Concealed carry ballot measure starts circulating

A proposed ballot measure that essentially would change California from a state where law enforcement “may issue” permits to carry concealed handguns into one where it “shall issue” such permits has been cleared to start gathering petition signatures, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced late yesterday afternoon.

Here’s the Attorney General’s official title and summary for the measure:

CONCEALED FIREARMS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Eliminates good cause and good moral character requirements for license to carry concealed firearms. Compels sheriffs and police chiefs to issue licenses to carry concealed firearms to any eligible applicant with no history of mental illness, substance abuse, or domestic violence, who is not currently under criminal investigation or indictment or currently subject of restraining order. Eliminates sheriffs’ and police chiefs’ option to require applicants complete up to 24 hours of firearms training, and prohibits them from imposing reasonable restrictions or conditions when issuing the firearms license. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state and local expenditures of an unknown amount to process applications for concealed firearms licenses, which would be funded with revenues collected from license application fees. (11-0056)

Proponent David John Clark has until May 14 to gather valid signatures from at least 504,760 registered California voters in order to place the measure on next November’s ballot.

This is a holy grail for gun-rights advocates, and point of many of the “open carry” demonstrations we’ve seen in recent years. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of resources are put behind the signature drive.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.