(CTN News) – The California ban on carrying firearms in most public places has been upheld by a federal appeals court in the US.
A judge had ruled that the state’s statute, passed by a Democratic-led legislature, infringed the Second Amendment right of residents to keep and bear guns, but on Saturday, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction.
The law is scheduled to be implemented in early 2024.
The injunction was placed on hold when an administrative stay was ordered by the three-judge panel. This will allow another panel of the 9th Circuit to examine whether to issue an even longer delay while the litigation is ongoing.
The proposal was passed into law in September by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom of California. It was enacted in response to a landmark decision by the conservative-majority US Supreme Court in June 2022 that expanded gun rights nationally. It was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2023.
With a wide interpretation of the Second Amendment, the cornerstone of gun rights in the US, the Supreme Court in that decision nullified New York’s stringent gun permit system.
The decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen curbed lawmakers’ power to regulate open carry of firearms. Additionally, it prompted a string of challenges in court.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, a number of states, including California, which has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the US, reworked their regulations on firearms.
People without concealed weapon permits were no longer allowed to carry firearms in 26 designated “sensitive places” in California. These places include hospitals, parks, stadiums, zoos, and houses of worship.
Additionally, Senate Bill 2 made it illegal to carry concealed weapons in publicly accessible areas of privately held businesses unless the owner specifically permits this on their premises.
Key Provisions of California’s Law
A coalition of gun rights organizations and individuals, including the California Rifle & Pistol Association, Second Amendment Foundation, and Gun Owners of America, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new concealed carry law.
US District Judge Cormac Carney, who was appointed by the Republican President George W. Bush, agreed and stayed the law’s implementation until the matter was resolved on December 20.
The bill “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 defend themselves in public,” Carney said.
Because “tens of millions of Californians will face a heightened risk of gun violence” if the measure remained blocked, California Attorney General Rob Bonta moved swiftly to request that the 9th Circuit hold the injunction pending an appeal.
Litigation has also been an issue for other states’ legislation that are similar to this one. Many “sensitive locations” including as parks, zoos, bars, and theaters might be off-limits to gun owners according to a federal appeals court’s decision on December 8.