California Dems kill ‘shall-issue’ concealed carry bill

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Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez feels, “If a citizen passes the background check and completes the necessary safety training requirements, there should be no reason to deny them a CCW.” (Photo: CA Assembly GOP)

The Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday rejected legislation to reform California’s strict “may-issue” concealed carry licensing practices and make permits more obtainable.

The bill,  AB 757, aimed to amend state law to allow a desire for self-defense to be enough required “good cause” to obtain a permit. It failed 2-5 after a party-line vote.

The measure’s sponsor Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, a Republican from Lake Elsinore, argued the legislation was needed to reign in some sheriffs and police chiefs who refuse to grant licenses for personal reasons.

“Today the Democrat majority spat in the face of the Constitution by killing this measure,” said Melendez in a statement. “The Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law, yet the current system we have for issuing CCWs in California is anything but equal. Rest assured, this fight for equality isn’t over.”

Melendez’s proposal would have inserted language into the current law so that those applying for a carry permit from their local sheriff or police chief could use a desire for “self-defense, defending the life of another, or preventing crime in which human life is threatened” as sufficient reason to obtain a licence without having to show further good cause.

California is just one of eight states that still practice may-issue permitting for concealed carry licenses and one of just five that ban open carry. A number of lawsuits including Peruta v. San Diego— now pending at the short-staffed U.S. Supreme Court– are underway fighting for shall-issue reform while other litigation including the NRA’s Flanigan v. Harris/Becerra and Nichols v. Brown are pending with the U.S. 9th Circuit on the subject of open carry.

North Dakota passes bill let lawmakers take guns in buildings

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The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow lawmakers to carry concealed guns into public buildings and gatherings.

Lawmakers in the House passed the bill Tuesday on a 86-5 vote, the Billings Gazette reported. The measure, Senate Bill 2139, now heads back to the Senate for approval of minor changes made by the House.

If passed in the Senate and signed into law, lawmakers and other qualified elected officials would have to obtain an enhanced concealed carry permit and receive the same firearms training as law enforcement officers.

Current North Dakota law allows attorney general staff members, municipal and district court judges, and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed handguns into public buildings and gatherings.

A public gathering is currently defined as a school or school function, and as an athletic or sporting event.

While Republican Rep. Pat Heinert described the measure as a “good bill,” there were a few lawmakers who voted against the legislation, such as Democrat Rep. Pam Anderson.

“Think of it — I could be walking around with a gun, and that should make everybody nervous,” Anderson said.

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum would not comment on the bill before it reached his desk.

south carolina house passes permitless carry measure

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House lawmakers on Thursday forwarded a bill to the Senate that would allow for the lawful carry of handguns in the Palmetto State without a license.

South Carolina is one of just five states that ban open carry and requires a permit for concealed carry, both of which would be a thing of the past under HB 3930 which was approved 64-46 by the House on Wednesday and sent to the Senate the day after.

“Pleased to announce that Constitutional Carry has passed the SC House,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Greenwood, noted on social media. “Now it is on to the Senate.”

The bill would remove the requirement to obtain a concealed weapon permit to carry a handgun in the state. It would also retain the current permitting system for those who want to take advantage of reciprocity agreements with other states.

Currently, permits are issued by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, who had 308,406 active permits in circulation as of the end of last year. The permits cost $50, which is waived for retired law enforcement and some veterans and are valid for five years.

Previous efforts in 2015 and 2012, which concentrated on permitless concealed carry alone, failed to become law.

The legislation this week was the subject of fierce opposition in the House, with some lawmakers citing that it posed potential unanticipated consequences that could amp up interactions with police.

“If I’m an African-American male on the Battery in downtown Charleston and I’m open-carrying at 1 or 2 in the morning, which I’ll legally be able to do, is my very being, the very breath in my body going to give law enforcement probable cause to stop me?” said Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Bamberg, as reported by the Charleston Post and Courier.

While supported by gun rights groups, the measure drew the ire of gun control advocates who feel allowing people to carry a handgun without a permit or training is a risk to the public.

“Passing legislation that would drastically lower the bar for who can carry a handgun in public in South Carolina defies common sense,” said Jackie Shelley with the South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. “South Carolinians deserve laws that work in favor of our safety and not those that abandon critically important safety standards. We hope that the Senate stands on the side of public safety and common sense and rejects this legislation.”

The measure is currently residing in the Senate but has not been referred. The chamber has had a Republican majority since 2001.

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