U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Puts Target on California Gun Control Laws

The U.S. Supreme Court, in one of its most significant gun law rulings in more than a decade, today tossed out New York state’s tight restrictions on who can carry a concealed gun in public – and. California’s similar law may be next to be challenged.

The ruling likely marks the most dramatic expansion of gun rights in the United States since 2008, when the Supreme Court clarified for the first time that the Second Amendment’s right “to keep and bear” firearms applies to individual citizens, not just state militia members. But that ruling only affirmed the right for “self-defense within the home,” leaving states with wide discretion over whether and how to restrict guns elsewhere.

Gov. Gavin Newsom called the ruling “shameful” and a “dark day for America.”

“This is a dangerous decision from a court hell bent on pushing a radical ideological agenda and infringing on the rights of states to protect our citizens from being gunned down in our streets, schools, and churches,” the governor said on Twitter.

This ruling brings that constitutional right outside the home.

“Confining the right to “bear” arms to the home would make little sense,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court’s majority.

Most states either issue concealed carry licenses upon request or do not require licenses at all. But in eight states, applicants are required to show a compelling need before being granted permission to tote around a concealed firearm. Until today’s ruling, New York was one of those states. California is another.

“We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” Thomas wrote, offering a description of New York’s concealed carry law, but also California’s.

How easily a Californian is able to obtain a concealed weapon permit depends on where they live. That’s because in California these licenses are issued by local law enforcement — either city police chiefs or county sheriffs. And while state law requires applicants to demonstrate “good cause,” local law enforcement officials have wide latitude to define what that means.

In counties with Republican sheriffs — Sacramento and Tehama, for example — permits are issued to all qualified applicants so long as they pay the necessary fees, take a firearms safety class as required by state law and don’t have a criminal record.

San Francisco sits on the opposite end of the spectrum. According to county sheriff guidelines, an applicant living in the city must “supply convincing evidence” that they are at “significant risk of danger” that local law enforcement “cannot adequately address” and “cannot reasonably be avoided by alternative measures.”

The court’s ruling doesn’t immediately invalidate restrictive concealed carry policies like those in San Francisco. But it does make legal challenges against California’s entire discretionary system much more likely to succeed.

The ruling could have much more sweeping implications that touch on all areas of California gun laws — from the state’s ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines to its restrictions on “ghost guns.” That’s because today’s ruling sets a higher bar for any firearm restrictions.

“To justify its regulation, the government may not simply posit that the regulation promotes an important interest,” Thomas wrote. “Rather, the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle & Pistol Association (the state’s National Rifle Association chapter), told CalMatters today that he plans to file a host of new legal briefs in existing court challenges against the state’s assault weapon ban, its background check requirements, its large capacity magazine ban and against Los Angeles County’s concealed carry restrictions.

He said today’s ruling is “going to simplify the whole process of judging whether or not a gun law is constitutional” and that the State of California will now have a harder time arguing that its strict rules are legal.

At the same time the nation’s highest court expands the scope of the Second Amendment, Congress is on the verge of adding a few modest extra guardrails. In response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers with a semi-automatic rifle, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan gun bill on Wednesday over the objections of the National Rifle Association.

If passed by the House of Representatives and signed by President Joe Biden, as is expected, it would ratchet up some background checks for younger would-be gun buyers. It would also provide funding to states interested in introducing “red-flag laws,” which make it easier for authorities to temporarily remove firearms from those deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

Democratic lawmakers in California are also considering their own raft of new gun bills. That includes legislation that would open gun vendors and manufacturers to an array of lawsuits for violating state gun rules or marketing guns and ammunition to minors or others who aren’t allowed to own them.



  1. When will these states stop trying to impinge on the constitutional rights of citizens?

    There are already too many so-called “Gun Control” laws on the books – but
    Liberal Progressive DAs, Prosecutors and Judges do not enforce them for criminals.
    All they try to do is pass more restrictive (unconstitutional) laws on law abiding citizens, while at the same time emptying Jails with $0 Bails.

    Enforce or Pass Laws in which criminals CANNOT Plea Down Firearms charges
    and are Held without Bail Options – if you want some results.
    DAs and Judges that are Soft-on-Crime,
    allowing Felony Firearm charges to plea down,
    and Do Not File illegal firearms or gang enhancements are
    already in office, ensuring crime returns back to the streets.

    These ‘Progressive” DAs (and CA AG Rob Bonta) forget that
    they ARE NOT Public Defenders –
    they are elected to put Criminal Offenders behind Bars.
    A quick search shows how frequently Criminals with Gun Charges are Released,
    only to Commit Future Gun Crimes.
    Take Liberal Progressive Chicago Headlines for example:
    —— “3 men, 3 guns, but Prosecutors ONLY FILE Misdemeanor Charges”
    #1: 16-year-old charged with shooting man during robbery while awaiting trial for firearm felony.
    #21: Man’s accused of shooting up another car in traffic – while on bond for gun case.
    #38: Man killed one, shot another while on bond for being a felon in possession of a firearm, prosecutors say.
    A list of 38 criminals who repeatedly Violated “Gun Laws” and were released by
    Weak Progressive DAs, Prosecutors and Judges
    just to commit further crimes in 2021 can be reviewed in the link below.


  2. Sure, it threatens to shoot holes in California’s less than legit and respectable laws, so also to speak or write. Tsk, tsk. Boo, hoo.

    It’s long overdue that overt infringements be struck down or at least opened to long-needed legitimate political attack. The typical group of offenders should be worried.

    That not only includes in this case the obvious infringement but something also needing revisiting in this country — the burden of proof or need for action must always lie upon GOVERNMENT when any kind of limit or restriction is sought. (May the IRS be so reformed one day, not just the Constitution-rejecting anti-gunners.)

    Note also that at the same, the illegitimate and bad to at times, verminous behavior of many Dem politicians and related activists, hoping to attack gun rights any way they can, no matter how lowly or slimily, including pursuing gun makers with bogus lawsuits and the like, anything to satisfy their fear and loathing and routinely low morality about this constitutional right.

  3. HAHAHAHA the SJI contributors “writers” are going to have a progressive meltdown over the thought of law abiding citizens exercising their 2nd amendment right. Criminal thugs roaming the streets should take notice.

  4. Even the CA “Soft-on-Crime” Attorney General sees the writing on the wall, and is directing Concealed Weapons Permit issuers to no longer obstruct the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment.

    “Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta has advised CA law enforcement agencies that the “good cause” requirement for issuing a concealed weapons permit is likely unconstitutional and should no longer be used.”

    “The advice came in a legal alert to “all California district attorneys, police chiefs, sheriffs, county counsels and city attorneys” and follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Thursday overturning New York State’s “proper cause” requirement.”.

    Looking to November, the Soft-on-Crime CA Attorney General, Rob Bonta also needs to get gone from office.
    CA AG Bonta is another one of those Pro-Prop 47 DAs that supports Soft-On-Crime policies
    like ending cash bail, revolving door jails, felon releases and limiting jail and prison terms.

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