California Democrats Unite to Strengthen Gun Control Laws

As excerpted from US News & World Report

DEMOCRATIC California lawmakers joined former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona Monday to announce the creation of a gun violence working group.

The group, comprised of 16 members of both the state Assembly and state senate, met with Giffords, who survived a mass shooting in 2011, for a roundtable before they held the press conference.

The lawmakers have voiced concern over Washington's lack of response to the nation's growing gun violence and are proposing laws such as new taxes on firearms and monthly limits on gun purchases, according to Courthouse News Service.

"Thoughts and prayers from Washington won't keep our kids safe," Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel said Monday. "What we need are common-sense gun laws that will protect our schools, our families and our communities."

The group is also looking at how to expand violence prevention efforts. Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks said she plans to introduce a bill to form a gun violence prevention program.

Giffords, who advocates for stricter gun-control laws through her organization Courage to Fight Gun Violence, urged the California lawmakers to pave the way for other state leaders.

"Now is the time to come together," she said at the press conference. "Be bold. Be courageous. The nation is counting on you."

Though former Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, helped California become a leader in gun control policy, he vetoed a number of bills that lawmakers have started reintroducing this year under Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has promised to "raise the bar" on gun control.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, for example, has reintroduced a 2018 bill that would expand gun violence restraining orders beyond family members, roommates and law enforcement. Co-workers and school personnel would be able to ask a court to temporarily take away a person's firearms, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Opponents of stricter gun control laws say these policies violate America's Second Amendment rights.

"Anything that they might consider to be reasonable gun laws has already been done," Firearms Policy Coalition Spokesman Craig J. DeLuz told The Los Angeles Times. "We're at a point where we've gone from reasonable to infringement."