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After Texas shooting: A call to 'advance our resolve'

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislative leaders announce emergency actions to curb gun violence at a press conference in Sacramento on May 25, 2022.

Buffalo. Boulder. Aurora. Las Vegas. Orlando. San Bernardino. Sutherland Springs. Poway. Parkland. Sandy Hook.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom rattled off a list of towns that have become tragic metonyms of our nation's epidemic of gun violence. "That's just a short list," Newsom said. On Tuesday, when a gunman stormed a southwest Texas elementary school and killed 19 children and two teachers, another place joined that macabre roster: Uvalde, Texas.

The press conference at the state Capitol was the first joint appearance in at least a year by the governor and the Legislature's top Democrats, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of Lakewood. The stated purpose, according to Newson, was "not to add to the rhetoric but to advance our resolve."

But given that the state Legislature is already considering a raft of new gun proposals, Congress is beset by gridlock and the federal judiciary appears primed to slap down some of California's existing gun laws, there wasn't much to advance.

The news, such that it was: Newsom, Atkins and Rendon vowed to "expedite" the gun control bills currently moving through the Legislature. That includes a proposal making it easier to hold gun makers and distributors legally liable for injury and death committed with their products, a ban on the advertising of certain firearms to kids, and a bit of Texas-inspired legislation to give Californians the ability to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells designated "assault weapons" or ghost guns.

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California already bans so-called assault weapons, of the kind used in the Texas school massacre, and already has the nation's strictest gun laws.

Newsom said he looks forward to "enthusiastically" signing this latest crop of bills by the end of next month, months ahead of the Aug. 31 legislative deadline.

But even if they do become law, these bills would likely face legal challenges. And the judiciary has not been a friendly place for California gun laws recently. Earlier this month, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel struck down a California law barring adults under the age of 21 from purchasing a rifle, an age limit that still applies to handguns. A spokesperson from Attorney General Rob Bonta's office said they are considering whether to petition for a rehearing.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule later this year on the right to carry concealed firearms. California has among the strictest concealed carry licensing schemes in the country.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino, a Democrat from Glendale, authored the invalidated age limit law. At the press conference, he spoke to my colleague, Alexei Koseff, noting that the shooters in both Buffalo, New York and Uvalde were 18-year-olds who legally acquired their AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles.

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Email Ben Christopher at [email protected]

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After Texas shooting: A call to 'advance our resolve'

by Ben Christopher / CalMatters

Uploaded: Fri, May 27, 2022, 5:16 pm

Buffalo. Boulder. Aurora. Las Vegas. Orlando. San Bernardino. Sutherland Springs. Poway. Parkland. Sandy Hook.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom rattled off a list of towns that have become tragic metonyms of our nation's epidemic of gun violence. "That's just a short list," Newsom said. On Tuesday, when a gunman stormed a southwest Texas elementary school and killed 19 children and two teachers, another place joined that macabre roster: Uvalde, Texas.

The press conference at the state Capitol was the first joint appearance in at least a year by the governor and the Legislature's top Democrats, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of Lakewood. The stated purpose, according to Newson, was "not to add to the rhetoric but to advance our resolve."

But given that the state Legislature is already considering a raft of new gun proposals, Congress is beset by gridlock and the federal judiciary appears primed to slap down some of California's existing gun laws, there wasn't much to advance.

The news, such that it was: Newsom, Atkins and Rendon vowed to "expedite" the gun control bills currently moving through the Legislature. That includes a proposal making it easier to hold gun makers and distributors legally liable for injury and death committed with their products, a ban on the advertising of certain firearms to kids, and a bit of Texas-inspired legislation to give Californians the ability to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells designated "assault weapons" or ghost guns.

California already bans so-called assault weapons, of the kind used in the Texas school massacre, and already has the nation's strictest gun laws.

Newsom said he looks forward to "enthusiastically" signing this latest crop of bills by the end of next month, months ahead of the Aug. 31 legislative deadline.

But even if they do become law, these bills would likely face legal challenges. And the judiciary has not been a friendly place for California gun laws recently. Earlier this month, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel struck down a California law barring adults under the age of 21 from purchasing a rifle, an age limit that still applies to handguns. A spokesperson from Attorney General Rob Bonta's office said they are considering whether to petition for a rehearing.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule later this year on the right to carry concealed firearms. California has among the strictest concealed carry licensing schemes in the country.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino, a Democrat from Glendale, authored the invalidated age limit law. At the press conference, he spoke to my colleague, Alexei Koseff, noting that the shooters in both Buffalo, New York and Uvalde were 18-year-olds who legally acquired their AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles.

Email Ben Christopher at [email protected]

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics.

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