A proposal to strengthen California’s concealed carry law in response to a Supreme Court ruling expanding the right to carry guns in public failed in the Assembly on Tuesday despite support from Governor Gavin Newsom and others Democratic leaders.
But the bill is not dead yet.
In what’s called reconsideration, lawmakers can vote on the bill again on Wednesday, the last day of the legislative session and the last chance for state lawmakers to act on the legislation and send it to the governor.
Newsom worked with State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and the State’s Attorney. Gen. Rob Bonta for months this year on Senate Bill 918, a contingency plan to keep strong concealed carry law in place in California after the Supreme Court ruled in June that certain restrictions violated the 2nd amendment.
Portantino added an emergency clause to the bill, meaning it needed a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly fell two votes short of that threshold with a vote of 52 to 19. Several moderate Democrats abstained or voted against the measure.
“I’m disappointed but optimistic that we will get the votes for SB 918. This is too important an issue for California to stay away from. We must act now to keep our communities safe,” Portantino said in a statement after the vote.
The Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority ruled in New York State’s Rifle & Pistol Assn. against Bruen that the so-called concealed carry laws – which give broad powers to local authorities to issue a license – infringe a person’s right to self-defense outside the home.
The ruling rendered California’s requirement for applicants to demonstrate a “good reason” to receive a license as “likely unconstitutional,” Bonta announced after the ruling.
But the judges offered small windows of opportunity to uphold certain regulations, such as banning firearms from a list of “sensitive locations” and requiring objective licensing criteria that officials must use when application review, which could include background checks, firearms training and fingerprinting.
Senate Bill 918 would deem sensitive dozens of prohibited places, including schools, government buildings, playgrounds, airports, public transportation and bars. It would also replace the old just cause requirement with criteria to check whether a person is “qualified” for a permit.
Licensing officials, namely the sheriff’s department, should conduct face-to-face interviews with applicants and at least three character witnesses, and may review social media posts or other publicly available statements made by the person. to determine whether they posed a danger to themselves or others.
Los Angeles Times