New California laws prohibit the open carrying of unloaded rifles and shotguns and protect domestic violence victims

California has a history of enacting some of the strongest gun laws in the nation. This year, Governor Brown signed two new measures to improve upon the state’s laws by helping to protect Californians from gun violence in public and in their homes. On September 28th, the governor signed AB 1527. The new law prohibits the open carrying of unloaded rifles and shotguns in public.  After a similar measure banning the open carrying of unloaded handguns was enacted last year, members of the so-called “open carry movement” responded by openly carrying rifles and shotguns at shopping malls, beach areas and other crowded public places.  This activity greatly alarmed the public and law enforcement statewide, resulting in the new measure.  The open carrying of all firearms is now prohibited in public places in California. The Law Center supported both the handgun and long gun open carry bans.

One day later, Governor Brown signed SB 1433, which will help disarm domestic abusers.  This law will require certain courts that issue protective orders to cross-reference state firearm records to determine whether a domestic abuser owns a firearm. If records indicate that a batterer is also a gun owner, law enforcement must request that the firearms be relinquished when serving the protective order. The Law Center supported this measure. Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abusers if an abuser owns a firearm. Strong procedures to facilitate the relinquishment of firearms by domestic abusers are absolutely critical.

Want to see more success stories? You can find them here.

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

Success Story: California Enacts Three Strong Gun Laws

Three important legislative victories were won in California in October 2011:

LONG GUN RECORDS

WHAT HAPPENED?
Thanks to an irresponsible law pushed through by the gun lobby many years ago, the California Department of Justice has been forced to destroy long gun sales records. This requirement has hampered law enforcement efforts to investigate gun crimes and disarm dangerous criminals. The requirement to destroy long gun records was repealed by LCAV-sponsored bill AB 809 (Feuer).

HOW SAFETY WINS
Long gun sales records will now be maintained in a database, like handgun sales records, and will provide a useful tool for law enforcement. Sales records contain important information about a firearm, who purchased it, and who sold it.  This information is critical to law enforcement charged with tracing the ownership of firearms recovered in crimes.

BANNING OPEN CARRY

WHAT HAPPENED?
After members of California’s open carry movement began staging public gatherings at which groups of gun owners carried unloaded handguns openly in public, Californians became alarmed. The California Police Chiefs Association, concerned about the risk to public safety, sponsored AB 144 (Portantino). The newly enacted law bans open carrying of unloaded handguns in a public place or on a public street.

HOW SAFETY WINS
Openly carrying handguns in public — intimidating behavior that puts the public at risk — is no longer permitted in California.

FUNDING TO DISARM PROHIBITED PERSONS

WHAT HAPPENED?
The California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is tasked with disarming persons who are prohibited from possessing a firearm. SB 819 (Leno), allows DOJ to pay for this effort by using funds generated when firearms are sold.

HOW SAFETY WINS
This will greatly enhance DOJ’s ability to take guns out of the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers and the mentally ill. DOJ has already identified over 18,000 individuals in California who are recorded owners of handguns and also legally prohibited from possessing firearms.  This additional funding will help DOJ take action to disarm these individuals.

Major Victories in California: Governor Brown Signs Three Crucial Bills to Prevent Gun Violence!

The Law Center applauds California Governor Jerry Brown for signing three important pieces of legislation to help keep communities across California safe from gun violence. Governor Brown signed:

  • AB 809 (Feuer), co-sponsored by the Law Center, which 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;
  • AB 144 (Portantino), which will prohibit the open carrying of unloaded handguns in public places statewide; and
  • SB 819 (Leno), which will enable the Department of Justice to use firearm sales fees to fund programs to disarm convicted criminals and the mentally ill

The governor’s signing of these three bills is a major victory for public safety in California. We commend Assemblymember Feuer, Assemblymember Portantino, and Senator Leno for their outstanding leadership on these critical issues, and we are grateful for the tireless efforts of our coalition partners statewide.

We also thank you, our members and supporters, for your calls to the Governor urging him to sign AB 809. Your voice makes a difference!

Your support helps ensure that California continues to lead the nation in strong laws to prevent gun violence.

California Legislature Adopts the Law Center’s Critical -Supported Bills

The Law Center is pleased to report overwhelming success in the California Legislature this year, with four important bills now headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. Our co-sponsored bill AB 809 (Feuer) would help law enforcement solve gun crimes and protect public safety by requiring the Department of Justice to retain copies of sales records for rifles and shotguns, as it does now for handgun records.

In addition:

    • AB 144 (Portantino) would prohibit the open carrying of unloaded handguns in public places statewide;
    • SB 819 (Leno) would enable the California Department of Justice to use firearm sales fees to fund programs to disarm convicted criminals and the mentally ill; and
    • SB 427 (De León) would enhance the state’s 2009 handgun ammunition recordkeeping law.

Your support enables us to provide critical technical expertise and advocacy in support of these and other important measures. By championing innovative legislation like the bills above, the Law Center and our coalition partners statewide are working to ensure that California’s gun laws remain the best in the nation.The Law Center’s Summary of 2011 California Firearms Legislation has more information about all of the firearm bills considered by the state legislature this year.

Urge Your State Senator to Vote “Yes” on the Law Center’s Co-Sponsored Bill AB 809!

The Law Center’s co-sponsored bill AB 809 (Feuer) is now on the California State Senate floor, where it could be voted on at any time. At this critical juncture, your assistance is urgently needed to secure the bill’s passage.

AB 809 would require the Department of Justice to retain copies of sales records for rifles and shotguns in a state database, as is currently done for handgun records. This common sense measure would help prevent gun crimes and protect public safety by enhancing law enforcement’s ability to:

Quickly identify the owners of crime guns and expose channels of illegal gun trafficking.

Get firearms out of the hands of dangerous felons, domestic abusers, and mentally ill individuals who still own guns even though they are ineligible to possess them.

Be forewarned about the presence of guns at private residences when responding to emergency calls.

Because rifles and shotguns play a significant role in gun violence in California, it is critical that the California State Senate pass AB 809. Please call your Senator today to urge him or her to vote in favor of this bill! Locate your Senator using this service provided by the California Legislature.

AB 809 and SB 819 Would Help Get Guns Out of the Hands of Criminals and the Mentally Ill

On Tuesday, June 21, 2011, two critical bills to help law enforcement disarm convicted felons, domestic abusers, and the mentally ill advanced in the California Legislature. Currently, Californians who lawfully purchased handguns before they became prohibited from possessing firearms are identified in the state’s Armed and Prohibited Persons (APPS) database. As ABC7 News recently reported, the APPS database is a crucial tool to get guns out of the wrong hands. APPS sweeps conducted this month alone recovered 1,209 guns from 1,011 prohibited persons.

AB 809 (Feuer), which passed the Senate Public Safety Committee, would require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to retain copies of sales records for rifles and shotguns, as DOJ currently does for handguns. Co-sponsored by the Law Center, AB 809 would significantly expand the APPS database, enabling law enforcement to identify prohibited owners of long guns, as well as handguns.

The Law Center also strongly supports SB 819 (Leno), which passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. SB 819 would enable DOJ to use funds acquired from firearm sales fees for APPS enforcement efforts. The APPS database presently contains the names of approximately 18,000 Californians illegally in possession of over 34,000 handguns, making APPS funding a critical public safety priority.

The Law Center testified in support of both bills in Tuesday’s committee hearings and will continue to advocate for their passage as they proceed forward. For more information about all of the important firearms bills advancing in the California Legislature, see our Summary of 2011 California Firearms Legislation.

CA Bill to Help Law Enforcement Solve Gun Crimes Moves Forward

Today, in a significant victory for gun violence prevention in California, the Assembly passed AB 809 (Feuer), a bill that would require the Department of Justice to retain copies of sales records for long guns (rifles and shotguns), as it already does for handguns. The Law Center is co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Retention of long gun records would help law enforcement agencies quickly identify the owners of crime guns, and help get illegal firearms out of the hands of dangerous felons, domestic abusers, and the mentally ill. It would also help law enforcement be forewarned about the presence of long guns at private residences when responding to emergency calls.

AB 809 now proceeds to the State Senate.We thank Assembly member Feuer for his outstanding leadership on this issue, as well as our California gun violence prevention coalition partners for their important work on this bill.

The Law Center Supported Bills Pass Assembly Public Safety Committee

On April 12, two extremely important firearms bills moved out of the California Assembly Public Safety Committee.

AB 809 (Feuer), co-sponsored by the Law Center, would delete a provision of state law that currently requires sales records for long guns (rifles and shotguns) to be destroyed after five days. Similar to last year’s AB 1810, the bill would direct the Department of Justice to retain these records indefinitely, as it currently does for handgun records. Retention of long gun records would help law enforcement agencies quickly identify the owners of crime guns, and help them get firearms out of the hands of dangerous felons, domestic abusers, and the mentally ill. It would also help law enforcement be forewarned about the presence of long guns at private residences when responding to emergency calls.

AB 144 (Portantino), which would prohibit the open carrying of unloaded handguns in public places, also passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. Current law does not prohibit the open carrying of unloaded firearms, even if an individual is also carrying ammunition. Open carrying intimidates the public, wastes law enforcement resources, and creates opportunities for injury and death due to the accidental or intentional use of firearms.

Both bills now proceed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. For more information about all of the firearms bills under consideration in California this year, please visit our Summary of 2011 California Firearms Legislation.