SACRAMENTO (AP) — California is once again considering a move to tighten its restrictions on guns with a ban on the concealed carry of handguns at colleges and schools.
Gov. Jerry Brown is considering the legislation as the nation mourns the school shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, that left 10 people dead, including the gunman, the Sacramento Bee reports Saturday.
Current California law makes it illegal to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school or on a college campus without permission from administrators. But it includes exemptions for retired law enforcement officers and those with concealed carry permits.
The bill approved by lawmakers in early September would expand the prohibition of guns on school and college grounds to include weapons allowed with concealed carry permits.
Senate Bill 707, by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, puts California in the midst of a policy debate gaining prominence as gun advocates such as the National Rifle Association, having won significant victories guaranteeing ownership rights, turn their focus to the right to carry and the status of firearms in public spaces.
“There’s no question that the power of the NRA is at its height today,” said John Donohue, a professor at Stanford Law School who studies the effects of gun laws on public safety. “People who want guns don’t want to have restrictions that impede them going about their daily lives.”
The idea for the bill came from university and college police, who say school officials should have more control over campus safety. Concealed handgun permits, which require residents to show “good cause” that they are in immediate danger, are handed out by county sheriffs, who vary in their interpretation of the policy.
California has faced recent incidents such as the 2014 Isla Vista rampage that claimed the lives of six UC Santa Barbara students and their killer, and a confrontation at Sacramento City College last month that left one dead.
Much of the fight over campus carry boils down to whether guns make us more or less safe. Advocates argue that students with firearms may be able to help prevent crimes such as mass shootings and rapes
Gun control supporters counter that throwing firearms onto a campus with young people, alcohol, mental health issues and strongly held beliefs on controversial topics is a dangerous mix
“This is one of the unusual cases where California law is more lax than other states,” Wolk said in a statement. “Most people I hear from are astonished that someone could legally carry a concealed firearm onto school grounds.”
Brown has until Oct. 11 to act.