GOA, GOF File Coalition Lawsuit Challenging California’s Orwellian Surveillance Requirements for Gun Dealers


December 20, 2023

Washington, D.C. — Last night, Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the Gun Owners Foundation (GOF) joined Gun Owners of California (GOC) and several other plaintiffs** in filing a lawsuit challenging California’s SB 1384, which imposes Orwellian-level surveillance requirements on the State’s gun dealers.  Slated to take effect on January 1, 2024, the new requirements would:

  • force every gun dealer in the state to install sophisticated surveillance equipment that records both video and audio of every gun sale that occurs in California;
  • force dealers to bear the cost to purchase and install this prohibitively expensive system, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars (one big box store reportedly has spent over $250,000 to comply, at only one location);
  • force dealers to allow state officials access to the recordings, upon demand;
  • require dealers to post signage informing customers that their activities are being recorded; and
  • does not exempt California’s home-based dealers, who will be forced to install state surveillance equipment within their own homes.

GOA and GOF’s lawsuit brings a variety of challenges to what is essentially California’s version of the “telescreen” from Orwell’s novel “1984,” including:

  • several First Amendment challenges based on (i ) freedom of speech, (ii) freedom of association, (iii) the right to engage in anonymous speech, (iv) a compelled speech claim, and (v) a claim that SB 1384 represents viewpoint discrimination against gun owners;
  • a Second Amendment challenge, because there is no historical evidence that our Founders ever would have permitted the government to monitor the real-time exercise of the right to keep and bear arms;
  • a Fourth Amendment challenge, because SB 1384 represents a per se unconstitutional “general warrant” … it invades private property rights … and it violates gun stores’, customers’, and homeowners’ reasonable expectations of privacy; and
  • a Fifth Amendment takings claim, because SB 1384 takes and appropriates, for government use, physical space within gun stores and private homes;
  • a Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection claim, because SB 1384 singles out and discriminates against gun stores, treating them differently than all other businesses in California; and
  • a claim under the California state constitution’s right to privacy.

Erich Pratt, GOA’s Senior Vice President, issued the following statement:             

“These new restrictions from Governor Newsom and his cabal in Sacramento read as though they were scripted straight out of 1984. These are the most intrusive and egregious violations of privacy imaginable, and we will not stop until they are defeated.” 

Sam Paredes, on behalf of the board for GOF and in his role as the Executive Director of Gun Owners of California, added:     

“This may be the worst of the worst, which is truly a high bar to meet for anti-gunners, even in California. Imagine how much this will chill speech and even directly deter individuals from buying guns in the first place – plus, imagine how intrusive it would be for a gun dealer operating out of the home! Shame on California, and we look forward to making our case in court.”  

GOA spokesmen are available for interviews.  Gun Owners of America is a nonprofit, grassroots lobbying organization dedicated to protecting the right to keep and bear arms without compromise. GOA represents over two million members and activists. For more information, visit GOA’s Press Center.

**In addition to the named plaintiffs above, the California Rifle & Pistol Association and the Second Amendment Foundation have joined together in this suit along with various, individual plaintiffs.