While the national media has been focused on California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s attempt to enshrine gun control into the U.S. Constitution, the truth is that there are matters of far more pressing concern for gun owners taking place at the state capitol in Sacramento. Even if the state legislature approves Newsom’s resolution calling for an Article V convention to adopt a constitution amendment that would ban gun sales to under-21s, prohibit the sale of so-called assault weapons, impose “universal” background checks on firearm transfers, and create a national waiting period on gun purchases, there’s no way that Newsom is going to get his “Right to Safety” resolution passed in 38 states, which is what’s needed to kick off a constitutional convention.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, I’m joined by California Rifle & Pistol Association legislative affairs director Rick Travis, who warns that there are other bills beyond Newsom’s proposal that gun owners need to be concerned about. In addition to the “carry killer” legislation SB 2, which Travis expects to get to Newsom’s desk by the end of next month, there are several other bills that he believes will soon be on the move.
SB 452, for example, is the state’s latest attempt to keep its microstamping law on the books. Two federal judges have already issued decisions halting enforcement of the state’s microstamping law, but the legislation would impose a brand new microstamping standard on all semi-automatic pistols sold in the state starting in July, 2027. Despite the Democratic supermajority in Sacramento, Travis says there’s actually a decent chance to defeat the bill before lawmakers break at the end of September.
Travis believes the same is true of AB 28, which would impose a new 11% excise tax on the sale of all firearms and ammunition in the state. Though there’s already a federal excise tax of that same amount, Travis says that tax was created and supported by gun owners back in the 1930s, who actually asked Congress to approve the tax since the funds would be used for wildlife restoration and conservation. Contrast that to AB 28, which is a product of the gun control lobby. Instead of funding wildlife conservation programs, the money generated from California’s proposed tax would go to places like unspecified “community gun violence intervention and prevention initiatives” and “gun violence research.”
Travis notes that version of AB 28 have been introduced for the past seven years, and none of them have managed to make it across the finish line. That may be the case with this year’s attempt, but he warns that the anti-gunners are likely to bring this back in January if they don’t get it done this time around.
Another concern for Travis is AB 262, a “study bill” that directs the State Department of Social Services to “convene and consult with a stakeholder group on children’s camp safety” to come up with recommendations for, among other things, “appropriate qualifications for camp administrators, employees, and volunteers”, including “specialized training for activities that carry an inherent or heightened risk” like the shooting sports (one of the safest activities around, mind you).
While the bill mandates that “children’s advocates and safety groups” and “academic researchers” are a part of that stakeholder group, it leaves firearm instructors out in the cold. You can imagine what those qualifications are going to look like when gun control groups have a seat at the table but instructors themselves have been shut out of the discussions. And while this bill may be limited to summer camps, Travis says those recommendations could easily be expanded to all gun ranges in the state in the future.
This isn’t the first attempt to keep kids from learning how to be safe and responsible with firearms or to find out for themselves how fun the shooting sports can be. AB 2571, which was signed into law by Newsom last June, subjects “firearm industry members” to thousands of dollars in fines if they “advertise, market, or arrange for placement of an advertising or marketing communication concerning any firearm-related product in a manner that is designed, intended, or reasonably appears to be attractive to minors.” The law is currently being challenged in federal court, and Travis says it’s having a chilling effect on the shooting sports across the state, to the point that out-of-state colleges and universities are afraid to talk with competitive shooters about scholarships… at least on California soil. Instead, Travis says they’re meeting with prospective student-athletes in neighboring states like Nevada in order to avoid being targeted by CalDOJ.