California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed scores of new gun-control measures in Sacramento, Calif., on Sept. 26, 2023. (Courtesy of Office of Governor Gavin Newsom)
California became the first state to add an 11-percent tax to gun purchases and added more restrictions to concealed carry permits as California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed scores of new gun-control measures on Sept. 26.
Several gun-owner groups immediately sued
the state for enacting Senate Bill 2
, the new law signed on Sept. 26 that added stricter regulations to California’s concealed carry weapons permits.
Despite pushback from some gun owners, Mr. Newsom signed 23 new gun-control measures put forward by Democratic legislators this legislative session. The governor’s call to convene a national constitutional convention
to enshrine his gun policies also passed in August, but the resolution didn’t require his signature.
“It’s great what we’re doing but it may not be enough,” Mr. Newsom said during a signing ceremony and press conference in Sacramento, California. “This is a serious moment, and it requires perhaps a pivot in the way we approach the issue of gun safety in this country. ... I think we need to be screaming louder about this.”
Among bills signed on Sept. 26 was Assembly Bill 28
, which will place an 11-percent state tax on firearm and ammunition purchases. The law is expected to raise $160 million each year to fund school safety and violence prevention programs, including initiatives to prevent school shootings, bolster firearm investigations, and remove guns from domestic abusers.
“It’s shameful that gun manufacturers are reaping record profits at the same time that gun violence has become the leading cause of death for kids in the United States,” the bill’s author, Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat, said at the Sept. 26 press conference. “AB 28 will fund critical violence prevention and school safety programs that will save lives and protect communities across the State of California.”
Another bill signed by the governor, Senate Bill 452 authored by state Sen. Catherine Blakespear, a Democrat, will require all semi-automatic pistols sold in California to use a special firing pin to stamp a unique, microscopic identifier on cartridges as the trigger is pulled starting in 2028, which proponents say will help law enforcement identify the firearm if it’s used in a crime.
The gun safety group Moms Demand Action celebrated after Mr. Newsom signed the slate of bills.
Gun control advocacy groups participate in a rally organized by Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Students Demand Action with Democratic members of Congress outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on May 26, 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
“After relentless advocacy by our volunteers and partners, [Mr. Newsom] signed a historic package of gun safety legislation into law, making California the first state to establish a tax on gun dealers to fund gun violence prevention and school safety programs!” the group wrote
in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “The measures also strengthen California’s public carry laws, and ensure the state’s microstamping law will be fully implemented.”
Michael Schwartz, founder of the Orange County Gun Owners political action committee, said his group opposed all the new laws.
“We are completely opposed to all of the extreme and restrictive anti-gun laws that were signed by Gov. Newsom,” Mr. Schwartz told The Epoch Times. “He is again proving that he is more interested in being a political zealot rather than truly doing something that will improve public safety in California.”
The group joined the Firearms Policy Coalition, San Diego County Gun Owners, and California Gun Rights Foundation in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana on Sept. 26.
It was the second suit filed against SB 2. The first was filed Sept. 12 in federal district court by the Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Gun Owners of California, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, and 11 private citizens.
Under SB 2, 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.
Critics claim that the law makes nearly every public area a “sensitive place,” where carrying firearms is prohibited regardless of concealed carry weapons permits.
A family listens to speakers at a protest against new gun legislation at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Feb. 8, 2020. (George Frey//AFP via Getty Images)
“As bad as all of them are, SB 2 is by far the worst and will affect the most people out of everything that was signed,” Mr. Schwartz said. “What makes [SB 2] extreme is the enormous increase in what’s considered a prohibited or sensitive places, which will, in effect, completely get rid of the ability for you to protect yourself outside of your home with a [concealed carry weapon permit].”
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 that 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 that they had a “good cause” to carry a firearm concealed.
Following the Bruen decision, California lawmakers have tried to revise concealed carry weapon regulations and expand the state’s list of prohibited public spaces for firearms.