol of your choice. The part I cant get over is if these laws are so safe why in the hell are most of the ones in office that passed these stupid laws exempt from them. I just dont understand how having a stamp put on my firing pin is going to keep it from discharging in an unsafe manner. Then they say it is a way to "trace" a gun if it has been used in a crime, which may make some sense except for when the crminal goes to the shooting range picks up a bunch of brass that people have shot and leaves it at crime scene, meanwhile he uses a revolver that leaves no brass. Explain to me how that is suppose to help the police catch or solve a case when the actual criminal did not leave spent case with his "STAMP" on it.

  9. Another fine example of nonsensical liberal left wing douche bag politicians in California making laws that only disarm the honest public. They want to take away all guns, in small steps. I say we round them all up search them down to make sure they don't have any weapons since they are all exempt; then pile them up on a bus wearing their expensive jewelry and effects. Let's drop them all of on Grape St. in Compton, CA and see how long they last :) This is just ridiculous. At least Glock has the balls to step up to this tyrannical socialist crap and fight back :) Good for Glock; meanwhile my Gen3 30 puts .45ACP on a target just fine, and I prefer that it fires with the mag out so I can keep shooting while doing a tactical magazine swap.