Man with concealed handgun
A handgun in a holster that can be concealed by clothing. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Two San Diego-area Democratic lawmakers Friday announced a bill 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.

“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.

— City News Service