Protecting the Public Safety of Californians through Proactive Litigation

Attorney General Bonta continues to protect public safety through proactive litigation to hold accountable the gun industry and those responsible for enacting commonsense gun laws at the federal level.

Proactive Litigation

  • California v. ATF (N.D. Cal., Case No. 20-cv-6761). California, along with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, filed a lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to challenge its determination that frames and receivers for firearms that are manufactured to about 80 percent completion — so-called "ghost guns" — are not "firearms" under the Gun Control Act of 1968. In April 2021, the Biden Administration filed a notice of proposed rulemaking that would change the relevant regulatory definitions. In February 2023, the federal district court largely denied ATF's motion to dismiss, rejecting ATF's challenge to California and Giffords' standing to bring the case, thus allowing the case to move forward.
  • People v. Blackhawk Manufacturing Group, Inc., et al., (San Francisco Superior Court, Case No. CGC-21-594577). On October 13, 2021, the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against ghost gun kit manufacturers and retailers Blackhawk Manufacturing Group, Inc., MDX Corporation, and GS Performance, LLC, joined by the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and its pro bono counsel from Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Keker, Van Nest & Peters, LLP. Gun kits sold by these companies can be used to privately manufacture firearms known as "ghost guns," which are not serialized and allow purchasers to bypass standard requirements such as background checks and registration. The lawsuit alleges that the companies have violated California consumer protection law by selling kits without complying with federal and state requirements governing the manufacture and sale of firearms, including by failing to serialize their products or conduct background checks and by selling products that produce weapons that do not meet California's handgun safety standards. The lawsuit also alleges the companies have illegally misled consumers regarding serialization, eligibility, and safety requirements that must be met to lawfully assemble a firearm. This lawsuit followed a March 2021 court order enforcing the Attorney General's preceding investigative subpoena against GS Performance, LLC and requiring the company to produce records regarding its advertising and sale of gun kits. The lawsuit is ongoing.