SACRAMENTO, Calif. —
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislative leaders on Wednesday said they are trying to accelerate over a dozen bills in the legislative process to reduce gun violence.
“California leads this national conversation. When California moves other states move in the same direction,” Newsom said in Sacramento.
Newsom, Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, made the announcement a day after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Atkins said change has to happen before “another neighbor, mother, teacher or child is senselessly ripped from our worlds.”
“Every person that has stood in the way of solutions, whose votes have put more guns on our streets and in our classrooms needs to put their extreme and misguided ideologies aside. Children are scared to go to school,” Atkins said.
Newsom said he will be signing over a dozen bills at the end of next month to “advance efforts in a series of critical areas on ghost guns, on issues related to the proliferation of assault weapons, ghost guns as well as others where we need to increase our enforcement.”
Among some of the bills that Newsom has committed to signing include AB 1594, which would create a standard by which the firearm industry could be sued in civil court; AB 1621 targets ghost guns and firearm components that do not have serial numbers; AB 2571 would restrict the marketing of firearms to minors; and AB 1327 creates private right of action to limit the spread of illegal assault weapons and ghost guns.
California already has some of the nation’s strictest firearm laws.
Newsom referenced several other shootings in California that led to gun control measures being passed throughout the years including the 1989 Stockton school shooting that killed five children. Then Republican Gov. George Deukmejian signed the first assault weapons ban in the country called the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Act.
“The series of tragedies and incidents the state has stepped up and stepped in, not just rhetorically, not through words but through action and that’s what we’re doing here again today,” he said.
Newsom said California’s restrictions on guns have “consistently outperformed other states in terms of gun murder rates and gun death rates.”
He criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for dismissing gun laws in other states.“Gov. Abbott just name-checked the state of California, I would caution him from doing that,” Newsom said. “Particularly, and you can just go to the CDC website and look at the gun murder rate in 2020 that was 67% higher than the state of California in 2020.”
On Wednesday, Abbott had said: “There are, quote, real gun laws in Chicago. There are, quote, real gun laws in New York. There are ‘real’ gun laws in California. I hate to say this, but there are more people who were shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas. And we need to realize that people who think that ‘maybe if we could just implement tougher gun laws, it’s going to solve it.’ Chicago and LA and New York disprove that thesis.”
Newsom, as he has in the past, also criticized “extremist” federal judges who have ruled against some of California’s gun laws — Judge Roger Benitez compared assault weapons to Swiss Army knives and Judge Ryan Nelson earlier this month wrote the majority opinion blocking the state’s ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to adults under 21.
“You can ask Judge Benitez about how he’s feeling about this last 10 days,” Newsom said. As for Nelson, “I wonder how he’s feeling right now (after) what happened in Buffalo and what happened in Texas.” Both of those shootings were carried out by 18-year-old men using semiautomatic weapons.
Benitez and Nelson both declined to comment through spokesmen. Abbott’s office did not immediately comment.
The Texas shooting comes as FBI statistics show a rise in active shooter incidents. They surged in 2021 by more than 50% from 2020 and nearly 97% from 2017.
In California, one person was killed and five others were wounded during a shooting at a church in Southern California last week.
“In the face of repeated tragedies in our state and elsewhere, California remains committed to doing everything we can to stem the violence. As a society we must do better,” Rendon said.