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US court allows California’s gun ban to proceed

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The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday, paved the way for California’s law prohibiting the carrying of guns in most public places, set to be effective from the beginning of 2024. 

The court temporarily suspended a December 20 injunction that declared the law unconstitutional, allowing it to proceed while a different panel considers a longer-term pause in litigation.

The initial injunction, which called the Democratic-led state’s law a violation of citizens’ Second Amendment rights, was temporarily halted by the three-judge panel pending further review. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom applauded the ruling, stating that it would preserve the state’s “common-sense gun laws” during the appeal process.

“This ruling will allow California’s common-sense gun laws to remain in place while we appeal the district court’s dangerous ruling,” he said.

The law, signed by Newsom in September and set to take effect on Monday, was enacted following a June 2022 Supreme Court ruling that expanded gun rights nationwide. 

In the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen, the Supreme Court emphasized the right to carry handguns in public for self-defense under the Second Amendment.

California, known for stringent gun control laws, introduced the law to restrict concealed carry in 26 categories of “sensitive places,” including hospitals, playgrounds, and places of worship. Individuals with permits could not carry in these areas, and privately owned commercial establishments open to the public were included unless they explicitly allowed concealed carry.

Concealed carry permit holders, along with gun rights groups, challenged the law, arguing its unconstitutionality. U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney blocked the law on December 20, stating that it virtually eliminated Second Amendment rights in public places.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta sought to put the injunction on hold, emphasizing the heightened risk of gun violence if the law remained blocked. 

The Firearms Policy Coalition noted that the law would take full effect unless the 9th Circuit lifted the stay before Monday. 

Similar laws in other states have also faced legal challenges, with a federal appeals court in New York ruling on December 8 in favor of barring gun owners from carrying weapons in various “sensitive locations.”

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