California Governor Newsom Implements Historic Gun Control Measures Amid Rising Violence


On Tuesday, in response to the steady rise of gun violence, California Governor Gavin Newsom enacted several notable gun control regulations, the first of its kind in the nation to include a state tax on firearms and ammunition. As a result, lawsuits and probable future legal objections from gun rights supporters have already begun to surface.

The newly enacted legislation will impose an 11% excise tax on all firearms and ammunition purchased within the state, a charge that will be levied in addition to the pre existing federal tax of 10-11%. The monies collected through this taxation are earmarked for funding school safety and measures to reduce violence. The effect of this law is to double the firearm tax within California.

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Furthermore, this legislation expands existing gun control measures by banning the concealed carrying of firearms in specific “sensitive locations” such as schools, parks, and sporting events and raises the minimum age for obtaining a concealed carry permit to 21. The new regulations also enhance the depth of background checks for potential firearm permit applicants.

In anticipation of future technology, the law mandates that by 2028, all semi-automatic firearms sold or transferred within California must possess “microstamping”, a system which etches a unique identifier onto a gun’s firing pin. When fired, this identifier is stamped on the bullet shell casings, thus greatly assisting investigators in tracing firearms involved in criminal activities.

In defending the new legislation, Newsom refers to the chilling statistics of gun-related crime: over the course of just 72 hours leading up to the signing of the bill, shootings across the nation resulted in at least 104 fatalities. Of this year’s 519 recorded mass shootings, a minimum of 36 occurred in California, leaving 18 individuals dead.

Concurrent to Newsom’s efforts in California, New Mexico’s Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham recently announced an emergency prohibition on carrying firearms in most public spaces in Albuquerque. This decision, though enacted as a public health order instead of legislation, prompted immediate criticism from both gun rights and gun control advocates. Following several legal challenges, Lujan Grisham was forced to narrow the scope of the order.

During the signing ceremony, Newsom reproached last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision that expanded gun rights and condemned lower circuit courts that have since rescinded gun control measures. The pivotal case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which shifted the framework for reviewing gun regulations and established that current laws restricting gun ownership are only constitutionally valid if comparable regulations were in effect when the Constitution was drafted.

Yet, despite this legislative progress, gun rights groups contend that the restrictions imposed on concealed carry infringe upon the Supreme Court’s decision. The Firearm Policy Coalition, a group advocating for gun rights, declared a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging this component of the legislation.

Even with continuous legal challenges ahead, Newsom remains steadfast, acknowledging the struggle that gun safety advocates are grappling with in opposition to the predominant conservative high court.

“The point is pretty damn obvious to anyone paying attention – it’s great what we’re doing, but it may not be enough,” said Newsom, bringing attention to the profound challenge at hand. “We know what we’re up against. We just need to be more clear about what we’re up against.”