Golden State lawmakers are pushing for change after a mass shooting killed 19 children at an elementary school in Texas. What to Know.
Source: Written by: Kat Schuester, Patch Staff
CALIFORNIA — Legislators are calling for sweeping change after the deadliest school shooting in a decade killed 19 children and two adults in Texas last week.
Less than 24 hours after the shooting, Gov. Gavin Newsom joined state Democrats in vowing to pass a suite of 12 gun restricting bills. The Golden State has some of the toughest laws against firearms in the nation, and researchers have said they work.
Dr. Wintemute, who directs the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center in Sacramento, told The New York Times that California has significantly lower death rates related to gun violence.
"For the last 20, maybe even 25 years — except for the two years of the pandemic, which have increased homicides and suicides across the country — our rates of firearm violence have trended downward," Wintemute told the newspaper. "And this has been at a time when most of the rates in the rest of the country have gone up."
Here are four bills you should know about.
1. AB 2571
This bill, authored by Assemblymembers Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) and Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson), would restrict advertising of firearms to minors.
The legislation would also ban manufacturers or advertisers from using, disclosing or compiling a minor's personal information.
A penalty of $25,000 for each violation would also be imposed, and would empower citizens "harmed by a violation" to bring suit to recover any damages suffered, as specified.
2. AB 1621
Introduced by Gipson, this bill would attempt to prohibit the sale of parts to create "ghost guns." Such firearms are built with gun kits or parts known as "precursors" to create firearms that are untraceable.
"The bill would create prohibitions and processes surrounding existing ghost guns in California to ensure that those already in circulation are properly serialized by the California Department of Justice," said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, ABC7 reported.
3. SB 1327
Modeled after the Texas law that allows private citizens to sue abortion clinics, this legislation would allow private citizens to sue gunmakers, a move that would hinder the ability to sell assault weapons in the state.
"I look forward to signing that bill," Newsom said last week after the Texas mass shooting.
The bill, authored by Emeritus Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), already passed in the state Senate on a 24-10 vote last week and is headed for the Assembly.
“In a just world, a woman's right to choose would be sacrosanct, and California's people would be protected from ghost guns and assault weapons. Sadly, a Supreme Court decision has turned common sense on its head,” Herzberg said. “With this bill, we take advantage of the Court’s flawed logic to protect all Californians and save lives.”
4. AB 1594
Also taking aim at advertisements for firearms, this bill, authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), would allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers based on their marketing. The bill was passed to the Senate for consideration.
"Unfortunately, it seems like not a day goes by before there’s another tragic mass shooting," Ting said, as reported by CalMatters. "We have guns in the hands of the wrong people and we have an industry that takes no responsibility for empowering killers in our community."
The bill argues that gun makers market "increasingly dangerous new products," giving them an advantage over "more responsible competitors."
"California leads this national conversation. When California moves, other states move in the same direction," Newsom said last week.
Newsom also took sharp aim at Republicans, certain judges and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for their gun policies during a year that's seen more mass shootings nationwide than there have been days in the year so far.
In California alone, 26 mass shootings have been reported this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Nationwide, 213 mass shootings have been reported in 2022, according to the archive.
"Gov. Abbott just name-checked the state of California. I would caution from doing that," Newsom said, referencing the firearm death rate in Texas reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Texas's firearm death rate is 14.2 per 100,000 people; California's is 8.5 per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.