Gun Groups Sue California Over Newly Passed Concealed Carry Law

Gun Groups Sue California Over Newly Passed Concealed Carry Law

A 32-caliber handgun in Temecula, Calif., on March 27, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin


Updated: 12/30/2023


Some private citizens and several gun-owner organizations are suing California over controversial new restrictions on concealed carry permits passed by the state Legislature Sept. 12.
The Second Amendment Foundation, a national nonprofit that supports gun rights, filed the federal lawsuit in district court against California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta hours after Senate Bill 2 passed the state Senate.
The lawsuit claims the legislation, which awaits Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature to become law, makes nearly every public venue in the state a “sensitive place,” which prohibits the carrying of firearms by citizens who hold concealed carry weapons permits.
“SB 2 is designed to frustrate and ultimately discourage individuals from exercising their right to bear arms by creating a patchwork of locations where Second Amendment rights may, or may not, be exercised,” the foundation’s executive director Adam Kraut said in a statement Sept. 13. “That is not how constitutional rights work.”
In the bill, private citizens with such permits can carry on some streets and sidewalks, and in a few private businesses if they post signs declaring publicly that it allows firearms on the premises.
California is the latest state to be sued for adopting bills in response to the 2021 Bruen decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that found a New York law requiring a license to carry a concealed weapon in public was unconstitutional and that carrying a pistol in public was a constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
The decision invalidated more than a dozen state and federal laws, including a condition for concealed carry weapon permits in California that required those who have them to prove they had a “good cause” to carry a firearm concealed.
“Overall ... SB 2 is a massive prohibition on legal carry throughout the Golden State, which runs counter to what the U.S. Supreme Court said in its Bruen ruling last year, and which Gov. Gavin Newsom and anti-gun-rights state lawmakers are desperately trying to get around,” the foundation’s founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb also said in the statement.
The organization was joined by Gun Owners of America, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of California, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, and 11 private citizens.
A 32 caliber handgun in Temecula, Calif., on March 27, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A 32 caliber handgun in Temecula, Calif., on March 27, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Following the Bruen decision, California lawmakers have tried to rewrite concealed carry weapon regulations and have focused on expanding the state’s list of prohibited public spaces for firearms.
“Bruen affirmed the ability of states to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals and out of certain sensitive places,” the bill’s author Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank) said in a statement in one of the bill’s legislative analyses. “With SB 2, California does just that.”
This is the second attempt by the senator to pass such new restrictions after the Supreme Court’s decision.
In 2022, Mr. Portantino authored Senate Bill 918, which would have added more than three dozen new limits on lawfully carrying concealed guns in public and added several new hurdles to obtain such permits, but failed to get enough votes in the Assembly to pass.
In February, Mr. Newsom, Mr. Portantino, and other Democrats announced SB 2, a bill to raise the legal age of firearm purchases to 21, increase requirements for concealed carry weapon permits, and expand the number of gun-free places in the state.
The new version mostly mirrors last year’s bill but in addition to raising the age limit, requires 16 hours of training. Those renewing such permits would be required to take an 8-hour training course.
It also expands application requirements but has removed the “good cause” requirement.
The measure would prohibit loaded guns at government buildings, courts, and other public buildings, schools, airports, public transportation hubs, churches, playgrounds, hospitals, any location that sells alcohol—including stores and gas stations—all state parks and recreation sites, banks, libraries, and other sensitive locations. Business owners and churches can post public signs approving guns on their property, however.
Judges and current and retired law enforcement officers are exempt from the location restrictions.
If signed by Mr. Newsom, the new requirements would also require law enforcement officers to apply for such a permit.
People stand in line outside the Martin B. Retting gun store in Culver City, Calif., on March 15, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

People stand in line outside the Martin B. Retting gun store in Culver City, Calif., on March 15, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Assembly passed the measure by a vote of 48–21 the day before the Senate’s passage.
All Assembly Republicans voted to oppose the bill. Democratic Assembly members who joined Republicans in opposing the measure were James Ramos (D-Highland), Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), Esmeralda Soria (D-Fresno), Avelino Valencia (D-Anaheim), and Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton).
“There’s a reason why you’re far less likely to die from bullets in California,” Mr. Newsom said in a statement following the Assembly’s vote. “We’re using every tool we can to make our streets and neighborhoods safer from gun violence.”
Mr. Bonta, the state’s attorney general, also applauded the bill’s passing.
“Thoughts and prayers in response to gun violence will never be enough: We need courageous action by our leaders – here in California and beyond,” Mr. Bonta posted on social media Sept. 12. “I sponsored Senate Bill 2 to provide stronger protections for our communities, and am grateful for the leadership demonstrated by our Legislature in moving this bill forward.”
The bill was strongly opposed by Assembly Republicans before their vote.
Minority Leader Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) said it targeted the wrong people.
“This bill puts the focus on the wrong people,” Mr. Gallagher said Sept. 11. “It’s focused on law-abiding citizens who are not committing crimes, and who are not using guns to hurt people in this state.
The Assembly refused to consider a number of bills that would have focused on gun crimes, he added.
“It’s sick. Don’t lecture me about gun control and gun violence if you’re not going to do something about the people who are the real problem and continue to go after law-abiding citizens,” Mr. Gallagher said. “It’s wrong and we should stop it today by voting no and passing good measures that actually go after the people committing these crimes.”
Assemblyman Bill Essayli (R-Riverside) said the bill was an attack on constitutional rights.
“Let’s stop pretending that we care about gun violence and let’s say what this bill really is, it’s an attack on the Second Amendment,” Mr. Essayli said during the Sept. 11 debate.  “I’ll be opposing this and I look forward to the Supreme Court striking this down as well.”
Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin


Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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