California Gov. Gavin Newsom endorses even stricter gun control after string of mass shootings
On Wednesday, Newsom, a Democrat, endorsed legislation that would ban people from carrying guns into churches, public libraries, zoos, amusement parks, playgrounds, banks and 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.
‘Gun safety saves lives,’ Newsom said at a news conference to announce the proposed bill. ‘More guns, more lives lost.’
State Sen. Anthony Portantino, a Democrat and the bill’s author, called the exception of a sign that says concealed guns are allowed ‘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,’ he said.
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.
‘CCW (concealed carry weapons) holders are not the problem,’ California Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher told Fox News Digital. ‘There’s no correlation between those people and the violence and shootings that we’ve seen in California. That’s not the issue when it comes to these mass shootings that we’ve recently seen.’
Under the bill, anyone under 21 would be banned from having a permit to conceal carry their gun. Permit holders would also be required to obtain additional training, including how to properly store and transport their weapons.
Dan Reid, the California state director for the National Rifle Association, called the legislation a ‘political stunt’ that will do nothing to curb violent crime.
‘If Gov. Newsom and AG [Rob] Bonta truly wanted to address the violent crime running rampant through their state, they’d put an end to the soft-on-crime policies and no cash bail programs that have turned California into a nightmare for its citizens,’ he said. ‘Instead, these politicians have chosen to further restrict the rights of those who follow the law with a political stunt that will not make Californians any safer.’
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.
The newest bill came after mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay left 18 people dead and dozens injured. In total, California saw six mass shootings in January in which 29 people were killed. After the Monterey Park shooting, Newsom said he believed the Second Amendment was becoming a ‘suicide pact,’ leading to criticism from gun-rights advocates.
The state is moving in the complete opposite direction of Florida, where legislation was introduced Monday that would allow people to carry concealed firearms without having to get a permit.
In a Wednesday tweet, Newsom argued that states that allow concealed carry of firearms have higher rates of violence.
‘Don’t believe the lies of the gun industry,’ he wrote. ‘CA will continue to lead on common sense gun laws.’
The Associated Press contributed to this report.