California law banning most firearms in public is taking effect as the legal fight over it continues
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California law that bans people from carrying firearms in most public places will take effect on New Year’s Day, even as a court case continues to challenge the law.
A U.S. district judge issued a ruling Dec. 20 to block the law from taking effect, saying it violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and deprives people of their ability to defend themselves and their loved ones.
But on Saturday, a federal appeals court put a temporary hold on the district judge’s ruling. The appeals court decision allows the law to go into effect as the legal fight continues. Attorneys are scheduled to file arguments to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in January and in February.
The law, signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, prohibits people from carrying concealed guns in 26 places including public parks and playgrounds, churches, banks and zoos.
The ban applies regardless of whether the person has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. One exception is for privately owned businesses that put up signs saying people are allowed to bring guns on their premises.
“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, formerly Twitter, after the appeals court acted Saturday. “Californians overwhelmingly support efforts to ensure that places like hospitals, libraries and children’s playgrounds remain safe and free from guns.”
The California Rifle and Pistol Association sued to block the law. When U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney granted a preliminary injunction blocking the law, he wrote that the law was “sweeping, repugnant to the Second Amendment, and openly defiant of the Supreme Court.”
Carney wrote that gun rights groups are likely to succeed in proving it unconstitutional, meaning it would be permanently overturned.
The law overhauls California’s rules for concealed carry permits in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which set several states scrambling to react with their own laws. That decision said the constitutionality of gun laws must be assessed by whether they are “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
Newsom has said he will keep pushing for stricter gun measures.
Newsom has positioned himself as a national leader on gun control while he is being increasingly eyed as a potential presidential candidate. He has called for and signed a variety of bills, including measures targeting untraceable “ghost guns,” the marketing of firearms to children and allowing people to bring lawsuits over gun violence. That legislation was patterned on a Texas anti-abortion law.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta appealed Carney’s decision. Bonta, a Democrat, said that if the district judge’s ruling to block the law were allowed to stand, it “would endanger communities by allowing guns in places where families and children gather.”
The California Pistol and Rifle Association’s president, Chuck Michel, said in a statement that under the law, gun permit holders “wouldn’t be able to drive across town without passing through a prohibited area and breaking the law.” Michel said criminals are deterred when law-abiding citizens can defend themselves.