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California Gun Safety Laws at Risk After Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

Man with a hidden pistol
A pistol in a holster that can be hidden with clothes. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday handed down one of its most important gun law rulings in more than a decade, lifting New York State strict restrictions on who can carry a concealed weapon in public.

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Weapons rights activists are celebrating the decision 6-3, while supporters of stricter gun laws condemn it. They both agree that similar California laws may be next to be challenged.

The ruling is likely to mark the most dramatic extension of gun rights in the United States since 2008, when the Supreme Court first ruled that the Second Amendment right to “hold and carry” firearms applies to individual citizens, not just members of the militia. But this decision only confirmed the right to “self defense in the house“, Leaving states with wide discretion on whether and how to limit weapons elsewhere.

This decision brings this constitutional right out of the house.

“Restricting the right to ‘bring’ weapons into the home would not make sense,” Judge Clarence Thomas wrote of the majority of the court.

Governor Gavin Newsom called the decision “shameful” and “a dark day for America.”

“This is a dangerous decision by a judicial hell that seeks to promote a radical ideological agenda and violate the rights of states to protect our citizens from being shot in our streets, schools and churches.” said the governor on Twitter.

Most states either issue covert transport permits on request or require no permits at all. However, in eight states, applicants are required to demonstrate an urgent need before being allowed to carry a concealed firearm. Until today ‘s decision, New York was one of those states. California is different.

“We do not know of any other constitutional right that an individual can exercise only after he demonstrates a special need to government officials,” Thomas wrote, offering a description of New York and California law enforcement.

How easily a Californian can obtain a concealed firearms license depends on where he lives. This is because in California these permits are issued by local law enforcement – either by city police chiefs or county sheriffs. And while state law requires applicants to show “good faith,” local law enforcement officials have plenty of room to say what that means.

In counties with Republican sheriffs – Sacramento and Tehama, for example – licenses are issued to all eligible applicants as long as they pay the necessary fees, attend a firearms safety course as required by state law, and have no criminal record.

San Francisco is at the opposite end of the spectrum. According to the instructions of the county sheriffan applicant living in the city must “provide convincing evidence” that he or she is at “significant risk” that local law enforcement authorities “cannot adequately address” and “can not reasonably be avoided by alternative measures”.

San Diego County requires those who apply for a permit to prove a “good reason” for carrying a concealed weapon.

The court ruling does not immediately overturn restrictive smuggling policies such as those in San Francisco and San Diego. But it makes legal challenges against California’s entire discretion system much more likely to succeed.

But the decision could have far more sweeping consequences for all areas of California gun law – from the state ban on assault rifles and large-capacity cartridges to restrictions on “ghost guns.” This is because today’s decision sets a higher bar for any restrictions on firearms.

“To justify its regulation, the government cannot simply assume that the regulation promotes a significant interest,” Thomas wrote. “Rather, the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historic tradition of regulating firearms.”

Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, told CalMatters today that he plans to file a number of new lawsuits in existing lawsuits against the state’s weapons ban, the requirements background check. a ban on high-volume magazines and against the hidden restrictions of Los Angeles County.

He said today’s decision “will simplify the whole process of judging whether a gun law is constitutional or not” and that the State of California will now find it difficult to argue that its strict rules are legal.

At the same time that the nation’s supreme court is expanding the scope of the Second Amendment, Congress is on the verge of adding some mediocre additional guardrails. In response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers with a semi-automatic rifle, the US Senate reached an agreement on a bipartisan arms bill on Wednesday for the objections of the National Rifle Association. The measure is headed to the last passage of the Senate today.

If approved by the House of Representatives and signed by President Joe Biden, as expected, it would strengthen some background checks for newer potential arms buyers. It will also provide funding to countries interested in importing “laws for the red flagWhich facilitate the authorities to temporarily remove firearms from those considered to pose a threat to themselves or others.

Democratic lawmakers in California are also considering their own series of new gun bills. This includes legislation that would open arms dealers and manufacturers to a range of lawsuits violating state gun ownership rules the marketing of weapons and ammunition to minors or to others who are not allowed to possess them.

CalMatters is a public interest journalism project that is committed to explaining how the California State Capitol works and why it matters.

California Gun Safety Laws at Risk After Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Source link California Gun Safety Laws at Risk After Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

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