The following is a press release issued by the Office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta:
California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, with Governor Newsom, Senator Anthony Portantino, and other legislative leaders, introduced legislation, Senate Bill 2 (SB 2), to strengthen California’s existing concealed carry weapon (CCW) laws in a manner consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. The legislation — authored by Senator Portantino and sponsored by Attorney General Bonta and Governor Newsom — would further protect the public safety of Californians by specifying who may obtain a CCW license, limiting the possession of firearms in certain sensitive locations, and advancing safety through stronger training requirements on the safe handling and storage of firearms. Gun violence remains a growing threat to public safety throughout the nation. On average, there are over 120 gun deaths each day and nearly 45,000 each year in the United States. In 2020, firearms were the leading cause of death for children nationwide.
“The mass shooting incidents we have seen over recent weeks bring to light the need for stronger protections for our communities,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “The fact is, individuals who are not law-abiding, responsible citizens simply shouldn’t possess firearms — and they especially shouldn’t be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public. When a gun is placed in the wrong hands, it is deadly. The Second Amendment is not a regulatory straitjacket — we must protect our communities. The time for thoughts and prayers has long passed: we need brave and immediate action by our leaders — here in California and beyond. We owe our community stronger protections. I urge our state leaders to quickly adopt SB 2. We can’t afford to wait even one minute more.”
“Only in America do we see the kind of carnage and chaos of gun violence that destroys our communities and our sense of safety and belonging,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “America is number 1 in gun ownership and we far surpass every developed nation on Earth in gun deaths – it’s not complicated. In California, we’ve passed common sense gun safety laws and they work: we have a 37% lower gun death rate than the national average. We’re doubling down on gun safety and strengthening our public carry law to protect it from radical Republican attacks.”
“In the wake of the recent tragedies in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay and the continued threat of mass shootings, it’s critical that California leads on the issue of gun safety and reform,” said Senator Anthony Portantino. “I am proud to be working with Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta, and activists on SB 2 to strengthen our existing concealed carry laws and ensure every Californian is safe from gun violence. We must be diligent in addressing the gun violence epidemic in our country and concealed carry laws are a key component of this.”
“The Supreme Court’s reckless Bruen decision opened up the floodgates for more guns in more places — but with this bill California once again renews its commitment to being a national leader in the fight against gun violence,” said Shannon Watts, California resident and founder of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown’s grassroots network. “While the gun industry celebrated the ruling that put their profits over our safety, our grassroots army is proud to stand with our Gun Sense Champions in California to pass this critical bill and make our communities safer.”
“Following the Supreme Court’s egregious decision in the Bruen case, it is vital that the Golden State take meaningful action to protect all Californians from the threat of gun violence,” said Brady President Kris Brown. “SB 2 would do just this by updating and improving the state’s already strong concealed carry license system, and ensure that loaded and concealed weapons are not allowed in certain sensitive places. With SB 2, leaders in California are continuing their leadership in prioritizing the public health and safety of all its citizens. Brady applauds Senator Portantino for introducing this important bill, and thanks Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta for their continued leadership on this issue, and urges the California legislature to pass it without delay.”
“In the face of tragedy, California’s leaders act. They’ve led the nation on gun safety reform and made California a much safer state than most. But today, grieving communities know all too well how much more work there is to do,” said Ari Freilich, State Policy Director for Giffords. “California achieved an all-time record low gun fatality rate in 2019. But like the rest of the country, we have faced record spikes in gun sales and violence since the start of the pandemic and a flood of new weapons in public spaces as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s dangerous Second Amendment ruling last year. Passing SB 2 will strengthen communities’ ability to respond to these threats by requiring stronger vetting and safety training to carry weapons in public and by designating vital community spaces like parks and playgrounds as off-limits to weapons throughout the state. We thank leaders like Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta, and Senator Portantino for their work and commitment to make all Californians safer and freer from violence.”
In 2020, more Americans died by gun death than any other year on record. Although the United States is an outlier when compared to gun violence in other wealthy nations, states with strong gun violence protections in place see fewer gun-related deaths. Already in 2023, the United States has seen 43 mass shootings, including six tragedies over the past two weeks in California in Goshen, Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay, Oakland, San Diego, and Beverly Crest — dozens of lives lost, and still more seriously injured. Despite having one of the lowest rates of gun-related deaths in the nation, California is not immune to this uniquely American problem, and has a strong interest in maintaining laws that protect the safety of its citizens.
Research shows that strong licensing laws are effective. States that have weakened permitting laws have experienced an up to 15% increase in violent crime rates a decade after implementation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020, California’s gun death rate was the 44th lowest in the nation, with 8.5 gun deaths per 100,000 people. California’s gun death rate for children is also lower than other states, and is 58% lower than the national average. California’s overall gun death rate is lower than that of every state that does not require permits to carry guns in public, including Mississippi with 28.6 deaths per 100,000 people; 25.9 in Wyoming; 28.6 in Mississippi; 23.9 in Missouri; 23.6 in Alabama; 23.5 in Arkansas; 21.3 in Tennessee; 20.9 in Montana; 20.7 in Oklahoma; 20.1 in Kentucky; 18.1 in West Virginia; 17.6 in Idaho; 14.2 in Texas; 13.6 in Utah; 11.6 in Vermont; 11.2 in Iowa; 10.4 in Maine; and 8.9 in New Hampshire.
While the United States Supreme Court has concluded that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution imposes some restrictions on states’ ability to regulate firearms, it has also recognized that the Second Amendment allows states to adopt a variety of gun regulations. For example, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that states may restrict the carrying of firearms in “sensitive places” and that states may prohibit individuals who are not law-abiding, responsible citizens from carrying firearms in public. SB 2 builds on those principles and improves California’s existing CCW license law by:
- Enhancing the existing comprehensive licensing regime that helps ensure those permitted to carry firearms in public are responsible and law-abiding individuals who do not pose a danger to themselves or others;
- Protecting children and young adults from gun violence by setting a minimum age requirement of 21 years of age to obtain a CCW license;
- Advancing safety through stronger training requirements about the proper handling, loading, unloading, and storage of firearms; and
- Safeguarding the public by identifying certain sensitive public places where guns may not be carried.
The legislation may be found here.