Ninth Circuit Panel Strikes Down Semi-Auto Rifle Ban for Adults Under 21

In the case of Jones v. Bonta, a three-judge panel for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a California prohibition on sales of semiautomatic rifles to young adults in the 18- to 20-year-old range in a win for the Second Amendment Foundation, or SAF.

The SAF was joined by the Firearms Policy Coalition, or FPC, the Firearms Policy Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, Poway Weapons and Gear, North County Shooting Center, Beebe Family Arms and Munitions and three private citizens including Matthew Jones, of Jones v. Bonta.

“The panel affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s denial of plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin, under the Second Amendment, California’s bans on the sale of long guns and semiautomatic centerfire rifles to anyone under the age of 21,” reads the decision.

“The panel held 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,” the court said. “But the district court erred in not enjoining an almost total ban on semi-automatic centerfire rifles.”

“We are delighted with the opinion,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The court majority rightly recognized that delaying the exercise of a right until age 21 does irreparable harm. It also applied strict scrutiny to the semi-auto ban.”

The ruling allows California’s requirement that adults under the age of 21 must first have a hunting permit before buying a long gun, but throws away any bans on long gun ownership, including centerfire semi-automatic rifles.

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“America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army,” reads the majority opinion. “Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms,” and that “the Second Amendment protects the right of young adults to keep and bear arms, which includes the right to purchase them.”

“Today’s decision confirms that peaceable legal adults cannot be prohibited from acquiring firearms and exercising their rights enshrined in the Second Amendment,” said FPC Vice President Adam Kraut. “We are pleased to see progress on this important legal front and optimistic that similar results will come from our many other challenges to age-based bans filed in courts across the United States.”

“Victories like this are made possible by FPC’s members, donors, and supporters, as well as donations to FPC Action Foundation,” said the FPC. “Individuals who would like to join the FPC Grassroots Army to support pro-Second Amendment programs to protect and restore the right to keep and bear arms should visit JoinFPC.org.”

The SAF added that this ruling could have an impact on another case challenging a similar prohibition in Washington State, which is also part of the Ninth Circuit.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Dano May 16, 2022, 9:26 pm

    Yeah of course 6 year olds should be able to wield fully automatic weapons and hopefully they wont shoot themselves or others in their heads. I mean an 18 year old white supremacist just purchased an ar 15 and gunned dien a bunch of black supermarket patrons. Nothing screams ‘Merika like a good ol’ mass shooting.

  • Elmer Fudd May 13, 2022, 7:07 pm

    I just looked at my pocket Constitution, and “under 21 and hunting” was not in there. I did find “State” and “Shall not be infringed”.

    Read what “State” meant in 18th century if you want understand how tyrannical governments are today.

  • Clayton Slade May 13, 2022, 12:54 pm

    In the second paragraph where it listed the participating parties, where was the NRA and our intrepid freedom fighter Wayne? Out buying a new NRA funded wardrobe I guess.

  • JD May 13, 2022, 10:50 am

    This article leaves out the most important part of the 9th Circuits decision requiring a $15 hunting license to own a AR-15. I guess a lot of hunting licenses will be bought and never used in California.

    Why do young adults 18-20 need a $15 hunting license to own a AR-15 would be a good question right now?

    How did they come up with this fee structure for ownership of a AR-15?

    It is just setup to bind hunting with ownership of AR-15s I think.

  • kiloyard May 13, 2022, 7:38 am

    “The panel held 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,” the court said. “But the district court erred in not enjoining an almost total ban on semi-automatic centerfire rifles.”

    In other words, at least two of the three empaneled Ninth Circuit judges ruled that the 2nd Amendment is about hunting.

  • Scott W Syverson May 13, 2022, 5:41 am

    Let’s not get too excited about this happening. The history of this court is that the State of California will ask for an en banc review which will find for them and re-instate the purchase ban followed by an appeal to Supreme Court. While the 9th Circuit did have numerous appointments by the Trump administration making this court more conservative and aligned with national jurisprudence, it is still uber-liberal and statistically speaking you will get from time to time a rational ruling depending on the makeup of a petit board.

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