The bill would also ban anyone younger than 21 from having a permit to carry their gun concealed and would require all permit holders to have more training, including on how to safely store and transport guns.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to limit where people can carry concealed guns after multiple mass shootings left dozens dead across the state in January, calling for more restrictions in a state that already has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws.
He endorsed legislation Wednesday that would ban people from carrying concealed guns into churches, public libraries, zoos, amusement parks, playgrounds, banks and all other privately owned businesses that are open to the public. The rule wouldn’t apply if the business owner puts up a sign that says concealed guns are allowed.
Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino, the bill’s author, called that exception “a legal nuance that I think helps it with constitutional muster.”
“This is not window dressing. This is to put a strong bill on the governor’s desk to withstand a legal challenge that is sure to come,” Portantino said.
It would also ban anyone younger than 21 from having a permit to carry their gun concealed and would require all permit holders to have more training, including on how to safely store and transport guns.
California and half a dozen other states previously had laws that required people to give a reason if they wanted to carry a concealed gun in public — like citing a direct threat to their public safety.
But a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year struck down those laws, making it easier for people in those states to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
California Democrats tried to pass new rules last year — and they would have succeeded, had it not been for a strategic blunder requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature so the bill could take effect immediately. Democrats could not round up enough support, and the bill died.
“That’s not going to happen this year,” Newsom said. “I will be signing this legislation.”
Newsom and legislative Democrats vowed to double down on passing a new law this year. Their cause came with renewed urgency, after mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay left 18 people dead and 10 others wounded. In total, the state had six mass shootings in January and at least 29 people were killed.
When asked by a reporter if there is evidence that recent mass shootings are linked to the state’s concealed carry process, Newsom said investigators are still analyzing the specifics of the shootings.
“None of us came up here today asserting that this was in response to them,” Newsom said of the concealed carry proposal.
“Then what’s the point?” said Republican Assemblyman and former Riverside Deputy District Attorney, Bill Essayli. “He’s pandering, this is all politics and we’re tired of politics, we want solutions for Californians.”
Essayli and other Republicans have said the state needs to do a better job of enforcing gun and public safety laws already on the state’s books.
“This bill goes after law-abiding concealed carry weapons owners who we know are the safest and most responsible gun owners in society, we need to be going after the people who should not be having guns,” Essayli said.
Here is a look at some firearm-related bills state lawmakers will consider this year:
AB 97: Makes possession of an unserialized, or ghost gun, a felony.
SB 2: Sets new limits for concealed carry permit holders
AB 303: Requires the state attorney general to create an online database for the state’s Armed and Prohibited Persons System.
AB 328: Would reinstate harsher penalties for those who use a gun in the process of committing a violent crime.
AB 28: Creates a new tax on firearms and ammunition to fund gun violence protections.
–KCRA 3’s Ashley Zavala contributed to this story.