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Just hours after introducing penalties for California schools that protect children from LGBT and identitarian propaganda, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom doubled taxes on guns and introduced new limits on Second Amendment rights in the state. According to the governor, who has ruled out a 2024 presidential run, the 23 gun control bills he ratified Tuesday "will make our communities and families safer."
Gun groups have already taken legal action, stressing that the new laws are "unconstitutional."
While some Democrats in the state are in denial about their constitutionality of their initiatives — even after having their ban on large-capacity magazines struck down last week by U.S. District Court Judge Benitez — Newsom has acknowledged that the new gun control legislation might similarly be short-lived.
Among the state's new penalties and restrictions on law-abiding gun-owners is Democratic Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel's AB 28, which imposes an 11% excise tax on guns and ammunition sold by gun manufacturers and dealers. According to the governor's office, this tax will take $160 million annually out of the pockets of Americans keen to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
The 11% tax, which will be added atop existing 10%-11% federal excise taxes on guns and ammunition, will go into effect in July 2024.
Senate Bill 2, also ratified Tuesday by Newsom, sets out subjective language concerning who can carry firearms in public and vastly grows the number of "sensitive public spaces" where guns are prohibited, such that every park, every hospital, all public transportation, any place that sells alcohol, libraries, churches, banks, zoos, and various other places are now effectively gun-free zones — at least where law-abiding citizens are concerned.
Furthermore, SB 2 requires not only that California residents be 21 years old as opposed to 18 in order to obtain a concealed carry permit but also that applicants provide character references and agree to have their social media pages and publicly available statements reviewed.
Despite Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino's contention that SB 2 is "constitutional and consistent with the Supreme Court's guidance in the Bruen decision," the Los Angeles times indicated this law could nevertheless result in a Supreme Court fight.
Newsom has himself acknowledged that the laws may "mean nothing if the federal courts are throwing them out," reported NPR.
"We feel very strongly that these bills meet the [new standard], and they were drafted accordingly," added Newsom. "But I'm not naive about the recklessness of the federal courts and the ideological agenda."
The California Rifle and Pistol Association and other pro-Second Amendment groups filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month challenging SB 2, suggesting the legislation is the latest in an ongoing effort by California politicians to "eviscerate the very right to be armed in public that the plain language of the Second Amendment secures and that our forebears uniformly understood to preexist any constitutional text."
"California's newly passed Senate Bill 2 ... turns the Bruen decision on its head, making nearly every public space in California a 'sensitive place' (in name only), and forbidding firearm carry even after someone has undertaken the lengthy and expensive process to be issued a concealed handgun license ('CCW permit') under state law."
Extra to SB 2, AB 28, and over a dozen other bills, Newsom ratified:
- SB 452, which requires all semiautomatic pistols sold in the state to use microstamping technology whereby unique identifiers are etched into expended cartridges for easier tracking by law enforcement;
- AB 455, which allows courts to prevent individuals participating in mental health diversion programs from possessing or buying guns;
- AB 725, which changes the definition of a firearm to include the frame or receiver of a weapon;
- AB 732, which beefs up the process by which guns are confiscated from convicts; and
- AB 92, which makes it a felony for convicted violent felons to own or buy body armor.
Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, stressed that "these laws will not make us safer," reported NPR.
"They are an unconstitutional retaliatory and vindictive response to the Supreme Court's affirmation that the Second Amendment protects an individuals' right to choose to own a firearm for sport or to defend your family," said Michel. "They are being challenged, and the second they are signed, the clock starts ticking towards a judgment striking them down."
Kris Brown, the president of the gun control group Brady, lauded the new laws, saying, "Several of these bills aim to address the supply side of the gun industry with policies that will mandate the use of merchant category codes for firearm retailers, require important training for firearm dealers and their employees, and crack down on the production of ghost guns. All of these initiatives will help prevent firearms from landing in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them."
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.