Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law today a new gun control measure that restricts firearms access for Californians accused of crimes—countermanding recent Trump administration rules expanding who can and cannot own a gun.
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Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law today a new gun control measure that restricts firearms access for Californians accused of crimes—countermanding more generous Trump administration rules about who should be able to own a gun.
Tucked into the package of state budget bills Brown signed today was a controversial provision barring Californians with arrest warrants for major crimes from owning, purchasing or possessing a gun. Current state law bans convicted felons from accessing firearms, but until today did not address individuals with outstanding warrants for felonies or serious misdemeanors.
The new law will go into effect only five months after President Trump’s Department of Justice issued fresh guidelines on who federal law enforcement should consider a “fugitive from justice” when processing background checks on gun purchases. Previously, any individual with an outstanding warrant was denied firearms. Under the new rules, only individuals fleeing the state in which they are being prosecuted would be prohibited from accessing a gun.
The National Rifle Association and several Republican legislators argued that the new California measure unfairly stripped citizens of a constitutional right without a criminal conviction.
So far, Trump has rather quietly loosened several gun control measures enacted by the Obama administration. While these actions have upset gun control advocates nationally, California’s “strictest in the nation” gun laws have remained largely unaffected. But perhaps the most significant challenge to the state’s restrictive gun control regime still looms in Congress. Under two “concealed carry reciprocity” bills introduced in both the House and Senate, California would be forced to allow out-of-state gun owners to pack concealed firearms in public spaces. Both bills are currently in legislative committee.