A 95-year-old California state law that banned gun suppliers from using images of handguns on their storefronts in order to advertise firearms has been overturned today by Sacramento-based U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley.
The 1923 law “blocked dealers from using such images but allowed them to use signs featuring shotguns or rifles, something state lawyers argued was in place to stop impulsive individuals from purchasing a handgun and using it in a suicide or crime” (Via SacBee), but Judge Nunley did not agree.
In his ruling, Nunley wrote, “The government may not restrict speech that persuades adults, who are neither criminals nor suffer from mental illness, from purchasing a legal and constitutionally protected product, merely because it distrusts their personality trait and the decisions that personality trait may lead them to make later down the road.”
The decision by Judge Nanley comes as surprise, considering his rise to the bench. The San Francisco native served as a Sacramento County Superior Court before being nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District by President Barack Obama in June, 2012. He had been recommended for the position by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif).That a pro-gun decision emanated from the pen of someone who owes his position to two staunch supporters of gun control.
The case, which was brought on by Tracy Rifle and Pistol, Sacramento Black Rifle Inc. and other licensed firearms dealers back in 2014, claimed they were being mistreated and deprived of their First Amendment right. According to the Cal. Penal Code section 26820: “No handgun or imitation handgun, or placard advertising the sale or other transfer thereof, shall be displayed in any part of the premises where it can readily be seen from the outside.”
For the representatives of the firearms dealers, it turns out the First Amendment is just as important as the Second.