An Assembly member on Wednesday introduced legislation to reform California’s strict “may-issue” concealed carry licensing practices and make permits more obtainable.
The bill, AB 757, would amend state law to allow a desire for self-defense to be enough required “good cause” to obtain a permit.
“It is our Constitutional right to defend ourselves,” said sponsor Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, a Republican from Lake Elsinore, in a statement. “Californians should not be subjugated to the personal beliefs of one individual who doesn’t believe in the Second Amendment. If a citizen passes the background check and completes the necessary safety training requirements, there should be no reason to deny them a CCW.”
Melendez’s proposal would insert language into the current law so that those applying for a carry permit from their local sheriff or police chief could use a desire for “self-defense, defending the life of another, or preventing crime in which human life is threatened” as sufficient reason to obtain a permit without having to show further good cause.
California is just one of eight states that still practice may-issue permitting for carry licenses.
As Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that did away with open carry in 2011, the only avenue to keep and bear arms outside the home since then has been to obtain a carry permit. However, the process is easier said than done due to the state’s allowance for may-issue permitting using the malleable good cause requirement administered by local authorities which can vary widely.
In Sacramento County, after Sheriff Scott Jones took office and began to accept a desire for self-defense as good cause, the number of active permits rose from around 350 to nearly 8,500 in six years — the most in circulation from any one jurisdiction in California. Contrast this with San Francisco County, which had a single active permit issued by the sheriff in that jurisdiction.
“Our current system of issuing concealed carry permits is not equal. It comes down to being lucky enough to live in a county where the Sheriff believes in upholding the Second Amendment,” Melendez said.
While a federal court struck down good cause requirements used by one county sheriff in 2014, that case was overturned on retrial when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the right of a member of the public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment. That case, Peruta v. San Diego is pending appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, while a challenge to the state’s open carry ban has been filed.
AB 757 is awaiting committee assignment.