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Maker of ‘Ghost Gunner’ machine sues California over new restrictions

A Texas provider of milling machines to make guns said a new California law that criminalizes the use of its equipment violates the Second Amendment.

LOS ANGELES (CN) — The creator of software and milling machines that allows people to build their own firearms, including AK-47 assault riffles, went to court to fight two new California laws that criminalize the use of its equipment to make so-called ghost guns and make challenges to the state's gun laws potentially more costly.

Defense Distributed, a Texas nonprofit business that sells the "Ghost Gunner" milling machine, said in a complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles that the restrictions on its products violate the Second Amendment, which according to the company implicitly includes the right to acquire and manufacture firearms.

The business, backed by the Second Amendment Foundation, also claims that a provision in one of the new California laws, SB 1327, which was modeled on Texas's controversial abortion law and which makes a plaintiff liable for the state's legal costs in defending an unsuccessful challenge to its gun laws, violates the First Amendment.

"California’s inclusion of Section 2—and its passage of SB 1327 more generally—was nothing more than an ill-advised political ploy designed to manufacture a proxy war with the state of Texas," Defense Distributed said, referring to the provision entitling the state to attorneys fees if it prevails in Second Amendment lawsuits.

Representatives of California Attorney General Rob Bonta had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.

California lawmakers passed a slew of gun laws in recent months to address what they said was an epidemic of ghost guns involved in violent crime. One of the bills, SB 1327, is modeled after Texas’s abortion law that gives every citizen the right to sue abortion providers if they perform an abortion after detecting a heartbeat. The California law allows private citizens to sue gun manufacturers and sellers for dealing illegal assault weapons and ghost guns.

“Alarmingly, we are finding that more and more, no region or demographic is exempt from gun violence – our hospitals, grocery stores, schools, and even places of worship, are no longer safe," Democratic Assemblymember Mike Gipson said last month. "The proliferation of ghost guns, which are intentionally untraceable weapons to evade law enforcement, has only worsened the issue."

Ghost guns are sold in parts without serial numbers or background checks to be assembled by the user. The unserialized weapons have been increasingly used in lethal shootings in California and have been identified by city and district attorneys and law enforcement leaders up and down the Golden State as a top concern.

In a statement following the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May that left 19 students and two teachers dead, Bonta called for more legislation to regulate unserialized, DIY ghost guns.

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