State Watch

California enacts nation’s broadest rules for gun seizures


California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Friday signed into law a measure that goes further than any other state’s when it comes to seizing firearms.

The new statute, part of a package of 15 bills signed by Newsom, makes California the first state to grant employers, colleagues and teachers the power to seek gun violence restraining orders against other people.

{mosads}The measure, which had been vetoed twice by former Gov. Jerry Brown (D), goes further than a previous bill signed by Newsom that allowed only law enforcement officers and immediate family members to request courts remove guns from the possession of certain individuals.

Seventeen other states and the District of Columbia have statutes similar to California’s current restraining order law, according to The Associated Press, but the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, will be the broadest in the nation.

“Gun violence is an epidemic in this country, one that’s been enflamed by the inaction of politicians in Washington,” Newsom said in a statement Friday. “While Washington has refused to act on even the most basic gun safety reforms, California is once again leading the nation in passing meaningful gun safety reforms.”

The package also bans the sale of semiautomatic centerfire rifles to anyone under the age of 21, caps the number of annual firearms sales by any single person without a license to five transactions or 50 guns, and mandates packaging for firearms to contain a message on suicide prevention.

Gun control groups hailed the new laws as some of the nation’s toughest gun control measures and praised Newsom for taking charge on an issue that has been hobbled by partisan debates in Washington.

House Democrats have passed legislation expanding gun background checks, but Republicans in the Senate have declined to act on any gun measures until they receive assurances that President Trump would sign them into law.

“California continues to be a leader in fighting the threat of gun violence,” said former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), co-founder of Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence. “The legislative package Governor Newsom signed today will help make California safer for all who call it home, and it shows the nation what committed, active, and thoughtful leadership on gun safety looks like.”

Amanda Wilcox, the California legislative chairwoman for The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said the measures “strengthen California’s already strong gun laws and are evidence that California continues to invest in and protect the safety of our communities.”

“I’m grateful that Governor Newsom has been such a strong ally of the gun violence prevention movement, understands the importance of keeping guns out of the wrong hands, and has taken action to show his commitment,” she added.

Some of the most high-profile shootings this year have taken place in California, including the attacks at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy and at the Chabad of Poway synagogue.

Newsom on Friday credited California’s strict gun laws for the state’s 62 percent decline in the gun murder rate between 1993 and 2017.

“California has outperformed the rest of the nation, because of our gun safety laws, in reducing the gun murder rate substantially compared to the national reduction,” Newsom said as he signed the measures. “No state does it as well or comprehensively as the state of California, and we still have a long way to go.”

Tags California Donald Trump Gavin Newsom gun violence
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