New Gun Legislation

2014 California Firearms Legislation: Progress Continues

Posted on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

CA State Capitol Building

On the heels of an unprecedented year for gun violence prevention in California, where 10 strong gun bills were signed into law, the California legislature continues to fight for innovative new policies to strengthen the state’s gun laws. The Law Center is tracking numerous gun violence prevention measures that are moving through the California legislature in 2014. Currently, there are nine bills pending that would strengthen the state’s gun laws and could have a significant impact on the safety of the citizens of California. Three bills are pending that would weaken the state’s gun laws. There are eight other gun-related bills the Law Center is tracking and continuing to analyze as they move through the legislative process.

As the legislative session continues, the Law Center will continue to track and analyze these bills, and provide information to legislators and activists as they fight for stronger gun laws in their communities.

For more information on the status of bills in other states, visit our 2014 summary of gun bills nationwide. Here is a summary of the gun bills currently pending in California this year:

SB 53 (De Leon): Ammunition Purchase Permitting – SB 53—the Law Center’s priority bill for 2014—would require ammunition sellers to be licensed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).  The bill would also require that every ammunition purchaser hold an ammunition purchase authorization issued by DOJ after it conducted a background check on the purchaser.  In completing an ammunition sale, a vendor would be required to confirm that every purchaser has a valid ammunition authorization, record identifying information about the purchaser, and submit that information to DOJ.  The bill would also require ammunition sales to be completed in face-to-face transactions.  This provision would allow online purchases of ammunition so long as the ammunition purchased was shipped to a licensed ammunition seller to complete the transaction.

Status:  This bill is in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.  READ MORE »

Tracking State Gun Laws: 2014 Developments

Posted on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

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Each year, in state legislative houses across the country, elected officials vote on hundreds of  bills that have the potential to save lives—or to jeopardize them. Although the media tends to focus on the fact that Congress has yet to make any meaningful progress to protect Americans from gun violence, the action at the state level is the bigger and more crucial story. The Law Center is currently tracking over 1,300 firearms bills in state legislatures across the country. Of these bills, about half would strengthen firearms laws and half would weaken them. There is also a substantial change on the grassroots level—as a more coordinated effort from groups old and new are making their voices heard for the safety of their communities.

The Law Center tracks and analyzes all gun legislation nationwide and below is a map of legislation moving through the state houses. We have only included bills that have moved out of their house of origin or further, which shows the bills that are most likely to become law.

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In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, there is no doubt that public support for sensible gun laws has soared. Many legislators are following the lead of the people and fighting for strong new policies to fill the gaps in gun regulation left by Congress. READ MORE »

Developing Trend in Gun Legislation: The Trayvon Martin Exception to Stand Your Ground Laws

Posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014

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Yesterday jury selection began in the murder trial of Michael Dunn who shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Witnesses say Dunn became enraged at Davis for playing music too loudly and provoked a confrontation that resulted in Dunn shooting and killing the unarmed teenager.

Dunn will likely base his defense on Florida’s stand your ground law—better described as a “shoot first” law—that allows someone to use deadly force outside the home if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm. Florida’s law, as well as similar laws in several other states, does not require that the person using force retreat to a place of safety, if possible, before using force.

Eight months before Jordan Davis was killed, George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager walking to his father’s girlfriend’s house. By now, most of us know the story. Although Florida’s shoot first law was not incorporated into George Zimmerman’s defense, the court had instructed the jury on Florida’s controversial law and one of the jurors subsequently stated that the jury had found the law applicable to Zimmerman.

Again, a few weeks ago, yet another person behaving lawfully in public was shot and killed. Chad Oulson, who was texting his 3-year-old daughter’s caretaker during movie previews, angered Curtis Reeves, an armed, retired police officer. Reeves began to argue with Oulson. A confrontation ensued and Reeves shot and killed Oulson. Reeves is expected to also claim self-defense using Florida’s shoot first law.

A 17-year-old playing music in a car. A 16-year-old walking to see his father.  A father texting the babysitter during movie previews. These are only a fraction of the victims. These tragic events also demonstrate how shoot first laws continue to threaten public safety by encouraging people to take the law into their own hands and act as armed vigilantes, often with deadly consequences. The strongest of these laws also have a profound impact on the criminal and civil justice systems, tying the hands of law enforcement and depriving victims of remedies by providing blanket immunity from criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits to individuals who claim they were acting in self-defense.

Many states have had enough of this bloodshed and lawmakers have introduced legislation to repeal or limit the use of shoot first laws. Most notably, Alabama has introduced the “Trayvon Martin exception” as an amendment to its current shoot first law. The new legislation aims to protect innocent victims like Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and Chad Oulson. The bill would prohibit use of the self-defense claim if a shooter pursued the victim who was behaving lawfully in a public place and the pursuit resulted in a deadly confrontation. READ MORE »

2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter

Posted on Monday, December 9th, 2013

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The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is proud to partner with the Brady Campaign to release our 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter. This collaborative report empowers us all by putting the Law Center’s in-depth research on America’s gun laws into the hands of the advocates across the nation so they can continue to fight for effective gun policies in their communities.

Download the full 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter here.

Since Newtown, so much has changed. The slaughter of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School sent shockwaves through the nation and ignited a passionate call for our leaders to take steps to prevent gun violence. When Congress failed to pass any new gun violence prevention legislation in 2013, including the overwhelmingly popular legislation to expand background checks, state legislatures answered the call.

Starting last January, legislators in state houses across the country began introducing a record number of bills to strengthen gun laws. Even states with historically weak gun laws, like Florida, Missouri, and Texas, took action towards sensible gun legislation. In fact, twenty-one states enacted new laws to curb gun violence in their communities, with eight of these states passing major reforms—far eclipsing the corporate gun lobby’s limited success in state legislatures in 2013.

Click on each state’s initials in the map below to see our analysis of the gun laws in that state.

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The 2013 Law Center & Brady Campaign State Gun Laws Scorecard1

To view a larger version of this map, click here.

Gun laws really do matter. State gun laws fill enormous gaps that exist in our nation’s federal laws, and help to reduce gun violence and keep citizens safe. In part because these laws help to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and aid law enforcement in solving gun crimes, many of the states with the strongest gun laws also have the lowest gun death rates.

READ MORE »

  1. The combined expertise of the Law Center and Brady Campaign informed our grading system. Only states that have enacted several significant firearms laws received enough points to receive a grade in the A range. The states in the B and C ranges have enacted fewer laws, but do have some important gun safety measures on the books. The D states have only a small handful of firearms regulation while the F states have enacted little to no firearms regulation and, in many cases, have lost points for irresponsible gun laws. []

Tracking State Gun Laws: 2013 California Firearms Legislation

Posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is proud of the unprecedented progress California made in improving its already strong firearms safety laws in 2013. In response to the Newtown school shooting and other incidents of gun violence that devastate our communities every day, California legislators passed a historic number of bills to help prevent gun-related deaths and injuries in California, and Governor Brown signed 10 of those bills. The 17 bills described briefly below are all the 2013 firearms bills the Law Center supported that were passed by the legislature and either signed or vetoed by the governor.

For a more complete summary of each bill, and other firearms-related legislation introduced in 2013, please download our complete analysis of all firearms related bills introduced this year.

For more information about the legislative process in California, see this overview of the legislative process or the publication California’s Legislature.

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AB 500 (Ammiano): Storage of Firearms in Homes with Prohibited Persons, Waiting Period Extension and Firearm Transfer Notifications

AB 500 requires any gun owner residing with a person who is prohibited from owning firearms under state or federal law to either: 1) keep the firearm within a locked container, locked gun safe, locked trunk, locked with a locking device, or disabled by a firearm safety device; or 2) carry the firearm on his or her person.

AB 500 also clarifies that the ten-day waiting period between the sale of a firearm and its transfer to the purchaser may be extended an additional 30 days if the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is unable to determine the outcome of a mental health evaluation, unable to interpret arrest or criminal charge records, or unable to determine whether the purchaser is attempting to purchase a second handgun in a 30-day period in violation of California law, prior to the end of the waiting period.

AB 48 (Skinner): Strengthening Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban

AB 48 prohibits the use of “conversion kits” to manufacture large capacity ammunition magazines. It also prohibits the purchase of large capacity ammunition magazines and tightens the definition of “manufacture” in the current law to clarify that manufacturing includes assembling the parts of a magazine.

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2012 California Firearms Legislation Summary

Posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Updated September 5, 2012

The Law Center monitors all firearm-related bills introduced in the California Legislature each year. The analysis below highlights and summarizes significant legislation considered by the legislature in 2012.

A dozen significant gun bills have been considered by the legislature this year, including SB 1366, co-sponsored by the Law Center. SB 1366, which is currently before the governor, would help law enforcement solve and prevent gun crimes by requiring firearm owners to report lost or stolen weapons. Three other bills to strengthen California’s gun laws are on the governor’s desk:

  • AB 1527, prohibiting the open carry of unloaded rifles and shotguns;
  • SB 1433, improving the process for getting guns out of the hands of domestic abusers; and
  • AB 2460, removing a loophole in the state’s ban on unsafe handguns.

Additionally, a number of bills to weaken California’s gun laws were defeated earlier this year.

Our California law summary contains information about the state’s existing firearms laws.
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Major Activity in State Firearms Legislation in 2012

Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Updated October 23, 2012

The map below identifies firearms-related bills that have been enacted into law or vetoed in 2012. Red icons indicate action that weakens gun violence prevention efforts and green icons represent action that strengthens these efforts. Pushpins indicate where a measure was adopted by a state legislature but vetoed by the state’s governor.

Click on each icon to find out more information about each bill. Below the map, there is a state-by-state summary of all of the significant bills adopted or vetoed so far in 2012. This page and map will be regularly updated over the course of the year.

The information on this page supplements the Law Center’s state law summaries, as well as our prior summaries of state firearms laws adopted in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

View Major Activity in State Legislation 2012 in a larger map

Significant Firearms Legislation Adopted in 2012

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2011 Developments in Federal & State Law by Firearms Policy

Posted on Monday, December 19th, 2011

Updated December 19, 2011

The information on this page supplements the material provided in our firearms policy summaries.

Carrying Firearms

Arizona: A new Arizona law reduces oversight of firearm training programs by the state and allows applicants for concealed weapon permits (which are optional in Arizona) to obtain instruction from NRA-certified instructors that have not been approved by the Department of Public Safety.

Arkansas: Arkansas recently enacted a law that restricts concealed weapons in certain restaurants such as restaurants in convention centers and hotels. The law also broadens the grounds for denying a concealed weapon permit applicant based on a likelihood of danger to self or others. Finally, the new law eliminates the requirement that a permit holder report to state police the loss or other disposition of his or her handgun.

California: A new California law prohibits the open carrying of unloaded handguns in public places statewide.

Delaware: Delaware has made it a crime to possess a firearm while in a public place while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Florida: Florida now allows concealed weapon permit holders to “briefly” carry firearms openlyAnother Florida law renders permanent a temporary provision making concealed carry records confidential.

Indiana: A newly enacted Indiana law allows job applicants and current employees to sue any public or private employer for requiring them to disclose information about firearms ownership or use. The law allows courts to award actual and punitive damages. Indiana also enacted a law in 2011 that allows the carrying of a concealed weapon without a permit on land the person owns or that is owned by another person who has given his or her consent.

READ MORE »

2011 Developments in State Firearms Laws by State

Posted on Monday, December 19th, 2011

Updated December 19, 2011

The information on this page supplements the Law Center’s state law summaries.

Alabama

A new Alabama law makes straw purchasing and other fraudulent transfers a state crime.

Arizona

A new Arizona law reduces oversight of firearm training programs by the state and allows applicants for concealed weapon permits (which are optional in Arizona) to obtain instruction from NRA-certified instructors that have not been approved by the Department of Public Safety.

Arizona has enacted a law naming an official state gun.

Arkansas

Arkansas recently enacted a law that restricts concealed weapons in certain restaurants such as restaurants in convention centers and hotels. The law also broadens the grounds for denying a concealed weapon permit applicant based on a likelihood of danger to self or others. Finally, the new law eliminates the requirement that a permit holder report to state police the loss or other disposition of his or her handgun.

Another new Arkansas law authorizes criminal courts to issue a no contact order, which may include a prohibition against firearms possession, to a defendant in a criminal proceeding if it appears that a danger exists that the defendant will commit a serious crime, seek to intimidate a witness, or otherwise unlawfully interfere with the orderly administration of justice.

California

California enacted several significant firearms laws in 2011. First, a new record-keeping requirement will help law enforcement solve and prevent gun crimes by requiring the California Department of Justice to retain copies of sales records for rifles and shotguns, as it already does for handguns. A second law will prohibit the open carrying of unloaded handguns in public places statewide. A third law will enable the state Department of Justice to use firearm sales fees to fund programs to disarm convicted criminals and the mentally ill.

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2011 State Legislation Overview

Posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Last updated December 2011

In 2011, the Law Center identified over 700 bills addressing firearms that were introduced in state legislatures nationwide. The number of introduced bills that would have weakened firearms laws was very close to the number that would have strengthened them; however, approximately twice as many of the former were ultimately enacted. The vast majority of enacted laws expand the carrying of guns in public places.

 

Victories

In 2011, gun violence prevention advocates were able to prevent the enactment of a number of bills that would have significantly weakened gun laws across the country. Bills to expand possession of guns on college and university campuses were defeated in fifteen states and succeeded in only two (MS and WI). Bills that would have allowed concealed guns to be carried without a permit were defeated in twelve states and enacted in only one (WY). Efforts to enact a law to allow carrying concealed weapons with a permit were again defeated in IL. Measures in three states which would have required law enforcement to rely solely on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database instead of using more thorough state databases when conducting background checks were defeated. (NICS consists of federal databases containing criminal, mental health and other records that would disqualify an individual from purchasing a firearm. The use of state databases is preferable because many relevant records have not been sent to NICS).

Three important victories were won in California in 2011. The state enacted a law that will help law enforcement solve and prevent gun crimes by requiring the California Department of Justice to retain copies of sales records for rifles and shotguns, as it already does for handguns. A second law will prohibit the open carrying of unloaded handguns in public places statewide. A third law will enable the Department of Justice to use firearm sales fees to fund programs to disarm convicted criminals and the mentally ill.

READ MORE »