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Carlsbad Attorney is Lead Counsel in Under-age-21 Gun Rights lawsuit vs. California Attorney General

Carlsbad CA— A Carlsbad attorney is the lead counsel in a federal lawsuit challenging California’s gun law banning the sale of firearms to those under age 21. The lawsuit recently filed in San Diego by John Dillon, associate attorney with the Carlsbad-based law firm of Gatzke Dillon and Ballance LLP argues that adults over age 18 who are not convicted felons or mentally ill should have access to the full scope of the Second Amendment.

John Dillon

Thomas Furrh of Vista and Matthew Jones of Santee, both under age 21, are listed as plaintiffs, along with four gun advocate groups and three retail gun shops in San Diego County. The four gun advocate groups include the Calguns Foundation (CGF), Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) and Second Amendment Foundation (SAF). The three retail gun shops include Poway Weapons and Gear, North County Shooting Center in San Marcos and Beebe Family Arms and Munitions in Fallbrook.

“Once individuals turn 18, they are considered as adults in the eyes of the law,” said Dillon. “Therefore, law-abiding adults are entitled to fully exercise all of their fundamental rights, including their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for all lawful purposes, not just hunting or sport.

“We’re asking the court to rule the state’s law as an unconstitutional infringement so that law-abiding adults over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 can exercise their fundamental Second Amendment right to purchase and possess firearms. The state’s actions and policies to deny Californians their fundamental rights are unconstitutional and wrong.”

Defendants in the federal lawsuit are listed as Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, and Martin Horan, director, California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms.

Legislation to ban the sale of firearms to those under age 21 was introduced last year by State Senator Anthony Portantino, a La Canada Flintridge Democrat, in response to the February 2018 shooting deaths of 17 people at a Parkland, Fla. high school by a 19-year-old gunman. The new gun law signed in September 2018 by former Gov. Jerry Brown took effect Jan. 1, 2019. It expanded previous restrictions that prohibited people under 21 from buying handguns. Military service members, law enforcement officers and licensed hunters are exempted from the law and can own firearms.

“Last year’s legislation was nothing more than a knee-jerk, political reaction to what happened in Florida, which has nothing to do with California, or the plaintiffs in this case,” said Dillon. “The law is discriminatory and abuses California gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.

Dillon said Californians who are at least 18 but not yet 21, who are not otherwise prohibited from purchasing firearms, and who were denied their right to purchase a firearm, are invited to contact him at www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline or (855) 252-4510.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found at www.firearmspolicy.org/jones.

“The Second Amendment fully applies to all non-prohibited adults, period,” said Gene Hoffman, chairman, CGF. “California cannot deny a fundamental, enumerated right to adults over the age of 18 that have no disqualifying criminal or mental health history.”

“The Second Amendment is not a second-class right and adults over the age of 18 but under 21 are not second-class people,” said Brandon Combs, president, chairman, FPF. “This case seeks to restore the Second Amendment human rights of legal adults who are being prevented from exercising them because of unconstitutional laws, policies, practices, customs that the State of California defendants are known to enforce.”

“We’re going to court against this law because it clearly violates the Second Amendment rights of young adults,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder, executive VP, SAF. “When a citizen turns 18 years old in this country, he or she is considered a legal adult, free to exercise their rights under the Constitution, and that certainly should include the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. But this California law turns that concept on its ear, with very few exceptions, such as possessing a valid hunting license. Our individual plaintiffs do not hunt, and have no intention of pretending to be hunters, just to exercise their constitutional rights.”