Author’s note: This op-ed was written before the events of last night. We are heartbroken by the massacre in Las Vegas by a single armed gunman. In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, we continue to call for our representatives to enact commonsense gun measures that are proven to protect our communities.
We are law professors at UC Irvine, and we live and work in California’s 45th Congressional District, currently represented by Mimi Walters. More importantly, we are parents and engaged members of our community, and like our neighbors, we care deeply about the safety of our community and schools.
Orange County has consistently been ranked one of the safest regions in the country, which is why we were so shocked and disappointed to discover that Congresswoman Walters is pushing legislation that will make Orange County much more dangerous. Rep. Walters is co-sponsoring the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow people with concealed weapons permits issued by other states to carry guns anywhere in the country, including California.
In order to get a concealed weapons permit in California, you must complete a firearms safety course. And you can’t get a permit if been convicted of a felony or domestic violence, or been diagnosed with certain mental illness.
These are reasonable restrictions, voted on by our representatives in Sacramento and designed to keep our communities safe. They have worked. Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, and Irvine — some of the largest cities in our Congressional district — have consistently been ranked as some of the safest cities in the country. As parents, community members, and educators, we haven’t had to worry about concealed weapons — and the prospect that these might harm someone in an accidental shooting or an act of mass violence — in our schools, churches, or Little League baseball games.
Not every state has these rules. Eleven states issue concealed-carry permits without requiring a safety course. Twenty states will grant permits even to people who have been convicted of violent crimes. Under the law Rep. Walters is sponsoring, convicted violent felons and domestic abusers from other states would be able to bring concealed weapons into our Orange County neighborhoods, and there would be nothing our local law enforcement could do about this.
How big a problem would this really create? Orange County is home to some of the best and most popular beaches in the world. We’re home…