California judge blocks gun show ban

 November 1, 2023

A federal judge in California froze the state's ban on gun shows at county fairgrounds, in a blow to the Democratic party's gun control agenda.

United States District Court Judge John W. Holcomb, an appointee of President Trump, rejected the state's ban on First and Second Amendment grounds.

The two laws at issue, SB 264 and SB 915, effectively banned gun shows at the Orange County Fairgrounds and, by extension, state property throughout the state.

Gun show ban struck down

Holcomb found that the state's remedy for its alleged interest in reducing gun crime was too extreme.

“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, especially when those same firearms are available for purchase at regular gun stores," Holcomb wrote.

The gun show ban is a solution in search of a problem, as the judge laid out.

While the so-called "gun show loophole" is a common liberal talking point, "actual firearm transfers are prohibited from taking place at any gun show in California," the judge pointed out.

Sales may be initiated at the gun show, but California's strict gun laws require the transaction to be completed at a licensed retailer following a waiting period and a background check.

"Plaintiffs claim that, as a result, there is 'no gun show loophole' at gun shows in California, which must operate in accordance with state law," Holcomb wrote.


The plaintiffs argued that the gun show ban is a thinly veiled attack on gun shows themselves and a form of viewpoint discrimination. Holcomb agreed with that claim, saying the law's authors had shown a clear bias.

Holcomb then turned to the plaintiffs' Second Amendment claims, also ruling in their favor there. He found that California failed the test that the Supreme Court devised last year in its landmark Bruen ruling, which holds that gun regulations must have a basis in historical precedent.

There is "no historical basis" for banning gun shows since such events have been held at the Orange County Fairgrounds for 30 years, the judge said.

The ban's author, Democrat Dave Min, decried the ruling as an abuse of power.

"Today's injunction, issued by a Trump-appointed activist judge, is an outrageous abuse of judicial authority that will undoubtedly make our commutes less safe," he said.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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