Capitol Alert

Would banning most civilian firearms make campuses safer?


With the national debate about guns on school campuses intensifying, California this year could strengthen its already tough gun control laws under a proposed bill that would ban most civilians from possessing firearms in school zones.

At present, school superintendents have broad authority to allow firearms on campuses. Assembly Bill 424 from Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, removes that discretion. (Peace officers and participants in sanctioned shooting sports would be exempted from the ban).

“A safe learning environment is essential for our children to be successful in the classroom,” McCarty said last month after it cleared the Assembly, calling it the “latest example of California leading the nation’s efforts to reduce gun violence and keep guns out of our schools.”

The law comes amid a broader statewide push by gun rights groups to ease rules on carrying weapons in public and allowing them in schools.

California already bars people from openly carrying firearms in public. The U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to intervene in a decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld California sheriffs’ right to restrict concealed weapon permits. “The Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public,” the lower court said last year in its majority opinion, in response to challenges in San Diego and Yolo counties.

Under state law, local law enforcement agencies decide when concealed carry permits are granted, and allows them to require applicants demonstrate “good cause” to conceal a firearm.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra applauded the court decision, saying it “leaves in place an important and common-sense firearm regulation, one that promotes public safety, respects Second Amendment rights and values the judgment of sheriffs and police chiefs throughout the sate on what works best for their communities.”

The California Rifle & Pistol Association has criticized the lower court decision, saying in a brief that it “presents perhaps the single most important unresolved Second Amendment question.” It also denounced McCarty’s bill, calling it an “attempt by anti-freedom politicians in Sacramento to make schools less safe.”

The bill is up for a hearing in the Senate Public Safety committee, which meets at 8:30 a.m. in Room 3191 of the Captiol.

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WORTH REPEATING: “She was interviewing me!” – Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, recalling at an Assembly floor ceremony the hiring process for Diane Griffiths, a legendary legislative staff member who is retiring.

SMOKING IN PUBLIC: Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, wants to ban smoking at state parks and beaches.

“Smoking is a dangerous habit that results in cancer and pollution,” Levine said in a statement. “We have a duty to protect Californians visiting our parks and beaches to protect public health and our environment.”

A hearing for Assembly Bill 725 is set for a 9 a.m. Natural Resources and Water committee hearing in Room 112 of the Capitol.

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PUSH FOR SINGLE PAYER: The powerful California Nurses Association has it out for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount.

RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the nurses union, tweeted #RendonBetrayal after he announced last week that the Assembly would not hold a hearing for Senate Bill 562, which would have created one government run, universal health care system for all of California.

“#SinglePayer covers pre-existing backstabs,” DeMoro wrote on Twitter over the weekend. “Let’s tell @Rendon63rd to pull the knife out.”

Now the nurses are holding a series of demonstrations targeting Rendon.

The first is today from noon to 1 p.m. at his district office in South Gate. A second protest is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the corner of 11th and L streets in Sacramento.

“Acting in secret in the interests of the profiteering insurance companies late...abandons all those people already threatened by Congress and the Trump administration," said Deborah Burger, co-president of nurses union.

CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Matthew Harper, R-Huntington Beach, who turns 43 today.