After a deadly wave of mass shootings in the United States last year — including one in Buffalo, N.Y.And another at a school Uvalde, Texas — that collectively killed 31, California’s Democratic-controlled Legislature responded by quickly passing more than a dozen lawsIt is intended to prevent gun violence within the Golden State.
California is reeling now. one mass shooting after anotherAt least 24 people died in the attack. Monterey Park, Half Moon BayYou can also find out more about a Central Valley farming townThe lawmakers are now asking themselves if there is anything they can do to reduce violence.
California is already ranked among the top states for having the highest number of citizens. most restrictive gun control laws. They work, and they do so by using some measures: the state has among the lowest rates of gun deathsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a report by California’s Public Policy Institute, the state had a lower rate of mass shootingsIt is higher than the national average.
Dr. Amy Barnhorst, associate director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, said the state’s “patchwork of sensible evidence-based firearm laws” has contributed to those better outcomes.
“It’s hard to say it’s this law or that law in particular, but all of them working in concert together probably is what reduces our rates,” Barnhorst said. “We have something in place for a lot of different scenarios, which is really important because ultimately the one thing that mass shooters have in common is their guns, but they’re an increasingly diverse group and have a whole variety of motivations.”
But California’s aggressive laws can do only so much. Federal courts have also eviscerated several recently passed gun laws in California. expansive interpretation of the constitutional right to bear armsCalifornia’s current conservative majority could make it difficult for any new legislation to be passed to follow the example of the Supreme Court.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has made gun control a core tenet of his political identity, acknowledged the limits of state-level policy even as he defended California’s record.
“I’m proud of California,” Newsom said during a news conference Tuesday in Half Moon Bay, where seven people were killed Monday in what appears to be a case of workplace violence. “We’ve led the nation. We’ve led the national conversation in gun safety. No state in America has done more than the state of California.”
“But we can’t do this alone. And with all due respect, we feel like we are,” he said, calling out House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) for saying “not one word” about the recent shootings.
Democrats in the California Legislature say they aren’t waiting for federal action. They have a long list of bills this year to add to an already extensive set of rules restricting who may buy and sell firearms.
“While California is in the forefront in gun control policy, this tragedy reminds us that our work is not done,” said Assemblymember Mike Fong (D-Alhambra), who represents Monterey Park.
Newsom supports legislation that would limit the number of people who can carry concealed weapons licenses. This is one of few gun control measures that fell on deaf ears in the Legislature last fiscal year. Senate Bill 2 was reintroduced more than a month before this month’s tragedies, and already promises to be one of the main gun bills for the 2023 legislative session. This measure will comply with the Supreme Court’s June decision that restrictive concealed-carry laws were unconstitutional. However, it will still have strict regulations about who can get permits.
Encino Democrat Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel and co-chair the California Legislative Gun Violence Prevention Working Group also presented a trio of proposals for firearm regulation. One would create an excise tax on ammunition and gunsCalifornia will finance school safety and violence prevention efforts. California residents could also be eligible for mental health services. voluntarily add their name to a “do not sell” list. The third measure would ban someone with a domestic violence protective orders against them from buying or owning guns for an additional three years After the order has been lifted.
The proposed changes to California’s gun laws are relatively minor compared with the suite of new laws Newsom signed in 2022. One established a “firearm industry standard of conduct” and will allow, beginning in July, for local governments, the state Department of Justice and gun violence survivors to sue for egregious violations of state sales and marketing regulations. Another was modeled after Texas’ vigilante abortion law and increased legal liability for the gun industry, while two more limited firearms advertising to minors and further restricted ghost guns.
“There’s a lot of evidence that our gun safety laws are working and saving people’s lives,” Gabriel said. “But obviously when we see these kinds of horrific incidents, it’s a reminder that we have a lot more work to do.”
California massacres of this month happened less than a decade after President Biden signed what was thought to be the most significant legislation. significant federal gun control lawRecent history has seen both political parties reach a compromise and limit its scope. That law encourages states to pass “red flag” laws — which allow for the temporary removal of firearms from those who pose a public safety risk — expands background checks and now prohibits romantic partners, in addition to spouses, from owning firearms if they’ve been convicted of domestic abuse.
However, advocates of stricter firearms laws have long believed that stronger action was needed to end gun violence. They’ve called for a federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazinesYou can also ask for stronger background checks and red-flag laws.
“The federal government needs to do its job,” Newsom said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) authored the nation’s first nationwide ban on assault weapons during her first term in Washington, overcoming opposition from the powerful National Rifle Assn. Congress allowed the landmark legislation, which was originally intended to be passed, to expire in 2004. According to University of Massachusetts researcher Louis Klarevas, the author of “Rampage Nation: Securing America from Mass Shootings,” the number of mass shootings declined during the ban and grew more frequent after the law’s sunset.
Feinstein tried unsuccessfully to reinstate the assault weapons ban. This was in the wake of the attempted assassination in Tucson of Gabrielle Giffords, then-Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in 2012. On Monday, Feinstein reintroduced a bill to ban high-capacity magazines and assault weapons of military style.
There are many obstacles to the passage stringenter gun laws beyond Congress’s partisan-gridlocked halls. They also extend to the federal court system. Here, Republicans and gun rights organizations have been able to block stringent firearms legislation.
Many 2nd Amendment groups have deliberately brought cases before a federal judge in San Diego who has struck down California’s longtime, statewide ban on assault weapons and, more recently, an important provision of California’s latest bill that authorizes private lawsuits against the gun industry.
Gun Owners of California’s executive director, Sam Paredes, warned that his organization would sue to stop the implementation of any additional gun restrictions including the concealed-carry law.
“I fully expect that the Legislature is going to cram a piece of legislation down,” Paredes said. “But ultimately we will challenge it in court and we will win.”
Ari Freilich acknowledged these difficulties as state policy director at Giffords Law Center.
“It’s a real obstacle and it’s not a new one,” he said. “There’s been essentially a cottage industry of lawyers and gun industry-funded groups that … sue the state of California to try to dismantle what we’ve built over a few decades.”
Freilich said the Supreme Court’s decision against broad concealed-carry laws last year has effectively “invited a new wave of lawsuits to essentially relitigate what had been previously settled matters.”
But that doesn’t mean California should pump the brakes on its efforts, Freilich said.
“It is important to note how, zooming out, despite the constant threat and burden of defending lawsuits against what California has built,” he said, “what we have built has been successfully implemented in large part and is making progress.”
Brian Jones of Santee, Senate Republican Leader, said that new legislation should only be considered by both parties.
“California has over 100 gun control laws on the books, many of them forced through the Legislature on party-line votes. I think a partisan approach on major issues such as this one does a disservice to everyone,” he said in a statement. “If California truly wants to tackle gun violence in our state, we should take a page out of Congress’s book and work on a bipartisan measure.”
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