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September 26, 2023 - SACRAMENTO — Today, Attorney General Bonta’s legislation, Senate Bill 2, which was cosponsored by Governor Gavin Newsom, and authored by Senator Anthony Portantino, was signed into law. The bill strengthens California’s concealed carry weapons (CCW) law in a manner consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. The law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2024, will further protect the public safety of Californians by providing objective criteria governing who may obtain a CCW license, limiting the possession of firearms in certain sensitive locations, and advancing safety through stronger training requirements on the safe handling and storage of firearms for those who seek CCW licenses. Gun violence remains a growing threat to public safety throughout the nation. In 2020, gunshot wounds became the leading cause of death for children aged 1-17 nationwide and in 2021, more Americans died from firearm-related injuries than any other year on record. In 2021 and 2022, there were over 48,000 firearm-related deaths nationwide each year, more than 130 per day on average. SB 2 strengthens communities’ ability to respond to these threats by requiring stronger vetting and safety training to carry weapons in public and by designating vital community spaces like parks and playgrounds as off-limits to weapons throughout the state.
“Addressing gun violence is critical to protecting public safety; we cannot pretend that they are distinct problems,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “In California, we won’t settle for inaction when it comes to saving lives. Senate Bill 2 will help prevent violence by ensuring that dangerous individuals may not carry concealed guns in public and prohibiting the carry of dangerous weapons in sensitive places where our children gather. With this law, we are boldly advancing California’s successful, data-driven strategy to prevent gun violence and save lives. I sponsored Senate Bill 2 to provide stronger protections for our communities, and am grateful for the partnership demonstrated by author Senator Portantino and our Governor as together we enact this law to better protect California residents.”
“I am grateful for Governor Newsom’s bold leadership on gun safety and thank him for signing SB 2,” said Senator Portantino. “I was proud to partner with the Governor, Attorney General Bonta and amazing grassroots activists across California on this needed effort to strengthen our existing concealed permit laws and to ensure that Californians are made safer from gun violence. SB 2 is constitutional and consistent with the Supreme Court’s guidance in the Bruen decision. When SB 2 is implemented, it will certainly increase public safety and I believe save lives.”
Already in 2023, the United States has suffered over 500 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Although the United States is an outlier when compared to gun violence in other wealthy nations, states with strong gun violence protections in place suffer fewer gun-related deaths. Despite having one of the lowest rates of gun-related deaths in the nation, California is not immune to this uniquely American problem, and has a strong interest in maintaining laws that protect the safety of its citizens.
Research shows that strong firearm licensing laws are effective. States that have weakened these laws have experienced an up to 15% increase in violent crime rates a decade after implementation.
While the United States Supreme Court has concluded that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution imposes some restrictions on states’ ability to regulate firearms, it has also recognized that the Second Amendment allows states to adopt a variety of gun regulations. For example, the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that states may restrict the carrying of firearms in “sensitive places” and that states may prohibit individuals who are not law-abiding, responsible citizens from carrying firearms in public.
SB 2 builds on those principles and improves California’s existing CCW license law by:
- Enhancing the existing comprehensive licensing regime that helps ensure those permitted to carry firearms in public are responsible and law-abiding individuals who do not pose a danger to themselves or others.
- Protecting children and young adults from gun violence by setting a minimum age requirement of 21 years of age to obtain a CCW license.
- Advancing safety through stronger training requirements about the proper handling, loading, unloading, and storage of firearms.
- Safeguarding the public by identifying certain sensitive public places where guns may not be carried.
SB 2 adds to California’s successful strategies to prevent gun violence. On August 15, 2023, Attorney General Bonta’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention released its first report outlining California’s success and highlighting important statistics and data including:
- Over the last 30 years, California has reduced its gun violence rate compared to the rest of the United States; once 50% above average, California’s firearm homicide rate is now 33% below the rest of the United States.
- If the firearm mortality rate in the rest of the United States had matched California’s between 2013-2022, there would have been nearly 140,000 fewer firearm-related deaths nationwide in that decade alone.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2022, California’s gun death rate was the 7th lowest in the nation, with 8.7 gun deaths per 100,000 people.
- California’s gun death rate for children is substantially lower than most other states, and is 60% lower than the average for the rest of the U.S.
- California’s overall gun death rate is lower than that of every state that does not require permits to carry guns in public, including Mississippi with 29.7 firearm deaths per 100,000 people; 25.9 in Alabama, 24.5 in Montana, 24.4 in Missouri, 22.7 in Alaska, 22.1 in Arkansas, 20.9 in Tennessee, 20.6 in Wyoming, 20.5 in Arizona, 20.1 in Oklahoma; 20.0 in Georgia, 18.9 in Kentucky, 17.6 in Indiana, 17.5 in Idaho, 16.9 in Kansas, 16.5 in North Dakota, 16.3 in West Virginia, 16.1 in South Dakota, 15.7 in Texas; 15.7 in Ohio, 14.0 in Utah; 12.2 in Vermont, 12.0 in Maine, 11.3 in Iowa, and 10.3 in New Hampshire.
The legislation may be found here.
Source: CA. DOJ