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California law banning guns in public once again blocked

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A recent California law prohibiting the possession of guns in most public spaces has faced another setback following a ruling from a U.S. appeals court.

The law, signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom in September last year, had been in effect for only five days since Jan. 1 before a U.S. appeals court halted it on Saturday.

The law was first blocked last month after U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney issued a temporary injunction.

Carney ruled on Dec. 20 that the law violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which protects the right to keep and bear arms, saying the law would “unconstitutionally deprive” concealed carry permit holders of “their constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense.”

Carney’s ruling was subsequently paused on Dec. 30 by a panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that determined more time was needed by the court to consider the constitutionality of the law.

That pause was however “dissolved” on Saturday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which indicated arguments in the case will be heard in April, reinstating the district judge’s ruling blocking the law.

Newsom’s office slammed the appeals court’s new ruling as a “dangerous decision” that “puts the lives of Californians on the line,” and vowed to not stop working to “defend our decades of progress on gun safety in our state.”

The new state law prohibits people from carrying concealed guns in 26 categories with various locations, including hospitals, playgrounds, public transportation, stadiums, amusement parks and museums.

The ban is applicable regardless of whether an individual possesses a concealed carry permit. An exemption exists for privately owned businesses that display signs permitting the presence of firearms on their premises.

Gun rights organizations have been opposing the law, including the California Rifle and Pistol Association, which brought the case to court.

California 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.

Upon signing the legislation in September, Newsom endorsed several gun control measures, which encompassed the implementation of microstamping on gun cartridges to aid in crime tracing. Additionally, there was an initiative to allocate funds from bullet sales toward enhancing gun violence intervention programs and school safety.

The United States has by far the highest rate of gun deaths among wealthy countries. Nearly 43,000 people died from gun violence in the country in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

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