California is once more leading the nation on sane public policy, this time banning concealed weapons on all private and public school campuses. In October of 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that bans the carrying of concealed weapons on school and university campuses throughout the state. The move was sparked by the mass killing at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon that killed 9 and injured 9 more. The Oregon incident was followed fast on the heels by gun killings in Arizona and Texas, where guns are ubiquitous.
The new California legislation was passed amid the ongoing debate whether guns inhibit or promote gun violence. Gun proponents believe that designated “gun-free zones” are more likely to attract violent and mentally deranged individuals to these areas to enact their mayhem. But does adding more weapons to the mix really do ANYTHING to decrease gun related violence?
Gun control advocates state that the very presence of guns in public areas creates a climate of hostility and poor decision-making regarding the use of these weapons. This new law prohibits firearms within 1,000 feet of all public and private school grounds for grades K-12. The bill was supported by the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, whose president, Peggy McCrum, hopes the legislation will make schools sanctuaries for learning, free from gun violence.
Not surprisingly, the National Rifle Association opposes the bill, SB707, claiming that the legislation is a direct attack on 2nd Amendment rights. Another group of gun activists, the Firearms Policy Coalition, fears the legislation will put thousands of lives at risk by preventing individuals from protecting themselves against attacks.
This bill also requires retired law enforcement officers authorized by their previous agencies to carry concealed weapons. Local police chiefs and school districts are permitted to set their own conceal weapons policies under the new law. But I think it is safe to say that no one feels LESS SAFE knowing that people aren’t allowed to carry concealed firearms in schools.