SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — California Governor Gavin Newsom signed three bills related to gun safety Tuesday, calling the state a leader on the issue while also castigating certain federal judges over their decisions.
The governor in a ceremony signed Assembly Bill 28 by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, an Encino Democrat. It creates an 11% excise tax on the gun industry. He also signed Senate Bill 452, written by state Senator Catherine Blakespear, an Encinitas Democrat, which requires semiautomatic pistols to include microstamping starting in 2028. Senate Bill 2 by state Senator Anthony Portantino, a Burbank Democrat, restricts who can have a concealed-carry permit and lists places where guns are prohibited.
Newsom praised the lawmakers and advocates who helped bring the legislation to his desk.
“We’re solving for a pattern and that’s an important point,” he said, later adding: “It’s great what we’re doing, but it may not be enough.”
SB 2 is in response to the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which changed how states can assess who may have a concealed weapon in public.
The bill makes California a “shall issue” state for concealed weapons permits. A large caveat is that the applicant cannot have a disqualifying trait, like being convicted of certain crimes, using firearms recklessly, abusing controlled substances or being a danger to themselves or others.
“If you’re on social media threatening people, you shouldn’t have a gun,” Portantino said.
The new law also listed places where firearms are prohibited, including day cares and school grounds, college campuses, medical facilities, public transit, sporting facilities, places of worship, libraries, polling places and any place where alcohol is sold.
AB 28 creates an excise tax on firearms dealers, manufacturers and ammunition vendors. The money raised, an estimated $160 million a year, will fund gun safety programs. Recipients of the funds include the Board of State and Community Corrections, which administers the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program; and the state education department, which will fund mental health and behavioral services as well as school safety measures.
Gabriel, the bill’s author, said programs like these need sustainable and reliable funding. He emphasized that the new tax is on the gun industry and mirrors a similar federal tax.
“These are programs that work,” Gabriel said. “These are programs that we know are going to move the needle.”
SB 452 is Blakespear’s first bill to become law. She was first elected to the Legislature in 2022.
The senator said her bill will require all semiautomatic pistols sold in California to be capable of microstamping by 2028. By March 2025, the state Department of Justice must determine the technological viability of microstamping.
Blakespear said microstamping puts a unique code on all shell casings fired from a gun. This will make it easier for law enforcement to connect a bullet to a firearm during an investigation.
The senator said that in 2021, law enforcement solved only 40% of statewide gun crimes. Her bill will not only help authorities, it will also break the cycle of gun trafficking and increase trust in law enforcement as investigations will be based on evidence, not potential bias.
“We don’t have to normalize gun violence like we are,” Blakespear said.
Newsom hailed the gun safety measures, but also said that rights are being stripped away from people. He called out judges he said were selected by the Federalist Society — a conservative legal group — and said he’s not naïve about the recklessness of some courts.
The U.S. Supreme Court last year overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that enshrined a constitutional right to an abortion.
And Newsom called out by name U.S. District Court Judge Roger Thomas Benitez, a George W. Bush appointee, who last week struck down a state law banning the possession of large-capacity firearm magazines.
“I look forward to doing more in this space,” Newsom said.