Supreme Court expands gun rights; What will this mean for California?

How will the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Second Amendment affect California gun owners?

California’s gun laws are similar to New York’s, so the short answer is yes, but probably not quite to the extent that some people think – at least in the short term.

In essence, the justices ruled that requiring applicants for concealed carry permits to demonstrate a compelling need to carry a firearm outside the home, infringed on a person’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. 

No specific California law was directly affected but many state and local laws are now vulnerable to legal challenges.

Right now, local law enforcement agencies get to determine if an applicant has "good cause" for carrying a weapon outside. Some counties are much stricter than others, making it difficult for someone who moves from, let’s say, San Bernardino County to Los Angeles County, to get a permit. 

All applicants have to complete state guidelines, background checks, training requirements, but some counties require letters of recommendation, others psychological exams. 

Critics say the process has amounted to a game – with law-abiding citizens pleasing politically driven law enforcement leaders and having to jump hoops. In that sense, federal guidelines could help create one system, even as Governor Gavin Newsom is promising to make state laws even stricter.

Attorney General Rob Bonta says his office is working with the Governor to craft a bill in response to the Supreme Court’s decision, which would specifically prohibit concealed firearms in some locations and update qualifications. But the head of California’s Gun Owners Association says that he fully expects people applying for concealed carry permits in counties with requirements surpassing the state’s law will file a plethora of lawsuits if these counties try to apply additional requirements.