Judge Blocks California Law Banning Firearms At County Fairs

The Golden State’s anti-gun agenda sustained another court-imposed setback this week when a federal judge overturned a law prohibiting gun shows at county fairs.

State Sen. Dave Min, a Democrat, introduced legislation that went into effect early last year and imposed a ban on “any firearm, firearm precursor part, or ammunition” at the Orange County Fair. Earlier this year, a more robust law was implemented that included a similar ban on any county fairgrounds that occupies land owned by the state.

Min and other supporters of the law claimed that it would help shut down the sale of unlicensed firearms — particularly so-called ghost guns that are made from kits and do not include traditional serial numbers. U.S. District Judge Mark Holcomb, on the other hand, determined that any perceived benefits did not outweigh infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun sellers.

Asserting that the restriction as written was “more extensive than is necessary” to achieve its ostensible goal, he determined: “California’s interest in stopping crimes committed with illegal weapons, as important as it is, cannot justify prohibiting the complete sale of lawful firearms at gun shows.”

Holcomb’s ruling came in response to challenges by a number of gun-rights groups including the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association.

“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 judge’s decision asserted.

The ruling could still face an appeal from state Attorney General Rob Bonta, and Min bemoaned Holcomb’s opinion as that of an “activist judge.”

This decision was just the latest in a string of court rulings that have blocked some of the state’s stringent gun-control laws. About two weeks ago, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez struck down an “assault weapons” ban that had been on the books for decades.

“California’s answer to the criminal misuse of a few is to disarm its many good residents,” he wrote. “That knee-jerk reaction is constitutionally untenable, just as it was 250 years ago.”

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