California’s learning institutions are markedly safer as Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 707 in to law on October 10, 2015. The new law, carried by Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis), will help keep concealed, loaded guns off of California university campuses and K-12 school grounds.
SB 707 removes an exemption in current law that allows individuals with a concealed carry weapons permit to carry loaded guns on school grounds, on university campuses, and in college dormitories.
In recent years there has been a disturbing increase in the number of active shooter incidents on school, college, and university campuses across the country, with 42 such incidents in 2014. There have also been an alarming number of sexual assaults on college and university campuses. Recently, some gun rights proponents in other states have sponsored legislation to increase the opportunity for students and teachers to bring firearms on school campuses with CCWs, claiming this will deter sexual assaults and defend against active shooters. These efforts have been vigorously opposed by school public safety officials, school administrators, and public safety advocates. Research also indicates that bringing more firearms on campus will lead to more campus violence and increase the danger to students and others on campus.
California law provides that the authority over school safety belongs with school/campus authorities. SB 707 maintains that authority and allows school officials to prohibit or allow a firearm on campus as they deem appropriate. Closing the CCW exemption in California law is consistent with efforts to maintain school and college campuses as safe, gun free, environments for students. SB 707 will ensure that students and parents who expect a campus to be safe and “gun free” can be confident that their expectation is being met and that school officials remain in charge of who is allowed to bring a firearm on their campus.
The 26 Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence worked very hard on this bill and through their consistent efforts in meeting with, calling, emailing and even tweeting their legislators and the governor, this legislation was passed and signed into law.
“California’s school grounds are havens for education and personal growth and, in light of the terrible tragedy that occurred at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, it is important – now more than ever - for our students to feel safe in a learning environment,” continued McCrum. “Because of this legislation, schools and campuses will be full of bright futures and eager minds - not loaded, hidden guns. Students and parents alike deserve that peace of mind.”