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Texas massacre leads Newsom and Democrats to promise quick gun control action

Governor Gavin Newsom and leading legislative Democrats on Wednesday pledged to fast-track more than a dozen bills aimed at reducing gun violence in California, promising to quickly pass laws that would allow private citizens to sue manufacturers and gun dealers as well as demanding that school officials investigate credible threats of a mass shooting, following Tuesday’s violent attack on a school in Texas.

“We’re going to control what’s controllable, the things we have control over,” Newsom said at an event at the state Capitol. “California is leading this national conversation. When California moves, other states move in the same direction.

The governor, joined at the Sacramento event by Senate Speaker Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), announced his intention to step aside from the typical legislative process and to take quick action on more than a dozen bills currently pending in the California Legislature, amid an outcry for tougher gun restrictions and anger growing in the face of inaction at the federal level.

The mass shooting of at least 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday has prompted leaders to take a closer look at how California could step up its efforts to combat gun violence, say they stated.

California already has some of the strictest gun rules in the country, with dozens of laws in effect that limit who can buy a gun and when, as well as the type of background check required for purchase. . This year’s proposals aim to hold citizens, school officials and local governments accountable by holding the arms industry accountable to the victims of mass shootings.

The most sweeping measure, Senate Bill 1327, would allow private citizens to sue manufacturers or distributors of firearms and anyone who imports or sells assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles and ghost guns. The bill is modeled after a Texas law that bans most abortions after six weeks and allows civil lawsuits by citizens against providers and clinics.

The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday on a 24-10 vote, and is now heading to the Assembly. He was prompted by Newsom, who urged state lawmakers in December to use the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to block Texas abortion law as an impetus to craft a similar bill in California that would would target the firearms industry.

Another major measure on the list for expedited action is Senate Bill 906, which would require school officials to investigate any mass shooting threats and report potential violence to law enforcement. The investigation could include searching a student’s property, such as a bag of books, a car, or a school locker.

Other proposals include a bill to limit gun advertising to minors, and another that cracks down more heavily on phantom guns in California. State Attorney. Gen. Rob Bonta is sponsoring another high-profile bill that would allow the California Department of Justice, local governments and survivors of gun violence to sue manufacturers, importers and dealers of firearms if they are allegedly “irresponsible, reckless and negligent in sales or marketing”. of their products in California,” according to an analysis of the proposal, Assembly Bill 1594.

Newsom and legislative leaders said they plan to pass and sign as many bills as possible before their summer recess on July 1.

Republican House Leader James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) criticized state Democrats for the decision to fast-track bills in the wake of this week’s attack in Texas.

“One, can you take a moment to grieve with these families and find out what really happened?” he posted on Twitter. “We need to address these issues head on. Stop the political posturing and let’s unite to tackle the underlying causes of this violence. »

The shooting in Texas prompted Newsom to call out Republicans on Tuesday, echoing frustrations expressed across the country over GOP senators’ refusal to pass legislation to toughen gun laws.

“Another shooting,” Newsom tweeted. “And the GOP won’t do anything about it.” Who the hell are we if we can’t keep our kids safe. This is avoidable. Our inaction is a choice. We need nationwide, comprehensive, common sense gun safety now.

The governor often compares California’s efforts to prevent gun violence to much looser gun laws in conservative states. He repeatedly called out Texas officials, in particular, for glorifying guns, restricting abortion rights, enacting policies targeting transgender students and resisting public health measures to stem the spread of COVID. -19.

But even with strict gun laws, California continues to experience some of the deadliest mass shootings in the country.

A gunman attacked a lunch banquet at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods earlier this month, killing one person and injuring five others. The mass shooting came just weeks after another deadly shooting in Sacramento that killed six people and injured a dozen others just blocks from the state Capitol.

Los Angeles Times

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