Judge suggests “highly paternalistic” California law banning handguns ads, pop state of ‘mistrust’ gun buyers

FILE – In this Jan. 15, 2013, File Photo, Accessories Manufacturer Kevin Kao, Of Irvine, Calif., a military grade Remington Adaptive Combat Rifle examined at the 35th annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas. A US judge struck a nearly hundred-year-old California law that banned gun stores from advertising handguns on their premises. Judge Troy Nunley in Sacramento ruled Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, that the law violated the First Amendment. Nunley said the state failed to show that enforcement of the law would prevent violence or suicides. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2014 by several gun dealers that a monetary penalty by the state for gun ads. The 1923 prohibited by law, any hand gun show to the gun stores, the store were visible from the outside. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

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A Federal judge appointed by former President Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed a 95-year-old California law that had banned gun show to the gun shop, calling it “unconstitutional on its face,” and slammed the state for its “paternal” assumption that its residents do not have their own thoughts about firearms.

Officials in California had claimed that publicity would cause, people with “impulsive personality” to buy more firearms leads to increased suicides and crime-allegations that U.S. district judge Troy Nunley in Sacramento mocked, but in his judgment.

“The government may not restrict speech convinced that adults, who are neither criminals nor suffer from mental illness, from purchasing, legal and constitutionally protected product, just because it doesn’t trust your character and the decisions that the personality trait can cause you to make later down the road,” Nunley said in the decision that was made public on Tuesday.

“In addition, to limit the effort, impulsive individuals purchasing firearms, limited government, speaking to all adults, regardless of whether they are added to this personality trait,” Nunley, namely, the law was over-inclusive.

The 1923 act provided that “No handgun or imitation handgun, or placard to advertising for the sale or other transfer thereof will appear, in every part of [the gun store] where it can be easily seen from the outside.”

“[T]he the Supreme court, this is not ” refused a very paternalistic approach to limiting the free speech, holding that the government wrote to the achievement of its policy objectives through the indirect means of restraining certain speech by certain speakers,'” Nunley.

In 2011, the Supreme court v. IMS Health, held in Sorrell, “the”fear that people would make bad decisions if given truthful information’ cannot justify content-related burdens on speech.” The court continued: “The choice between the dangers of suppressing information and the dangers of misuse if it is freely available’ one, ‘the First Amendment makes for us.'”

n this Dec. 9, 2015, file photo, sales associate Mike Conway, right, shows Paul Angulo a gun to Bullseye sports gun shop in Riverside, Calif. A US judge struck a nearly hundred-year-old California law that banned gun stores from advertising handguns on their premises.


Nunley added that, in its judgment, that the state prevent would not with the law, suicide, or crime, and only “speculation and conjecture”, in his efforts to show a relationship between impulsive buyer of firearms, and people who commit suicide or commit crimes impulsively.

Further below, the state of the argument that California law, not ads for other firearms limit-i.e., he was both under inclusive and over inclusive, according to Nunley.

For example, Nunley mentioned in his judgment, that gun shops could display a big neon sign saying, “GUNS GUNS GUNS”, or a 15-foot depiction of a sporting rifle. The judge said, you could also place your ads for handguns elsewhere, such as on a Billboard blocks away.


California has other laws that could prevent gun violence without restricting speech in violation of the First amendment, said judge. For example, Nunley wrote, you could try the state, “a public awareness campaign focused on the dangers of firearms, or the consequences of impulsive decisions.” But, Nunley made it clear, “California can’t reach your goals by you against the First amendment.”

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2014 by several gun dealers that a monetary penalty by the state for gun ads.

“If you are someone who puts a constitutionally protected product or service, you should communicate to be able to advertise that people should be in the same way a book dealer in the location that said they sell Bibles and Qurans”, Brandon Combs, executive director of The Calguns Foundation, a gun rights group. “Traders should be able to say that they sell handguns.”


A spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General’s office, which defended the law, said his office was reviewing the decision.

The state Department of justice cited one of the plaintiff Ten percent firearms, for a metal sign shaped like a revolver in the store Parking lot, an inspector discovered in the year 2010, according to Nunley decision. Another plaintiff Tracy rifle and pistol, received a citation after an inspector in the year 2014 was a big vinyl sticker representation of the three handguns on the store windows.

“As the court explained today, the state is not to do a censor of commercial speech in a paternalistic, to the citizens, to be made from unpopular decisions, or the decisions of the government does not approve – if they told the truth,” Brad Benbrook, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, including some of the Los have to the rear. You 2016 the law to ban guns, the sale of semi-automatic assault, with the so-called “bullet buttons” – a feature on some guns that allows the rapid replacement of ammunition and these guns purchased before the law were required, with the state be registered by June 2018.

This led to a 43-percent increase in assault weapons, registration, and a lawsuit by gun rights advocates, The Los Angeles Times reported in July. The law established that the “bullet button” rifle-holders who have not registered their weapon by the deadline face up to a year in prison and the confiscation of the weapon.

First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh, the consultation with the plaintiff in the case, said he expected the government to appeal to the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court had previously judge decided against the plaintiff in the case at their request for a preliminary injunction, but not always, the First amendment claims of the key to the case.

Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche, Bradford Betz, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Gregg Re is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re.

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