California’s governor and attorney general vowed to enact new gun control measures after the US Supreme Court weakened states’ ability to impose limitations on concealed carry licenses. They said the new accounts would help “keep Californians safe.”
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Thursday that Americans have the right to carry a gun in public, overturning a law in New York that limited who could carry a gun outside the home. The state was one of the few that required a person to prove why they needed protection outside the home in order to obtain a license, and the ruling will likely make it easier to carry guns in some of the country’s major cities.
The ruling, accompanied by the court’s six conservative bloc members, will effectively force five other states – California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey – to also rewrite their gun laws.
California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) was quick to criticize the decision, saying it was a “radical decision” he would fight, expressing opposition to those who “take care of the gun industry”. The governor promised the state would move forward with 16 new gun safety laws next week, including legislation that would allow people to sue gun manufacturers and sellers for violating gun laws.
“While this reckless decision erases a commonsense gun safety law that has existed for decades, California has anticipated this moment,” Newsom said in a statement Thursday. “But make no mistake: this is a radical decision. Today’s Court thinks that gun regulations should be frozen in time, and that if there wasn’t a similar law in the 1700s or 1800s, then a state cannot pass it now, no matter how important it is to protect people from harm. modern horror of gun violence”.
State Attorney General Rob Bonta said he remains committed to protecting citizens, noting that state law still requires Californians to have a license before carrying a loaded firearm in public.
“After the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, and with gun deaths on the rise, it is more important than ever to ensure that dangerous individuals cannot carry concealed firearms,” Bonta said. “The data is clear and the consequences are dire – more guns in more places makes us less safe.”
Bonta admitted that the state’s requirement that gun owners provide “good cause” to obtain a concealed weapon license will likely be overturned after the court’s ruling.
Newsom had previously promised to expedite new gun control laws after the latest wave of massacres. Part of the legislation includes urgency clauses. These bills would need to be passed with a two-thirds vote in each house of the state legislature and would immediately become law with the governor’s signature, the Los Angeles Times noted.
The Supreme Court’s decision came just weeks after devastating mass shootings at a market in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. These mass killings reignited conversations about the gun violence epidemic in the United States.
The Senate on Thursday passed a bipartisan package aimed at curbing gun violence, the most significant gun safety bill in three decades. While it does not include broader restrictions called for by gun control advocates, such as banning assault weapons or raising the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles, it represents fierce negotiations on both sides of the aisle. The bill, which is due to pass the House on Friday, includes modest restrictions on obtaining firearms and also increases funding for mental health care and school safety.