Sacramento – California legislators today passed 13 bills, part of a body of legislation supported by Equality California’s “Safe and Equal” campaign, that would strengthen the state’s gun safety laws. Equality California launched the campaign two weeks ago, following the shootings in Orlando, to advocate for tougher, commonsense gun safety laws at the federal and state levels, among other things. Equality California is making adoption of laws to reduce gun violence and mass shootings one of its highest organizational priorities.
“Orlando was a powerful call to action for our community,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “Gun violence is an LGBT issue because it disproportionately affects LGBT people. Transgender women face an epidemic of murder and violent crime and anti-LGBT hate crimes are spiking across the country. The Safe and Equal campaign makes ending gun violence one of Equality California’s top priorities. We urge the governor to protect the lives of Californians and sign these bills as quickly as possible.”
Zbur spent the day at the California Capitol, together with Equality California’s entire legislative team and a myriad of gun safety organizations, to lobby legislators for passage of the bills.
The package of Equality California-supported legislation approved by the legislature consists of:
AB 857 (Cooper): would close loophole allowing for manufacture or possession of “ghost guns” without first obtaining a government-issued serial number.
SB 1235 (De León): would require licensing of ammunition vendors by the Department of Justice and background checks for purchasers.
SB 880 (Hall and Glazer)/AB 1135 (Levine and Ting): would remove a loophole in assault weapon ban that allows for “bullet buttons” to easily facilitate changing magazines.
AB 1446 (Hancock): would ban possession of large-capacity magazines, limits ammunition sales to licensed vendors, and requires collection of certain information about ammunition sales, similar to procedures in place for sales of firearms themselves.
SB 894 (Jackson): would require anyone whose firearm is lost or stolen to notify local law enforcement within five days of the loss.
AB 1176 (Cooper): would restore felony charges for buying or receiving a stolen firearm that were in place prior to voter approval of Proposition 47.
AB 1511 (Santiago and Chiu): would limit the loan of firearms to immediate family, or to a licensed hunter whom the owner knows personally.
AB 1673 (Gipson): closes loophole allowing for sale of “ghost guns,” or gun parts and components that can be easily reassembled.
AB 1674 (Santiago): would limit the purchase of long guns to one per month, aligning the regulation for hand gun purchases.
AB 1695 (Bonta): would stop illegal “straw” purchases, the practice of legally buying a gun and then reselling it to someone unable to legally purchase a firearm.
AB 2607 (Ting): would allow mental health professionals, employers or coworkers to seek restraining orders to prevent high risk individuals from obtaining firearms.
SJR 20 (Hall): would urge the Congress of the United States to lift an existing prohibition against publicly funded scientific research on the causes of gun violence and its effects on public health, and to appropriate funds for the purpose of conducting that research.
“As is often the case, California leads the nation in progressive, sensible legislation. Today is no exception,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. “We are sending to the Governor the strongest and most comprehensive set of gun-violence prevention measures in a generation. When enacted, they will surely save lives. Criminals will find it harder to get their hands on guns and ammunition. With the Governor’s signature, California once again will be a beacon of hope for the rest of the nation to follow.”
“Today the California Legislature took sweeping, common sense actions to prevent gun violence,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “We took away the favorite tools of mass shooters, we established sensible limits on the sale of guns and ammunition, and we strengthened laws to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who should not have them. Every loophole we close takes a finger off a trigger. And thanks to the strong support of EQCA and other committed advocates, we showed that despite the NRA and other apologists and deniers, the tide is turning toward a reasoned approach and real action to prevent gun violence.”
As part of the Safe and Equal campaign, the bills were also supported by The Trevor Project, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Stonewall Democratic Club (Los Angeles), the San Francisco LGBT Center, the Orange County LGBT Center, Bienestar, Project Inform, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the Gender Health Center, The Wall Las Memorias, the Sacramento LGBT Center, the Source LGBT Center, the San Fernando LGBT Center, the Lyric Center for LGBTQQ Youth, the Latino Equality Alliance, the Men’s Health Foundation and the San Joaquin Pride Center.
Reported LGBT homicides rose by 20 percent in the U.S. between 2014 and 2015, according to a recent study by The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Of the homicides reported last year, 62 percent were LGBT people of color.
As part of its Safe and Equal campaign, Equality California also has called on Congress to immediately take up and adopt comprehensive federal gun safety legislation aimed at prohibiting military style assault weapons and large capacity magazines, closing gun show loopholes on background checks, and strengthening background checks and waiting periods to keep guns out of dangerous hands, consistent with reforms advocated by President Barack Obama.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBT civil rights organization, with more than 800,000 members and significant legislative and electoral programs. As part of its Safe and Equal campaign, Equality California is mobilizing its members, other LGBT organizations and leaders, and progressive and business partners to support legislative and electoral efforts to address gun violence.
The bills now await the governor’s signature.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org