California, Vote YES on Proposition 63 on Election Day

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This November, California voters will have the chance to usher in a new set of laws designed to make the state safer from the tragic incidents of gun violence that forever change the lives of hundreds of people a day in the United States. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is proud to stand with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom in supporting Proposition 63, the Safety for All act, a series of lifesaving smart gun laws that will further California’s commitment to improving public safety. We’ve been working on this initiative for more than a year, drafting the language, testifying before the state legislature, advocating to the media, and building coalitions to support for this set of commonsense gun laws.

We worked with the Lt. Governor to draft the policy last year, which closes some glaring gaps in the state’s otherwise leading-edge gun laws—one of only six states to score an A- on our Gun Law State Scorecard. Our attorneys have been drafting gun policy in our home state for more than two decades, and are thrilled at the opportunity to lend our expertise and support to this lifesaving set of laws.

Prop 63 includes seven provisions that will:

  • Require Background Checks on Ammunition Sales: The initiative requires licensing of ammunition vendors and point-of-sale background checks for ammunition purchases. Under Prop 63, if a person is convicted of a felony, a violent misdemeanor, has a protective order against them, or has been adjudicated dangerously mentally ill, that person will no longer be able to buy ammunition in California. This provision will make California the first state to require ammunition background checks at the point of sale.
  • Ensure People Prohibited from Owning Guns Do Not Possess Them: This provision will help enforce laws already on the books and close a deadly gap in existing laws that allows dangerous offenders to illegally keep their guns after being convicted of major crimes. For more information on the importance of relinquishment laws, check out Keeping Illegal Guns Out of Dangerous Hands: America’s Deadly Relinquishment Gap.
  • Require Reporting Lost or Stolen Guns: The initiative requires firearm owners to notify law enforcement if their gun has been lost or stolen. If Prop 63 is enacted, California will join 11 other states in requiring lost or stolen reporting, helping to break up gun trafficking rings, return stolen guns to lawful owners, and reduce the number of firearms entering the black market.
  • Prohibit Possession of Large-Capacity Military-Style Magazines: Prop 63 prohibits the possession of large-capacity magazines of 11 rounds or more and provides for their legal disposal. If passed, California would join New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia in banning possession of these military-style magazines, the accessory of choice to make mass shootings even more deadly.
  • Require that gun dealers conduct employee background checks and report lost or stolen ammunition: Prop 63 ensures that people who work for gun dealers pass annual background checks in order to sell or handle deadly weapons and requires dealers to notify police if ammunition is lost or stolen from them. This provision will combat weapons trafficking, keeping stolen guns and ammunition off the black market.
  • Clarify the consequences of gun theft: Prop 63 clarifies that gun theft—no matter the value of the firearm—is a felony, making it illegal for people convicted of stealing firearms to purchase or possess them.

California has long led the nation when it comes to championing the smart gun laws that save lives, and Prop 63 reinforces that leadership by keeping guns and ammunition away from dangerous members of our society. We’re proud to stand with Lt. Governor Newsom in the fight to bring sanity back to America’s gun laws, and we urge all Californians to vote YES on Prop 63 on November 8.

Learn more about the Prop 63 initiative.

Mance v. Lynch: Amicus Brief Defending Federal In-State FFL Requirement for Handgun Sales

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Case Information: Mance v. Lynch, No. 15-10311 (5th Cir. Brief Filed July 20, 2015)

At Issue: Plaintiffs in this case argue that the federal laws requiring out-of-state handgun purchases to be completed through an in-state federal firearms licensee (“FFL”) violate the Second Amendment. In other words, the challenged laws require a person wishing to buy a handgun in another state to have the purchase completed by an FFL that operates in their state of residence. Plaintiffs in this case are residents of the District of Columbia and wanted to purchase a firearm in Texas, but did not do so because of the extra costs associated with the in-state FFL requirement. The district court for the Northern District of Texas found that this requirement unduly restricts access to firearm markets and therefore violates the Second Amendment. The case is now on appeal before the Fifth Circuit.

The Law Center’s Brief: Our amicus brief argues that the challenged federal laws are compatible with the Second Amendment because they place such a small burden on a citizen’s ability to keep a firearm in the home for self-defense. The brief argues that laws imposing background checks and regulating large capacity ammunition magazines are “presumptively lawful” and not protected at all by the Second Amendment. Even if these regulations implicate the Second Amendment, both provisions survive constitutional scrutiny because they are reasonably related to the important governmental objective of protecting public safety and the safety of law enforcement officers.

Read the full text of our amicus brief here.

The California Model: Twenty Years of Putting Safety First

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The Law Center’s latest publication, The California Model: Twenty Years of Putting Safety First, examines the history of success in enacting smart gun laws in California and how those laws have contributed to a significant drop in gun death rates in the state.

As the publication describes, gun violence is not a problem without solutions. We know what works,
we’ve seen the difference it has made in California, and we are already seeing the same success in states around the country.

Download a PDF Copy of The California Model

Two Mass Shootings that Changed California

In 1989, a catastrophic event changed the perception of gun violence in California. A gunman took an assault rifle to Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, where he killed five children and wounded 29 others as well as one teacher.

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In the early 1990s the toll of gun violence in California rose to unprecedented levels – at one point 15% higher than the national average.1

The parallels between the Stockton shooting and the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut are startling. As one news report observed, “Except for the fatal scale of the Connecticut shooting[,] the assault at Cleveland Elementary School here featured near-identical and tragic themes: young victims, a troubled gunman and a military-style rifle.”2

The Stockton shooting shocked California and the nation, igniting calls for change.  Then, as now, change was not quick to come from Congress. Instead, it was California’s legislature that responded to the demand for action, adopting the first assault weapons ban in the country that same year.

Continue reading

Notes
  1. U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Web-Based Injury Statistics Query & Reporting System (WISQARS), 1981-1998 Fatal Injury Report, 1981-1998, http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate9.html (accessed on July 11, 2013). ⤴︎
  2. Stockton school massacre: A tragically familiar pattern, USA Today (Apr. 1, 2013), http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/01/stockton-massacre-tragically-familiar-pattern-repeats/2043297/. ⤴︎

We’re Almost There! Our Priority Bill to Stop Illegal Gun Trafficking is on Governor Brown’s Desk

Your calls and emails paid off last week: the California Legislature heard you and passed our bill to curb illegal gun trafficking. But the work isn’t over yet.

We have been working all year on SB 1366, which would give law enforcement an important tool to fight the flow of illegal guns in California. The bill would require gun owners to report lost and stolen guns to the police — guns that are often trafficked into the hands of criminals.

This bill is now on Governor Brown’s desk and just one step away from becoming law.
We need your help NOW for this final, critical push.

Please call Governor Brown TODAY at (916) 445-2841 and tell him:

“I support SB 1366 because it gives law enforcement
what they need to fight gun trafficking!”

If the line is busy, you can click here to e-mail the governor with your message.
Be sure to select “SB01366\Firearms: lost or stolen: reports” under “Please Choose Your Subject” and select “Pro” for your position when prompted.

California is close to enacting this important bill into law. Your voice can help keep guns out of the wrong hands in our state.

Let’s ensure that Governor Brown makes the right decision to protect our communities.
Call or email him right now.

We have a deep amount of research on this topic. For more, read about the benefits of lost and stolen firearm reporting.

What Really Matters About Fast and Furious?

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Today, the House voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his failure to turn over documents related to the ATF program dubbed “Fast and Furious.” In case you’ve missed the news, “Fast and Furious” is the term used for an ATF investigative tactic that involved allegedly refraining from seizing guns that ATF agents believed were headed to criminals in Mexico. According to Republicans in Congress, ATF agents refused to seize these guns, even though they knew they were likely to be used in crimes, because they wanted to follow the guns to the criminal ringleaders. However, an article released yesterday in Fortune magazine suggests that the real reason the ATF agents didn’t intercede was because ATF’s legal advisors – the prosecutors who would have had to justify seizing the weapons in court – pointed out that no gun laws were being broken.

No gun laws were being broken? Considering the recent bloodshed in Mexico, this may appear hard to believe. Between 2006 and 2010, more than 23,000 people were killed in drug cartel violence south of the border. When the guns that are used in these crimes are traced, it turns out that 90% of these guns originated from gun dealers in the United States. Almost all of the guns being used by the cartels had originally been purchased at gun shops in the U.S. (mainly in Texas, Arizona, and California), then passed from hand to hand until they reached criminals in Mexico. Surely, you say, this level of gun trafficking can’t be legal. Continue reading

The Law Center’s Priority Bill Advances in California Assembly

On Tuesday, June 12, 2012, a Law Center co-sponsored bill to require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms in California passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee in a 4-2 vote.  SB 1366 (DeSaulnier) is a critical  measure to help fight the illegal trafficking of crime guns and prevent gun violence in our communities.  The bill is co-sponsored by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and is supported by the California Police Chiefs Association, the California State Sheriffs’ Association, and mayors and gun violence prevention groups statewide.

Find out more about this important issue with Lost & Stolen Reporting: Why SB 1366 Matters.  SB 1366 now proceeds to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Lost & Stolen Reporting Bill Passes the California Senate

Yesterday, our priority bill to combat illegal gun trafficking and keep guns out of the wrong hands passed the California State Senate by a vote of 23-14.  Co-sponsored by the Law Center, SB 1366 (DeSaulnier) would require gun owners to alert local law enforcement when their firearms are lost or stolen, providing law enforcement with a much-needed tool to curb gun trafficking. SB 1366 now proceeds to the Assembly. Continue reading

Crucial Gun Trafficking Bill Advances to CA Senate Floor

Great news! Early next week, we expect the California State Senate to vote on a critical bill that will help stop illegal gun trafficking and keep guns out of the wrong hands.  

Now we need your help to tell the Senate how important this measure is! 

Co-sponsored by LCAV, SB 1366 (DeSaulnier) would require gun owners to alert local law enforcement when their firearms are lost or stolen, providing law enforcement with a much-needed tool to curb gun trafficking.

Without a reporting law in place, individuals whose guns are recovered at crime scenes can falsely claim that their weapons innocently disappeared in order to hide their involvement in criminal activity.

Please call your State Senator TODAY and tell him or her,  

“I support SB 1366 to fight gun trafficking!”.

You can find your State Senator and the number to call by following this link. Continue reading

Important Victory in California: SB 1366 Passed California State Senate’s Public Safety Commission

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is pleased to report that the California State Senate has taken a critical step to help stop illegal gun trafficking and keep guns out of the wrong hands.

The Law Center co-sponsored bill SB 1366 (DeSaulnier) was passed by the California State Senate’s Public Safety Committee in a hearing earlier today. SB 1366 would require gun owners to alert local law enforcement within 48 hours when their firearms are lost or stolen.

Requiring the reporting of lost or stolen guns will provide law enforcement with a critical tool to curb illegal gun trafficking. Without a reporting law in place, individuals whose guns are recovered at crime scenes can falsely claim that their weapons innocently disappeared in order to hide their involvement in criminal activity.

Continue reading

Lost & Stolen Reporting: Why SB 1366 Matters

Seven states, the District of Columbia, and nine cities in California currently require firearm owners to report to law enforcement when their firearms are lost or stolen. The State of California does not.

Currently, firearms dealers and manufacturers must report any lost or stolen firearms within 48 hours, and local law enforcement must enter reports of lost or stolen firearms into the state’s Automated Property System database. However, firearm owners whose guns are lost or stolen are not required to do anything. As a result, law enforcement efforts to investigate gun crimes and disarm dangerous criminals are significantly hindered.

The public overwhelmingly supports laws requiring the reporting of lost or stolen firearms. A nationwide poll in 2011 found that 94% of Americans surveyed, including 94% of gun owners, favor laws to require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

In California, 2,972 residents died from firearm related injuries in 2009, and 3,545 others were treated for non-fatal gunshot wounds. Of the 1,811 Californians murdered in 2010, 1,257, or 69%, were killed with firearms. Continue reading