California's Elected Officials Outraged at Supreme Court Gun Ruling

Governor Gavin Newsom said "While this reckless decision erases a commonsense gun safety law that existed for decades, California anticipated this moment."

California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
NBC Bay Area

Wielding words like "reckless," "dire" and "dangerous," California's elected officials reacted negatively to Thursday's announcement by the U.S. Supreme Court that New York's requirement that a person show "proper cause" before receiving a license to carry firearms in public is unconstitutional.

Governor Gavin Newsom said "While this reckless decision erases a commonsense gun safety law that existed for decades, California anticipated this moment. Our administration has been working closely with the attorney general and the legislature for months. Our state is ready with a bill that will be heard next week to update and strengthen our public-carry law and make it consistent with the Supreme Court ruling, just as Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh said states like California are free to do."

"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 existence in the 1700s or 1800s, then a state can't pass it now, no matter how important it is to protect people from the modern horror of gun violence."

Newsom said he expects to have 16 new gun safety bills on his desk soon, "including a bill that will allow individuals to sue gun makers and distributors for violating certain gun laws. I look forward to signing all of those bills. California has proven that commonsense gun laws save lives, and we will continue to stand up to those in political power who enable and coddle the gun industry."

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement that carrying a loaded firearm, openly or concealed, is generally prohibited most public places, unless a person has been issued a license obtained by applying through local law enforcement.

Thursday's opinion will likely change that, but Bonta said other requirements remain intact.

"Individuals may obtain a permit through a sheriff or chief of police after: a successful background check, the completion of a firearms safety course, and proof of residency, employment, or business in the county or city within the county," Bonta said. "These laws were created and passed with the unique needs of Californians in mind."

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement "Today's decision will make our communities less safe, plain and simple. At the same time as the Senate advances bipartisan legislation to take on America's crisis of gun violence, the extreme right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has chosen to exacerbate it.

"This dangerous decision misinterprets the Constitution and jeopardizes gun safety laws in a number of states, including California, which has some of the most effective gun safety measures in the nation.

"The majority of Americans want commonsense gun reform. Everyone deserves to live without fear in their schools, grocery stores, places of worship, and neighborhoods. But today, the Supreme Court moved us backward in keeping our communities safe," Padilla said.

Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05) is the chairperson of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He released a statement, saying "By striking down New York's conceal carry permit law, the Supreme Court is stripping states of their ability to set gun regulations to keep their citizens safe. New York's law was on the books for over 100 years. Today's extreme ruling undermines the authority of states to responsibility regulate the use of firearms and will lead to more gun violence.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed released a statement, saying the city will be reviewing its licensing requirements in light of the ruling.

"During a time when too many families are grieving and we are experiencing unprecedented levels of gun violence in our communities, the Supreme Court is making decisions that continue to move us back," Breed said. "I am deeply disappointed by today's ruling. In San Francisco, we will continue to partner with community organizations to ensure that guns are taken off the streets because we know that we are safer and stronger without them."

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also released a statement, saying "The Supreme Court's decision will create nightmares for urban police departments struggling to keep cities safe amid nearly ubiquitous gun possession. If firearm possession cannot be regulated, then our focus must shift. The imperative grows for sensible gun regulation that reduces the risk of gun harm."

San Jose requires gun owners to obtain insurance and the city reinvests gun fees in mental health, domestic violence prevention, and other services.

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