Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 707 into law Saturday, which bans carrying concealed firearms or ammunition on school grounds or college campuses throughout the state of California.
The governor’s decision came in the wake of the Oct. 1 shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, which left nine dead, as well as the Friday shootings at Texas Southern University and Northern Arizona University, which both resulted in one death.
SB 707 was introduced earlier this year and passed both the Assembly and Senate floor along partisan votes before being brought to the governor’s office.
Previously under California law, individuals who possessed a concealed carry weapon, or CCW, license were exempt from regulations that prohibited the possession of firearms and ammunition on school grounds or college campuses without permission from certain school officials. SB 707 removes this exemption, barring permission from school administrators.
“By closing this major loophole in California law we take an important step toward making our schools and college campuses safer,” said Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, who introduced the bill, in an email. “SB 707 won’t prevent all campus shootings. But it will make our schools and campuses safer by working to ensure that the only people allowed to carry guns on campuses are law enforcement.”
The effectiveness of the bill — despite being signed into law — in preventing school shootings has been contested.
Franklin Zimring, a campus law professor, said he doesn’t believe the law will have any effect on the prevalence of campus shootings in the short term or long term.
“It’s a symbolic tug-of-war between pro-control and gun-rights partisans,” Zimring said. “(The bill) was about trying to make a statement.”
Stanford law professor John Donohue said he believes that it is more important to pinpoint people who shouldn’t have guns and prevent them from purchasing them than to regulate people with CCW licenses.
“I really think the bigger problem is going to be: Can we get more of these people identified and made to be prohibitive purchasers?” Donohue said.
Considering the limitations, such as background checks, imposed on CCW license holders in California, UC Berkeley junior and Berkeley College Republicans President Kerida Moates said removing CCWs from university campuses doesn’t do anything to enforce the safety of the students — it just increases their feelings of security.
Firearms Policy Coalition President Brandon Combs expressed his disappointment that Brown signed the bill into law. According to Combs, the coalition intends to prepare a lawsuit against SB 707, which he deemed unconstitutional.
The National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association have also expressed their disapproval of the new law.
The UC Office of the President, the California Police Chiefs Association and the California State University, however, are some of the organizations that supported the bill.
Contact Alok Narahari at [email protected].