California Assembly Advances Gun Violence Prevention Package
Source: Office of Assemblymember Steve Bennett
In the wake of another tragedy and inaction at the national level, the Assembly Wednesday advanced a package of six gun violence prevention bills to the Senate, signaling California’s commitment to doing everything possible to take action where the federal government is not.
The group of six Democratic lawmakers – Asm. Mike Gipson (D-Carson), Asm. Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), Asm. Steve Bennett (D-Ventura), Asm. Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Asm. Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego), and Asm. Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) – together brought their bills to a vote on the Assembly Floor. The Members expressed impassioned frustration with Congress’s failure to act on the issues of gun control and gun violence prevention, and emphasized the corresponding need for California to recommit itself with urgency to the fight.
“Our number one job as legislators is to keep our communities safe — and on the issue of gun violence, our federal lawmakers are failing horrifically” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks. “While we have strong gun violence prevention laws here in California, there’s still so much more that can be done. We must do everything in our power under state law to strengthen protections for our communities, and be an example for other state legislatures to take action where our federal policymakers are not.”
“Thoughts and prayers won’t keep our kids safe. We need real action,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel. “While Senate Republicans continue to obstruct progress, we are committed to moving forward common sense gun safety measures to protect our kids and our communities. When Washington D.C. fails to act, California must lead.”
The bills advancing to the Senate include:
· AB 1621 (Gipson) - Limiting Ghost Guns: Increasing Gun Safety in Our Communities
This bill seeks to increase public safety by further restricting “ghost guns” and the parts and kits used to build them, while protecting the rights of legal gun owners in California.
· AB 2156 (Wicks) - Firearm Manufacturing
This bill would close loopholes that currently allow individuals and corporations to manufacture large numbers of firearms without complying with standard manufacturer requirements.
· AB 2552 (McCarty) - Gun Show and Event Regulations
This bill ensures proper background checks at gun shows in California, and increases the safety and oversight of these events to prevent guns and ammo from getting into the wrong hands.
· AB 1769 (Bennett) - Ventura County Fairgrounds – Gun Show Ban
This bill prohibits the sale of firearms, firearm precursor parts, or ammunition on the property of the Ventura County Fairgrounds and Event Center.
· AB 2239 (Maienschein) - 10-Year Gun Ban Expansion
This bill adds additional misdemeanors to the list of crimes for which the 10-year ban from owning or possessing firearms applies.
· AB 1929 (Gabriel) - Medi-Cal reimbursement for Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs
This bill will provide Medi-Cal reimbursement for violence prevention services for victims of gun violence and other violent incidents.
Additionally, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) will bring his bill AB 1594 to a vote on the Assembly Floor before the end of the week. The bill will empower California citizens, the state Attorney General and local governments to sue manufacturers and sellers of firearms for the harm caused by their products when the state’s strict gun laws aren’t followed.
The Floor vote followed a press conference with Governor Gavin Newsom, the aforementioned bill authors and other legislative leaders, who together vowed to keep working together to expedite bills aimed at curbing gun violence and increasing safety in California communities.
There remains a great amount of work to do in California to improve community safety for all – 2020 saw record spikes in gun violence nationwide, and California was not an exception. Still, the state continues to lead the nation in terms of gun violence prevention efforts, enacting state laws that have made a critical difference for communities statewide. Researchers have documented how California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order law has helped to prevent dozens of mass shooting attacks against schools, places of worship, workplaces, and the public at large – especially as compared to states with weaker gun laws:
· In 2020, children in California (0-17 year olds) were more than 40% less likely to be murdered with a gun than children of the same age in Texas.
· Laws including stronger domestic violence protections have made women about half as likely to be shot to death in California compared to Texas.
· Restrictions on military-style weaponry have helped reduce the likelihood that shootings that occur will become mass casualty events. Three of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history have occurred in Texas while Gov. Abbott was Governor.
“We have an epidemic in our country when it comes to gun violence and enough is enough. In California, we want action and will continue to work on gun violence prevention,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. “My bill, AB 2552, ensures proper background checks at gun shows in California and increases the safety and oversight of these events to prevent guns and ammo from getting into the wrong hands. I am proud of the swift action of the Legislature to fast track not only my bill, but other gun reform bills.”
“Unfortunately, the United States experiences far more gun violence per person than virtually every other modern industrialized country in the world,” said Assemblymember Steve Bennett. “And what accounts for this? The United States has one of the most pervasive gun cultures in the world supported by a powerful gun lobby. Gun shows at the Fairgrounds enhance this and it is time for each of us to play a role in changing this culture.”
“Far too often, gun violence tragedies are perpetrated by individuals who have shown previous signs of violence or intent to harm others,” said Assemblymember Brian Maienschein. “AB 2239 would take firearms out of the hands of those charged with child endangerment or elder abuse, ensuring that these dangerous individuals cannot harm our most vulnerable.”
“Today, as AB 1621 and other critical gun reform legislation passed the Assembly and now move to the Senate, and vice versa, it is critical we remain diligent in continuing to push for solutions against rampant gun violence happening across the nation,” said Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson. “We are just 145 days into the year, and as of the Robb Elementary School tragedy in Uvalde, Texas just yesterday, where 19 children and 2 adults had their lives ripped away from them by a coward with an AR-15, the U.S. had its 212th mass shooting.
Gipson continued, “To say that this issue is personal to me is an understatement, and sending thoughts and prayers just isn’t enough. AB 1621, which seeks to eradicate “ghost guns” from our streets, is an important piece in the puzzle to save lives, and it is a common-sense approach toward providing justice for families who have continued to bear the burden of losing a loved one through incidents that could have otherwise been prevented. Almost any style of gun, including an AR-15, can be built at home and remain untraceable. For all communities that have experienced similar tragedies, gun violence is a wildfire that we work diligently to try to contain. And the casualties are our babies, sisters, brothers, friends, and acquaintances - all deserving of life but were cut short of their potential. Enough is enough.”