California’s concealed-carry permitting rules will almost certainly become more lax under a U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday nullifying a similar framework in New York.
Like New York, California gives local law enforcement some discretion in issuing permits — a commonality that Justice Clarence Thomas specifically noted in his opinion striking down New York’s rules. California law requires sheriffs and police departments to consider whether applicants are morally upstanding and have cause for a permit, in addition to imposing a training requirement.
Those rules could soon dissolve. The California Rifle and Pistol Association lauded the Supreme Court’s decision and said it planned a flurry of legal action to shift California’s stringent gun control laws, noting it already had various challenges in the court pipeline.
“This is a game changer, and a hard reset for gun control law legal challenges in California, and nationally,” President Chuck Michel said in a statement.
The high court’s decision drew condemnation from California Democrats — Gov. Gavin Newsom in a tweet Thursday excoriated 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” — but their hands may be tied.
“In addition to overturning New York’s concealed carry law, this decision also puts in jeopardy similar concealed carry laws in California and six other states,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in a statement.
Representatives of the California Department of Justice and organizations representing California sheriffs and police chiefs did not immediately have comments or respond to requests for comment on the ruling’s immediate implications.
A broader suite of tough California gun control laws could also be in jeopardy. Laws banning high-capacity magazines, prohibiting assault weapons and requiring people to be 21 to purchase semiautomatic rifles are all moving through legal challenges.