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California Business Community Members in Support of SB 918

We are members of the business community in California, writing in support of SB 918, legislation to strengthen the rules for concealed carry of firearms in our state. This bill is an important measure that protects the fundamental property rights that allow us to keep guns out of our businesses and create a safe environment for our employees and customers.

America’s gun violence epidemic kills over 40,000 people each year, and wounds at least twice as many more. Businesses are hardly immune from this damage. In fact, according to the FBI, commercial environments experience more active shooter situations than any other location. We will never forget the horrific shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks in 2018, where 12 people were killed and 16 more injured. That tragedy is every business owner’s nightmare.

In addition to the loss of life, shootings can have broader effects on commerce. When gun violence goes up, businesses have to worry about the psychological toll on employees, and increased costs for security and insurance. Nationally, gun violence directly costs employers $534.91 million per year, in the form of unfilled positions, arranging coverage for employees who are unable to work, and finding and training new staff.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen struck down an important component of California’s firearm carry license system. The effect may well be a significant increase in the number of people carrying concealed guns in California: more guns in our stores, restaurants, malls, and movie theaters.

SB 918 contains important provisions to ensure that dangerous or irresponsible people do not get carry licenses. The bill also prohibits concealed carry in commercial establishments open to the public, unless a business decides otherwise and posts signs indicating that guns are allowed.

This common-sense provision will allow business owners to keep guns out of their establishments and reduce the risks of gun violence to their patrons and staff. At the same time, it provides flexibility for businesses that do want to allow guns, as long as they give notice to the public so that guests and customers can make informed decisions about whether they want to shop, eat, and seek entertainment or relaxation in an environment where guns may be present. 

In this way, SB 918 respects the right to keep and bear arms while also vindicating the right of businesses to control their private property and to look out for the safety of their employees and customers, and the community at large.

We strongly support SB 918.

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