New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is already facing a half-dozen lawsuits filed in response to her “emergency” order banning open and concealed carry for 30 days in the city of Albuquerque, but she’s likely to have some company in the coming days. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to quickly sign SB 2 into law after the state Senate gave its final approval to the “carry killer” legislation on Tuesday, and Second Amendment activists are already vowing to challenge the law before it can take effect.
Under the terms of the legislation approved 28-8 by the state Senate, licensed concealed carry holders in the state would be barred from lawfully possessing their firearms in most publicly accessible places, including (but not limited to):
- any state or local public building or at any meeting required to be open to the public
- any building, real property, or parking area under the control of an airport
- public transit facilities and public transportation
- a street or sidewalk immediately adjacent to a building, real property, or parking area under the control of public or private schools
- houses of worship
- a building, real property, or parking area under the control of a preschool or childcare facility
- a building, real property, and parking area under the control of a public or private hospital or hospital affiliate, mental health facility, nursing home, medical office, urgent care facility, or other place at which medical services are customarily provided
- a building, real property, and parking area under the control of a vendor or an establishment where intoxicating liquor is sold for consumption on the premises
- a playground or public or private youth center and a street or sidewalk immediately adjacent to the playground or youth center
- a park, athletic area, or athletic facility that is open to the public and a street or sidewalk immediately adjacent to those areas
- real property under the control of the Department of Parks and Recreation or Department of Fish and Wildlife, except those areas designated for hunting or any other designated public hunting area, public shooting ground, or building where firearm possession is permitted
- any area under the control of a public or private community college, college, or university
- a building, real property, or parking area that is or would be used for gambling or gaming of any kind whatsoever, including, but not limited to, casinos, gambling establishments, gaming clubs, bingo operations, facilities licensed by the California Horse Racing Board
- a stadium, arena, or the real property or parking area under the control of a stadium, arena, or a collegiate or professional sporting or eSporting event
- a building, real property, or parking area under the control of a public library
- a building, real property, or parking area under the control of a zoo or museum
- a building, real property, or parking area under the control of an amusement park
- any other privately owned commercial establishment that is open to the public, unless the operator of the establishment clearly and conspicuously posts a sign at the entrance of the building or on the premises indicating that licenseholders are permitted to carry firearms on the property.
SB 2 makes a number of other changes to existing state law regarding concealed carry, which wasn’t great to begin with. For instance, gun owners applying for a carry license will have to document that they are the recorded owner of the handgun they want to carry, while the state’s training mandate has gone from no more than 16 hours of training to no less than 16 hours, opening up the possibility of anti-gun jurisdictions requiring dozens of hours of classroom and range time (at a cost of hundreds if not thousands of dollars) in order to exercise a constitutionally-protected right.
If these restrictions seem familiar, it’s probably because we’ve seen similar attempts to infringe on our right to bear arms in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Hawaii; all of which are now the subject of federal lawsuits. Second Amendment advocates are already prepping to launch another legal fight once Gavin Newsom puts pen to paper.
In a statement released Monday, Newsom commended the legislature for its support and said that there was a reason why people were “less likely to die from bullets in California.”
“We’re using every tool we can to make our streets and neighborhoods safer from gun violence,” he added in the statement.
Gun rights groups are prepared to file a lawsuit challenging the bill the same day that Newsom signs it into law, according to Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California.
“We know what we have to do and we’re ready to do it,” Paredes said in an interview. “Ultimately, this bill will never see the light of day as a statute in the state of California.”
As long as the judge assigned to the case faithfully follows the text, history, and tradition test laid out by the Supreme Court in Bruen, Paredes is right to be confident about the law never being enforced. But that’s a big “if”, especially in California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. While the appellate court doesn’t tilt as far to the left as it did just a few years ago, the Ninth Circuit has never once ruled a gun control law out of order in the fifteen years since the Heller decision made clear our individual right to keep and bear arms and struck down Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns.
Still, the courts are the best chance that gun owners have of undoing these legislative abominations, and the violations are so egregious that even the most anti-gun judges on the Ninth Circuit will have to rewrite history and twist the Bruen decision beyond recognition in order to keep California’s new carry-killer restrictions in place, and even then SCOTUS will have the final say on the latest Golden State gun control law. I’m a little concerned about squishiness on the High Court when it comes to the upcoming Rahimi case, but I’m still pretty confident that we’ve got at least five votes on the Court when it comes to rejecting California’s attempt to turn most of the state into a “gun-free zone”.