Wilson v. Lynch, No. 14-15700 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Consistent with a letter issued by the ATF, a firearms dealer refused to sell plaintiff a firearm because of her medical marijuana registry card. Plaintiff filed suit challenging the federal statutes, regulations, and guidance that prevented her from buying a gun. The district court dismissed the complaint. As a preliminary matter, plaintiff's counsel conceded at oral argument that plaintiff lacks standing to challenge 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3); plaintiff does have standing to raise her remaining claims challenging 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(3), 27 C.F.R. 478.11, and the Open Letter; and plaintiff's remaining claims are not moot. The court concluded that by preventing plaintiff from purchasing a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(3), 27 C.F.R. 478.11, and the Open Letter directly burden her core Second Amendment right to possess a firearm; because these laws and guidance do not place a severe burden on plaintiff's core right to defend herself with firearms, the court applied intermediate scrutiny to determine whether these laws and guidance pass constitutional muster; and, applying the intermediate scrutiny standard, the court concluded that the degree of fit between the laws and guidance and the aim of preventing gun violence is reasonable. Because the Open Letter satisfies each of the United States v. O’Brien conditions, it survives intermediate scrutiny, and the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiff's First Amendment claims. In regard to the Fifth Amendment claims, the laws and guidance survive rational basis scrutiny because they are reasonably related to reducing gun violence. The court rejected plaintiff's remaining claims and affirmed the judgment.