We don’t need further evidence that the Golden State has jumped the ethics shark, has general contempt for the Bill of Rights and is in thrall to Alinskyite “ends justify the means” rationalizations, but here it is anyway. California state lawyers tried to defend in federal court an old law, California Penal Code §26820, which read:
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.
Now, don’t ask me how a law like lasted as long as it has; the thing is 95 years old. But it’s embarrassingly unconstitutional. That’s prior restraint by definition. If a first year law student, or a well-educated college student (if thee are such things), reads that law, the First amendment alarms have to start ringing. Why wouldn’t California just repeal such a law, quietly, so as not t embarrass the state? Why wouldn’t California, like a state with some integrity that supports core U.S. values, just concede to the Court that the law is a dud, and not oppose the claim that it is illegal? I think we have to assume that is because the culture of this particular state has rotted through. It doesn’t support core U.S. values like the freedom of speech, which might be the most vital of them all.
California lawyers argued that the law was necessary in order to deter impulsive purchases of a handgun for use in a crime or suicide. In other words, the ends justify the means. Preventing citizens from exercising their rights impulsively is a legitimate state function.
U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley in granting summary judgment against California, called the law “unconstitutional on its face.” Nunley ruled that the handgun image ban was a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which of course it is. In the 15-page order, Nunley wrote:
The Government has an array of policies at its disposal to combat handgun suicide and crime. “But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” California may not accomplish its goals by violating the First Amendment…If the Government considers its existing safeguards inadequate to combat handgun suicide and crime, it may pass additional direct regulations within constitutionally permissible boundaries. The Government may also counteract what it views as dangerous messages with ‘more speech, not enforced silence.’
This is classic First Amendment law, and we have entire states, and increasingly an entire political party, that believe, to the contrary, that allowing the Constitution to stand in the way of the progressive agenda is quaint.