As a bipartisan deal on increased background checks for gun sales appears to be headed for defeat in the U.S. Senate, some state lawmakers from the Bay Area are celebrating their own progress on gun-control measures yesterday in Sacramento.
The state Senate Public Safety Committee advanced a slew of gun bills on a series of party-line, 5-2 votes yesterday.
Among them were two bills by state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord.
SB 293 would require all newly made or imported handguns in California be “owner-authorized,” or “smart guns” personalized in a way that would allow them to be fired only by authorized persons. This requirement would take effect eighteen months after the state California Attorney General makes a finding that owner-authorized handguns are available for retail sale and meet stringent performance criteria specified in the bill.
And DeSaulnier’s SB 299 would require that every person whose firearm is lost or stolen must notify local law enforcement within 48 hours of the time they knew, or reasonably should have known, of the loss or theft. If the firearm is subsequently recovered, the local law enforcement agency would have to be notified within 48 hours as well.
“It is critical that we promote safe and responsible gun ownership,” DeSaulnier said in a news release. “These bills will help us prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands, and ensure they are only operated by their lawful owners.”
Also passed by the committee were two bills by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco.
SB 47 would prohibit the use of “bullet buttons” or other devices that allow for easily changeable magazines on firearms deemed assault weapons by state law. Such firearms would only be allowed to have ammunition magazines holding up to 10 rounds, which could not be changed without dissembling the weapon; essentially, bullets would have to be loaded one-by-one from the top of the gun.
And Yee’s SB 108 would require all guns to be properly stored when an adult isn’t home. Current law requires that gun owners own a trigger lock or safety lock box for their weapon, but doesn’t require such a device be used on an idle firearm; Yee’s bill would specifically require that any firearm be stored with a trigger lock or in a lock box at a residence when the owner isn’t there.
“The horrors of Newtown and countless other mass shootings are still with us,” Yee said in his own news release. “With this in mind, it is our responsibility to make sure our laws protect the innocent from the threat of gun violence.”
In other Bay Area-based gun policy news, Oakland City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a resolution asking the state Legislature to pass a bill creating a bullet tax.
AB 187 by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, would impose a 10 percent tax on ammunition to fund crime prevention efforts in the state’s most crime-ridden areas. Bonta had said last month that his bill might merge with another lawmaker’s proposed nickel-per-round tax to fund mental-health screening for children. He also said his tax is mostly about generating money to “combat the gun violence in our communities,” but could have the “secondary benefit” of stemming “rampant sales.”
Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who introduced the resolution along with City Attorney Barbara Parker, issued a statement saying that the bill’s endorsement is part of an effort to work with state officials to stop gun violence.
“This bill would significantly improve our ability to make communities safer,” Kaplan said. “I’m committed to working with leaders at all levels of government to stop gun violence.”
AB 187 is scheduled to be heard Monday, May 6 by the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee.