State Senate panel to hold media violence hearing

A state Senate subcommittee hear testimony Wednesday on media violence’s impact on public safety – an issue the panel’s chair says has arisen from recent months’ gun-violence debates.

The informational hearing of the Senate Public Safety Subcommittee on Gangs, Guns and Drugs is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, in Room 113 of the State Capitol.

State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, who chairs the Public Safety Committee as well as this subcommittee, said the hearing’s goal “is to provide legislators with the latest research on media violence and to present information regarding possible policy solutions from a constitutional perspective.”

“In our consideration of gun safety regulations during the last few months, questions were often raised about the relationship of mental health to gun violence, as well as repeated exposure to media violence on young people and marginalized individuals,” Hancock added.

Among those scheduled to take part are Laramie Taylor, a UC-Davis associate professor of communications who’ll testify on “Media Violence and Public Health;” Derek Burrill, a UC-Riverside associate professor of media and cultural studies who’ll testify on “Video Game Culture;” Dr. Andrew Giammona, medical director and director of the Division of Mental Health and Child Development at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, who’ll testify on “Media Violence Impact on Child Development;” Ashutosh Bhagwat, a UC-Davis law professor who’ll testify on “Media Violence, Constitutional Law and the First Amendment;” and Colby Zintl, vice president of Common Sense Media.

The hearing comes even as a slew of gun-control measures continue to wend through the Democrat-dominated Legislature toward Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. Some were approved last week by the Assembly Public Safety Committee, including SB 53, to require background checks for ammunition purchases, and SB 293, which could eventually require that all handguns sold in California be “smart guns” that can be used only by their authorized owners.

Perhaps the very most controversial bill – SB 374, which would ban all semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines and retroactively require ownership records for all guns – has been passed by the state Senate but has not yet been heard by any Assembly committees.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR senile columnist

    There is a precedent. In the 1950s Congress held a hearing on the evil influence of gory comic books

  • Elwood

    The dimmiecrat controlled CA leg. exists in a parallel universe.

    Loony tunes like Hancock and the authors of bills like SB53, 293 and 374 are totally disconnected from reality.

    Why don’t they just come out with a bill to ban firearms completely and put it to an up or down vote in their funny little legislature?

    Stop nibbling around the edges. Take a big bite!

  • JohnW


    Yeah, “go big,” like Michael Douglas in “The American President,” when he says, “I’m gonna get the guns.”

    Or, Joan Allen in “The Contender” as she gives her closing statement during confirmation hearings to be VP (replacing a dead one). She tells all the decidedly liberal things she stands for, including, “I stand for seeing every gun taken out of every home.” I can just see the gun rights crowd freaking out watching that.

  • MichaelB

    What a phony.

    Don’t you just love people like Hancock supposedly being “concerned” about policy solutions observing a “constitutional perspective” but being a reliable “yes” vote (or sponsor) for every gun control measure her party puts forth? Has she ever opposed a gun control bill?

    More of the usual “progressive” silliness designed to appeal to low information voters. Bills to ban/restrict firearms for law abiding people being referred to “gun safety” measures. Actions/behaviors of criminals being casually dismissed as “gun violence”.