How Democratic, Republican lawmakers plan to tackle CA gun violence in wake of mass shootings

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ByLiz Kreutz KGO logo
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
How lawmakers plan to tackle CA gun violence in wake of mass shootings
After mass shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, California lawmakers are introducing legislation to tackle gun violence.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A week after the shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, California lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are introducing legislation they say will help put an end to the violence we've seen recently across the state.

California already has roughly 100 gun laws on the books. These recent mass shootings have led people to ask whether they're working - and what more can be done?

TIMELINE: An in-depth look at the Half Moon Bay mass shooting that killed 7

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Democrat and Republican lawmakers have different answers to those questions.

For Democrats, the answer is more gun laws.

According to longtime Sacramento lobbyist Chris Micheli, Democratic lawmakers have introduced roughly two dozen new bills related to firearms and gun control so far in this legislative session. He expects many more to come.

Among those backing these proposed laws: Democratic Bay Area Assembly Member Marc Berman.

"There's some legislation I've supported so far this year that tries to tackle reducing gun violence in multiple different ways," Berman told ABC7 News.

VIDEO: Expert explains why victim counts are increasing in mass shootings like Half Moon Bay, Monterey Park

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Those bills include creating an excise tax on the sale of guns and ammunition sales. The revenue would go towards gun safety programs.

Another bill would allow people going through a mental health crisis to add their own names to a gun "Do Not Sell" list.

And a third proposed measure would make it harder for someone who has had a domestic violence order filed against them from getting a gun by adding three more years onto the existing gun ownership ban.

"There's a remarkable correlation between domestic violence and gun violence," Berman explained.

Berman said he is also considering legislation to raise awareness of the potential dangers of owning a gun.

RELATED: Map shows how many mass shootings have taken place in 2023 and where in the US

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Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers unveiled their own plan to tackle gun violence. They say California has already passed roughly 100 gun control laws and that the recent mass shootings are a sign they aren't working.

At the state capitol on Monday, members of the Republican Caucus proposed new legislation that would create harsher sentencing for criminals who use a firearm during a violent crime.

"We have plenty of gun laws on the books. What we're missing is sufficient enforcement and deterrents," Republican Assembly Member Bill Essayli of Riverside said. "We don't need more gun control. We need crime control."

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom railed against Republicans who said gun control measures don't work.

VIDEO: 'What the hell is wrong with us': State, local politicians plead for stricter gun laws nationwide

With more mass shootings than days in 2023, the chorus for gun reform is growing ever louder following the tragedy in Half Moon Bay.

"Really? Crime's your number one issue but you're not going to deal with the leading cause of crime, which is guns?" Newsom said during a press conference in Half Moon Bay. "What frauds. Absolute frauds."

Assemblymember Berman backed Governor Newsom saying gun deaths are lower in California than in other states.

A recent study from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that, compared to citizens of other states, Californians are about 25% less likely to die in mass shootings. Democrats say gun control laws are why.

"Our gun laws are working, and our gun laws are saving lives," Berman said.

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