SACRAMENTO – Earlier today, second amendment civil rights advocates at Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) (Grassroots Director Richard Thomson and Director of Operations Kyle Kennington) delivered over 40,000 individual letters from concerned Californians demanding that Governor Brown veto Senate Bill 707.
The gun control bill would prohibit gun owners issued a license by their local police chief or sheriff after passing a strict, fingerprint-based background check and agency-approved training course from carrying handguns for self-defense on California school grounds. It would also subject those with a carry permit to harsh new criminal liability for merely possessing a single round of ammunition on the grounds of any school or college campus, even if they don’t also possess a firearm.
If signed by Governor Brown, victims of domestic violence and stalking, judges, prosecutors, and public defenders who have a carry license would have to leave their registered self-defense handguns at home when picking up their children at school.
“If SB 707 is not vetoed, this bill will put thousands of innocent lives at risk. Criminals will know that their intended victims are totally vulnerable when they’re on California school grounds because SB 707 will ensure that they’re defenseless against a violent attack,” said FPC President Brandon Combs.
Early in the process, powerful law enforcement political groups changed their position and supported the bill after they successfully lobbied for a deal to allow their retired members to carry weapons on campus without even going through basic continuing background checks and training. Firearms Policy Coalition believes that those exemptions are unconstitutional and has promised to file a federal lawsuit should SB 707 become law.
“The Ninth Circuit has already ruled that retired law enforcement employees can’t have any special firearms privileges that other law-abiding people don’t have access to,” continued Combs. “SB 707 blatantly disregards longstanding Fourteenth Amendment principles, the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to bear arms, and common sense.”
“If this dangerous and unconstitutional bill becomes law, we’ll file for an injunction at the first opportunity.”
In 2002, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a California law that gave retired law enforcement officers special exemptions from the Assault Weapons Control Act. That decision was reinforced in a 2010 legal opinion issued by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown.
“We hope that the Governor follows the will of the people and listens to the over forty thousand law-abiding Californians who weighed in to request a veto of SB 707,” concluded Combs. “SB 707 is bad for public safety and it’s clearly unconstitutional under his own legal opinion. We’re cautiously optimistic that he’ll do the right thing and veto the bill.”