Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law Saturday that will remove the rights of school administrators to decide whether employees with concealed weapon permits can bring guns on campus.
State law already prohibited civilians who are not school workers from bringing firearms onto campuses, but a change in the law last year gave school district superintendents power to decide if employees could bring concealed weapons onto campuses, according to Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D- Sacramento), who authored the bill.
Five California school districts — including the Kingsburg Joint Union and Kern school districts — have begun to issue authorizations for some school employees to bring guns on campuses, McCarty said. He said it has increased the chance of school shootings.
“A safe learning environment is essential for our children to be successful in the classroom,” McCarty said. “That’s not possible if a school district allows armed civilians to roam California school campuses.”
The measure, AB 424, was opposed by groups advocating for gun owners including the National Rifle Assn. and the Firearms Policy Coalition, which noted that there have been no shootings involving California school employees who brought guns to campuses.
"The constitutional right to bear arms is based on the fundamental human right to self-defense," the coalition wrote to lawmakers. "AB 424 undermines these very important principles based on little more than a whim.”
Under separate legislation signed by Brown on Saturday, Californians who are convicted of hate crimes will be banned from possessing firearms for 10 years.
Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer Sr. (D-Los Angeles) introduced the legislation, AB 785. He recently cited the August violence in Charlottesville, Va., as justification for expanding the gun ban to those who commit hate crimes.
“The recent incident in Charlottesville, where heavily armed neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists, spewing hatred and inciting violence under the guise of protecting free speech and the right to bear arms, is not what the founding fathers of this great nation were protecting when they drafted our constitution,” Jones-Sawyer said.
Misdemeanor hate crimes that will fall under the firearm ban include using force or the threat of force to interfere with another person's free exercise of any constitutional right because of the other person's race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
Gun possession will also be banned for people who deface or damage property in order to interfere with constitutional rights. For example, a person prosecuted for painting a swastika on a Jewish house of worship could lose their gun possession rights.
Both measures take effect Jan. 1.