California lawmakers push to raise the bar to get a carry permit

Two San Diego Democrats want all applicants for concealed carry permits in the state to complete at least eight hours of firearms training beforehand in addition to other requirements.

The move by Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher and Todd Gloria, AB 2103, would set a mandatory minimum for training to carry a gun in the state. The lawmakers argue the regulation is needed to ensure guns don’t wind up in the wrong hands.

“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. This jeopardizes public safety and has to be addressed,” Gloria said in a statement.

The bill would set a minimum threshold of eight hours of training including live-fire shooting exercises. Current guidelines authorize sheriffs and police chiefs in the state to require no more than 16 hours of training before issuing an initial permit and a four-hour minimum on renewals. Some jurisdictions have higher requirements than what is being proposed, but gun control advocates who support the measure say a statewide mandate for more training is needed.

“AB 2103 will ensure that all concealed carry permit holders in California know how to use their firearm – a key step in avoiding unintentional shootings in our state,” said Wendy Wheatcroft, a representative of Moms Demand Action.

Gun rights supporters counter that the bill is a political power grab that will make it even harder to get a permit in the state that already has some jurisdictions that grant few of the licenses. San Diego County, the region both of AB 2103’s sponsors represent, has only 1,200 active permits for a population of over 3 million, with county Sheriff Bill Gore’s strict may-issue policies that applicants prove a “good cause” having been repeatedly challenged in court.

“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.”

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