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.

  • You could see this train coming the moment the open carry ban was signed by Moonbeam…and it WILL pass.

  • Gobhawk

    Ironically, the January 1, 2012 ban on open-carry strengthens the argument for concealed carry because CA has to provide a way to satisfy the requirements of the Second Amendment.

    Hey Josh, how about providing contact info or a website for David John Clark?

  • John W

    Guess we’ll have lots of NRA spending in the state to stimulate the economy.

    Seems like overreaching by eliminating the training requirement. We opponents will stress that point.

    Wording in the summary: “prohibits them (law enforcement)from imposing reasonable restrictions or conditions.” I’m totally opposed to changing the current law, but I find it hard to believe that the ballot measure expressly prohibits “reasonable restrictions and conditions.” It probably does so implicitly, but I would think advocates for the measure would object to the word “reasonable” in the summary.

  • Truthclubber

    Re #2:

    In order to purchase a handgun, you need to pass a test of knowledge regarding the safe use of the firearm BEFORE you are allowed to buy same — and you need to show the safety certificate to the seller BEFORE you get your hands on same.

    Those of us who WILL apply for said conceal carry overwhelmingly have enough sense to make sure we are acting in accordance of the law, and do not have to have “unreasonable” hoops put in front of us to get the permits we deserve.

  • Josh Richman

    re #2: The e-mail address that Mr. Clark provided to state officials is davidjohnclark1@hotmail.com. I haven’t found any website for him or the measure.

  • Madison

    Is there anything in this that controls what can be charged for the permits?

  • Truthclubber

    Re: #6:

    I assume (but we know how that word breaks down) that the following phrase covers your concern with regard to “reasonable permit fees”:

    “…prohibits them [the permit issuer] from imposing reasonable restrictions or conditions when issuing the firearms license…”

    I suspect that the summary is written poorly, and that the “reasonable restrictions” actually means “unreasonable restrictions” as in exorbitant fees…

  • John W

    Re: #7

    Truthclubber, you could be right that “reasonable” is supposed to be “unreasonable.” Otherwise, the summary is nonsensical.

  • John W

    Re: #6 re limiting charges for permits

    Don’t know, but I assume any charge that substantially exceeds the fully loaded cost of the permitting system would not be viewed favorably by the courts.

    This will probably make the gun rights activists’ heads explode, figuratively speaking — something I always enjoy facilitating. But I’ve often thought there should be a tax on gun and ammo manufacturers and retailers to fully cover the externalized economic costs of their business. For example, emergency rooms that currently eat the uncompensated costs of treating gun wounds. Or the loss suffered by the family of the one-year-old in Oakland who was killed in a drive-by. Or the guy killed in his house from a drive-by while sleeping in his bed. Yes, I understand, these examples were not the work of law-abiding citizens. But the guns and ammo used were made in a gun factory. The manufacturer and one or more retailers profited at some point from the sale of the guns and ammo, without having to account for the ultimate aggregated economic impact of the business when calculating that profit. That’s a sound, you might even say “conservative” business principle — that a business unit “profit” should account for all direct and indirect costs. Were this principle applied to gun and ammo sales, the manufacturers and retailers (legitimate and black market) would have to charge substantially more.

  • Elwood

    “there should be a tax on gun and ammo manufacturers and retailers to fully cover the externalized economic costs of their business.”

    Excellent idea, John W! Perhaps you could draft the legislation. I would be particularly interested in your cost analysis methodology.

  • Truthclubber

    Re: #2 (redux, since the numbering system went ka-blewie!)

    “…there should be a tax on [corporate entities] to fully cover the externalized economic costs of the business….”

    Well, Johnny Dubya, get in line with yer “anti-gun, anti-bullet” bias behind the following petitioners:

    “Anti-oil” (all of that CO2 in the atmosphere, not to mention god-knows what else spews out of a tailpipe)
    “Anti-coal” (we know all too well the effects of methyl mercury and other acidic chemicals on the water supply of American lakes and streams)
    “Anti-fracking” (as we are just beginning to learn what injecting large amounts of foreign substances into unstable earth laminents causes to the underlying crust above same — earthquakes — and the pollution of the water table as those foreign substances leech upward)
    “Anti-nuclear” — One word: Fukushima. Need I say more? Yes? One word: Chernobyl. Need I say more? Three words: Three Mile Island. Need I say more? Two words: Diablo Canyon.

    Need I go on? I think not, as you see how pointless your pathetic little “anti-gun, anti-bullet” windmill-jousting argument is, given where it stands in the pecking order against the current “one dollar, one vote corporate democracy” that we all live in today…

  • jacob

    I agree with passing this bill when it is written I will donate, where can I donate and sign the ballot !!!!! … I have my CCW in other states yet it is so hard for me to get one in California even with Military Service, Good Conduct award, 16 hour CCW course in California and the Local County Sherrif having speaking with 2 references on application in person and with the Sheriff saying there should not be a problem with me getting a CCW, Yet, more than likely do to frequent restrictions with California I still have little chance with getting one … very unfair politics … With HR 822 passed in the Senate and House …I hope California can do the same for its Citizens to protect them-self and family in public other than in their house … !!!!!!!!!! look at all the shootings happening, what can I do as a law biding citizen to protect myself and family from criminals being released from prisons and other criminals taking guns to work and shooting co-workers and gang members shooting people and others robbing people at gun point infront of their loved ones while pretending to be cops, like what happened in Riverside County? what I can do is carry concealed, I did open carry but now it is illegal, I do not like open carrying personally but it was the only option I had…
    Can’t wait to see this pass and I’m sure it will !!!!!

  • John W

    Re: #10

    Elwood, I don’t think it would be that tough to figure out ways to quantify annual economic impact and whether the trends are up or down. I’m pretty sure some of that economic impact analysis has already been done. The idea is that, manufacturers and retailers, as a group, would then have a stake in finding ways to reduce gun violence. Like maybe selling 30 guns and high capacity clips at a time to some guy in Tucson or El Paso, even though he passes the background check, isn’t such a cool idea. If aggregate violence and corresponding economic consequences go up, it hits them in the pocketbook. If it goes down, the taxes imposed go down. As it stands now, their only interest is in selling as many guns and as much ammo as they legally can, knowing that the consequences are somebody else’s problem.

  • John W

    # 11


    Well, I began by saying my comments would make heads explode, figuratively, and that I would enjoy that. You didn’t disappoint me.

  • Truthclubber

    Re: #12

    So you admit you’re a bombthrower, just like Newt Gingrich, eh?

    Flippantly tossing out provocative and completely unrealistic scenarios (like, as an example from Gingrich, requiring poor black school children to clean toilets at their school to learn the “habit” of working legitimately for money) just to get a rise out of people who dare to take you on?

  • Elwood

    “Like maybe selling 30 guns and high capacity clips at a time to some guy in Tucson or El Paso, even though he passes the background check, isn’t such a cool idea.”

    You mean like our federal government. our justice department, our homeland security agency did?

  • Dan

    It’ll never pass if the ballot initiative is written as above. It must be written as:

    Eliminates the “good cause” and “moral character” pretext by which Sheriffs denied law abiding citizens the right to get a permit to carry a firearm. Women, and men, who are law-abiding citizens, who have no history of drug abuse or mental illness, who go through proper training, will be granted a permit if applied. No criminals, people with mental problem histories, or drug abusers. Estimated impact on crime is minimal, and some feel it will reduce crime. Would also generate money for the state from licensing fees, promote overall safe streets, and safety and education.

  • For Liberty

    John W.,

    Your thinking of punishing the the ammunition and pistol manufacturers with unfair taxes for the recent death of the small child in Oakland is SICK. The thought of the manufacturers having any liability for the unlawful and murderous actions conducted by others is wrong and unjustified.

    I assume your ideal world would only allow guns to be in the hands of the military and the police.

  • John W

    Re: #15

    “bombthrower, just like Newt…”

    That’s me.

  • John W

    Re: #16

    “You mean like our federal government…did?”

    I haven’t spent much time learning the details of “Fast and Furious.” However, my impression was that the gun dealer who cooperated in the operation had been engaged (lawfully) in the type of high volume gun transactions I mentioned. It also strikes me that the sting operation was a good concept and well-intentioned but poorly designed and executed. Sting operations are an important tool in law enforcement. Unfortunately, they sometimes backfire. If it had worked, most people would be praising DHS, I would hope.

  • John W

    Re: #18

    For Liberty,

    What was SICK was when, as soon as Obama was elected, there was a mad rush to stock up on arms and ammo, encouraged by the NRA and gun industry, to the point where ammo was in short supply.

    My commentary, which, as noted by TruthClubber, has a snowball’s chance in Hades of being given serious consideration, is as much about economics and sham capitalism as it is about guns per se. It says, that if you really believe in capitalism, as I do, you should be for privatizing the risks and associated consequences as well as the profits. It just so happens that the gun industry is a pretty good example of not doing that. Finding a way to shift hidden, externalized costs back onto the books of the gun and ammo industry — assuming there was a fair and practical way to do that — would not be “punishing” them. Recognizing and properly assigning those costs would be in accord with sound accounting and economic principles.

    No, I’m not against private gun ownership; and I don’t disagree with the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment rulings to date. I had a couple of guns as a teen until I entered the Army. After I left the Army, I arranged for their destruction and disposal — based on the fact that I no longer had any interest in using them or transferring them to anybody else. My grandfather in Cook County, Illinois was permitted for a concealed weapon based on his business and his experience of having been robbed at gunpoint. I would also note, that when I was 3, that gun and a bag of bullets were accidentally and irresponsibly left on the kitchen table and almost resulted in me not being here to rant on this topic.

    Guns for hunting, hobby, home protection and protection outside the home for those who really need that are fine. But, when it comes to the gun culture mentality that “an armed society is a polite society;” that it would be a healthy thing for everybody to strut around with a Glock strapped to their hip or concealed; or that it is or should be the God-given right of paranoid wing-nuts (left or right) to store aresenals of heavy arms under some 18th Century notion of someday violently overthrowing the government in power — yeah, I’m pretty much against that stuff. Call me crazy!

  • Prudencio C

    I will have an opportunity as a law abiding citizen to protect myself and my family in any circumstances anywhere anytime.

  • Dan Downing

    I already live in a very lenient county in regards to CCL’s, but support this movement statewide.

  • Brad Hurst

    Will all those of you not in favor of shall issue do us a favor and wear a sign stating so. We will be sure to not intervene in the event that you are mugged, robbed, raped or worse. We do not want to violate your right to be totaly defensless