BELLEVUE, WA – A federal district court has ruled that a section of the California Penal Code is unconstitutional and has issued an injunction against enforcement of a prohibition on the display of handguns or handgun placards that may be seen from the outside of a store in a case supported by the Second Amendment Foundation and two California gun rights groups.
The case involved Tracy Rifle and Pistol (TRAP), Ten Percent Firearms, Sacramento Black Rifle, Inc., and PRK Arms. SAF was joined in supporting the case by the Calguns Foundation and California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees. The lawsuit was filed some three years ago against then-Attorney General Kamala Harris and the chief of the state Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms. Harris has since been elected to the U.S. Senate.
The lawsuit asserted that Section 26820 of the California Penal Code violated the First Amendment rights of the gun shop operators because it stated, “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.”
“A state cannot legislate political correctness at the expense of a fundamental, constitutionally-delineated civil right,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “We were delighted to offer financial support to this case.”
The state argued that the penal code provision advanced the state’s interest in reducing handgun-related crime and suicide. But the court held that the state failed to show that the statute “has nay effect on handgun suicide or crime.” Further, the court ruled that California “has restricted disfavored speech without acknowledging the efficacy of policy choices that do not burden speech.”
Finally, the court said, “California may not accomplish its goals by violating the First Amendment” and declared the challenged section “unconstitutional on its face.”
The case is known as Tracy Rifle and Pistol, LLC v Harris. The ruling was issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.