The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear: the people of the United States, even in California, have an individual right to keep and bear arms. The government of California simply refuses to accept that.
The latest infringement on the right that the U.S. Constitution says “shall not be infringed” is a set of emergency regulations released last Friday by the California Department of Justice. The “emergency” is the upcoming January 1 effective date of Senate Bill 2, a new state law passed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.
The Bruen decision threw out a New York law that put unconstitutional conditions on the issuance of a permit to carry a concealed weapon. California law was similar, so lawmakers scrambled to pass something quickly to replace current law.
Instead of adjusting to the fact that existing state law was unconstitutional, California passed a new law that aims to keep things as close as possible to the way they were before the Bruen ruling.
Something similar happened after the Civil War, when the former slave states passed laws known as the Black Codes. Those statutes aimed to keep the former slaves in a condition as close to slavery as possible.
That led to the federal Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the simultaneous Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which put an end to the Black Codes and protected fundamental rights.
Following the same logic employed by the old Confederacy, California is defiantly seeking ways to continue to limit fundamental rights under the Second Amendment. Attorney General Rob Bonta, leading the California Department of Justice, has now contributed to this effort with a set of emergency regulations that will make it more difficult and expensive to obtain the firearms training that is required for the issuance of a concealed carry permit.
Under California Penal Code section 31635, firearm safety certificate instructors “shall have a certification to provide training from one of the following organizations, as specified, or any entity found by the department to give comparable instruction in firearms safety, or the applicant shall have similar or equivalent training to that provided by the following, as determined by the department.”
What follows is a list of eight different categories of individuals or organizations that are recognized as qualified to provide training and instruction in firearms safety. One of these is “National Rifle Association-Certified Instructor.”
However, Senate Bill 2 states that Penal Code section 31635 can be ignored, and the Department of Justice can instead decide the eligibility of instructors “in a manner to be prescribed by regulation.”
Now we’ve seen the regulation. Look fast, because “emergency regulations” have a public comment period of exactly five days before they’re fast-tracked into effect.
Bonta’s Department of Justice will recognize only three of the eight categories of certified instructor, all three controlled by the State of California: instructors certified under the state Department of Consumer Affairs, the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or a state-accredited school to teach a firearm training course.
Eliminated from the list in the Penal Code, along with the NRA-certified instructors, are instructors certified by the federal government, federal law enforcement and the U.S. military.
In addition to making the required training harder to access and fully under state control, Senate Bill 2 designates “sensitive places” where CCW licensees will be prohibited from carrying a firearm. According to a Senate analysis:
“The bill lists 26 specific places, as well as any other place prohibited by local, state or federal law. Those places include: all daycare and school grounds, college campuses, government and judicial buildings, medical facilities, public parks and playgrounds, correctional institutions, public transit, public demonstrations and gatherings, athletic and professional sporting facilities, public libraries, amusement parks, zoos and museums, places of worship, banks, polling places, gambling establishments, and any place where alcohol is sold.”
So the law is possibly even more restrictive than before the Supreme Court decision.
The public comment period for the emergency regulations closes on Friday, Dec. 15. Comments must be made in writing and sent simultaneously to the DOJ and the Office of Administrative Law. Go online to oag.ca.gov/firearms/regs/ccwl for more information.
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