Today, a federal court issued a preliminary order enjoining the State’s attempts to ban gun shows across the state. B & L Productions v. Newsom was filed in a joint effort with California Rifle & Pistol Association, B & L Productions, Second Amendment Foundation, Asian Pacific American Gun Owners, Gun Owners of California, Second Amendment Law Center, and individuals in response to Senator Min’s SB 264 and SB 915, which banned gun shows on all state property. These laws, passed in 2022, were challenged on both First Amendment and Second Amendment claims. The injunction goes into effect immediately, with the court denying the State’s request to stay any injunction that may be issued.
Judge Holcomb noted that “Here, Defendants’ oral motion to stay fails because Defendants satisfy none of the requirements established by the Ninth Circuit in Index Newspapers. As discussed above, Plaintiffs — not Defendants — have shown a likelihood of success on the merits of Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims. Defendants also have not demonstrated irreparable injury. Although crimes committed with illegal firearms are unquestionably a serious concern, Defendants have not shown that there is an appreciably higher risk of illegal gun sales occurring at gun shows than there is at brick-and-mortar stores in California.”
The state has argued that they should not be in the business of selling firearms, all the while ignoring established precedent that a “sale” is lawful commercial speech and that firearms are lawful commerce that is essential to the Second Amendment. Noting that “Even assuming that merely exchanging money for a firearm is not speech, the sales regulated by those statutes do not involve the physical exchange of a weapon. Before the enactment of SB 264 and SB 915, customers at gun shows in California could negotiate and contract for a sale with firearm vendors, but those customers were still required to comply with California’s 10-day waiting period and to retrieve the purchased firearm at a physical store not located on the fairgrounds.”
The Court also found issues with the State’s arguments in regards to Bruen by noting that “the fact that gun shows in California must fully comply with all laws applicable to brick-and-mortar stores makes the above comparators inapposite because the examples that Defendants cite were equally applied to all firearm vendors and gun owners.” “Statements by the challenged bills’ author highlight the difficulty that Defendants face in finding a historical analog; California State Senator Min declared that “California will become the first in the nation to enact a total ban statewide” on gun shows, which proves there is no historical basis for a law such as this and squarely places it outside of Bruen.
The Order also instructs state facilities to provide dates to promoters immediately, so hopefully, we will see some of the beloved gun shows return to California very soon!
One thing to note is that this injunction does not apply to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, which still has its own law (AB 893) on appeal in the Ninth Circuit.