Poll: California likely voters favor gun control over gun rights

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic lawmakers are launching a new effort to restrict who can carry concealed loaded weapons — and where — as new polling data shows California voters have their back.

Twice as many likely voters believe controlling gun ownership is more important than protecting gun rights, according to a poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California released Wednesday.

That partly explains why gun control laws are proliferating in the new legislature – some good, some silly.

The hidden gun bill is the big problem — the only one Newsom seems to guarantee passage through — and it’s a good one. California has been essentially without enforceable criteria for concealed carry of firearms since last summer.

That’s because the US Supreme Court overturned New York’s concealed carry law, which was similar to California’s. And lawmakers failed to pass a replacement.

But drafting a new law will be difficult. It must ultimately pass the constitutional scrutiny as interpreted by the conservative US Supreme Court, shaped by former President Trump.

“We want this to withstand the legal challenges that are sure to come. … The strongest possible bill, but also constitutionally sound,” said Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), the bill’s author, at a news conference Wednesday with Newsom and a stage full of other gun control supporters.

The poll asked respondents what they felt was “more important—protecting Americans’ right to own guns or controlling gun ownership.”

Likely voters overwhelmingly supported gun control, 66% to 34%.

All demographics voted strongly, with the exception of Republicans, of whom 78% supported gun rights. 87% of Democrats believe gun control is more important.

Voters in the largely rural Central Valley were more narrowly divided, opting for gun control by only 51% to 48%. But in the cities of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, 74% of voters wanted gun control.

A key finding was that support for gun regulation, according to PPIC surveys, has increased sharply over the past decade. In 2013, the electorate was almost evenly split – 49% believed gun control was more important and 48% supported gun rights.

“There have been so many incidents where people have witnessed horrific tragedies, so many mass shootings,” says Mark Baldassare, director of the PPIC survey. “The growing consensus is that we’re not doing enough — even in California, where we’re doing a lot.”

The problem for gun control advocates, as I’ve written before, is that public support for regulation is broad but tenuous — not as ingrained and intense as among gun rights people, who tend to single-pick.

But Newsom Is very intensively about the gun regulation – at least rhetorically – and showed this again on Wednesday.

“Only in America do we see the kind of carnage and chaos of gun violence that is destroying our communities and our sense of safety and belonging,” the governor said in a statement released at the news conference.

“America is #1 in gun ownership and we surpass every developed nation on earth in gun deaths. It’s not complicated. In California, we have sane gun safety laws in place, and they work. We have a 37% lower gun death rate than the national average.

“We are beefing up gun security and strengthening our public carry rights to protect against radical Republican attacks.”

The Democratic governor could have dispensed with the unnecessary party swipe, but unfortunately that’s the current policy being played by both parties. Newsom responded to a similar blast from Assembly Republicans two hours earlier.

“Reg. Newsom is sticking to his MO to deflect blame for his crime record [by announcing] another piece of gun legislation,” the GOP said in a statement.

“Another set of restrictions on top of California’s 100+ existing gun laws will not stem the violent crime tide sweeping our state. Enforcement of our existing laws will. But that’s not so exciting for the Democratic primary voters.”

So there will be no bipartisan compromise on this law. But that doesn’t have to be the case. With their supermajority, the Democrats can pass any measure they want.

In August, however, they failed to pass a similar law on the last night of the legislature amid an ugly wave of vengeful politics.

Then-Rep. Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), who normally supported gun controls, had an ongoing feud with Portantino and refused to vote for his measure. He missed the required two-thirds majority by one vote.

But O’Donnell left the legislature. And Portantino has lowered the voting requirement to a simple majority by introducing a so-called Emergency clause, which would have implemented the law immediately after the governor signed it.

Newsom is very confident that the law will pass.

“We fell a bit short last year,” he said at the press conference. “That won’t happen this year. No question. We are here with absolute expectations and confidence. I will sign this law.”

The bill would ban concealable weapons in places like government buildings, schools, medical facilities, churches, bars, playgrounds and sports fields.

“You don’t need a gun to watch your daughter’s soccer game,” Portantino said.

However, as a result of the court ruling, you no longer need to demonstrate “particular necessity” to obtain a concealed carry permit. There would be standardized – not subjective – criteria for everyone.

There will be some massaging, but whatever goes through will hit the mark with most voters.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-02-02/skelton-ppic-california-gun-control-poll Poll: California likely voters favor gun control over gun rights

Alley Einstein

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