Preventing ‘Mass Shootings’ – But Does California’s New Gun Law Put ‘Unconstitutional Restrictions’ on “Law-Abiding People?”

California lawmakers have passed Senate Bill 2 (SB 2), aimed at limiting who can carry firearms in public. This move follows a Supreme Court ruling last year that found restrictive concealed-carry laws unconstitutional. 

Concealed-Carry Laws 

Senator Anthony Portantino introduced SB 2 in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, which invalidated certain concealed-carry laws, forcing California to reevaluate its regulations.

While the bill has garnered support from Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta with Newsome stating “There’s a reason why you’re far less likely to die from bullets in California.”

But now, the bill faces opposition and potential legal challenges.

The bill aims to strike a balance between following the Supreme Court’s decision and implementing stricter limitations on concealed-carry permits in California.

Restrictions and “Sensitive Places”

SB 2 designates more than two dozen “sensitive places” where concealed firearms will be prohibited.

These include daycare centers, schools, bars, college campuses, government buildings, medical facilities, parks, playgrounds, and public transit.

The bill keeps rigorous requirements for licensing authorities, primarily county sheriffs, to assess whether an applicant is a “disqualified person.”

The process includes in-person interviews and character references. The licensing authorities also go over an applicant’s social media and public statements.

Applicants must also be at least 21 years old, the same age required to purchase a handgun, and must adhere to training and safe storage rules.

After two mass shootings this year in Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park, Democrats have been under increasing pressure to enact stricter gun laws, despite already having some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

Political Response

While SB 2 has garnered support from Democrats who view it as a necessary response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Republicans feel that it unfairly penalizes law-abiding firearm owners without addressing the issue of criminals committing gun violence.

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher said, “We’re punishing law-abiding people who are simply exercising their constitutional rights, and doing nothing about the criminals who continue to victimize people each day in this state.”

Gun rights groups have also come out in opposition to SB 2 and have filed a lawsuit to block its implementation, citing concerns about the bill’s impact on firearm carry in public spaces.

The Supreme Court will likely revisit the issue, as legal challenges have emerged in response to similar laws passed in various states following the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision.

The Bruen ruling has left many questions and inconsistencies in firearm regulations across the nation.

Questions Left Unanswered

Andrew Willinger, executive director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law at Duke University in North Carolina, said the supreme court decision created many questions that have been left unanswered and forced the lower courts to handle the mess.

Willinger told the Los Angeles Times, “The sensitive places seems to me to be a little more consequential, because even if you have a concealed-carry license, you’re not going to be able to take your firearm to this long list of places,” and “I think ultimately this is probably something that will go to the Supreme Court in the next couple of years.”

In response, the bill has also received a great deal of backlash online, with one social media user commenting, “Yep, take guns away from law-abiding citizens, that’ll stop crime.”

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