When the Second Amendment Foundation on Monday issued a “travel advisory” to American gun owners to avoid traveling to or through California, it got quick attention across social media and among various online “gun news” sites.
It was the first time the organization had taken such an action, which might suggest it might not be the last time.
“If you are licensed to carry in your home state,” warned Alan M. Gottlieb, SAF executive vice president, “that license is not recognized in California. It doesn’t matter how many background checks you’ve gone through or whether you took a gun safety course. Your license is no good in the Golden State, which suggests that your safety and the safety of your family are of no concern to state lawmakers or city administrators. You could be prosecuted for having a gun for personal protection, or you might get killed because you didn’t.”
While this may seem like a “Well, DUH!” kind of advisory among savvy Second Amendment activists, people still make the mistake of bringing guns to states where they are not welcome. Some people weighing in on various pro-gun online forums have suggested that SAF overlooked other states with Draconian gun laws including New Jersey and New York. Others are simply enjoying the notion that “Komiefornia” is being ripped for its restrictive gun laws.
SAF has been fighting California gun laws for several years. For example, SAF – once on its own and later in partnership with the National Rifle Association – beat back gun bans in San Francisco. SAF has challenged the concealed carry law in California, as well. Gottlieb blames the anti-gun political environment on a legislature gone to the extreme.
“The California Legislature has been out of control for years when it comes to placing restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of honest citizens,” Gottlieb observed. “Right now, I wouldn’t suggest to any gun owner that they even travel through the state, much less to it as their final destination.”
California, the largest and most populous western state, has only about 100,000 active concealed carry permits and the state does not recognize permits/licenses from any other state. Neighboring Oregon also does not recognize out-of-state carry licenses, and many lawmakers in Salem, along with the governor, have not been friendly to gun rights in recent years. Oregon does issue permits to non-residents.
National concealed carry reciprocity legislation now in Congress seeks to require all states to recognize the carry licenses and permits from all other states. It is one more step toward “making the Second Amendment great again.” More importantly, it recognizes that people don’t leave their right of self-defense at the California border.
“By not going to California,” Gottlieb said, “the life you save may be your own.”