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9th Circuit Motions Panel Temporarily Stays Injunction in CA Ammo Law

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In layman’s terms: A 9th Circuit motions panel decision means Californians must temporarily resume purchasing ammo under the State’s restrictive background check law.

On February 5, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge motions panel ordered a stay against the permanent injunction in the Rhode v. Bonta case, addressing California’s unconstitutional ammo background check law.

In the one-page decision, without additional explanation, the motions panel simply stated, “The motion to stay the district court’s January 30, 2024 permanent injunction and judgment is granted.”

The 2-1 ruling notably received a dissent from Judge Callahan, who gave some clarification to his thinking which could be addressed by the merits panel:

“I would deny the motion for a stay pending appeal. I do not believe appellant has met his burden of showing a likelihood of success on the merits or that irreparable injury will occur absent a stay.”

The decision comes just days after Judge Benitez issued a permanent injunction against the law in US District Court. After Judge Benitez’s ruling, dozens of ammo manufacturers blasted out online announcements that they were shipping ammo to California. Presumably thousands of orders were placed by Californians who were unwilling to undergo the state’s onerous and costly background checks for each purchase.

California Rifle & Pistol Association President, Chuck Michel, noted that the stay is temporary and that the case will now go to the merits panel, adding, “…the court should have, and hopefully the merits panel will, look at the time before the law was passed and realize that’s the status quo they should be legally considering in whether or not to grant this stay.”

The 9th Circuit has again set a precedent of undermining a pro-2A ruling of a lower court.

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