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Judge: California Gun-Buy Denial Violates Second Amendment

California does not consider the right to own a firearm restored in California, even if the conviction has been vacated and the firearm rights restored by the out-of-state jurisdiction, unless there's been a pardon by the governor or the felony has been reduced to a misdemeanor. But a federal judge ruled Wednesday that California violated the Second Amendment rights of three men when it denied them the right to own or purchase firearms because of prior felony convictions that were vacated and their rights restored in other states.


Chad Linton, Paul McKinley Stewart, and Kendall Jones were convicted of nonviolent felonies in separate states decades ago -- but each of the plaintiffs had their convictions vacated, set aside or dismissed, and their rights to possess firearms restored by the jurisdiction in which they were convicted, Courthouse News reports. The three men moved for summary judgment on the grounds that California violated the Second Amendment, the full faith and credit clause and the right to travel protected by Article IV and the 14 Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They also sought a declaration that California's policy of refusing to honor the vacating of their out-of-state convictions is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge James Donato granted the request, finding California's policy is unconstitutional. He noted Second Amendment precedent set under New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, a 2022 case that expanded the rights of Americans to bear arms. 

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