California’s “Repugnant” Law in Effect After Appeal

posted on January 6, 2024

Just 10 days after a federal judge called California’s new carry law “repugnant” and granted a preliminary injunction blocking it, an appeals court put the injunction on hold, allowing the law to take effect Jan. 1.

On Dec. 20, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney granted a preliminary injunction blocking portions of the state’s new carry law, which would have banned Californians—even those with a hard-to-obtain concealed-carry permit—from carrying concealed firearms in more than two dozen places, like churches, banks, hospitals, and on public transportation. In making the ruling in May v. Bonta, Judge Carney described the law as “sweeping, repugnant to the Second Amendment, and openly defiant of the Supreme Court.”

However, that ruling didn’t stand for long. On Dec. 30, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put Carney’s injunction on hold pending further review by that circuit court.

“The request for an administrative stay contained within appellant’s motion for a stay pending appeal is granted,” the latest ruling stated. “The motion for a stay pending appeal and the supplements, responses and replies thereto, are otherwise referred to the panel assigned to decide the merits of these appeals.

“The district court’s preliminary injunction issued on December 20, 2023, is temporarily stayed pending resolution of the motion for a stay pending appeal by the merits panel. In granting an administrative stay, we do not intend to constrain the merits panel’s consideration of the merits of these appeals in any way.”

The “merits” mentioned by the earlier court ruling were numerous. In his analysis, Judge Carney not only chided the state for infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens, but also said the state did a poor job of showing that the law is constitutional under the Bruen standard—whether it is consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.

“Given the nation’s history and tradition of protecting the core right to carry a firearm to those wishing to defend themselves and their families in case of confrontation, it is unsurprising that the government does not offer a single historical prohibition on carrying firearms at hospitals or medical offices, much less one limiting carry by a category of people that is particularly responsible and trained and whom the government has background checked,” Judge Carney wrote. “And the government has presented no evidence that this balance supports preventing people who have been through a thorough background check and training process to obtain a special permit to carry a concealed weapon from exercising their constitutional right to self-defense on public transportation.”

California’s top gun-ban advocate, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), was ecstatic about the latest ruling by the circuit court.

“This ruling will allow our common-sense gun laws to remain in place while we appeal the district court’s dangerous ruling,” Newsom posted on social media after the court’s announcement. “Californians overwhelmingly support efforts to ensure that places like hospitals, libraries and children’s playgrounds remain safe and free from guns.”  

Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, warned before the first ruling that under the new law, carry permit holders “wouldn’t be able to drive across town without passing through a prohibited area and breaking the law.”

Unfortunately, that’s now exactly the case for those licensed to carry a concealed firearm in the Golden State.

Attorneys for both sides are expected to file arguments in January and February for the next hearing.



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