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Federal Judge Partially Blocks California's New Restrictions on Guns

The law restricting where gun owners with permits can carry a firearm was set to take effect on Jan. 1

Federal Judge Partially Blocks California's New Restrictions on Guns

A federal judge in California has temporarily blocked a law restricting the carrying rights of gun owners.

In his ruling, United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney wrote that California’s Senate Bill 2 was “sweeping, repugnant to the Second Amendment, and openly defiant of the Supreme Court.” Carney ruled key portions of the law were unconstitutional. The law will not go fully into effect on Jan. 1 as previously scheduled.

The policy prohibits people with a firearm-carrying license to bring a gun to several public venues, including stadiums, casinos, religious institutions, financial institutions, and medical facilities. Gun carriers would also be unable to bring a weapon on public transport or any location where alcohol can be purchased and consumed. Carrying a gun would be prohibited in any private commercial spaces, like parking lots, unless the owner installs signs noting that guns are permitted.

Anyone under the age of 21 would not be able to get a concealed carry permit.

“Democrats had championed the law as a workaround to the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. vs. Bruen last year, which held that sweeping restrictions on licensed gun holders to carry their weapons in public were unconstitutional, in part because they stripped those people of their constitutional right to self-defense,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, who signed the bill on Sept. 26, defended the law.

“Defying common sense, this ruling outrageously calls California’s data-backed gun safety efforts ‘repugnant,’” said Newsom in a statement reported by the LA Times. “What is repugnant is this ruling, which greenlights the proliferation of guns in our hospitals, libraries, and children’s playgrounds — spaces which should be safe for all.”

The National Rifle Association opposed Senate Bill 2. The gun rights advocacy group argued the policy “creates new subjective criteria for the issuance of carry permits to allow authorities to arbitrarily deny applicants, restricts permit holders by allowing them to carry only handguns registered to themselves, increases the requirements to apply for a permit, and increases ‘gun-free zones’ where law-abiding citizens are left defenseless.”

State Senator Anthony Portantino wrote the bill. The Democrat, who represents Burbank, said the law ensures people who carry firearms are not a threat to themselves or others and ensures “every Californian is safe from gun violence.”

“We are faced with the continued threat of mass shootings and a gun violence epidemic. With bold leadership on the issue of gun safety and reform, we can save lives,” said Portantino in May after his bill was passed by the state Senate. “We need action, words are not enough.”

California Attorney General Rob Bonta appealed the district court’s decision on Dec. 20.

“If allowed to stand, this decision would endanger communities by allowing guns in places where families and children gather,” said Bonta in a press release. “Guns in sensitive public places do not make our communities safer, but rather the opposite. More guns in more sensitive places makes the public less safe; the data supports it. … We believe the court got this wrong.”

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