By Nigel Duara
WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO
SB 2 would maintain some of California’s concealed-carry weapons laws despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a similar New York law last year. Most states either issue concealed carry licenses upon request or do not require licenses at all. But in eight states before the ruling, including California, applicants were required to show a compelling need before being granted permission to carry a concealed firearm. The number of people applying for concealed carry permits in liberal coastal counties has sharply increased since the Supreme Court decision.
The bill would comply with the ruling by no longer requiring a compelling need. It sets limits on who can possess a firearm and where they can carry it. The legislation, even before it was signed by the governor, was immediately challenged by gun rights groups in court. To prepare for the possibility that some parts of it will be overturned, its authors included a “severability clause,” meaning that if one or more elements of the bill are found unconstitutional in court, the rest of the bill will survive.
WHO SUPPORTS IT
Along with Gov. Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta, gun control groups, unions and the leadership of some major Democratic cities. Sen. Anthony Portantino, a Glendale Democrat, authored the bill. He introduced a similar bill in 2022, but it failed by one vote.
WHO IS OPPOSED
Law enforcement associations, police unions, gun owner groups and the National Rifle Association, which argued that “the circumstance of a (person with a concealed carry permit) committing a crime is exceedingly rare.”
WHY IT MATTERS
Democrats in gun control states were sent reeling by the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision. The bill’s proposed limits on guns in “sensitive places,” such as courts and daycares, and the bill’s designation of “disqualified persons” who cannot own a gun, are the likeliest to face court challenges.
The bill’s supporters argue that the Supreme Court decision didn’t do away with their ability to create gun control legislation — in fact, they argue, it was a “roadmap” to creating new gun control laws. The bill’s opponents worry that the legislation would create a patchwork of places across the state where gun owners cannot carry concealed weapons.
The result, according to the California State Sheriffs’ Association’s letter of opposition, would be an “unnecessarily complicated, burdensome and overreaching licensing scheme that invites judicial scrutiny and seems destined to be struck down.”
GOVERNOR’S CALL ✅
Newsom signed the bill Sept. 26 in an event with Bonta, Portantino and gun safety advocates. But referring to recent court rulings, the governor said that national action is necessary. He is pursuing a gun control amendment to the U.S. constitution. “It’s great what we’re doing, but it may not be enough.”