California Gov. Gavin Newsom called for more gun restrictions on Wednesday, including limiting where people can carry concealed weapons after a series of mass shootings that left many dead and injured across the state in January.
On Wednesday, Newsom, a Democrat, approved legislation that would ban people from carrying guns in churches, public libraries, zoos, amusement parks, playgrounds, banks and other private businesses that are open to the public. The rule would not apply if the business owner posted a sign saying concealed weapons were allowed.
“Gun safety saves lives,” Newsom said at a press conference to announce the proposed bill. “More guns, more lives lost.”
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State Sen. Anthony Portantino, a Democrat and author of the bill, called the exception to a sign saying concealed weapons are allowed “a legal nuance that I think helps with constitutional scrutiny.”
“This is not window dressing. This is to put a strong bill on the governor’s desk to withstand a legal challenge that is sure to come,” he said.
California and half a dozen other states previously had laws that required people to provide a reason if they wanted to carry a concealed handgun in public — such as citing a direct threat to their public safety. But a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year struck down those laws, making it easier for people in those states to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
“Concealed carry gun owners are not the problem,” California Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher told Fox News Digital. “There is no connection between these people and the violence and shootings we’ve seen in California. That’s not the issue when it comes to these mass shootings that we’ve seen recently.”
Under the bill, anyone under the age of 21 would be prohibited from having a concealed carry permit. Permit holders will also be required to receive additional training, including how to properly store and transport their weapons.
Dan Reed, California state director for the National Rifle Association, called the legislation a “political stunt” that will do nothing to curb violent crime.
“If Gov. Newsom and AG [Rob] Bonta really wanted to deal with the violent crime rampant in their state, they would end the soft-on-crime policies and no-cash bail programs that have made California a nightmare for its citizens,” he said. “Instead, these politicians have chosen to further limit the rights of those who follow the law in a political gimmick that will not make Californians safer.”
California Democrats tried to pass new rules last year — and would have succeeded if not for a strategic blunder requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature for the bill to take effect immediately. Democrats couldn’t muster enough support and the bill died.
The latest bill came after mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay left 18 dead and dozens injured. In total, California had six mass shootings in January, killing 29 people. After the Monterey Park shooting, Newsom said he believed the Second Amendment was becoming a “suicide pact,” drawing criticism from gun rights advocates.
The state is moving in the exact opposite direction of Florida, which on Monday introduced legislation that would allow people to carry concealed firearms without having to obtain a permit.
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In a tweet Wednesday, Newsom argued that states that allow concealed carry of firearms have higher rates of violence.
“Don’t believe the lies of the gun industry,” he wrote. “CA will continue to lead on common sense gun laws.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.