A week after a gunman killed nine people at an Oregon college, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Saturday that will ban the carrying of concealed guns on school and university campuses in this state.
Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) said the bill she introduced several months ago is needed to close a loophole that allows people with concealed-weapons permits to carry firearms onto school grounds. The bill prohibits that practice, unless school officials grant permission or the carrier is retired from law enforcement.
The bill is supported by Peggy McCrum, president of the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
"California's college campuses and K-12 schools should be sanctuaries for learning, free from the fear of gun violence," McCrum said, adding the new law "will make schools safer and decrease students' risk of being injured or killed."
The action comes a week after a gunman killed nine and wounded nine others before killing himself at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., and just one day after deadly shootings at college campuses in Texas and Arizona.
Some gunowner-rights activists have suggested that allowing concealed weapons on campuses would provide an armed counterforce to such gunmen or at least a deterrent.
"This bill will put thousands of innocent lives at risk," said Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition. "Criminals will know that their intended victims are totally vulnerable when they're on California school grounds because SB 707 will ensure that they're defenseless against a violent attack."
The measure is supported by law enforcement groups, including the California College and University Police Chiefs Assn.
SB 707 is opposed by the National Rifle Assn., which said in a letter to legislators that it "raises significant concerns under the Second Amendment by further infringing the rights of law-abiding — and properly licensed and trained individuals — to possess a firearm for self-defense."