October 14, 2023
The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) has filed a Second Amendment lawsuit challenging California's new “sensitive places” law. Filed the same day as California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the measure, the lawsuit challenges multiple portions of California Senate Bill 2, which declares numerous locations as “sensitive places” where the state will now ban the carry of firearms by licensed, law-abiding Californians.
The measure removed earlier exemptions allowing licensed gun owners to carry “into, or upon the grounds of, any residence of the governor, any other constitutional officer, or Member of the Legislature,” and further outlawed carry in court buildings, places of worship, airports, public transit authorities, and in any building, real property, or parking area under the control of an airport or passenger vessel terminal. Additionally, the new law bans carry in a building, real property or parking area under the control of a public or private school, or on a street or sidewalk immediately adjacent to a building, real property or parking area under the control of that public or private school, along with other locations. The FPC lawsuit, Carralero v. Bonta, filed on behalf of four individuals who regularly carry a concealed firearm in the state, argues that all of those and other provisions within the new law violate California gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.
“SB2 restricts where persons with licenses to carry a concealed weapon may legally exercise their constitutional right to wear, carry or transport firearms,” the complaint states. “And it does so in ways that are fundamentally inconsistent with the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen. The Second Amendment does not tolerate these restrictions. This Court should enter judgment enjoining their enforcement and declaring them unconstitutional.”
The complaint further states: “Bruen leaves no doubt that the plain text of the Second Amendment covers Plaintiffs’ proposed course of conduct. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ conduct is ‘presumptively protect[ed]’ by the Constitution, and the State bears the burden of ‘justify[ing]’ SB2’s sensitive place restrictions ‘by demonstrating that [they are] consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.’ It cannot do so.”
Cody J. Wisniewski, FPC Action Foundation’s general counsel and vice president of legal, said such disrespect for the rights of lawful citizens by the California government cannot go unchallenged.
“With Gov. Newsom’s signing of SB2 today, California continues to exhibit its disdain for the rights of Californians, the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision,” Wisniewski said in a member alert. “Unfortunately for California, and contrary to Gov. Newsom’s misguided statements, the state does not have the power to unilaterally overrule individual rights and constitutional protections. Fortunately, courts across the nation have already struck down laws just like SB2, and we expect the same result here.”
The case is being heard in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. FPC is joined in the lawsuit by the three individual plaintiffs, Orange County Gun Owners, San Diego County Gun Owners and California Gun Rights Foundation.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for nearly 25 years.