Santiago Introduces Measure to Oppose Federal Overreach on Gun Safety

Friday, August 25, 2017

AJR 24 pushes back on concealed carry reciprocity with weekend alt-right

protest in San Francisco looming

(Sacramento) – California State Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) introduced a resolution today to oppose federal overreach of California’s strong gun safety laws. AJR 24, sponsored by Everytown for Gun Safety, is a response to twin federal measures that were recently introduced in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. S. 446 & H.R. 38, both named the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, would require states to recognize concealed carry permits from out-of-state gun holders, thereby allowing them to skirt common-sense gun control measures California has already established.

“I’m not willing to throw away the progress we have made on gun-safety or put our communities at risk because some backward politician in D.C. thinks they know what’s better for California than we do,” said Assemblymember Santiago. “Our state has a right to create our own laws, within the confines of the U.S. Constitution, and Californians expect that the gun control laws that they have supported and instituted in the name of public health and safety will hold – regardless of who is carrying that gun or where he or she is from.”

If either of the Gun Control Reciprocity Acts were to be signed into law, out-of-state gun owners with concealed carry permits would not have to abide by California’s rules and regulations on those permits, potentially allowing thousands of out-of-state gun owners to bring their weapons into California.  With this in mind, AJR 24 urges Congress to not enact any concealed carry reciprocity measures – including either S. 446 or H.R. 38.    

Earlier this month, much violence erupted at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (one of 34 open carry states).  In many news reports, including a segment produced by Vice News that has been viewed by nearly three million people thus far, white nationalist protestors including Alt-Right shock jock Christopher Cantwell can be seen carrying guns, many of them assault weapons. There were also reports that many who attended the event were from out of state. The Vice News report later showed that Mr. Cantwell, a resident of New Hampshire, had a number of guns concealed on his person during the march, as well.

With a permit recently approved by the National Park Service for a right-wing rally on Saturday at San Francisco’s Chrissy Field, the controversy of white nationalism combined with concealed weapons comes directly to California. While the Chrissy Field permit expressly prohibits, among other things “guns, weapons of any kind, explosives, or toy guns,” it has been reported that nationalist groups from outside California are sending members to participate.  Under this scenario in the future, should the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act pass, law enforcement and residents of San Francisco would have no assumption of gun safety during large events that draw out-of-state crowds, regardless of the language contained within the event permit.  While technically, event participants still would not be allowed to carry weapons, those same participants who held concealed carry permits from their home states, would be able to spend their remaining times in San Francisco with concealed weapons on their persons.

“We applaud Assemblyman Santiago for his efforts to get California on record opposing national 'Concealed Carry Reciprocity,' reckless legislation that would gut California's gun laws and make our communities less safe,” said Wendy Wheatcroft, with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Rather than create a national standard for who can carry guns in public across our country, the NRA's longtime top policy priority would override each state's standards, and force states like California to accept the concealed carry permitting standards of every other state, no matter how weak, or even nonexistent, another state's standards may be. Put another way, it would make the weakest link the law of the land. For example, California requires safety training to obtain a concealed carry permit but 19 other states allow concealed carry by people who have never had any safety training whatsoever - and those people would legally be able to carry a gun in California. Imagine all the tourists our state attracts, San Diego alone could see over a million armed out-of-state visitors per year. 'Concealed Carry Reciprocity' would create total chaos and I applaud the Assembly's resolution to oppose.”

Last year the Governor signed a package of gun-control bills that helped further protect Californians from gun violence, including AB 1511, authored by Assemblymember Santiago.  In November of last year, California voters also approved Proposition 63, which requires background checks for all gun owners. In many others states, regulations on who can receive a concealed carry permit are severely limited. In fact, a recent report from Everytown for Gun Safety found that concealed carry permits in other states have often been granted to criminals, those with a history of mental illness, and/or those who have not received any gun safety training courses.

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance Committee, a member of the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee, and a member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.