Court Blocks New CA Law That Bans Carrying Firearms in Most Public Places

On September 29, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 2, a law that prohibits individuals from carrying concealed guns in 26 categories of “sensitive places,” such as public parks, playgrounds, churches, banks, and zoos, regardless of possessing a concealed weapon permit. The law also prohibits concealed firearms at privately owned commercial establishments open to the public, unless the business operator displays a sign allowing license holders to carry guns on their property.

This law was a response to a significant decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022, which invalidated New York’s strict gun-permit system, asserting that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense. The ruling introduced a test for evaluating the constitutionality of gun laws, emphasizing adherence to the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.

Legal Challenge

A coalition of concealed-carry permit holders and gun rights groups, including the Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America, and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, filed a lawsuit to block the law, arguing it was unconstitutional and deprived them of their self-defense rights.

On December 20, 2023, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney, appointed by former President George W. Bush, agreed and issued a preliminary injunction to halt the law’s implementation on January 1, 2024. He deemed the law “sweeping, repugnant to the Second Amendment, and openly defiant of the Supreme Court,” indicating a likely permanent overturn.

Appeals Court Decision

On December 30, 2023, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the state’s request to suspend the district judge’s injunction until a different panel of the same court could decide whether to issue a longer pause during ongoing litigation. This decision allowed the law to take effect on January 1, 2024, as the legal battle continued.

Attorneys for both sides are set to submit arguments to the appeals court in January and February 2024. The case may ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court, which, with its conservative majority, has shown a willingness to expand gun rights.


Governor Newsom welcomed the appeals court decision, stating that Californians overwhelmingly support efforts to keep places like hospitals, libraries, and children’s playgrounds free from guns¹². He pledged to continue advocating for stricter gun measures and positioned himself as a national leader on gun control.

The California Rifle and Pistol Association expressed disappointment, calling the appeals court decision a temporary setback for law-abiding citizens’ rights. They expressed confidence that the district judge’s ruling would be upheld, leading to the law being declared unconstitutional.


The recent California law prohibiting carrying firearms in most public places stands as one of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws, triggering a heated legal dispute between the state and gun rights advocates. While the law is currently in effect, its future remains uncertain as the case progresses through the courts. The case’s outcome holds significant implications for the interpretation and scope of the Second Amendment and the future of gun regulation in the U.S.


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