Houman Fakhimi

Gun Laws in California

Gun laws in the state of California are both strict and extremely complex. To qualify for a five-year firearm safety certificate, which is mandatory in California, an applicant pays a $25 fee, agrees to be entered in to the state’s database and he must pass a written test given by and proctored by a Department of Justice instructor. For those who sell guns in this state, they too have strict guidelines that must be adhered.

For handguns, a licensed seller must be listed on the state’s carefully maintained Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale. This also requires manufacturers to pay a fee to the state and provide these guns in order to be vetted and tested before they are approved to be sold in the state.

All sales of guns are recorded by the state of California and they have a waiting period. Currently, that period is ten days. There is also no provision that guarantees anyone the right to bear arms, which has yet to be struck down entirely in any California court. At least one Supreme Court decision in 2008 upheld the Second Amendment for all states, and several other cases are pending. Each challenges this aspect of California’s law.

As some states recently passed laws easing the requirements, such as Mississippi which recently passed legislation that does not require a permit to purchase handguns or long guns, the state of California continues to tighten its own gun laws.

For instance, the state of California reserves the right to deny any request for a concealed weapon. Most often, those in urban areas receive a no issue for their requests for concealed weapons while rural areas are more likely to secure that permission. Even then, there may be limitations. Currently, even this aspect is facing challenges since people can secure a concealed weapon permit simply by listing an address outside high-gun traffic or high crime areas. Los Angeles is one city considered a high “no issue” location in California. Further, it is one city that takes its responsibility to gun laws seriously.

In the summer of 2017, two judgements came down from the Supreme Court. The first would have further strengthened a law that was slated to go into effect on July 1, 2017 and that would have prevented gun owners from possessing high-capacity ammunition magazines. The courts effectively deemed it an effort to “take away gun owners’ Second Amendment rights” and that the state was trying to “seize people’s private property without compensation”.

The second ruling came when the state’s regulators sought to put new rules on assault weapons without allowing for public comment. For now, California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra will have to put his ambitions on hold.

While the state of California can appear to go too far at times, and its tough stance on the Second Amendment is proof, the reasons are clear and make sense. The problem is the state itself can go only so far before it becomes a burden on its people.