California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed three new gun control measures into law on Tuesday afternoon in a ceremony full of lies, mistruths, and hostility towards both gun owners and the right to keep and bear arms.
California Governor signs Bruen response bill (SB2), gun tax bill (AB28), and microstamping delay bill (SB452) pic.twitter.com/ydW8QCi5mD
— Firearms Policy Coalition (@gunpolicy) September 26, 2023
Attorney General Rob Bonta took a break from getting his rear end handed to him by federal judges who’ve recently ruled against several of the state’s gun laws (including its ban on “large capacity” magazines, microstamping and other “safety” requirements, and a law punishing those who create marketing materials that could appeal to minors) to kick off the press conference with the telling statement that you “can’t be tough on crime if you’re not tough on guns”.
Of course, it’s gun owners, not guns that these bills are cracking down on. Bonta claimed that the right to carry increases violent crime by 29%, even though violent crime rates have plunged across the country for the past 30 years even as a majority of states have adopted first shall-issue and now permitless carry laws.
State Senator Anthony Portantino made it clear that California gun owners are the real target of these bills when he said the state legislature is defining what it means to be “law abiding” through SB 2; the Bruen response bill that imposes a wide variety of “gun-free zones” as well as new criteria for obtaining a carry license.
“If you can’t get three character references to say you’re an upstanding citizen, you shouldn’t have a gun,” Portantino told reporters while gun control activists nodded in agreement.
What other right requires any sort of testimony about your character before you can exercise it? Should you have to provide those character references before exercising your First Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances or peaceably assembling? Do you need to show police officers those references to protect your person and property from unreasonable searches and seizures?
That wasn’t the only whopper from Portantino, who also defended the “sensitive places” laundry list in SB 2 by asking “when you go to the mall, do you need a gun or a credit card?” Perhaps the senator is unfamiliar with the shooting at the Greenwood Mall in Indiana that was stopped by a lawful gun owner named Elisjsha Dicken. I’m sure that Dicken had his wallet with him that day, but he also had his legally carried gun and was able to stop the attack on shoppers within 15 seconds.
A reporter just asked where carry permit holders will still be allowed to carry under SB-2. Senator Portantino says public sidewalks.
— Firearms Policy Coalition (@gunpolicy) September 26, 2023
In his remarks, Newsom boasted that “having a robust list of prohibited places will make us safer” when the truth is that these “gun-free zones” don’t stop committed killers from carrying out their attacks. If anything, they ensure a target-rich environment for their killing sprees, knowing that the odds of anyone fighting back are slim until police arrive on the scene minutes later.
Newsom complained that judges have overturned the state’s magazine ban and ban on gun sales to under-21s (among other unconstitutional measures), arguing that “it’s great what we’re doing but it may not be enough.” Ironically, while Newsom is trying to obliterate the individual right to keep and bear arms, he maintains that it’s conservatives and gun owners who are trying to “regress” on civil rights, at one point even declaring that Second Amendment advocates are trying to roll back “states rights”.
Newsflash for Newsom: you sound more like Orval Faubus or George Wallace than Martin Luther King. Just as southern Democrats declared their “massive resistance” to the Brown v. Board of Education decision in the 1950s, Newsom and fellow Democrats like New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham are the ones who are regressing on civil rights; engaged in their massive resistance to the Bruen decision and denying and decrying gun ownership at every opportunity.
In fact, Newsom made his feelings towards gun owners evident when he discussed signing AB 28, a measure imposing an 11% excise tax on guns and ammunition in the state. While there was some speculation that Newsom wouldn’t include the measure in his list of approved legislation because of his reluctance to increase taxes, Newsom told a reporter that he considers an excise tax on gun owners to be “different” than a general income tax increase or raising corporate taxes. Instead, Newsom declared this is “more of a ‘sin tax'” than anything else. If that’s the case, then Newsom must see the exercise of our Second Amendment rights as a sinful activity.
Newsom declared that the 11% increase in the cost of guns and ammo is a “small price to pay” for funding anti-violence programs, but the truth is that he and other non-gun owners won’t have to pony up a penny in new taxes because it will be lawful gun owners who are forced to foot the bill. If the goal is truly about preventing crime, all Californians have a stake in making sure that happens. But this isn’t about funding violence reduction programs. As the governor said, it’s about punishing gun owners for their supposed sin.
The governor maintains that all these measures are perfectly in line with the Bruen decision, even though he called that decision a “perversion” from a “corrupt” Supreme Court. Newsom also predicted that all three measures would be allowed to take effect by the federal courts, but if and when they’re put on hold he has an excuse at the ready; “reckless” judges hand-picked by the Federalist Society who are just doing the bidding of their conservative masters.
The grandstanding and preening on the part of the governor and his anti-rights allies was hard to watch, but it was at least some comfort to know that each of these laws will eventually get their day in court. In fact, we’ll be talking about the first lawsuit filed against SB 2 and its new restrictions on the right to carry on Wednesday’s Cam & Co, when I’ll be joined by California attorney Tiffany Cheuvront from Michel & Associates. Be sure to tune in, and if you can, I’d encourage you to kick in a couple of bucks to the 2A organization of your choice in preparation for the lengthy (and expensive) legal battles to come.
We now have a second lawsuit taking on SB 2 in addition to the May v. Bonta case I mentioned above (filed by CRPA, GOA, SAF, Gun Owners of California, and several individual plaintiffs including Reno May. The Firearms Policy Coalition announced shortly after Newsom’s press conference concluded that it’s filed suit as well in a case known as Carralello v. Bonta, joined by a coalition that includes the California Gun Rights Foundation, Orange County Gun Owners PAC, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, and a number of individual plaintiffs as well. Here’s a taste of the initial complaint in Carralello:
This lawsuit focuses on the provisions of SB2 that impose particularly egregious restrictions on the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Plaintiffs challenge SB2’s restrictions on carrying at health care facilities, public transit and mass transit facilities, places where liquor is sold, public gatherings, public parks and athletic facilities, public property controlled by the State Department of Parks and Recreation or Department of Fish and Wildlife, gambling establishments, stadiums and arenas, public libraries, amusement parks, and zoos and museums.
Plaintiffs also challenge SB2’s no-carry default provision that generally prohibits carry on all private commercial property open to the public, absent express permission from the proprietor. The Second Amendment does not tolerate these restrictions. This Court should enter judgment enjoining their enforcement and declaring them unconstitutional.
While Newsom and Bonta maintain that SB 2 is consistent with Bruen, the new law turns the right to carry on its head; in essence turning most of the state into a giant “sensitive place” where lawful carry is banned. The Supreme Court has made it clear that these sensitive places should be few and far between, but California’s new carry scheme makes it virtually impossible for the average concealed carry holder to lawfully bear arms throughout the course of their daily routine, and the FPC is absolutely correct that these restrictions are intolerable under any serious reading of the Second Amendment and the Bruen decision.