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News > U.S.

US Federal Judge Blocks California Law Banning Guns in Public

  • People wait for the opening of a weapons store.

    People wait for the opening of a weapons store. | Photo: X/ @FujiiPonta

Published 22 December 2023

A law that would have banned the carrying of guns as of January has been blocked on constitutional grounds.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney for the Central District of California ruled that the law violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which protects the right to keep and bear arms.


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The law would "unconstitutionally deprive" concealed carry permit holders of "their constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense," he said, adding that the law "is sweeping, repugnant to the Second Amendment, and openly defiant of the Supreme Court."

Signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom in September, the law would have prohibited people from carrying concealed guns in 26 categories of places, including hospitals, playgrounds, churches, banks and zoos.

The ban would apply whether the person has a permit to carry a concealed weapon or not. One exception would be for privately owned businesses that put up signs saying people are allowed to bring guns on their premises.

Carney's rule marked a victory for the California Rifle and Pistol Association which brought the case to court. Nevertheless, California State Attorney General Rob Bonta will appeal the ruling, which if allowed to stand "would endanger communities by allowing guns in places where families and children gather."

The federal court's decision "green lights the proliferation of guns in our hospitals, libraries, and children's playgrounds -- spaces which should be safe for all," Newson said.

The state has a reputation as a tough place to buy a gun. Its gun laws have been ranked the strongest in the nation by the gun-control advocacy group Giffords. The ruling delivers a blow to California's efforts on gun control. The blocked law is part of a variety of gun control measures Newsom signed in September, which have since faced legal challenges.

The United States has by far the highest rate of gun deaths among wealthy countries. More than 40,000 people have died from gun violence in the country this year, an average of nearly 120 deaths each day, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

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