Gallinger v. Becerra, No. 16-56125 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action challenging California's 2015 amendment, Senate Bill 707, to its Gun-Free School Zone Act. The 2015 Amendment preserved the retired officer exception for firearm possession on school grounds, as well as within school zones, but prohibited concealed carry weapon (CCW) holders from possessing a firearm on school grounds.
The panel held that, even assuming that retired peace officers and CCW permit holders were similarly situated, SB 707 did not violate the Equal Protection Clause, given the applicable level of scrutiny. Applying rational basis review, the panel held that SB 707 implicates neither a suspect classification nor a fundamental right. The panel declined to apply its prior decision in Silveira v. Lockyer, 312 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2002), to this case, and held that there was a meaningful difference between the conduct regulated by the Assault Weapons Control Act and SB 707. The panel held that the Legislature's interest in public safety was sufficiently connected to permitting retired peace officers to carry other kinds of firearms on school grounds. Finally, the panel rejected plaintiffs' contention that SB 707 violated the Equal Protection Clause because it was enacted to favor a politically powerful group and to disfavor a politically-unpopular one. Here, plaintiffs failed to make any factual allegations to support their theory of impermissible animus.