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Federal appeals court upholds California law banning gun shows at county fairs

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld California’s ban on gun shows at county fairs and other public properties, deciding the laws do not violate the rights of firearm sellers or buyers.

The 3-0 decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a federal judge’s ruling in October that blocked the laws.

The two measures were both written by Democratic state Sen. Dave Min. The first, which went into effect in January 2022, barred gun shows at the Orange County Fair, and the other, which took effect last year, extended the ban to county fairgrounds on state-owned land.

In his decision last fall, U.S. District Judge Mark Holcomb wrote that the state was violating the rights of sellers and would-be buyers by prohibiting transactions for firearms that can be bought at any gun shop. He said lawful gun sales involve commercial speech protected by the First Amendment.

But the appeals court decided the laws prohibit only sales agreements on public property — not discussions, advertisements or other speech about firearms. The bans “do not directly or inevitably restrict any expressive activity,” Judge Richard Clifton wrote in Tuesday’s ruling.

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