California Democrats aim to shield gun control measures from challenge

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By Sharon Bernstein

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – California Democrats on Wednesday promised to enact new legislation aimed at protecting state restrictions on carrying concealed weapons from conservative legal challenges, days after two mass shootings left 18 people dead in the most populous state in the United States.

The proposed legislation would raise the age at which a gun owner can apply for a concealed carry permit, increase the training requirements to obtain a permit, and ban the use of alcohol while carrying a concealed firearm. It would also cut out sensitive areas at airports and around schools where no concealed weapons would be allowed.

“There are too many tragedies of gun violence in America, which drive us to the point of almost numbness,” said State Senator Anthony Portantino, a Democrat.

The bill was introduced in the Democrat-controlled state legislature in the wake of last year’s US Supreme Court decision that reversed New York’s concealed carry permit process and expanded gun rights.

To comply with that ruling, California’s proposal would remove a state requirement that applicants for a concealed carry permit show why they need one and give private property owners the ability to allow concealed weapons in some cases where they might otherwise be prohibited. .

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat, said the bill was crafted to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision and survive legal challenges. Many gun regulations have been challenged at the state and federal levels by firearm owners and gun rights advocates.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, acknowledged the proposal would not have prevented either of last month’s two mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, and said it was not introduced in response to those incidents.

But Newsom said that, along with other gun control laws, the legislation would be part of a regulatory model that had led to California having one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the United States. A similar proposal failed in last year’s legislature, but Newsom said he was confident the new version would pass in the current session.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Will Dunham)

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