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Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction vs. California Gun Show Ban



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Judge John W. Holcomb of the United States District Court granted a preliminary injunction on Monday against the state of California's ban on gun shows.

The plaintiffs in this case are Gerald Clark, Eric Johnson, Chad Littrell, B & L Productions/Crossroads of the West, the Asian Pacific Americans Gun Owners Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, and California Rifle & Pistol Association.

The two statutes that were the subject of the lawsuit, SB 264 and SB 915, effectively outlawed gun shows at the Orange County Fairgrounds and, more generally, on state-owned property.

The plaintiffs contended that “both their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and their First Amendment right to freedom of speech in a public forum are violated by the statutes at issue.”

Holcomb affirmed the First Amendment claims made by the plaintiffs, noting:

“Here, the Court finds sufficient evidence that SB 264 and SB 915 have a viewpoint-discriminatory purpose. Legislative history shows that the goal of the two statutes is to end gun shows in California, and, while the opinions and statements of legislators are not dispositive of viewpoint discrimination…those statements are circumstantial evidence that the statutes disfavor the lawful commercial speech of firearm vendors.”

Following the Supreme Court of the United States' Bruen (2022) testing of SB 264 and SB 915, Holcomb also agreed with the plaintiffs' Second Amendment arguments. He noted, “Defendants are unable to identify a historical analog to SB 264 or SB 915,” concentrating on the Bruen historical test.

The case is B & L Productions v. Newsom, No. 8:22-cv-01518 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Holcomb granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and directed that Crossroads of the West be presented with the dates of usage for the Orange Country Fairgrounds “to reserve dates for gun show events (and to hold such events)…[like] any other event promoter who has previously held events at the Orange County Fairgrounds.”

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