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California announces legislation to deal with gun violence, Supreme Court ruling on concealed carry

California’s Public Carry Laws are about to get a revision with new legislation announced Feb. 1 by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta and State Senator Anthony Portantino.

Published: February 2, 2023 2:00pm

Updated: February 3, 2023 12:51pm

(The Center Square) -

(The Center Square) - California’s Public Carry Laws are about to get a revision with new legislation announced Feb. 1 by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta and State Senator Anthony Portantino.

The catalysts for change came after California experienced multiple mass shootings last week, and follows the June decision of the US Supreme Court on the license requirement in New York for concealed carry of arms, which mirrored aspects of California’s public carry laws and put them at risk.

“As we know, communities across California are grieving at least 26 people murdered in mass shootings in just one single week. And so many of our communities, especially communities of color, know painfully well the daily toll of shootings that never make the national news, but that nonetheless, leave a wake of trauma and loss and human sorrow,” said supporter and Policy Director of the Gifford Center for Violence Intervention, Mike Vick Lively. “We know that California must act, and under the leadership of Governor Newsom, and Attorney General Bonta, and this great group of legislators, we're going to make a difference. “

Senate Bill (SB) 2, updates the processes for obtaining a concealed carry weapon (CCW) license which allows an individual to carry a firearm in public.

“It strengthens our state. And here's why. It ensures those carrying firearms and the public are responsible, law abiding citizens. That's important. We're not taking someone's Second Amendment right, we're ensuring that the Second Amendment is properly applicable to people who weren't getting a concealed carry permit. It protects children and young adults from gun violence by setting a minimum age requirement.” Portantino said.

The new minimum age for getting a CCW license is 21 years. The legislation seeks to ensure only law abiding and responsible individuals are allowed to carry firearms in public.

SB 2 will tighten training requirements for firearms. “Advancing safety through stronger training requirements. Again, you have to be trained to fly a plane, you have to be trained to drive a car, you should have strong training requirements, if we're going to give you the responsibility to have a concealed weapon,” Portantino continued.

Newsom said, “We made some modest tweeks that we think are consistent with the, we think a very bad ruling by the United States Supreme Court last year and we are moving forward this year with conviction.”

Perhaps the most potent aspect of the legislation is the proposed restrictions on where individuals with CCW licenses would be allowed to carry. The state will determine “sensitive public spaces” as gun-free zones.

Portantino pointed out, “We safeguard the public by identifying certain sensitive public places.…. And so we're going to use the Supreme Court decision to have a robust list of prohibited places.”

The US Supreme Court ruling on June 23 2022 in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen deemed that it was unconstitutional for the state of New York to require a license to carry a concealed weapon in public places.

The law in New York didn't just require a license, but required individuals to show proper cause to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon in public, and that gave too much subjective power to state officials in deciding who gets to carry a concealed weapon in public, the court decided.

“We had rules and regulations prior to this New York decision that have their historical footings as was suggested in 1911, they’ve been tested, we had protocols in place ..they disrupted that and they forced a different consciousness now its not good moral character, now we don’ t have the capacity to adjudicate certain points that we did prior and now we have a provision made to show and that forces our hand on the other side around sensitive places,” Gov. Newsom stated.

The Bruen ruling essentially shifted the reasoning behind gun laws - away from whether the state’s reasons for enacting the gun law outweighed the burden (on individuals) created by the law’s restriction, to whether a firearm restriction is part of the historical tradition, if the activity being restricted is protected under the Second Amendment.

That ruling put similar laws in multiple states at risk. California is one such state.

“Let me be absolutely clear. This is Bruen compliant. It is designed to comply with the Supreme Court dictates and direction when it comes to concealed carry weapon regimes. The Supreme Court has made clear there are two pathways where we can make progress to keep California and safe people safe, that we are not in a regulatory straightjacket,” AG Bonta stated. “The very words from the Supreme Court case that we can identify sensitive places where concealed carry weapons should not be carried. And that we can also have fair objective safety evaluations before we provide a concealed carry weapon permit to an individual and so we are saying if you recklessly break the law, if you are an irresponsible individual, you should not be allowed to carry a concealed firearm in public we should not have a license to put our loved ones at risk period. End of story. “

The legislative fixes would also serve a bigger purpose, the leaders said.

“California is saying we won't as we wait for other states and the federal government to do their part to act. And let me be clear, they must act. They need to step up. And it's easy, do what California is doing. Simple. We have the blueprint copy. You don't need to recreate anything. We've done it,” Attorney General Bonta suggested.

“I find it the height of irony, these same judges that are pontificating around these historical traditions, are the same who have no problem limiting those same weapons from their courtrooms,” Governor Newsom said.

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