California Cracks Down on Gun Laws

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California Cracks Down on Gun Laws

Tyler Kieft, Staff Writer

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In response to the recent series of mass shootings throughout the US, California legislation has passed nine laws, addressing gun reform, with the goal of greater regulation than previously established.

It is common knowledge that California typically guides the nation toward decisions in relation to gun control. The state was the first to place a ban on the sale of assault weapons 30 years ago, and one of the first to establish a strong red flag law that gave family and police the ability to temporarily block gun access to an individual. It is therefore expected of the progressive state to make more changes in the wake of more mass shootings, particularly the Valentine’s Day Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida.

One of the bills (AB 2103) was created to amend Section 26165 of the Penal Code, which references the license required to carry a concealed weapon. The current law allows the sheriff of a county to issue a license “if the applicant is of good moral character, good cause exists for issuance of the license, the applicant meets specified residency requirements, and the applicant has completed a specified course of training, acceptable to the licensing authority.”

This bill would amend the existing law by focusing more specifically on the gun training course to ensure that the applicant receives the proper education and teaching. The statement below is taken directly from the revision of Section 26165:

“(1) The course shall be no less than eight hours, but shall not be required to exceed 16 hours in length

(2) The course shall include instruction on firearm safety, firearm handling, shooting technique, and laws regarding the permissible use of a firearm.

(3) The course shall include live-fire shooting exercises on a firing range and shall include a demonstration by the applicant of safe handling of, and shooting proficiency with, each firearm that the applicant is applying to be licensed to carry.”

The difference between the amendment and the existing law is the way in which the course is handled. Previously, it was possible for an applicant to sit in a classroom with no hands-on teaching and still leave the class with a permit. With this new decision, everyone seeking a permit would be forced to undergo instruction that teaches how to use a firearm safely, while allowing for the applicants to show they understand before issuing a license.

Along with that passed bill, there are eight others aimed at helping the current gun crisis in the United States. Listed below are a few of the proposed policies:

  • Lift the age for buying assault weapons from 18 to 21
  • Lifetime bans placed on those guilty of domestic violence
  • Lifetime bans placed on those involuntarily hospitalized for mental illness twice in a year
  • Allows teachers and employers to petition the courts to have guns confiscated from dangerous individuals

Although these bills have yet to be approved by Governor Jerry Brown, if the bills do go into action, a surge in political change could occur. With an influential state like California taking action over such a controversial topic, it wouldn’t be surprising to see many other states follow suit and begin to create and enforce stricter gun laws, although only time will tell.