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Federal judge halts California’s ban on permitted concealed carry in public

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(The Center Square) – A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against California’s wide-ranging ban on concealed carry users bringing their weapons to a number of public and private places ranging from public transit to parks, stadiums and banks.

SB 2, passed in 2023, bans concealed carry permit holders in California from bringing their firearms to 26 places, including, hospitals, public transportation, places that sell liquor for on-site consumption, playgrounds, parks, casinos, stadiums, libraries, amusement parks, zoos, places of worship, and banks. In California, concealed carry applicants must undergo thorough background checks that include interviews, fingerprinting, reviews through multiple government databases, and pass a state-certified full-day handgun training program designed for concealed carry permit holders.

“SB2’s coverage is sweeping, repugnant to the Second Amendment, and openly defiant of the Supreme Court,” wrote Judge Cormac J. Carney. “SB2 turns nearly every public place in California into a “sensitive place,” effectively abolishing the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding and exceptionally qualified citizens to be armed and to defend themselves in public.”

The plaintiffs in the case, who are concealed carry permit holders and related organizations, asserted SB 2’s new “sensitive place” restrictions violate their Second Amendment rights and deprive them of their ability to defend themselves and their loved ones in public spaces.

California attorney general Rob Bonta argued that the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the state’s right to restrict carrying firearms in “sensitive places” and, after the injunction was issued, noted that the lawsuit did not challenge and the injunction did not block “sensitive place” designations regarding school zones, preschools, state or local public buildings, airports, or legislative offices.

“If allowed to stand, this decision would endanger communities by allowing guns in places where families and children gather,” said Bonta in a public statement. “Guns in sensitive public places do not make our communities safer, but rather the opposite.

California governor Gavin Newsom, who introduced a national constitutional amendment to ban “assault weapons,” raise the gun purchasing age, and codify states’ rights to pass more strict gun laws, denounced the decision in a public statement.

“Defying common sense, this ruling outrageously calls California’s data-backed gun safety efforts ‘repugnant,’” Newsom said. “California will keep fighting to defend our laws and to enshrine a Right to Safety in the Constitution.”

Bonta announced he would be appealing the decision to a higher federal court. California cases first decided at a district-level court can be appealed to the 9th Circuit Court, after which they can be appealed yet again to the United States Supreme Court.

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