May 31, 2016

Gun DoctorLast month, SF Bay Area PSR shared with you our work toward sensible gun control legislation in our state, and we’re happy to share an update!

For good reason, reducing gun violence is a priority this year for the state legislature and SF Bay Area PSR.  A mass shooting in the U.S. marked almost every day of 2015, underscoring the importance of SF Bay Area PSR supporting bills to step up gun control and research to stop the carnage. A mass shooting is defined as one where four or more people are killed or wounded, including the attacker.  According to a recent New York Times article[i], there were 358 mass shootings in 2015, with a total of 462 deaths and 1,330 injured. Where motives could be determined, they ranged from crime or gang activity to arguments that spun out of control in episodes of domestic violence.[ii]  Guns are too often handy, drawn and used in response to such mundane offenses as a Facebook taunt or the wrong choice of music at a house party.  Unfortunately, mass shootings are just a tiny subset of the shootings that end up killing approximately 11,000 and injuring 60,000 people every year across the U.S.

Of the approximately 20 pieces of state legislation that SF Bay Area PSR actively supports, nine bills and one resolution are aimed at reducing gun violence.  In addition to limiting assault weapons and large capacity magazines, legislation has been introduced calling for more research and data to better understand the causes of the senseless killings and injuries caused by guns.  SB 1006 (Wolk) requires the creation of a gun violence research center in the University of California system and has passed the state Senate—next stop the state Assembly.  SB 877 (Pan) calls for the collection of data regarding violent deaths in California.  At the time of this writing, SB 877 had not yet been voted on by the full Senate. Passage of these bills could contribute to better strategies to prevent gun violence.

Below is a rundown on the other gun control bills that SF PSR actively supports and where they are currently in the state legislature.

AB 1663 (Chiu) broadens definition of assault weapons.  Appropriations committee.

SB 880 (Hall) removes button loophole in assault weapon definition. Passed Senate.

SJR 20 (Hall) is a resolution calling on Congress to allow Centers for Disease Control to research and study gun violence. Passed Senate.

AB 2459 (McCarty) provides transparency for all gun transactions, deters illegal activity, and improves enforcement of existing law. Among others, the bill would have required dealers to videotape all firearm sales. Failed in Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection.

SB 894 (Jackson) helps prevent gun trafficking. It requires that every person whose firearm is lost or stolen notify local law enforcement within 5 days of the time the person knew or reasonably should have known that his or her firearm had been lost or stolen.  Passed Senate.

AB 1674 (Santiago) extends the purchase limit of one handgun per month to rifles and shotguns. Appropriations committee.

AB 1664 (Ting, Levine) gets rid of bullet button loophole that allows the legal use of military-style semi-automatic firearms.  Appropriations committee.

SB 1446 (Hancock) prohibits the possession of large capacity magazines and increases public safety. Passed Senate.

[i] New York Times, May 23, 2016, Sharon LaFraniere, Daniela Porat, Agustin Armendariz, Unending but Unheard, the Echo of Gun Violence.

[ii] Id.