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Gov. Gavin Newsom announcing new gn legislation. (Photo: gov.ca.gov)

Fifth Circuit Strikes Down CA Ban On Gun Ownership For Certain Domestic Violence Offenders

Gov. Newsom denounces ruling following his latest attempt to restrict CCW permitting

By Evan Symon, February 2, 2023 9:21 pm

Gov. Gavin Newsom denounced a new Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on Thursday allowing those with domestic violence restraining orders to have firearms. The ruling is the latest federal decision that further erodes strict Californian gun laws.

The back and forth between federal rulings trumping state gun laws and California pigeonholing new gun restrictions has been an ongoing struggle for decades.

But, following the Supreme Court’s New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen ruling last year, many of California’s strict gun laws have gone into disarray as cities, counties, and the state adjust to the new boundaries. The Bruen ruling, which found that gun laws requiring applicants for concealed carry permit to show “proper cause” were unconstitutional and a violation of the second amendment, especially rocked local laws.

This included San Francisco. In the past decade, only four concealed carry permits had been approved. But, as of this week, the city already has one approved for this year and 72 applications currently being considered, with hundreds of more expected by years end. While Supervisors there are looking for ways to limit areas in which concealed weapons are allowed, the Bruen ruling has put a huge limit on what they can really do.

In response to the ruling and several recent mass shooting events in California, Governor Newsom and several Democratic state lawmakers put forward potential new concealed carry and legal gun ownership restrictions. Specifically, a bill was introduced this year to add additional training requirements, increase the minimum age one can purchase a gun to 21, and add a list of prohibited places where concealed carry would be allowed.

Less than two days after the announcement of the new restrictive bills, the Bruen decision continued to revamp laws undoing state laws. The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that a law restricting weapons against those posing a domestic violence threat  went against the Second Amendment and would not pass the new Bruen test of requiring gun laws to have a historical analogy to gun laws of the past.

“Through that lens, we conclude that the law’s ban on possession of firearms is an ‘outlier’ that our ancestors would never have accepted,” said the Fifth Circuit in their opinion on Thursday. “The purpose of these ‘dangerousness’ laws was the preservation of political and social order, not the protection of an identified person from the specific threat posed by another. Therefore, laws disarming ‘dangerous’ classes of people are not relevantly similar to serve as historical analogues.”

With the ruling setting up new dismantling of gun laws in the state only a few days after the governor pledged more restrictive measures, Gov. Newsom heavily denounced the ruling in a statement on Thursday. Newsom also noted that more rulings were also due in the next few weeks, which would likely chip away even more at the state’s gun laws.

Newsom speaks out against new court ruling

“Now, a federal appeals court has ruled domestic abusers have the right to carry firearms. Where is the line? Who’s next?,” said the Governor on Thursday.

“Judge Cory Wilson, Judge James Ho, and Judge Edith Jones. These three zealots are hellbent on a deranged vision of guns for all, leaving government powerless to protect its people. This is what the ultra-conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court wants. It’s happening, and it’s happening right now.”

“Wake up, America – this assault on our safety will only accelerate. This is serious – and it’s coming to California. We are probably only weeks away from another activist judge, Judge Roger Benitez, striking down California’s bans on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. California will continue to fight against these extremist judges to protect our residents’ right to be free from gun violence.”

Firearms experts and activists had a different opinion on Thursday, noting that the federal government  is now dragging California kicking and screaming to be in line with U.S. laws rather than making more reactionary decisions.

“This has been a real rollercoaster week for gun rights in California,” explained Trevor Morrison Jr., a concealed carry expert who helps with applications, to the Globe on Thursday. “Many here want to put more and more restrictions on us, and have, for years. But we’re seeing more and more of courts striping away restrictions. Not restrictions that could potentially thwart mass shootings and other violent acts, but ones that could potentially stop them.”

“It’s scary where the laws are going straight after guns and are ignoring new mental health laws and other things that can stop them. Luckily, these federal rulings are starting to undue all the damage California has done, so maybe they will focus more on mental health now. Or other means. Because, as we have seen this week, these court decisions will just undue what California is trying in putting in firearms restrictions.”

More rulings that could potentially take down more California firearms restrictions are due soon.

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Evan Symon
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3 thoughts on “Fifth Circuit Strikes Down CA Ban On Gun Ownership For Certain Domestic Violence Offenders

  1. Yes, California has been getting its a$$ kicked in court lately when it comes to unconstitutional gun laws imposed by an overreaching governor and AG. Newsom will know the Second Amendment intimately before this foolish game he is playing is over.

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