Local Democratic lawmakers announce gun safety bill

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Two San Diego-area Democratic lawmakers announced a bill on Friday designed to increase requirements for people seeking concealed-carry weapons permits in California. Assemblyman Todd Gloria co-authored the bill with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher. It would require concealed-carry permit applicants to complete a minimum of eight hours of firearm training and perform live-fire exercises in a firing range.

“Under current law in California, a person who has never even fired a gun or received proper training on how to safely handle one can receive a permit and carry a loaded firearm in public,” Gloria said.

“This jeopardizes public safety and has to be addressed. My bill, AB 2103, ensures every person who receives a CCW permit has been through a necessary amount of training and can demonstrate proficiency in handling the weapon. Ultimately, this will help ensure these deadly weapons do not end up in the wrong hands.”

Most California sheriff’s departments — the agencies responsible for issuing concealed-carry permits — already have similar requirements for applicants, but AB 2103 would impose across-the board standards for the entire state.

`This isn’t complicated. If you’re going to walk around in public carrying a loaded gun, you should know how to handle it,” Gonzalez-Fletcher said. “We require people to have training before they can drive a car. We should do the same for people who want to carry a lethal weapon in public.” The bill was co-sponsored by gun control advocacy groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action. Gun control opponents quickly responded to the announcement, saying because many law enforcement agencies already have their own restrictions on concealed-carry permits, Gloria and Gonzalez-Fletcher are addressing a problem that does not exist.

The San Diego County Gun Owners political action committee promoting Second Amendment right released the following statement:

At a press conference held downtown on Friday, Feb. 9, Assemblymembers Todd Gloria and Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher announced plans to introduce a bill that would mandate safety and proficiency training before applicants can be issued a permit to carry a concealed firearm for self-protection.

“This new legislation proposed by these two anti-Second Amendment state Assemblymembers calls for safety rules for gun owners that already exist,” said Michael Schwartz, executive director of San Diego County Gun Owners. “The purpose of this grandstanding is nothing more than an attempt to influence the public to believe that gun owners are dangerous and unsafe, which is untrue.” He said concealed-carry permit holders have an “exemplary track record” when it comes to safety and proficiency. “As a group, CCW holders commit far less crime than the general public,” he said.

According to Schwartz, the State of California allows sheriffs and police chiefs to issue Carry Concealed Weapon permits (CCW) to citizens who are of good moral character, who undergo a criminal background check, who show “good cause,” who live in the issuing county or city and who have completed a course of training. According to California Penal Code 26165, the training course for new CCW applicants may be any course acceptable to the licensing authority, shall not exceed 16 hours and shall include instruction on firearm safety and the law regarding the permissible use of a firearm.”

Schwartz said, “Gun owners are wholeheartedly dedicated to and support of safety and proficiency training. But, here are two state legislators wasting time by addressing a problem that does not exist by mandating training that is already happening.”

Schwartz said the California Penal Code allows every issuing authority (sheriff or police chief) in California to require live fire training with a vetted, certified instructor before a CCW is issued. “If this latest proposed legislation is passed, it would mean local law enforcement leaders and their firearms experts would lose their local authority, which would be replaced with Sacramento bureaucracy,” said Schwartz. “This is just another Sacramento power grab that would be a disaster,” Schwartz said.

Statistically, according to Schwartz, CCW programs teaching safety and proficiency have an exemplary track record. “As a group, CCW holders commit far less crime than the general public,” he said.

Gloria’s and Gonzalez-Fletcher’s bill is sponsored by two anti-Second Amendment organizations, including The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence and Everytown for Gun Safety. Both groups support extremist positions against firearm ownership and use, said Schwartz.

“In the past year, both Assembly members Gloria and Gonzalez-Fletcher have been vocal about comments from national political leaders that they felt were bigoted, divisive attacks on honest Americans. But, here they are acting in the same manner towards sane, trained, law-abiding citizens who just want to exercise their protected rights and liberty,” Schwartz said.

Founded in 2015, the San Diego County Gun Owners is a registered political action committee (FPPC ID #1379388) and advocacy organization focusing on organizing the gun industry and community and protecting the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. With a membership nearing 1,000 individuals, the PAC provides news and information on new gun laws and Second Amendment advocacy. Its sponsored events include gun safety classes, small gun shows, sporting clay shoots, social gatherings and pistol, rifle and shotgun experiences taught by professional instructors. SDCGO is one of the only local, countywide Second Amendment advocacy organizations in the nation. For more information, visit www.sandiegocountygunowners.com.

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