SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown has not yet acted on a bill to outlaw the sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines in California, but the National Rifle Assn. warned Tuesday that it will file a lawsuit challenging it in court if the governor signs the measure.
SB 374 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) was approved by the Legislature. The governor has until Oct. 13 to act on that bill and 13 other gun control measures.
Gun groups may file multiple lawsuits depending on how many bills are signed, but singled out SB 374 as the worst of the bunch.
“The NRA’s planned legal challenges are simply part of its prudent contingency plan to do everything possible to protect the rights of Californians who choose to own a gun to protect themselves and their families,” said Chuck Michel, an attorney who represents the association in California.
He said the announcement should not be taken as threat against the governor to try to influence his decision, but instead is an alert to members that the NRA is on the case.
Brown's office declined comment and a spokesman for Steinberg said he is not worried about the threat of litigation.
"We are very confident that SB 374, if it is signed into law, will withstand any Constitutional challenge," said Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for the senator.
The Legislature approved a flurry of gun control bills this year in reaction to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.
Brown, who has said publicly that he owns guns himself, has not signaled how he plans to act on the crop of new gun control bills.
Michel said California has already gone too far in regulating firearms.
“A dozen years ago the head of the gun control lobby in California announced that they had gotten almost everything they wanted,” he said in a statement. “Now years later, dozens more extreme gun control bills sit on the governor’s desk. The gun ban lobby will never be satisfied. California is now living proof that the slippery slope of gun control is real.”