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Steinberg issues statement on gun bill

Posted: January 29, 2013 3:30 p.m.
Updated: January 29, 2013 3:30 p.m.
 

(Sacramento) – Following today’s joint informational hearing by the California Senate and Assembly Committees on Public Safety, California Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg releases the following statement:

“The information and evidence presented today is overpowering. On paper, California’s laws to reduce gun violence are among the strongest in the nation, yet they are often unenforced and defiantly exploited by the gun industry.

“The testimony of experts, along with the lessons learned in the wake of sixteen mass shootings nationwide in 2012, presents us with an enormous challenge and a tremendous burden to act responsibly and swiftly.

“California must enforce the laws it already has to reduce gun violence, and close the loopholes that have been used to put battlefield weapons onto our streets. We must do all in our power to move the circulation of firearms out of the hands of dangerous persons and into the hands of law enforcement and responsible gun owners.

“Under this framework, I will continue working with Senate Public Safety Committee Chair Senator Hancock, the Legislature, and stakeholders to present a package of legislation that strikes the appropriate balance between the safety of the public and the rights afforded through the Second Amendment.

“As part of that legislation, today I am joining Senate Budget Committee Chair Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to co-author Senate Bill 140 to provide immediate funding for the California Department of Justice to clear a backlog in the Armed Prohibited Persons System by removing approximately 40,000 firearms currently held illegally by dangerous persons in Californian communities.”

Background

The California Senate and Assembly Committees on Public Safety held a joint information hearing today on Gun Violence and Firearms. The Legislature received testimony and evidence from:

The Stockton Record: “Remembering the Tragedy”, a documentary video on the 1989 Cleveland Elementary massacre in Stockton, CAThe Honorable David Roberti, President pro Tempore of the California State Senate 1980-1994, co-author of the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989The Honorable Don Perata, President pro Tempore of the California State Senate 2004-2008, co-author of California’s Assault Weapons Act of 1999.Stephen Lindley, Chief of the California Bureau of FirearmsJessica Devencenzi, Deputy Attorney General, California Department of JusticeProfessor Garen Wintemute M.D., Director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis, Attending Physician at UC DavisTom Pederson, California Rifle and Pistol AssociationSam Peredes, Executive Director of Gun Owners of AmericaAmanda Wilcox, California Brady Campaign Against Gun ViolenceMembers of the public

SB 140

The Bureau of Firearms has identified 19,784 Californians who illegally possess an estimated 40,000 handguns and assault weapons. Every day, this list of prohibited persons owning firearms grows by 15 to 20. SB 140 would allow the DOJ to use reserve funds from the Dealer Record of Sale account to enforce the department’s existing Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) program. The amount of funding provided to the DOJ will be determined on an evidence-based need.

APPS, which began in 2007, cross-references various databases to find people who legally purchased handguns and registered assault weapons since 1996 with people who are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.

Senator Leno authored legislation in 2011 that boosted the DOJ’s ability to confiscate illegally possessed weapons. That bill, SB 819, also used funds from the Dealer Record of Sale account to provide the DOJ with additional agents to enforce APPS. As a result, agents last year were able to seize more than 2,000 firearms, 117,000 rounds of ammunition and 11,072 illegal high-capacity magazines in targeted sweeps.

SB 140 was introduced as an urgency measure and will be heard in Senate policy committees this spring.

Note: The Signal delivers press releases from reliable sources to provide up-to-the-minute information to our website readers. Information directly from news sources has not been vetted by The Signal news room. It may appear subsequently in news stories after it has been vetted.

 

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