CA Ban on Sale of Semi-Auto Rifles to Young Adults Violates 2A

Daniel Defense DDM4A1 AR-15 and SIG SAUER BRAVO5
Daniel Defense DDM4A1 AR-15 and SIG SAUER BRAVO5

U.S.A.-(— On May 11, 2022, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, based in California, struck down California’s ban on the sale of semi-automatic centerfire rifles to young adults ages 18-20. The case is Jones v. Bonta. Bonta is the current Attorney General of the State of California. The opinion was filed a year after the appeal was submitted on May 12, 2021.

The decision was mixed, with Judges Nelson and Lee in the majority and Judge Stein dissenting.

The District Court had held a requirement to possess a hunting license in order to purchase any long gun which was permissible under the Constitution and intermediate scrutiny.  State law was changed while the case was under review to ban nearly all 18-20-year-old people from purchasing centerfire semi-automatic long guns. The plaintiffs were allowed to amend their complaints. The District Court then held the ban on semi-automatic centerfire rifles did not violate the Second Amendment.

The three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit disagreed. They held the requirement for a hunting license did not violate the Second Amendment, but the ban on the purchase of semi-automatic rifles by 18-20-year-old people violated the Second Amendment. From the decision:

America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army. Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.

California has restricted the sale of most firearms to anyone under 21. Plaintiffs challenged the bans on long guns and semiautomatic centerfire rifles under the Second Amendment. The district court declined to issue a preliminary injunction.

We hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to enjoin the requirement that young adults obtain a hunting license to purchase a long gun. But the district court erred in not enjoining an almost total ban on semiautomatic centerfire rifles. First, the Second Amendment protects the right of young adults to keep and bear arms, which includes the right to purchase them. The district court reasoned otherwise and held that the laws did not burden Second Amendment rights at all: that was legal error. Second, the district court properly applied intermediate scrutiny to the long gun hunting license regulation and did not abuse its discretion in finding it likely to survive. But third, the district court erred by applying intermediate scrutiny, rather than strict scrutiny, to the semiautomatic centerfire rifle ban. And even under intermediate scrutiny, this ban likely violates the Second Amendment because it fails the “reasonable fit” test. Finally, the district court also abused its discretion in finding that Plaintiffs would not likely be irreparably harmed. We thus affirm the district court’s denial of an injunction as to the long gun regulation, reverse its denial of an injunction as to the semiautomatic centerfire rifle ban, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

The tradition in the Ninth Circuit has become one in which any three-judge panel which upholds a substantive right to arms under the Second Amendment will be re-heard by an en banc panel, where the decision will be reversed. The hostility to the Second Amendment by the Ninth Circuit has become predictable and certain.

The question of age requirements for the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms is under review in other circuits.  A Florida law banning the sale of long guns to 18-20-year-old people is in the Fifth Circuit. In the Fourth Circuit, the appeals court struck down a federal law banning sales of handguns to 18-20-year-old people.

The issue is likely to make its way to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has heard the New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case; it will likely issue an opinion by the end of June this year, 2022.

The NYR&PA case deals with the right to bear arms outside the home. It is likely to reveal more of the Court’s thinking on the Second Amendment generally. One possibility is it may strike down the convoluted “two-tier” test to determine if a law is permissible under the Second Amendment. The “two tier” test has devolved into a method allowing the courts to find nearly any infringement on Second Amendment rights to be acceptable, according to a member of the Ninth Circuit. From

“Our circuit has ruled on dozens of Second Amendment cases,” VanDyke noted, “and without fail has ultimately blessed every gun regulation challenged, so we shouldn’t expect anything less here.”

It is almost certain the Supreme Court decision in the NYR&PA case will be published before an en banc panel is convened to reverse the recent three-judge panel decision in the Ninth Circuit on the ban of the sale of semi-automatic rifles to 18-20-year-old people.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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We’ve all seen this before, and know exactly how it will play out…


It doesn’t have to go that way.

Dogma Factor

What about the 18 year old Marine sitting at Camp Pendleton California holding a fully automatic M4. Is the state of California going tell young Marines they can’t serve or that they can only have a bayonet and a grenade? This is systemic racism against the youth.


Not to be pedantic but……… It is NOT systematic RACISM against the youth but rather systematic DISCRIMINATION against them. Being of a certain age group isn’t a race, it’s a life stage regardless of skin tone therefore not a racist issue. Please don’t construe wrongs against a certain group not based on skin color to be racism. Racism is discrimination but discrimination isn’t necessarily racism. It could be xenophobia, religious discrimination, age discrimination or political orientation based and not be racism. PLEASE stop using the word racism as a cover-all term for any type of discrimination. Otherwise your statement is… Read more »


Im sure the homicide rate will drastically plummet if 18 to 20yo can’t purchase or carry rifles…

Last edited 10 days ago by Rip

Why yes because we all know that rifles can detect the age of the person who owns them and act accordingly. [/sarc]


gang bangers will follow the law????? I dont think even comifornia police are stupid enough to believe that


If they did obey gun laws (but not murder laws, LOL), you’d have to lower the ban to age 12 or so since bangers often use vicious juvies for murders, lighter sentences. And ban them from owning knives, gasoline, matches, etc. Ludicrous. Our side should stick to 1st principles.

Monkey Mouse

Between cases like this, 50% of the states now having constitutional carry, and the upcoming NYSRPA decision by the SCOTUS – lots of ways for the democrats to have breakdowns/panic attacks/heart attacks.


In the past, SCOTUS has appeared to make a point of throwing bones to each side when they come out with multiple rulings on particularly contentious issues. If the leaked draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade ends up being what is actually ruled, that might be the bone for the Right. If that is the case, don’t be surprised if SCOTUS upholds New York’s position in the NYSRPA case–that being the bone thrown to the Left. The Supreme Court’s approach seems to be to provide some kind of consolation prize for the loser. Perhaps they realize that civil wars have… Read more »


Thank God for Trump appointing conservative judges in the 9th Circuit.


Wish his SupCt appts were true conservatives. They effectively ruled states can steal elections & govts can force covid injections.

SupCt kills challenge to Maine Covid Vax Mandate

And “Biden v MO let HHS mandate covid vax for all healthcare workers in institutions with fed funding for Medicare or Medicaid”


Any bets on how long till an en banc review overturns this 3 judge panel?

Dogma Factor

California will file as soon as the nine judge panel rotation favors them. In other words more liberal judges than conservative judges on the panel.