Jordan Gallinger; Brian Hill; Brooke Hill; Craig Deluz; Scott Dipman; Albert Duncan; Tracey Graham; Lisa Jang; Dennis Serbu; Michael Veredas; Firearms Policy Foundation; Firearms Policy Coalition; Madison Society Foundation; The Calguns Foundation, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
Xavier Becerra, in his official capacity as Attorney General of California, Defendant-Appellee.
and Submitted February 7, 2018 Pasadena, California
from the United States District Court for the Central
District of California Beverly Reid O'Connell, District
Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 2:16-cv-02572-BRO-AFM
Stephen M. Duvernay (argued) and Bradley A. Benbrook,
Benbrook Law Group PC, Sacramento, California, for
D. Echevarria (argued), Deputy Attorney General; Mark R.
Beckington, Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Marc
LeForestier, Acting Senior Assistant Attorney General; Xavier
Becerra, Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General,
Los Angeles, California; for Defendant-Appellee.
Shapiro and Thomas Berry, Cato Institute, Washington, D.C.,
for Amicus Curiae Cato Institute.
Before: M. Margaret McKeown, [*] William A. Fletcher, and John B.
Owens, Circuit Judges.
panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of an
action challenging California's 2015 amendment, Senate
Bill 707, to its Gun-Free School Zone Act.
1994, the California Legislature enacted the Gun-Free School
Zone Act, which banned the possession of firearms on school
grounds and within school zones (the area within 1, 000 feet
of school grounds). The Act exempted two groups: (1)
individuals licensed to carry a concealed firearm under
California law; and (2) retired peace officers authorized to
carry a loaded firearm. In 2015, the Legislature passed
Senate Bill 707, which preserved the retired-officer
exception for firearm possession on school grounds, as well
as within school zones, but prohibited concealed carry weapon
holders from possessing a firearm on school grounds.
Plaintiffs alleged that Senate Bill 707 violated the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it
treated concealed weapon permit holders differently from
retired peace officers.
panel first rejected plaintiff's argument that
Silveira v. Lockyer, controlled the outcome. In
Silveira, the court held that the provision of
California's Assault Weapons Control Act exempting
retired peace officers from a statewide ban on assault
weapons violated the Equal Protection Clause. 312 F.3d 1052,
1089-92 (9th Cir. 2002), abrogated on other grounds by
District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 626
(2008). The panel held that there was a meaningful difference
between the conduct regulated by the Assault Weapons Control
Act and Senate Bill 707. The panel held that permitting
retired peace officers to carry firearms other than assault
weapons on school grounds was sufficiently connected to the
goal of ensuring such officers' safety and public safety
to survive rational-basis review.
panel also rejected plaintiff's contention that Senate
Bill 707 violates the Equal Protection Clause because it was
enacted to favor a politically powerful group and to disfavor
a politically unpopular one. The panel held that plaintiffs
failed to plausibly allege that the Legislature enacted
Senate Bill 707 to harm concealed carry permit holders.
("Plaintiffs"), individuals with permits to carry
concealed weapons (and interested organizations), appeal from
the dismissal of their challenge to California's 2015
amendment to its Gun-Free School Zone Act. We have
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
California's Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995 and Senate
1994, the California Legislature ("the
Legislature") enacted the Gun-Free School Zone Act,
which banned the possession of firearms on school grounds and
within school zones (the area within 1, 000 feet of school
grounds). Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995, sec. 1, §
626.9(b), (e)(1), 1994 Cal. Stat. 6191, 6191-92. The Act
exempted two groups: (1) individuals licensed to carry a
concealed firearm under California law ("CCW permit
holders"); and (2) "retired peace officer[s] . . .
authorized to carry a loaded firearm" ("retired
peace officers"). § 626.9(1)-(m), 1994 Cal. Stat.
2015, the Legislature considered an amendment to the Gun-Free
School Zone Act, Senate Bill 707 ("SB 707"), that
would give school officials control "of who, if
anyone," could bring firearms onto their campuses.
See Cal. S. Comm. on Pub. Safety, Analysis of S.B.
707, 2015-2016 Reg. Sess., at 5 (Apr. 13, 2015). SB 707,
sponsored by State Senator Lois Wolk, was introduced in
response to the "disturbing increase in the number of
active shooter incidents on . . . campuses across the
country" and the "alarming number of sexual
assaults on college and university campuses."
Id. Recognizing that "some gun rights
proponents in other states ha[d] sponsored legislation to
increase the opportunity for students and teachers to bring
firearms on school campuses with CCWs, claiming this will
deter" sexual assaults and active shooters, Senator Wolk
highlighted research "indicat[ing] that bringing more
firearms on campus will lead to more campus violence and
increase the danger to students and others on campus."
Id. Senator Wolk thus introduced SB 707 to
"ensure that students and parents who expect a campus to
be safe and 'gun free' can be confident that their
expectation is being met." Id.
returning control over firearm possession to school
officials, the version of SB 707 that Senator Wolk originally
introduced would have eliminated the Gun-Free School Zone
Act's exception authorizing CCW permit holders and
retired peace officers to carry firearms "on school
grounds," though it would have retained the exceptions
authorizing both groups to carry firearms "within school
zones." Id.; see also S.B. ...