New­som signs 15 bills to toughen firearms laws

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­trick McGreevy

SACRAMENTO — Fol­low­ing a string of mass shoot­ings across the coun­try this year, Gov. Gavin New­som on Fri­day tough­ened Cal­i­for­nia’s al­ready strict gun con­trol laws, sign­ing a raft of bills of bills that in­cluded a ma­jor ex­pan­sion of the state’s “red flag” law and a ban on the pur­chase of more than one semi-au­to­matic ri­fle per month.

New­som, who was elected last year on a cam­paign that promised strict lim­its on firearms, signed 15 bills that are in re­sponse to re­cent mass shoot­ings.

“This con­tin­ues Cal­i­for­nia’s lead­er­ship in terms of gun safety,” New­som said at a state Capi­tol bill sign­ing cer­e­mony.

The mea­sure re­strict­ing pur­chases, SB 61, pro­hibit­ing Cal­i­for­ni­ans from buy­ing more than one semi-au­to­matic ri­fle per month was one of three gun bills by state Sen. An­thony Por­tantino, D–La Canada Flin­tridge. It also bans the sale of semi-au­to­matic cen­ter­fire ri­fles to peo­ple un­der the age of 21, re­mov­ing a pro­vi­sion of the law that al­lowed younger peo­ple to buy such guns if they have a hunt­ing li­cense.

“Our ef­forts to keep high ca­pac­ity weapons out of the hands of teenagers, con­tin­u­ing to close loop­holes in law, and work­ing with the DOJ and gover­nor’s of­fice this past year on this slate of bills is im­por­tant and ap­pro­pri­ate work that will con­tinue to make our com­mu­ni­ties safer,” Por­tantino said Fri­day.

The re­stric­tions on gun buy­ing were op­posed by groups rep­re­sent­ing gun own­ers, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion and its state af­fil­i­ate, the Cal­i­for­nia Ri­fle and Pis­tol As­so­ci­a­tion.

“This bill places bur­dens on law-abid­ing res­i­dents,” said Amy Hunter, a spokes­woman for the NRA, about SB 61. “It will not make any­one safer.”

An­other Por­tantino mea­sure signed by New­som re­duces the num­ber of firearms an un­li­censed in­di­vid­ual is an­nu­ally able to sell and the fre­quency with which they are able to sell.

“It is my hope that these bills can pre­vent a fu­ture hor­ren­dous vi­o­lent sit­u­a­tion,” Por­tantino said.

New­som’s ac­tion comes just days after a new poll found that 68% of Cal­i­for­ni­ans say laws cov­er­ing the sale of guns should be more strict. The poll, re­leased Oct. 2 by the non­par­ti­san Public Pol­icy In­sti­tute of Cal­i­for­nia, found that 38% of state res­i­dents said they are very con­cerned about the threat of a mass shoot­ing in their area, an in­crease from the 28% who had the same fear in a PPIC poll two years ago.

Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors op­posed the one-gun-a-month bill and crit­i­cized the state for fail­ing to re­move guns from the hands of thou­sands of felons and peo­ple judged by the court to be se­verely men­tally ill as it is al­ready em­pow­ered to do.

“In­stead we con­tinue to do more and more leg­is­la­tion that in­ter­feres with the law-abid­ing cit­i­zen’s right to own and pos­sess firearms, which is their con­sti­tu­tional right to do,” said Assem­bly­man James Gal­lagher, RYuba City.

The mea­sure elim­i­nat­ing an ex­emp­tion to the ri­flepur­chase ban for those un­der 21 who have hunt­ing li­censes was pro­posed after law en­force­ment dis­cov­ered that the 19-year-old who com­mit­ted a mass shoot­ing at a syn­a­gogue in Poway had ap­plied for a hunt­ing li­cense.

How­ever, the hunt­ing li­cense wasn’t valid at the time of the April shoot­ing, which left one per­son dead and three in­jured.

A mass shoot­ing that left 17 dead at a high school in Park­land, Fla., in 2018 was cited by law­mak­ers who ap­proved leg­is­la­tion to ex­pand “red flag” laws that al­low peo­ple to pe­ti­tion the courts to re­move guns from per­sons judged a dan­ger to them­selves or oth­ers.

The law cur­rently al­lows law en­force­ment and fam­ily mem­bers of trou­bled in­di­vid­u­als to ask the courts to is­sue a “gun-vi­o­lence re­strain­ing or­der” that takes away their firearms, but the mea­sure signed Fri­day by New­som adds teach­ers, school ad­min­is­tra­tors, em­ploy­ers and co-work­ers to the list of those who may pe­ti­tion the courts to re­move guns.

Assem­bly­man Phil Ting, D-San Fran­cisco, au­thored the bill after school of­fi­cials said they had raised con­cerns about the be­hav­ior of the Park­land shoot­ing sus­pect be­fore he al­legedly went on a ram­page in Fe­bru­ary 2018.

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