Court Upholds Dealer Transfer Fee to Fund CA Gun Confiscation Program

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court has unanimously upheld a California gun transfer fee that funds the state’s firearm confiscation program, ruling that the fee supports “an important public safety interest” and is therefore constitutional.

The California Department of Justice collects a $19 Dealer Record of Sales (DROS) fee on every firearm purchased in the state, $5 of which is allocated to the controversial Armed and Prohibited Persons System. The APPS confiscates firearms from those who have been adjudicated no longer eligible to own them by the state due to a subsequent felony charge or mental-health issue.

The state passed legislation implementing the original DROS fee to fund state efforts to regulate the “sale, purchase, loan, or transfer” of a firearm. But in 2011 state legislators expanded that language to include the “sale, purchase, possession, loan, or transfer of firearms,” which allowed them to allocate part of the $19 towards the APPS.

Attorneys for plaintiff Herb Bauer, a federal firearms licensee in Fresno, as well as four gun purchasers who paid the mandated fees, argued in part that the $5 fee is an unauthorized tax on a constitutional right. Because the DROS was originally designed to generate revenue for regulating firearm transfers, that money cannot be used to regulate firearm possession.

The court rejected this argument, stating that the “DROS-regulated firearm transactions are in fact a close proxy for subsequent firearm possession, and targeting illegal possession under APPS is closely related to the DROS fee.” Firearm possession, in other words, is sufficiently related to firearm transaction, and is therefore eligible to be funded with DROS money.

Ultimately, the court ruled, the use of the DROS fee to fund APPS is constitutional because “the government has demonstrated an important public safety interest in this statutory scheme, and there is a reasonable fit between the government’s interest and the means it has chosen to achieve those ends.” Funding the APPS through DROS, the court ruled, helps maintain public safety and is an appropriate means of meeting that government interest.

The panel’s ruling can be appealed to the full 9th Circuit Court, though that circuit has historically ruled against gun rights. If the full court agrees with the three-judge panel, their ruling can be appealed to the Supreme Court. If SCOTUS rules on this case, it could implicate the regulatory fees on firearm transfers nationwide.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over two years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Danny June 9, 2017, 2:43 pm

    Oh boy,another fee..and gas down there is still almost $4.00 a gallon…that’s why there is so much crime there,people can’t afford to live in that shit hole of a state.I wish they would just secede so we can watch them self destruct and implode under their own
    stupidity.Trump needs to dismantle the 9th circus..they don’t follow the law they just ignore it sort of like how their idle O’dimwit
    did while in office.

    • Altoids June 10, 2017, 8:29 am

      The ninth circuit would be almost impossible to disband. And it wouldn’t accomplish much anyway because those constitution-despising judges will only find another bench on which to sit.

      What Trump should do is limit their jurisdiction to say, San Francisco or Hawaii, and build another court of appeals with judges who make their decisions based on what the constitution says and not what happens to be high emotion or popular opinion at the time.

      That would contain the problem to an ignorant leftist America-hating portion of the population who are all to happy to see their own constitutional rights shredded.

  • PETE OSTERGARD June 9, 2017, 12:08 pm

    Callyphony is such a beautiful state with such screwed up politicians. A state full of Liberal snowflakes!

  • Tripwire June 9, 2017, 11:12 am

    The next great remake of a movie will be “The great Escape…from Commipornia ” as working people leave there for freedom..

  • Pete June 9, 2017, 10:21 am

    This will be used as justification to make owners of weapons declared “assault weapons” in the future pay for the state to confiscate their guns.
    Typical of demoncraps running CA politics since 1970 – “we’re here to help you, just do as we say and pay the fees for your own protection” …. from us!

  • Rangemaster11 June 9, 2017, 10:15 am

    The 9th Circus has never been friendly to 2nd Amendment rights, but they are not unique. I happens nationwide.

    “The claim and exercise of a Constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime”…”No state shall convert a liberty into a privilege, license it, and attach a fee to it”.
    Miller v. U.S., U.S. Supreme Court. 319 U.S. 105 (1943).

  • Luke June 9, 2017, 8:51 am

    Is there something in the water out there? How can judges of that age have missed life experiences that nurture common sense? It doesn’t add up. They must’ve sold out to politicians decades ago, eh?

  • Walt Wigner June 9, 2017, 8:09 am

    How did the rough tough state of 1849 Gold Rush era turn into such a bunch of pussies?

  • Rob June 9, 2017, 7:11 am

    How is it that these California politicians can’t comprehend the blatant facts, being how intelligent they are, and all? No-gun, areas give higher crime statistics! If two baseball teams were about to play a game, and only one, team had bats, the team without bats can never win! Common sense, is anything but common! Too much weed,leads to democrats!

  • Dr Motown June 9, 2017, 5:33 am

    Hmmm…wonder if they would support taking $19/month out of every EBT card and apply it towards an agency tasked with finding welfare cheats and illegal aliens???

    • Cam June 9, 2017, 8:51 am

      Sound good, I like that.
      I get so mad when I see what most people buy on the snap and ebt cards. Usually it is a lot of soft drinks, chips and other junk food. I bet if they placed the resprictions to uncooked food and no soft drinks on the cards most of people on them would either not use them or there would be a spike in people selling thier credits.

      • Rick June 9, 2017, 12:51 pm

        They do not pay for anything,free teeth,free bags at stores,free food,you name it they get most of it from wee the working people..

  • SuperG June 7, 2017, 10:55 am

    As soon as I read the U.S. 9th Circuit Court, I knew their ruling would be against common sense and legal gun owner. Most on that court are septuagenarians, if not octogenarians, and all live in or around San Francisco. They have armed security guards and live in gated residences with high tech security systems. In other words, they do not participate in everyday American life, so have no clue what the citizenry is forced to endure.

    • Cam June 8, 2017, 8:33 am

      Yep, the ninth circuit is a lot like the old seven up commercials. Their motto is “common sense, never had it, never will.”

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