Californians with a gun-carry permit can lawfully carry a gun in most areas of the state once again.
A three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals removed a stay applied to a lower court ruling against California’s SB2, which created a near-total ban on gun carry in the state. The action reinstates the lower court ruling that found the law violated the Second Amendment rights of those with gun-carry permits.
“The administrative stay previously entered is dissolved,” the panel wrote in May v. Bonta. “The emergency motion under Circuit Rule 27-3 for a stay pending appeal and for an interim administrative stay is denied pending further order of the court.”
The administrative move, like the one that preceded it, has a huge practical effect. The stay allowed the state to implement dozens of expansive “gun-free” zones at the beginning of the year, including one on every piece of private property unless the owner explicitly authorizes gun carry. The cumulative effect of the new “sensitive places” restrictions added up to an effective ban on gun carry.
Undoing the stay practically undoes enforcement of those new zones as the case against them proceeds on appeal. California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D.) did not respond to a request for comment on the order. However, gun-rights advocates celebrated the stay being dissolved.
“The right to carry in California was unconstitutionally eliminated for almost a week,” Kostas Moros, a lawyer for plaintiffs California Pistol and Rifle Association, told The Reload. “We are relieved the status quo has been restored, and Californians with CCW permits, who are among the most law-abiding people there are, can resume carrying as they have for years.”
The panel’s actions reinstate the preliminary injunction issued against the law by U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney in December. Carney found SB2 “unconstitutionally deprive” permitholders “of their constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense.” He further accused California of intentionally ignoring and undermining the Supreme Court’s decision in 2022’s New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which established carrying a gun for self-defense is protected by the Constitution.
“SB2’s coverage is sweeping, repugnant to the Second Amendment, and openly defiant of the Supreme Court,” Carney, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote. “The law designates twenty-six categories of places, such as hospitals, public transportation, places that sell liquor for on-site consumption, playgrounds, parks, casinos, stadiums, libraries, amusement parks, zoos, places of worship, and banks, as ‘sensitive places’ where concealed carry permitholders cannot carry their handguns. SB2 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 to defend themselves in public.”
The panel could still reconsider part of the stay before arguments in the case are actually heard. Those arguments are currently scheduled to occur in April.