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Attorney General affirms support for common sense gun laws

On April 23, 2021, Rob Bonta was sworn in as the 34th Attorney General of the State of California, the first person of Filipi
On April 23, 2021, Rob Bonta was sworn in as the 34th Attorney General of the State of California, the first person of Filipino descent and the second Asian-American to […] Credit: Rob Bonta

California Attorney General Rob Bonta reaffirmed his support for common sense gun laws in response to an opinion issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.

In Bruen, the Court held that New York’s requirement that a person show “proper cause” in order to receive a license to carry firearms in public is unconstitutional. Despite the ruling, Bonta reminds Californians that general prohibitions on carrying loaded and concealed firearms in public without a permit remain in effect.

“Californians are committed to safeguarding our citizens, our children, and our future through common sense gun laws,” said Bonta. “States still have the right to limit concealed carry permits to those who may safely possess firearms. Our office has been watching this issue closely. We are working with the governor and the legislature to advance legislation that is both constitutional and will maintain safety for Californians.

“In the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, and with gun deaths at an all-time high, ensuring that dangerous individuals are not allowed to carry concealed firearms is more important than ever,” he added. “The data is clear and the consequences are dire — more guns in more places make us less safe. In California, we are committed to passing and defending common sense, constitutional gun laws that save lives.”

Carrying a loaded firearm (whether openly or concealed) in most public places is generally prohibited unless a person has been issued a license obtained by applying through local law enforcement.

In their opinion, the court held that New York’s law requiring an applicant for a concealed weapon (CCW) license to show “proper cause” in order to secure a license violates the Second Amendment. California similarly requires applicants for licenses to carry firearms in public to show “good cause,” which is likely unconstitutional under Bruen.

But other requirements remain intact. Individuals may obtain a permit through a sheriff or chief of police after: a successful background check, the completion of a firearms safety course, and proof of residency, employment, or business in the county or city within the county. These laws were created and passed with the unique needs of Californians in mind.

Gun violence remains a growing threat to public safety throughout the nation. On average, there are over 110 gun deaths each day and nearly 41,000 each year in the U.S. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and adolescents; with U.S. children being more likely to die from gun violence than in any other comparable country.

California continues its efforts to advance laws and policies that save lives and prevent gun deaths. In 2021, California saw a 37 percent lower gun death rate than the national average. According to the CDC, California’s gun death rate was the 44th lowest in the nation, with 8.5 gun deaths per 100,000 people – compared to 13.7 deaths per 100,000 nationally, 28.6 in Mississippi, 20.7 in Oklahoma, and 14.2 in Texas. California’s gun death rate for children is also lower than other states, and is 58 percent lower than the national average.

Bonta stands with partners throughout the state to continue preventing gun violence strategically and aggressively by:

• Advocating for common sense gun laws including by sponsoring Assembly Bill 1594 to increase accountability for the firearm industry, working to strengthen federal laws to protect the public from ghost guns, and successfully defending California’s laws to prevent gun violence;

• Seizing guns from prohibited persons in the Armed and Prohibited Persons System, and through multi-agency sweeps in the Bay Area and Los Angeles County, conducting operations targeting individuals attempting to illegally purchase guns, and collaborating with local law enforcement partners;

• Ending the sale of illegal firearms through litigation against ghost gun retailers, and by putting a stop to the sale of illegal assault weapons in Orange County; and

• Improving transparency by expanding gun violence-related data the California Department of Justice releases to researchers.