Senate Passes Sweeping Set of Bills to Prevent Gun Violence

Thursday, May 19, 2016

SACRAMENTO – On Thursday, the California State Senate passed a comprehensive set of Assembly and Senate bills to improve public safety and stem the scourge of gun violence in California. The bills represent some of the most ambitious legislative action ever taken to keep guns and ammunition out of the hands of criminals, reduce the killing capacity of military-style firearms, and include a proposal to create a first-of-its-kind research center for gun-related violence. All measures passed the Senate floor today and are now on their way to the Assembly.

“Public safety is a fundamental responsibility of government and this Legislature will not shirk its responsibility, no matter how difficult the issue,” said Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). “These proposals take common sense steps to keep weapons and ammunition out of the hands of criminals and empower law enforcement to better serve and protect our communities.”

“I am grateful Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has kept gun control on the front-burner with his initiative and he has done California a great service by inspiring the Legislature to act,” said Senate Leader De León. “Given the complexity of firearms policy, I believe the legislative process is the most responsible path forward. We owe it the voters to tackle tough issues and not force them to do our jobs for us.”

The set of Assembly and Senate bills covers a wide-range of issues, from ammunition regulation, to military-style weaponry and reporting lost or stolen guns. The legislation has garnered strong support from a broad coalition (quotes from authors and supporters below). The bills passed by the California Senate today include:

  • Ammunition Regulation: Requires background checks for ammunition purchasers, licenses to sell ammunition, and collection of sale information. SB 1235 (de León) & AB 156 (McCarty)
  • Bullet Buttons: Redefines assault weapons to encompass specified guns capable of accepting any type of detachable magazine. SB 880 (Hall, Glazer) & AB 1135 (Levine, Ting)
  • Large-Capacity Magazines: Prohibits the possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. SB 1446 (Hancock)
  • Ghost Gun Registration: Requires a person to get a serial number from DOJ before making or assembling a gun. SB 1407 (de León) & AB 857 (Cooper)
  • Lost/Stolen Gun Reporting: Requires the reporting of a lost or stolen gun within 5 days of when a person knows or reasonably should have known of the theft or loss. SB 894 (Jackson)
  • Gun Theft: Reverts gun theft and buying a stolen gun, regardless of value, to a felony and wobbler, respectively. AB 1176 (Cooper)
  • Gun Lending: Limits infrequent lending of guns to specified family members. AB 1511 (Santiago)
  • Gun Violence Research: Establishes a Firearm Violence Research Center at the University of California, filling the gap left by Congressional restrictions on firearms research. SB 1006 (Wolk)

“I am encouraged by our legislators’ continuing efforts to pursue sensible legislation toward the reduction of gun violence within our state. Identifying those who are prohibited to purchase ammunition will certainly improve public safety, and undoubtedly save lives. This is a step in the right direction."Los Angeles Police Department Chief of Police Charlie Beck

"This strong package of gun violence prevention bills will go a long way to making our California communities safer and will help keep guns and bullets out of the hands of the people we all agree should not have them. Smart and effective policies like requiring background checks on ammunition purchasers and regulating self-assembled and 3D-printed guns will help keep domestic abusers and felons from obtaining bullets and guns. We applaud the leadership in the legislature for putting forth a package of bills that will no doubt save lives."  -- Amanda Wilcox, Legislation & Policy Chair of the 27 California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“The California Medical Association has long advocated for reasonable and responsible gun control legislation that makes our communities safer and hospitals less crowded.  California physicians are too often firsthand witnesses to the physical and psychological damage gun violence inflicts on our communities and as a result, uniquely understand the importance of keeping ammunition out of the hands of criminals.  The legislative package being proposed by the Legislature is a sensible and comprehensive policy solution that will make California safer and healthier.” -- California Medical Association

“We’re proud of our leaders in the Senate for passing legislation to make a safer California. AB 1511 will close the dangerous background check loophole in our existing law. The current loophole enables dangerous people to get their hands on a gun, no background check, no questions asked – something we can all agree needs to be closed. We urge our Assembly members to vote yes on AB 1511 to ensure we have an air-tight system to help keep guns out of dangerous hands.” -- Sara Smirin, volunteer with the California Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety

“California can once again take leadership on an issue where Congress has failed.   Funding new research into the causes of firearm violence and strategies to reduce it will help policy makers here and throughout the country.  Just as research helped to dramatically reduce deaths in automobile accidents, we can do the same with firearms.   Using real data and scientific methods, our best researchers can help policy makers get past the politics and find real answers to this public health crisis.  An evidence-based approach to reducing firearm violence will help save lives in California and throughout the country. I appreciate the support of the medical and public health community in sponsoring this legislation.  I also applaud the leadership of Senator de León and the support of the many coauthors of this measure.”Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) author of 1006

“This common sense approach will keep ammunition out of the hands of criminals and help curb gun violence.  As a Sacramento Councilmember I saw firsthand the effectiveness of local ammunition regulations. It's time for statewide solution." – Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) author of AB 156

“Passage of SB 880 reaffirms California’s commitment to prevent gun violence. Bullet button-equipped semi-automatic weapons have no legitimate use for sport hunters or competitive shooters. They are designed only to facilitate the maximum destruction of human life. Such weapons have been used in a number of recent gun attacks including the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino that left 14 Californians dead and 21 injured. Too many Californians have died at the hands of these dangerous weapons. SB 880 will make our communities safer and upholds our commitment to reduce gun violence in California.” Senator Isadore Hall, III (D – South Bay) author of SB 880

“Gun makers have exploited a loophole in the law that expressly prohibits assault weapons in California. My legislation would close that loophole, re-establish a true assault weapons ban and prevent weapons of warfare from proliferating on our streets.” – Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) author of SB 880

“We raise our children in communities, not war zones.  Military assault weapons have no place on our streets and gun violence must not be tolerated. AB 1135 (Levine & Ting) closes a loophole in law that allows military-style assault rifles to be sold legally in California. The gun manufacturers’ development of the bullet button clearly exploits California law and allows dangerous weapons on our streets.” -- Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) author of AB 1135

“Increasingly untraceable, undetectable, and stolen firearms are being used in serious crimes. I am proud to author legislation to address these issues and protect the public while safeguarding our Second Amendment rights.” -- Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), a former 30-year law enforcement officer, author of AB 857 and AB 1176

“Deadly incidents in San Bernardino and two years ago, in my district, in Isla Vista, continue to strengthen my commitment to reducing gun violence. SB 894 will ensure that those who purchase handguns are held accountable for them and stolen handguns are not sold or recirculated in our communities, potentially resulting in devastating consequences.”Senator Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) author of SB 894

“Several recent shootings around the country have shed light on a dangerous loophole in state laws,” said In California, anyone can borrow a gun from an acquaintance for up to 30 days without a background check – one of the most important safeguards in law.  My AB 1511 will close this loophole and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.” -- Assembly Majority Whip Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) author of AB 1511

“A recent PPIC survey found that 57 percent of Californians are worried about the threat of a mass shooting in their area. Some of California’s largest cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, have already acted and voted to ban high-capacity magazines, as I want to do with SB 1446. Such a ban would be a step toward helping prevent future mass shootings and addressing the concerns of our constituents. Since 1980, there have been at least 50 mass shootings of three or more fatalities where the shooter used high-capacity ammunition magazines. A total of 436 people were killed in these shootings and 425 were wounded. This number is likely a significant undercount of actual incidents since there is no consistent collection or reporting of this data.”Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) author of SB 1446