Among the gun-control bills being rolled out by Assembly Democrats are a pair from a freshman East Bay lawmaker to tax ammunition and perhaps move toward confiscating banned assault weapons.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s AB 187 would place a tax on the sale of ammunition in California with proceeds going to a high-crime prevention fund that would be used in targeted areas suffering from high violent crime rates.
“In communities like Oakland and Stockton, parents are afraid to let their children play outside while gun violence ravages the streets,” Bonta, D-Oakland, said in a news release. “We must take swift action to get these communities the resources they need, and in AB 187 I propose to do so through a tax on ammunition.”
Far more controversial is Bonta’s AB 174, which for the moment reads as follows:
Under current law, certain banned weapons are permitted under various “grandfathering in” clauses. It is the intent of the Legislature to subsequently amend this measure to include provisions that would end all of those exemptions.
“State laws on the books currently restrict the purchase and sale of assault weapons and large capacity magazines, but almost all laws only apply on a going-forward basis and exempted weapons remain on our streets,” Bonta said. “With AB 174 we will closely examine this loophole and do what’s right for the children and people of California.”
Ending any grandfather clauses presumably would mean a mandatory buyback of all banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines – just the kind of registration-driven confiscation that gun-rights advocates have been warning about for decades, and that they’ve sworn to resist.
According to the state Justice Department, 77,103 Californians own 166,424 registered, grandfathered assault weapons.
Other Assembly bills touted today include:
AB 48 by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, to require reporting and regulation of ammunition sales; Skinner had introduced an earlier iteration of this bill last summer, and rolled out this current version in early January.
AB 169 by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, to prohibit people who’ve been exempted from restrictions on buying guns that the state designated as unsafe from selling or transferring those guns to anyone who isn’t also exempt. California maintains a list of state-tested handguns that are approved for sale in the state.
AB 170 by Assemblyman Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, would allow only individuals – not corporations or other associations – to be issued permits for assault weapons and machine guns. “In the same way that we prohibit sharing driver licenses, we should not allow dangerous weapons to be passed from hand to hand within an organization. One person, one permit just makes sense,” Bradford said.
And, yet to be introduced:
A bill from Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, to prohibit those involved in gun or ammunition trafficking from possessing any guns or ammo for 10 years.
A bill from Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, to tighten gun-safety laws already in place by adding a safe-storage requirement when a person prohibited from gun possession is living in the home. Ammiano’s bill also would let the state Justice Department extend the state’s 10-day waiting period when necessary for background checks.
Another bill from Dickinson also to impose an ammunition tax – this one at a nickel per bullet, with proceeds going to an existing program that screens young children in grades 1 through 3 for mild to moderate mental illness and then intervenes to help those in need.
A third bill from Dickinson to require CalPERS and CalSTRS to divest any existing pension fund investments from companies that manufacture, sell, distribute or market firearms or ammunition, and to prohibit any such investments in the future.
“Although California already has some of the nation’s best laws to reduce the incidence of violent and fatal shootings, we are always prepared to move when we can improve the safety of our communities and families,” Ammiano, who chairs the Assembly Public Safety Committee, said in a news release. “The Assembly is acting on this challenge and looks forward to seeing other proposals from the Senate. We will work with the other house to protect Californians from those who would misuse weapons. We will take a careful look at each bill when it comes to the committee.”