PSR/Sacramento Response to Governor's Signing
of Gun Control Bills
Sacramento, CA--The Sacramento Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility commends Governor Brown for signing a package of bills to tighten California's gun contol laws, including bills to close the "bullet button loophole" in California's assault weapons ban and a bill to ban magazines holding more than 10 rounds. PSR/Sacramento also recognizes the extraordinary amount of time and effort that legislators, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and members of civil society invested in getting these bills signed into law. This being said, no one should be surprised when another mass shooting is committed with assault weapons that have been legally purchased in California; or when it is reported that approximately 3,000 Californians continue to die every year of gunshot wounds.
Both of the assault weapons bans signed by Governor Brown include grandfather clauses which allow individuals who already own them as of January 1, 2017, to keep them, and while the bills close the bullet button loophole, they contain other loopholes that the gun industry and the gun lobby are likely to exploit. Furthermore, about 80% of firearm related deaths are committed with handguns. It's estimated that there are 300 million privately owned guns in the United States, and the bills signed into law by Governor Brown last week will remove few of any of them from circulation. Finally, Governor Brown vetoed the bill, AB 2607, that is the one in the package of bills passed by the legislature that would have been most likely be used to thwart a potential mass shooter. AB 2607 would have allowed employers, coworkers, and mental health and school personnel to initiate restraining orders to remove guns from the possession of mentally unstable individuals.
Although California has among the most stringent gun control laws in the United States, California firearm regulations are exceedingly weak as compared with firearm regulations in every other high income democratic country in the world. If California and the rest of the United States are ever going to reduce rates of firearm related deaths and injuries to levels at or near those in other high income democratic countries - countries in which mass shootings are rare or non-existent and overall rates of gun violence are much lower than in the USA - then we must adopt similar gun control laws. Such laws include stringent regulations, if not complete bans, on all handguns and semi-automatic rifles, with no grandfather clause. In order to stringently regulate or ban handguns, the radical reinterpretation of the Second Amendment by a narrow 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court in the 2008 Heller Decision must first be overturned.
For more information regarding PSR/Sacramento's position on firearm injury prevention, please visit the "Our Work/Gun Violence Prevention" page of the PSR/Sacramento website at www.sacpsr.org.