Generally, when it comes to gun safety, California leads the nation. We require criminal background checks on every gun sale, and we were one of the first states to adopt a strong “red flag” law that allows family members and police to seek a court order temporarily blocking someone from having guns if they show signs of violence.
But when it comes to concealed carry permits, we’ve fallen behind. Under current state law, it is legal for a person who has never fired a gun to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in public.
The Legislature just passed Assembly Bill 2103, which requires that all concealed weapon permit applicants demonstrate their ability to safely handle firearms. Gov. Jerry Brown should sign it.
This law is common sense; 25 other states have passed similar laws requiring applicants to undergo live-fire training before obtaining a concealed carry permit.
To get a concealed carry license in California,applicants must prove they have completed a course in firearm safety that included knowledge of current gun laws. Many sheriffs have gone beyond the law to require live-fire training, but that isn’t mandated in every county. It shouldn’t be possible for someone to spend an afternoon in a classroom, pay a fee and get a permit without ever proving they can safely handle a firearm.
As an Army veteran, Boy Scout Leader and gun owner, I’ve grown up around guns. I come from a long line of gun owners who value the importance of gun safety. From a young age, I have received and provided many hours of safety training. To this day, I never go shooting with someone unless I know that they can handle a gun. The state should have these same standards.
As the nation grapples with the gun violence crisis, AB 2103 will ensure that California remains a leader in gun safety. It might seem like a small step, but evidence has shown that comprehensive gun safety — including live-fire training — can help keep our communities safer.
David Brame is a volunteer for Moms Demand Action who lives in Rocklin. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.