California SB2, a recently enacted gun control law, has hit a legal roadblock and is no longer in effect as it undergoes an appeal process. SB2, signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2023, aimed to impose restrictions on concealed carry weapons permits (CCWs), including a ban on carrying firearms in 26 types of public places such as parks, sports stadiums, hospitals, and places of worship. The law also introduced additional requirements for permit applicants.
California SB2 introduced several significant changes, including:
- Age requirement: Applicants for concealed carry permits had to be at least 21 years old.
- Character references: The law mandated applicants to provide character references.
- Background checks: A background check was required for permit applicants.
However, the most contentious aspect of SB2 was its prohibition on carrying firearms in numerous public locations, effectively restricting concealed carry in most public spaces throughout the state.
In December 2023, Federal District Judge Cormac Carney temporarily suspended SB2 by issuing an injunction, deeming it unconstitutional and in violation of the Second Amendment. Judge Carney argued that SB2 essentially labeled nearly all public places in California as “sensitive places,” thereby infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding and highly qualified citizens to carry firearms for self-defense in public.
Judge Carney referenced the Supreme Court’s landmark 6-3 decision in the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case from June 2023, where the Court established a new framework for assessing the constitutionality of gun regulations. According to this framework, modern-day gun control laws must align with the nation’s “historical tradition” to be considered constitutional. Although California lawmakers believed they crafted SB2 to be consistent with Bruen, Judge Carney ruled otherwise.
In his ruling, Judge Carney also defended CCW permit holders, writing, “Simply put, CCW permit holders are not the gun wielders legislators should fear. Indeed, CCW permit holders are not responsible for any of the mass shootings or horrific gun violence that has occurred in California.”
However, Judge Carney’s injunction faced challenges of its own. A three-judge panel later overturned the injunction, arguing that more time was needed to thoroughly evaluate the arguments from both sides.
On January 6, 2024, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals removed the “pause” and reinstated SB2. This decision is noteworthy because the Ninth Circuit has often faced criticism, earning it the nickname “Ninth Circus” among conservatives. More significant, however, is that when a law is stayed by a court, there is a strong likelihood that eventually it will be found unconstitutional.
The right to self-defense is a human right and we remain hopeful that SB2 will eventually be invalidated by the Supreme Court. The ongoing legal battle underscores the complex and contentious nature of gun control legislation and the important role the judiciary plays in determining the constitutionality of such laws.
*Second Call Defense is not insurance and does not sell or promote insurance products. Second Call Defense is a membership organization that provides its members access to the “Second Amendment Support Foundation, Inc.,” which provides the means necessary to protect Second Call Defense members from the legal aftermath of exercising their right to self-defense. For an overview of the differences between Second Call Defense Member Benefits and traditional insurance, click here.