Ethics Dunce State: California (Who Else?)

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.

17 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Marketing and Advertising, Rights, U.S. Society

17 responses to “Ethics Dunce State: California (Who Else?)

  1. VPJ

    “Why wouldn’t California just repeal such a law, quietly, so as not t embarrass the state?”
    California is incapable of embarrassment.

  2. How the Hell does California have an interest in preventing suicide, given that it legalized assisted suicide?

    • PennAgain

      Easy. They’re two different things.

      Medically assisted suicide is legal in California, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as Montana per court order. The law allows for mentally competent adults under terminal diagnoses (six months or less to live) who are in extremities of pain that cannot be alleviated to shorten the dying process.

      Life-encouraging and -preserving suicide prevention desires and activities — as I can personally attest to, since I have worked in that area on both local and national crisis lines for 22 years — have not changed.

      • PennAgain

        Correction: Colorado is a fifth state on the list.

        Also, you will be happy to hear, Michael, that a California appeals court is expected to rule on the legality of the End of Life Option Act in the coming months. It’s possible that the court could rule the law is unconstitutional and invalidate it. Personally, I hope they keep it.

        And just FYI, in both California and Oregon, most people who have taken advantage of the law were suffering from cancer and over 65 years old, according to state data.

  3. DaveL

    Do you think the 9th Circuit will overturn the ruling and reinstate this law? I wouldn’t put it past them.

  4. There has got to be something contaminating the clean water supplies in California with brain altering drugs. Are they stuck in some kind of “California Dreamin” transcendental state of mind? There is a reality out there that they refuse to acknowledge. I know the few times I had to visit California and then came back to the Midwest I’ve had to take two or three showers every day for a week or so just to get that I just crawled out of a Liberal cesspool feeling that was oozing out of my pores off of me, it was like an allergic reaction.

    SNARK!

    But seriously; what the hell is wrong with the political left in the USA but particularly in California?

    • PennAgain

      And what the hell is wrong with people who think everyone who voted Republican in the last election got exactly what they wanted?

      Both need a good talking to and being sent to bed without any supper.

  5. Why in the hell didn’t the political right in California act sooner to dredge-up that law and challenge it in court? To act following the murder of Kate Steinle would have been over 90 years too late.

  6. Jeeeeez…I started to read Judge Nunley’s order, and immediately started to think: “Those gun shop employees sure as hell had better be careful about how any one of them, while walking on their way from outside the store to entering, happens to eat a slice of pizza.”

  7. Rusty Rebar

    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?

    Woah woah woah… you are making all kinds of assumptions here.

    In what world do you think that California politicians have any integrity at all? Remember we gave the US such hits as Nancy Pelosi, Maxine “Cray Pants” Watters, Barbra Boxer and Diane Feinstein.

    In fact, although this is a 1A type issue, they see it as a 2A issue, and there is no 2A right in the California constitution, so until McDonald you could not even raise a 2A type question in court, since the right did not exist for California. Also, as far as infringements go, this was the least of anyone’s worries. Have you seen some of the insane gun laws that have passed here? Have you seen any of the even more crazy town ones that did not?

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