Monday, February 23, 2009

AB 357 - California CCW Reform?

In a previous post I told everyone to not hold their breath waiting for reform of California's CCW law. A bill introduced in the California Assembly may change that prediction. Here are the facts as I understand them. First, the text of the legislation, which amends Section 12050 of the Penal Code as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 12050 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
12050. (a) (1) (A) The sheriff of a county, upon proof that the
person applying is of good moral character , that good cause
exists for the issuance,
and that the person applying
satisfies any one of the conditions specified in subparagraph (D) and
has completed a course of training as described in subparagraph (E),
may shall issue to that person a
license to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of
being concealed upon the person in either one of the following
(i) A license to carry concealed a pistol, revolver, or other
firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.
(ii) Where the population of the county is less than 200,000
persons according to the most recent federal decennial census, a
license to carry loaded and exposed in that county a pistol,
revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the
That is all. No other changes are proposed in this bill that I could find.

My question is this: do these incredibly modest changes to the text substantially change the status quo with CCW issuance in California? I am not a lawyer, not am I a legislator, so the changes that to me seem crucial, may in fact be inconsequential. If this bill passes and is signed into law, will it change the how CCW permits are issued, or will the agencies be able to wiggle around what appears to be a big change?

Here is the current status for the bill:


MEASURE : A.B. No. 357
AUTHOR(S) : Knight.
TOPIC : Firearms: license to carry concealed firearm.

Majority Vote Required
State-Mandated Local Program
Non-Tax Levy

LAST HIST. ACT. DATE: 02/19/2009
LAST HIST. ACTION : Read first time. To print.

TITLE : An act to amend Section 12050 of the Penal Code,
relating to firearms.

This bill was introduced by Assembly Member Steve Knight, whose office is located in Palmdale, CA, a southern California city in a generally conservative region, which should be no surprise.

So, what is next? I would sent Assemblyman Knight a message indicating your support of his bill. And I would send a message to your own Assembly member also indicating your support for this bill. As can be seen in the history, this bil has not even been sent to a committee for initial consideration. Perhaps out support could move it along.


Anonymous said...

Yes, deleting those seven words and changing "may" to "shall" is it. This bill is a shall-issue bill and does everything we need. We should support it vigorously. Send letters to everyone on the Public Safety Committee and to your own rep and to Steve Knight himself supporting this bill.

This bill will take California from having one of the worst CCW systems in the country (a routinely-abused may-issue system) to have a great shall-issue system.

LeftCoastConservative said...

Thanks for the comment.

Unfortunately the probability of this bill becoming law is effectively zero, but even so I have written to my representative already.

Also, I think it would be a good idea to add a training requirement, and perhaps other objective requirements such as age, citizenship, etc.

Still, more support of the bill cannot hurt.

Anonymous said...

Hi LeftCoastConservative, to answer your points above:

1. You're overly pessimistic. It's not a non-zero chance of passing. It may take several efforts to get it passed, but we need to support it strongly every time. Most states that have gone shall-issue have had to introduce the bill a few times.

2. Training is required right now. There isn't a uniform state-wide training program, but I believe the minimum acceptable standards are 8 hours for new issuance and 4 for renewals, according to statute. This law doesn't change that.

3. Age requirements: Strangely enough the statute doesn't specify age but the minimum to buy a handgun is 21 years, so effectively CCWs are not available to under-21.

4. Having a citizenship requirement would be unconstitutional. Citizenship requirements for CCW have been tried in other states and they have been tossed out by courts. Non-citizens have almost all the same rights that citizens have.

Anonymous said...

When will this come up for a vote? We all really need to get behind this thing and try to get it passed.

Daniel said...

I'm a democrat, but I'm STRONGLY behind this bill. I wrote Steve Knight and plan to harass my assemblyman until this is passed. Keep fighting the good fight! You may make a republican out of me yet.

Anonymous said...

We need to write our state legislators and let them know we all approve of these changes. What a breath of fresh air. A step in the right direction!Please write or call today!
Barbara Boxer 415-403-0100
Dianne Feinstein 415-393-0707
Wally Herger 530-893-8363
Sam Aanestad 916-651-4004
Dan Logue 916-319-2003

Anonymous said...

No, don't write to Feinstein / Boxer / etc about this bill! It's a state bill. Our national reps (Feinstein etc) have nothing to do with it!

I'm glad people are supporting this bill, but what you need to do is write to and call the Public Safety Committee members!

Also, another important announcement:

While you're calling and writing, also mention, "Please also support AB 1167, the California CCW reciprocity bill. That would let visitors to this state use their state CCWs (depending on reciprocity). We need to show support for both of these bills!

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering if California had long ago passed a law of this type (AB 357 Shall Issue CCW) if the recent killings in Oakland of four police officers might have been prevented or lessened by One Lone Citizen with a CCW and armed at the time of the shootings, stepping in to stop the rampage of that mad parolee with one well-placed shot?
From what I understand in States that have passed Shall Issue CCW laws they have not become the 'prophesied' lawless wild-west scenario of gun-fights in the streets but on the contrary the incidents of all violent crime has been reduced.
When CCW laws are passed criminals are suddenly faced with the uncertainty of not knowing if their intended victim will be an armed CCW and the risk of being sent to their Maker. Such a deterrent makes us all safer including those who choose not to carry a weapon.
I am all for this sane and much needed change in our California law.

D said...

Proposed Bill is set to be heard on 4/14/09 by the Public Safety Committee. Please write to them first, and write a thank you letter to Steve Knight. You may perhaps write your local assemblyman to "feel them out" on their views of concealed carry as well. Letters count more than e-mails or faxes.

I have written each Public Safety Committee Member to their Capital & field offices, & wrote a thank you letter to Mr. Knight at both his offices as well.

No need to be long-winded. A "I am writing you in support of AB 357, which will finally bring equality to vetted citizens who apply for concealed carry licenses", is plenty.

Dean said...

I sent a message to 12th District's representative, Fiona Ma, and one to Assemblyman Knight as well, a couple of days ago. I'm glad to see there is some support for this bill.

What I do question is the "good moral character" part of 12050. This still allows subjectivity when considering an application. Who decides if the applicant is of "good moral character", and how do they validate their decision?

I live in California, but currently possess a CCW from Florida, who does issue to non-residents. Looking up their requirements for eligibility, nowhere do they mention a person be of "good moral character" to be eligible for a permit:

Given the wording, if a person handling an application (a Sheriff Dept. staff member) feels a person is NOT of good moral character (whatever that means), the applicant is denied. Anyone see a problem with this? Should strippers, homosexuals, marijuana smokers, wiccans, and whatnot... all be denied the right to carry in self-defense, because someone views them as "immoral"? I may not agree with some people in regards to morality, but that shouldn't affect their application.

I just think we need to get it right the first time, if we manage to get this bill through. Otherwise, we open up a whole new box, courtesy of Pandora.

LeftCoastConservative said...

Thanks to all for your posts.

Perhaps I am overly pessimistic, but I feel that the overall political tenor in Sacremento is overwhelmingly anti-gun. That said, the suggestion to write to the members of the Public Safety Committee is dead-on. Without public advocacy, AB357 will very likely fail.

Anonymous said...

This bill has been defeated.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this bill has been defeated.

Anonymous said...

Happily, this bill has not been defeated. It has been granted reconsideration. Please visit the assembly website: and type in AB357.

Please write to all members of the Public Safety Committee and thank Mr. Knight.

We must keep fighting for this bill. Law abiding citizens MUST be allowed their right to self-defense; to protect themselves and their family.

If it doesn't pass this time, we'll try again and again until it does.

Randy said...

After reading the bill analysis on I see that, among other associations, there are 469 private citizens that support the bill.

469?! Is that all?!

There would have been 470 if I had known about it in time and known how to add my name to the list!

Why am I always the last to know? Why are these things always done in the dark? Everyone needs to know about this.

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Anonymous said...

Unless I misunderstand what I am reading, it seems that the bill is scheduled for a second hearing on January 10th of 2010:

Write your state assembly person and, more importantly, the public safety committee members today:

One of my representatives is actually on the committee.

Anonymous said...

You need to read the whole bill, especially section (ii) to understand that this bill will only apply to the citizenz of a city of 200,000 or less to be able to apply for the right to a ccw permit. The rest of the state with cities of 200,000 or more will not qualify. This section needs to be removed.

Anonymous said...

This bill, if passed, will make CA a safer state by not allowing criminals an unfair advantage over law abiding citizens. A big leap for CA citizens to protect themselves and their families.

To the previous poster, if you read section (ii), it states that it will allow people in counties with less than 200,000 to open carry.

Anonymous said...


MEASURE : A.B. No. 357
AUTHOR(S) : Knight.
TOPIC : Firearms: license to carry concealed firearm.
+LAST AMENDED DATE : 04/13/2009

Majority Vote Required
State-Mandated Local Program
Non-Tax Levy

LAST HIST. ACT. DATE: 01/13/2010
LAST HIST. ACTION : From committee without further action pursuant to Joint
Rule 62(a).
COMM. ACTION DATE : 01/12/2010
COMM. ACTION : Set, final hearing. Failed passage.

TITLE : An act to amend Section 12050 of the Penal Code,
relating to firearms.