Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta, and Senator Portantino Announce Legislation Strengthening California’s Concealed-Carry Laws

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Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta joined Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) today during a press conference to discuss gun safety efforts and legislation that strengthens California’s conceal-carry laws. SB 2, authored by Senator Portantino, will implement significant improvements to California’s existing conceal-carry weapon (CCW) laws to address the recent United States Supreme Court decision in New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. The Governor and Attorney General are sponsors of SB 2. 

“In the wake of the recent tragedies in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay and the continued threat of mass shootings, it’s critical that California leads on the issue of gun safety and reform,” stated Senator Portantino. “I am proud to be working with Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta and activists on SB 2 to strengthen our existing concealed carry laws and ensure every Californian is safe from gun violence.  We must be diligent in addressing the gun violence epidemic in our country and concealed carry laws are a key component of this.”

In June, the Supreme Court in New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen decided that licensing schemes requiring an applicant for a concealed carry license to show good cause (or something similar) to carry firearms are unconstitutional.   SB 918, authored by Senator Portantino last year, was California’s legislative response to the court’s ruling. This year, the Senator introduced SB 2 to continue efforts to strengthen concealed carry laws in California and make communities safer.

“Only in America do we see the kind of carnage and chaos of gun violence that destroys our communities and our sense of safety and belonging,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “America is number 1 in gun ownership and we far surpass every developed nation on Earth in gun deaths – it’s not complicated. In California, we’ve passed common sense gun safety laws and they work: we have a 37% lower gun death rate than the national average. We’re doubling down on gun safety and strengthening our public carry law to protect it from radical Republican attacks.”

“The mass shooting incidents we have seen over recent weeks bring to light the need for stronger protections for our communities,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “The fact is, individuals who are not law-abiding, responsible citizens simply shouldn’t possess firearms — and they especially shouldn’t be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in public. When a gun is placed in the wrong hands, it is deadly. The Second Amendment is not a regulatory straightjacket — we must protect our communities. The time for thoughts and prayers has long passed, we need brave and immediate action by our leaders – here in California and beyond. We owe our community stronger protections. I urge our state leaders to quickly adopt SB 2. We can’t afford to wait even one minute more.”

Specifically, SB 2 strengthens our state law by:

  • Ensuring those carrying firearms in public are responsible, law-abiding citizens 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 storage and training requirements on the proper handling, loading, unloading, and storage of firearms; limiting all CCW licensees to carrying no more than two firearms at any given time in public; and
  • Safeguarding the public by identifying certain sensitive public places where guns may not be carried.

“The Supreme Court’s reckless Bruen decision opened up the floodgates for more guns in more places — but with this bill California once again renews its commitment to being a national leader in the fight against gun violence,” said Shannon Watts, California resident and founder of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown’s grassroots network. “While the gun industry celebrated the ruling that put their profits over our safety, our grassroots army is proud to stand with our Gun Sense Champions in California to pass this critical bill and make our communities safer.”

“Following the Supreme Court’s egregious decision in the Bruen case, it is vital that the Golden State take meaningful action to protect all Californians from the threat of gun violence.” stated Brady President Kris Brown. “SB2 would do just this by updating and improving the state’s already strong concealed carry license system, and ensure that loaded and concealed weapons are not allowed in certain sensitive places. With SB 2, leaders in California are continuing their leadership in prioritizing the public health and safety of all its citizens. Brady applauds Senator Portantino for introducing this important bill, and thanks Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta for their continued leadership on this issue, and urges the California Legislature to pass it without delay.”

“In the face of tragedy, California’s leaders act. They’ve led the nation on gun safety reform and made California a much safer state than most,” said Ari Freilich, Giffords State Policy Director. “But today, grieving communities know all too well how much more work there is to do. California achieved an all-time record low gun fatality rate in 2019. But like the rest of the country, we have faced record spikes in gun sales and violence since the start of the pandemic and a flood of new weapons in public spaces as a result of the US Supreme Court’s dangerous Second Amendment ruling last year. Passing SB 2 will strengthen 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. We thank leaders like Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta, and Senator Portantino for their work and commitment to make all Californians safer and freer from violence.”

Principal co-authors of SB 2 include Senator Bradford, Senator Blakespear, Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan, Assemblymember Bonta, Assemblymember Gipson, Assemblymember McCarty, Assemblymember Petrie-Norris, and Assemblymember Wicks. Senator Min and Assemblymembers Carrillo and Gabriel are co-authors of the bill.

During his time in the Assembly, Senator Portantino successfully banned the open carry of handguns and rifles in California and as Senator, he raised the firearm purchase age in California to twenty-one.  In 2019, Governor Newsom also signed Senator Portantino’s SB 172, which enacted a slate of significant provisions related to firearms storage. The same year, SB 376 was signed into law, which reduces the number of firearms an unlicensed individual is annually able to sell and the frequency with which they are able to sell.  In 2021, Senate Bill 715 was signed into law, which enacts important gun purchase safeguards.  In 20022, the Senator’s SB 906, a measure that aims to prevent tragic schools shootings and prioritizes student safety, was signed into law by Governor Newsom. SB 1327, jointly authored with Senator Hertzberg and signed into law last year, is another major gun reform measure that offers a new tool to combat the rise in gun violence and save lives – a private right of action.