Local government officials are responding enthusiastically to a New York law passed this week expanding a ban on assault weapons, making the state the first in the country to strengthen gun-control laws after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is looking at the part of the New York legislation that requires reporting when guns are lost or stolen.
When it comes to developing a new law for California, which already has some of the strongest gun control laws in the country, Bonta says he is looking for what is most effective.
“Some of the things we’re looking at here in California are some of the ongoing checkins. After a gun has been registered, seeing if the owner has any issues with mental health, looking at mental health
screenings, making sure the owner is still a responsible owner. That’s an important issue for me,” he said.
“We have to look closely at what the president introduced and how we in California can support and supplement what they’re doing (at the national level),” Bonta said.
Bonta recently co-authored AB 48 with Assembly member Nancy Skinner, which would regulate ammunition sales.
The New York law broadens the definition of what is considered an assault weapon, reduces the permitted size of gun magazines from 10 to 7 rounds, and places stronger penalties on people who use guns in committing crimes.
According to Congressman George Miller (D-CA), “It’s important that we work at both levels here. There are too many loopholes, not current in each state. We need to keep criminals and people with serious mental health issues from gaining access to firearms and get rid of the high capacity magazines and assault weapons.
“New York was able to pass the law very quickly, and I’m glad that they did. It’s going to be more difficult in Congress,” he said.
Miller supports the development of mental health services and stronger background checks. He is continuing research on this issue to hear from people who have been impacted by gun violence.
“We all know these are difficult emotional fights, but I think we can protect people and do a better job of this and protect the Second Amendment right. But we should also understand some guns aren’t protected by the Second Amendment,” Miller said.
Senator Loni Hancock (DOakland) has pledged to work for strengthened laws at the state level. “As chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, I am planning on taking significant action this year. As someone who represents Oakland, I’ve seen the tragic consequences of gun violence-too many children are dying,” she said.