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California Assembly Addresses Gun Violence


By: Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

SACRAMENTO January 28, 2013 – California Democratic Assemblymembers today announced nine bills crafted to help curb the ongoing epidemic of gun violence, and pledged to work with the State Senate and Governor to enact new weapons safety legislation.

"Although California already has some of the nation's best laws to reduce the incidence of violent and fatal shootings, we are always prepared to move when we can improve the safety of our communities and families," said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, Chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

"Faced with devastating gun violence that plagues communities across California, we in the legislature must take action to protect all Californians and especially our children," said Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, author of AB 48.

"The Assembly is acting on this challenge and looks forward to seeing other proposals from the Senate," Ammiano added." We will work with the other house to protect Californians from those who would misuse weapons. We will take a careful look at each bill when it comes to the committee."

The following proposals have been introduced in the Assembly:

AB 48 (Asm. Nancy Skinner, D- Berkeley) – Requires reporting of ammunition sales, requires licensing of ammunition dealers, and establishes other controls on ammunition sales similar to current controls on firearms sales.

"When we have safeguards in place for purchasing guns, why is it so much easier to buy bullets--the very thing that makes a gun deadly?" Assemblymember Skinner asked. "It is easier today to buy bullets than to buy alcohol, cigarettes or some cold medicines."

AB 169 (Asm. Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento) – People exempted from restrictions on purchasing guns designated as unsafe by the California Department of Justice would be prohibited from selling or transferring ownership of those guns to anyone who is not also exempt.

"AB 169 will keep non-rostered, unsafe handguns out of the hands of people who don't have a legitimate and lawful reason to own them. By limiting the guns available for sale we can further protect our families and our communities from gun violence," said Assemblymember Dickinson.

AB 170 (Asm. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena) - Current law allows individuals and organizations, including corporations and other associations, to be issued permits for assault weapons and machine guns. AB 170 closes this loophole by limiting the issuance of permits for these weapons to individuals only.

"This is a responsible measure to ensure that we know who is in possession of these powerful, military-grade weapons," Assemblymember Bradford said." In the same way that we prohibit sharing driver licenses, we should not allow dangerous weapons to be passed from hand to hand within an organization. One person, one permit just makes sense."

AB 174 (Asm. Rob Bonta, D-Oakland)) - Would begin the conversation on ending the grandfathering of existing weapons which are now illegal to purchase but are still legal to possess.

"State laws on the books currently restrict the purchase and sale of assault weapons and large capacity magazines, but almost all laws only apply on a going forward basis and exempted weapons remain on our streets," Bonta said. "With AB 174 we will closely examine this loophole and do what's right for the children and people of California."

AB 187 (Asm. Bonta) – Would place a tax on the sale of ammunition in California with proceeds going to a high crime prevention fund that would be used in targeted jurisdictions suffering from high rates of violent crime.

"In communities like Oakland and Stockton, parents are afraid to let their children play outside while gun violence ravages the streets," Assemblymember Bonta said. "We must take swift action to get these communities the resources they need, and in AB 187 I propose to do so through a tax on ammunition."

The following are bills that are expected to be introduced soon:

Trafficking (Asm. Luis A. Alejo, D-Salinas) - Would prohibit those individuals involved in gun or ammunition trafficking from possessing firearms or ammunition for 10 years.

"If you've been convicted of illegally selling or buying firearms or ammunition, you should lose your right to own a gun for 10 years. Individuals can earn back that right by showing a history of respecting the law. It's just common sense."

Gun Safety (Asm. Ammiano, D-San Francisco) – Would tighten gun safety laws currently in place to protect children. Adds a safe storage requirement when a person prohibited from gun possession is living in the home. Would also allow the Department of Justice to extend waiting period when necessary for background checks.

"These two simple measures are common sense extensions of laws already in place," Ammiano said.

Ammunition Tax (Asm. Dickinson) - Would place a $0.05 tax on the sale of ammunition, and dedicate the proceeds to an existing program to screen young children (grades 1- 3) for mild to moderate mental illness, and intervene with strategies to address their problems.

"Screening young children for signs of mental illness and addressing any issues early on is the key to a healthier and more productive adult life. A limited tax on ammunition is a small price to pay for better mental healthcare for children in our state," said Dickinson.

Pension Fund Divestment (Asm. Dickinson) - Would require CalPERS and CalSTRS to divest any existing pension fund investments from companies that manufacture, sell, distribute or market firearms or ammunition. It would also prohibit future investments in such companies.

"Companies who manufacture, sell, distribute or market firearms and ammunition have no business receiving investment funds from the State of California – it's just common sense. There are plenty of other worthy investment options," said Dickinson.


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