California law states that a person may not carry a concealed firearm in public unless he obtains a valid Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) license.
Assembly Bill 2103 was signed into law by Gov. Brown in September 2018. It imposes two requirements that a person must meet before he can receive a CCW license.
These requirements are:
- Applicants for CCW permits must receive a minimum of eight hours of training on firearm safety, handling, and technique; and,
- Applicants must perform live-fire shooting exercises while demonstrating they can safely handle and shoot the firearm they are applying for to be licensed to carry.
Under California law, prior to AB 2103, a person could obtain a CCW license even if he never owned a gun and did not receive firearm safety training.
Requirements Under Assembly Bill 2103
AB 2103 imposes a specific course of training that all applicants for a CCW permit must complete before they can receive a license.
This course of training must meet the following conditions:
- The course must be no less than eight hours in length, but should not exceed 16 hours;
- The course must include instruction on firearm safety, firearm handling, shooting technique, and laws regarding the permissible use of a firearm; and,
- The course must include live-fire shooting exercises where an applicant demonstrates his ability o safely handle and shoot each firearm that the applicant is applying to be licensed to carry.
As for applicants that are renewing a CCW license, they must complete a course of training that is the same as outlined above, except:
- The course length must be no less than four hours, as opposed to eight.
Laws Prior to Assembly Bill 2103
AB 2103 significantly changed California's existing law on obtaining a CCW license. Under the State's old law, an applicant could receive a CCW permit provided that:
- He was of good moral character;
- Good cause existed for issuance of the license;
- The applicant met certain residency requirements; and,
- He completed a specified course of training.
Prior California law stated that the “specified course of training” should be “no more than 16 hours.” The law never imposed a minimum length. The result is that an applicant could get a CCW license even without completing any firearm safety training.
The reasoning for AB 2103
Given California's old law on CCW licenses, there are two main reasons for Assembly Bill 2103 (as offered by its supporters). The two reasons are:
- The promotion of public safety; and,
- The avoidance of unintentional shootings.
The idea is that if gun owners have some form of basic firearms training, then the accidents related to concealed firearms will decrease.
Assembly Bill 2103 was co-authored by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher. Twenty-five other states have similar laws on the issuance of CCW licenses.