Californians See an Additional Three Guns Added to their Handgun Roster Amid Legal Troubles

By: Amanda Kusumowidagdo | Published: Jun 09, 2024

The controversial “California Handgun Roster” has long been a thorn on the side of gun owners and Second Amendment proponents, not just in the state but also in the entire country.

This list of “legal handguns” to be purchased in California limits the number of firearms California residents can lawfully buy without going through alternative channels. And now, three new firearms have been added, broadening the options.

An Approved List by the U.S. Government

For those who are unaware of what the California Handgun Roster is, let us explain: It’s a government-approved list that dictates which guns and firearms people can legally purchase in the state.

A gun and some cartridges placed on display on a table

Source: seeetz/Unsplash

Implemented in 2001, the California Handgun Roster specified that any firearm not in the list is effectively banned. The only way California gun owners can obtain it is through specific channels, like third-party sales or trade-ins. 

Seen as an Infringement

Advocates for the 2nd Amendment criticize this list as one of the biggest infringements on constitutional rights in California, arguing they should have the right to own whatever weapon they want. 

Pink and green toy guns on a pink surface

Source: Ivan Samkov/Pexels

Others say, why would the government limit the number of handguns sold in California?

Problems Arise With Gun Restrictions

California residents have also complained about the difficulty of obtaining certain guns through standard retail channels. 

A man pictured shopping for a gun

Source: Wikimedia

Then this poses the question, Isn’t the risk higher if gun owners can’t purchase a certain firearm legally but must go through other, perhaps unsafer, ways?

California’s Stricter-than-Average Guns Laws

The Golden State is known for having some of the strictest gun laws in all of the US. So it makes sense that when it comes to choice, they are limited to a list put forth by the government. 

The California State Capitol building seen with people in front of it in the daytime.

Source: Josh Hild/Unsplash

For example, California is one of only four states that restrict Americans from openly carrying firearms in public.

California Bans Open Carry

California made it illegal to openly carry any loaded firearm back in 1967. In 2012, they followed this up with a law that prohibited residents of the Golden State from carrying unloaded handguns. 

A black gun in a leather holster attached to a belt.


Many deem this a breach of the Constitution. However, there is a small exemption that allows people living in counties with 200,000 or fewer residents to openly carry their guns. 


Recent Ban on Concealed Carry

Just last year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that prohibits Californians from carrying concealed weapons in nearly 30 locations, per NBC News

A faceless woman holds a handgun in front of an American flag

Source: Freepik

The law prohibits Americans from carrying concealed guns into churches, banks, zoos, public parks, and playgrounds. One exception allows private businesses to decide whether or not they allow citizens to bring guns onto their premises. 


Newsom Posts to X

“This ruling will allow our common-sense gun laws to remain in place while we appeal the district court’s dangerous ruling,” Newsom posted to X at the time. 

An image of Gavin Newsom in the center, besides him are various people dressed in business attire

Source: CAgovernor/X

He continued, “Californians overwhelmingly support efforts to ensure that places like hospitals, libraries, and children’s playgrounds remain safe and free from guns.”


Many Californians Disagree With Strict Gun Laws

Many Californians are in favor of stricter gun laws as they believe it leads to a safer state. Whereas others believe politicians such as Newsom are attacking their 2nd Amendment rights. 

Several men hold signs with pictures of guns, supporting gun rights

Source: Reddit

Nonetheless, despite all of the restrictions on guns in Golden State, many argue the gun roster list is one that irritates them the most, as they believe the government should have no say in what kind of weapon they own. 


Stagnant for Years

Perhaps due to the opposition, the list was stagnant for years. After all, the roster has many stringent — almost bureaucratic — requirements.

Calendar papers with numbers printed on them strewn about on a wooden surface

Source: Claudio Schwarz/Unsplash

These requirements include microstamping, loaded chamber indicators and magazine disconnects. Any new models become nearly impossible to enter the list thanks to these requirements.


Boland v. Bonta

The court case of Boland v. Bonta changed the enforcement of the roster’s requirements. The case resulted in an injunction against several major components, including the microstamping requirement.

Silver and brown revolver pistol on black and white case on a wooden surface

Source: Casey Connell/Unsplash

But other requirements were reinstated upon appeal (loaded chamber indicator, magazine disconnect). Only the microstamping requirement remains unenforced. Still, this allows manufacturers to submit their firearms for inclusion on the roster.


New Firearms Added to the Roster

In early April, three models of the Springfield XDM were added to the roster without the microstamping requirement: the XDM Elite 3.8, the XDM Elite Compact 3.8 and the XDM Elite 4.5 OSP.

A Springfield XDM model with several bullet casings on a wooden surface

Source: Brett_Hondow/Wikimedia Commons

In early May, another one was added to the roster. This time, it’s the Kahr CW9. While it’s not a new model, the inclusion of the weapon in the roster gives Californians more choice.


Another Three Added in Mid-May

The positive impact of Boland v. Bonta’s decision can’t be understated. Three more new models have been added to the roster in mid-May, this time all coming from Sig Sauer.

A pair of black Sig Sauer guns lying on top of one another on a black surface

Source: Thomas Tucker/Unsplash

To be specific, they are the P320 XF (4.7-inch barrel), the P320 X5 Legion (5-inch barrel) and the P365 Comp MS (3.1-inch barrel). These models serve a range of preferences and needs, from full-size to compact options. 


California Gun Enthusiasts Pleased

No doubt the gun enthusiasts have been pleased with the significant changes Boland v. Bonta’s ruling brought to the state’s firearms scene. 

A man in checkered shirt and grey pants holding a rifle while wearing earmuffs

Source: Gene Gallin/Unsplash

Seven new additions within two months to the roster, which has been standing still for many years, can be considered game-changing. But it also sparks another debate: Is the roster even needed anymore?


A Bureaucratic Obstacle

The roster’s critics argue that the list only serves as a bureaucratic obstacle, instead of a meaningful safety measure. 

A red X taped across a dark rattan surface

Source: Oleksandr P/Pexels

Despite these current additions, that the roster continues to exist clearly shows that many firearms are still inaccessible to law-abiding citizens in California.


Legal Landscape Evolving

The Boland v. Bonta case is just one of many legal challenges brought forth by the purpose of dismantling or reforming the roster. 

A wooden gavel on a white marble backdrop

Source: Tingey Injury Law Firm/Unsplash

Actually, the legal landscape regarding the California Handgun Roster is still evolving, and it could go either way in the future. 


Guns Laws in the Future

Advocates for gun rights are optimistic that continued legal pressure will lead to more significant changes in their favor. 

A statue of lady justice holding the scales of justice while wearing a blindfold.

Source: ingey injury law firm/Unsplash

If successful, these cases can potentially open the door for a wider variety of legal firearms purchases and allow Californian gun enthusiasts to obtain weapons they could not otherwise. 


California Most Stringent

Based on the number of gun control policies the state adopted, California stands out as the state with the most stringent gun laws. Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii and New Jersey trail after California.

A woman and a boy holding up signs of anti-gun sentiments in a field while people are signing up at a table behind them

Source: Heather Mount/Unsplash

Therefore, the addition of these new gun models to the roster can be considered a big win. However, it still remains to be seen what other changes may happen with the ongoing legal battles regarding the Second Amendment. The state and federal governments are unlikely to give up control easily.


Battles Centered on the Second Amendment

However, it remains to be seen what other changes may occur in the ongoing legal battles regarding the Second Amendment and Americans’ rights to carry and own firearms. 

A gun laid on top of the US Constitution with an American flag in the background

Source: Britannica

The state and federal governments are unlikely to give up control easily, and we could witness several more lawsuits in the future. 


New Laws, Debates Continue

As new gun laws came into effect in many states, including California and New York, in 2024, the debates also continued. 

A group of young people holding a banner while marching in a protest

Source: Alex Radelich/Unsplash


Do Less Guns Really Save Lives?

When questioned about stricter gun laws, an expert even said, “It’s just too early to say” whether gun laws save more lives.

Many people outside holding American flags.

Source: Dyana Wing So/Unsplash

Thus, the debates will continue about balancing public safety concerns with protecting constitutional rights in terms of firearms regulations. As with everything in politics, everyone has their own opinion.


Director of UC Firearms Violence Research Program Shares Thoughts

According to the director of the UC Firearms Violence Research Program, Garen Wintermute, “We must be doing something right,” she says, referring to a low gun violence crime rate. 

An image of a reporter holding a large mic as she writes down notes in her book

Source: Freepik

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that our gun violence rate has dropped much more than the rest of the country. My suspicion is that our robust regulatory system has a lot to do with it.”


LA Times Suggest Handguns Are Dangerous

The LA Times referenced a study published by Stanford University, which suggests that “Living with a handgun owner is associated with substantially elevated risk of dying by homicide.”

Wide view of a gun show with numerous tables displaying various models of handguns and rifles available for sale to attendees in a crowded hall

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Women bear the brunt of the elevated risks. The fatal assaults they experienced often took the form of being shot by men they lived with,” said Yifan Zhang, a study co-author.


You Don’t Need a Gun, Says Senator

According to Sen. Anthony Portantino, “You don’t need a gun to go to your daughter’s soccer game. He continued, “You don’t need a gun to go to Dodger Stadium. You don’t need a gun to go to where alcohol is sold.”

A pair of black Sig Sauer guns lying on top of one another on a black surface

Source: Thomas Tucker/Unsplash

However, once again, this is a classic case of a clash of opinions. For many, they believe the decision to carry their concealed weapons should not be of the government’s concern.