California’s New Gun Grabs Face Challenges in Federal Court

On October 4, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom conducted a press conference where he signed nearly two dozen gun control bills into law. 

Two bills in particular, Senate Bill 2 and Assembly Bill 28 — have received considerable attention. AB 28 slaps on a 11% “sin tax” on firearms and ammo. SB 2 establishes new requirements that make it more difficult to obtain a permit to carry a firearm in public creates scores of new “sensitive places” where concealed carry permits are invalid.

In response to the passage of these gun control bills, pro-gun organizations such as the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) have pursued legal action against these gun control laws. 

On October 3, CRPA filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from going into effect. At the moment, the California state government has until November 3rd to file its opposition to CRPA’s injunction request.  CRPA will subsequently have until November 20th to issue a response to the opposition.  A hearing is currently scheduled before United States District Court Judge Cormac Carney is scheduled to hear this case on December 4.

Like all forms of gun control, these laws will not make Californians safer. If anything, they will give criminals the upper hand against the law-abiding now that they know that their potential victims will be disarmed. 

However, California is captured by a thoroughly anti-gun political class. This same crop of leaders is still bitter about the Supreme Court’s landmark New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen decision, which ruled that governments can’t arbitrarily restrict the ability to carry a handgun in public. Moreover, this ruling determined that any gun control law that does not comply with the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment is unconstitutional.

Such a decision has made gun controllers in the Golden State furious. Hence, their continued push for civilian disarmament measures, unconstitutionality be damned. 

One of the harsh realities of California politics is that gun owners have very little avenues for affecting political change in the state. Democrats are in firm control of both chambers of the California General Assembly — 62-18 in the General Assembly and 32-8 in the State Senate — so any measures to roll back gun control are largely dead on arrival. 

Sadly, that’s the nature of politics in monolithically blue states. As a result, savvy gun activists have had to turn to the courts to bring about changes in gun control policy in states such as California. In the present state of polarized politics in the US, gun owners will have to take whatever they can get through the court system. However, a multi-pronged strategy to fight gun control remains the most optimal way of restoring the right to bear arms. 

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