Sacramento, Jan 3 (IANS) A new law in California that bans the carrying of guns in most public places has been in effect since January 1, though legal challenges against it continue through the courts.
The law, signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2023, took effect on Monday after a US appeals court halted a lower court judge’s ruling that had blocked enforcement of the law, Xinhua news agency reported.
The 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 applies whether the person has a permit to carry a concealed weapon or not. One exception would be for privately owned businesses that put up signs saying people are allowed to bring guns on their premises.
Gun rights organizations have been opposing the law, including the California Rifle and Pistol Association, which brought the case to court.
US District Judge Cormac Carney for the Central District of California ruled on December 20 that the law violated the Second Amendment of the US Constitution which protects the right to keep and bear arms.
The judge wrote in the preliminary injunction that the law would “unconstitutionally deprive” concealed carry permit holders of “their constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self-defence”.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta appealed the ruling, arguing in a statement that “guns in sensitive public places do not make our communities safer, but rather the opposite.”
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals paused the injunction on Saturday, allowing the law to go into effect while the court takes more time to decide on the constitutionality of the law.
The California Rifle and Pistol Association said the appeals court’s ruling was “not really a win” for the state yet, since the court still must judge on the merits of the case.
Newsom applauded the latest ruling in a statement, saying it will “allow our common-sense gun laws to remain in place while we appeal the district court’s dangerous ruling.”
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.
When Newsom signed the ban on guns in public places into law in September, he also approved a series of gun control measures, including the microstamping of handgun cartridges to help with tracing crimes and an effort to use funds from bullet sales to improve gun violence intervention programs and school safety.
The US has 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.