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Current Legality of Automatic Firearms in California

News & Analysis
Latest legal news and recent law changes.

Current Legality of Automatic Firearms in California

In 1989, California passed the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act (codified as Cal. Penal Code §§ 30500-31115) which, in effect, made it illegal to own or semi-automatic firearms (they were classified as assault weapons). Currently referred to Assault Weapons Control Act (“AWCA”) this ban has been challenged multiple times in its history and continues to be challenged today. In Kasler v. Lockyer (2000) and Harrott v. Kings County (2001), the California Supreme Court upheld the AWCA with relatively minor adjustments due to vagueness within the law.[1] Dissatisfied with California state court rulings, the AWCA began to be challenged in federal court under Second Amendment defenses.

Perhaps the most memorable, as well the most recent, federal case is Miller v. Bonta (2021).[2] In Miller, Judge Roger Benitez compared the AR-15 rifle to the Swiss Army Knife, calling it “a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment”.[3] The Miller Court proceeded to declare the AWCA unconstitutional under Second Amendment stating “[t]he banned “assault weapons” are not bazookas, howitzers, or machineguns…[t]hose arms are dangerous[.]” Though declared unconstitutional, the Miller Court’s order was “stayed pending resolution of Rupp v. Bonta, No. 19-56004” by the 9th Circuit on June 21.[4] Rupp is a similar case which, in turn, has been “held in abeyance” until the resolution of Duncan v. Becerra, Docket No. 19-55376.[5] Duncan was decided on August 14, 2020 by the 9th Circuit invalidating the AWCA only to vacate its decision on February 25, 2021 in preparation for an en blanc 9th Circuit decision. Though confusing, what this means is that the fate of the AWCA will likely be decided by the 9th circuit in their en blanc (en blanc meaning, all judges of a particular court will hear the case appeal) decision of Duncan v. Becerra, not rather than Miller v. Bonta.

In other words, for now, AWCA is in full effect and the AR-15 rifle remains banned. [*The Burton Law Firm is an amalgamation of various attorneys with various beliefs and opinion. The firm takes no political position and merely provides analysis of the current law.] For more information, contact info@burtonlawfirm.com or call 916-822-8700 for a consultation.

 


[1] Kasler v. Lockyer, 23 Cal. 4th 472 (2000); Harrott v. Kings County 25 Cal. 4th 1138 (2001).

[2] Miller v. Bonta, Case No. 19-cv-1537-BEN (JLB) (S.D.Cal. 2021). Available here.

[3] Id at 1

[4] http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2021/06/22/21-55608-order.pdf.

[5] https://michellawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/2021-02-25-Order-Holding-Case-in-Abeyance-Pending-Duncan.pdf.

 

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COVID News

Covid is Down But Not Out: Osha’s Guidance for Your Employees

News & Analysis
Latest legal news and recent law changes.

Covid is Down But Not Out: Osha’s Guidance for Your Employees

On June 15th, OSHA released new guidance for employers that brings them in line with the recent CDC guidance released on May 28th. This guidance allows vaccinated workers in all industries except the medical field to go back to work without wearing a mask, unless required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.

For unvaccinated workers, OSHA still advises that masks be worn and social distancing be followed. In workplaces where all employees are fully vaccinated, most employers no longer need to take steps to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure. If there are unvaccinated employees in the workplace, steps do need to be taken to protect those employees. OSHA points to 11 mitigation measures that they advise employers to take:

  1. Grant PTO for employees to be vaccinated.
    1. They also note that businesses with fewer than 500 employees may be eligible for tax credits based on PTO given to employees to get vaccinated.
  2. Instruct any workers who are infected or unvaccinated workers who have had close contact with an infected individual to stay home from work.
  3. Implement physical distancing for unvaccinated and at-risk employees in all communal areas.
  4. Provide face coverings for unvaccinated and at-risk employees.
  5. Educate and train workers on COVID-19 policies and procedures in languages they understand.
  6. Suggest that unvaccinated customers, visitors, or guests wear face coverings.
  7. Maintain Ventilation Systems.
  8. Perform routine cleaning and disinfection.
  9. Record and report COVID-19 infections and deaths.
  10. Implement protections from retaliation and set up an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19 related hazards.
  11. Follow other applicable mandatory OSHA standards, including: respiratory protection, sanitation, protection from bloodborne pathogens, and OSHA requirements for employee access to medical and exposure records.

Some people will still choose to wear masks in the workplace, maybe to protect someone close to them, or maybe because it makes them feel comfortable. Regardless of the reason, it is important to respect the choices that others make regarding their safety.  This has been a trying time, and it is not always possible to know the circumstances that others are dealing with. Be kind and stay strong.

 

Categories
COVID News

Bars and Restaurants Given an Extension for To-Go Alcohol Deliveries until December 31, 2021

News & Analysis
Latest legal news and recent law changes.

Bars and Restaurants Given an Extension for To-Go Alcohol Deliveries until December 31, 2021

Although things are starting to return to normal as of June 15th (see blog post), loosened alcohol sales and consumption laws will remain in effect for the remainder of 2021.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control provided various temporary allowances during COVID which included the ability to return purchased alcohol; allowances of off-sales purchases from on-sale retailers; purchasing “to-go” premixed alcoholic beverages; and acceptance of payment at delivery. In other words, it was easier for establishments to sell beer, wine, and pre-mixed cocktails/drinks for pick-up and delivery.

These loosened restrictions are expected to assist restaurants badly hurt by the pandemic, because they can continue to expand outdoor operations in areas such as sidewalks and parking lots, and can continue the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages with food deliveries.

Furthermore, if these allowances continue to be popular, the legislature has pondered keeping some of them permanent, which would be greatly endorsed by current restaurants and breweries.

For more details see the CA Press Release, or contact the Burton Law Firm at 916.822.8700.

Categories
COVID News

Individual Tax Deadline Extended from April 15th to May 17th, 2021

News & Analysis
Latest legal news and recent law changes.

Individual Tax Deadline Extended from April 15th to May 17th, 2021

On March 17th, the IRS made a 4th quarter decision to extend the federal deadline, and therein moved the individual tax filing deadline ahead by a little over a month. Now, your individual IRS taxes will be due May 17th, 2021.

Relatedly, taxpayers shall postpone federal income tax payments without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. Penalties, interest and additions to tax will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of May 17, 2021. Individual taxpayers will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by May 17.

Please take note, this deadline only extends to federal individual payments, and does not extend to state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax, such as partnership and corporate deadlines.

For more information, please contact the Burton Law Firm at 916.822.8700. More information will be released in the following days, but feel free to read on at: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-day-for-individuals-extended-to-may-17-treasury-irs-extend-filing-and-payment-deadline.

UPDATE: The California FTB has agreed to match the IRS individual filing deadline to May 17th.

“We are aware the federal tax filing and payment deadline for individuals has been extended to May 17, 2021. Consistent with the IRS, California will also extend the state tax filing and payment deadline for individuals to May 17, 2021. The extension does not apply to estimated tax payments due on April 15, 2021.” See https://www.ftb.ca.gov/about-ftb/newsroom/2020-tax-year-extension-to-file-and-pay-individual.html for more details.