SAF Sues California Over Excise Tax on Guns, Ammunition


The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn California’s recently adopted 11% excise tax on the sale of firearms, gun parts and ammunition.

The case was filed in San Diego County Superior Court. Joining SAF are the California Rifle & Pistol Association, National Rifle Association, Firearms Policy Coalition and two private citizens, Joshua Gerken and Danielle Jaymes, for whom the case, James v. Maduros, is named. The defendant is Nicolas Maduros, director of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, in his official capacity. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys C.D. Michel, Konstadinos T. Moros, Tiffany Cheuvront and Joshua Robert Dale at Michel & Associates in Long Beach, California, and by David H. Thompson and Peter A. Patterson at Cooper & Kirk in Washington, D.C.

“We are challenging the constitutionality of the tax, as adopted by Assembly Bill 28,” explained SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “We contend in the lawsuit that this 11 percent tax is unconstitutional because it literally taxes conduct protected by the Second Amendment. There is no analogous evidence such a tax was ever applied at the time of the Founding era, as required by the 2022 Supreme Court Bruen ruling.”

“The power to tax is literally the power to destroy,” added SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “Assembly Bill 28 gives the State of California the power to destroy the exercise of a right protected by the Constitution by singling it out for special taxation. If allowed to stand, this tax could be expanded, and California could ultimately impose similar excise taxes on other constitutional rights it dislikes. This will not stop with a tax on the right to keep and bear arms.”

The lawsuit asks the court to declare the excise tax on firearms and ammunition violates the Second Amendment, and to permanently enjoin the state from enforcing the provisions of AB 28, including collection of the tax. 

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The Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, SAF has grown to more than 720,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

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