By DON THOMPSON
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers failed early Thursday to replace limits on carrying concealed weapons that were struck down by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
A measure that would have enacted more than three dozen new restrictions failed by a vote as lawmakers adjourned. Democratic Sen. Anthony Portantino, who lobbied for the bill with Attorney General Rob Bonta, has vowed to reintroduce the legislation the day lawmakers meet again in December after the November election.
“California was made less safe tonight by not passing the bill to make us consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision,” Portantino said. “It’s unfortunate, it’s sad, it’s surprising.”
In June, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law requiring people seeking a license to carry guns in public to demonstrate a special need, such as a direct threat to their safety.
California is among half a dozen states with similar requirements that are working to make adjustments under the ruling that rendered their existing laws unenforceable, with New York pursuing its new limits even as efforts by the California failed.
The goal was to “push the envelope” without triggering another Supreme Court reversal, Portantino previously said of his bill.
Bonta also said “the safety of Californians” is at risk without a replacement.
“There would be a huge influx of applicants now that the ‘just cause’ component has been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, and not enough safety precautions for people asking for it,” Bonta said as he pushed unsuccessfully for the bill. passage. “If this bill doesn’t pass, people who haven’t had a full security screening can get a concealed weapon and bring it to (sensitive) places” like schools, playgrounds , voting booths and sports stadiums.
Bonta called the failed measure “a completely constitutional response that promotes the safety of Californians from gun violence.”
But the measure never got the 54 votes needed for the 80-member Assembly to take immediate effect. He missed a vote of that two-thirds majority before ultimately failing on a 52-23 vote as time ran out.
Opponents said the bill violated the intent of the High Court ruling while targeting law-abiding gun owners instead of focusing on criminals who are unlikely to obey the law.
“The bait and switch of this bill is dishonest,” objected Republican Congressman Thurston “Smitty” Smith. “This response to disagreeing with the Supreme Court’s decision is an unconstitutional attempt to find a workaround.”
Democratic Congressman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, who brought the bill to the Assembly, said it was aimed at legally keeping guns out of the hands of those who could be dangerous. He struck the right balance between public safety and the rights of gun owners, he said, while complying with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“Increased public carrying of firearms leads to more violence,” Jones-Sawyer argued unsuccessfully. “More guns on the street equals more chance of deadly violence, more chance of those guns ending up in the wrong hands.”
Restrictions reportedly included raising the minimum age from 18 to 21, requiring at least 16 hours of training and setting new standards for background checks that include repeat fingerprints, at least three character references and a review of the contestants’ public social media posts.
The proposal relied on judges authorizing a gun ban in sensitive areas, including more than two dozen such no-go zones in California.
Schools, courts, government buildings, correctional facilities, hospitals and other medical facilities, airports, public transportation, specified public gatherings, businesses where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises, public parks or sports facilities, casinos, sports arenas, libraries , churches, zoos, museums, amusement parks, banks, voting centers and any business unless there is a sign indicating that license holders may possess their firearm.
The ban would have encompassed all properties, including parking lots.
Opponents said lawmakers misinterpreted the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s recognition of “sensitive places” in another landmark gun ruling in 2008. Scalia mentioned schools and government buildings — and that’s whatever he meant, backed California gun owners.
The group further objected that the legislation would make 18 to 20-year-olds “half-citizens” by banning them from carrying concealed weapons, and that lawmakers are increasing restrictions on some of the “most law-abiding citizens of the United States.” State”. — those who obtain carrying permits.
Lawmakers “are not getting to the heart of the gun violence problem that we have…. It’s criminals and other outlaws who get these guns and commit mass murder,” GOP House Leader James Gallagher said as lawmakers added the amendments last week. “The problem is not law-abiding people. The problem is crime and we have to do something about it. We need real law enforcement.
Advocates of gun restrictions and the rights of gun owners are still divided on whether the pending California measure complies with the recent Supreme Court ruling.
The bill “would help California respond effectively to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision…and help protect the public from risks the decision might otherwise pose to the health and safety of communities in our state.” said the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
It promotes “tougher policing” to ensure those who are dangerous do not legally carry guns in public; better training for those who carry legally; and prohibits weapons in “particularly sensitive places,” the group said.
The bill’s provisions “conform to the standards affirmed by the United States Supreme Court,” Giffords said, and are similar to restrictions in at least 21 and as many as 43 other states.
But the Firearms Policy Coalition said the many restrictions would “make public transportation nearly impossible,” allow denials based solely on social media posts, force business owners to say publicly where they stand on people’s rights firearms and would add more subjectivity to officials’ consideration of petitions to violate the Supreme Court’s decision.
Last week, a federal judge overturned one of Texas’ few gun restrictions, a law prohibiting adults under 21 from carrying a handgun without a license, background check or training.
Lawmakers passed a second bill to clarify the intent of a law Governor Gavin Newsom signed in July that banned the marketing of firearms to minors.
Associations representing gun owners and the gun industry have sued, saying the language is so broad that it effectively bans hunter safety programs and youth camps that include target shooting or firearms lessons.
The revised wording exempts any advertising for classes or events related to gun safety, hunting or sport shooting, or promoting membership in an organization.
Associated Press writer Adam Beam contributed to this story.