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

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 1:52PM
State, local politicians plead for stricter gun laws nationwide
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With more mass shootings than days in 2023, the chorus for gun reform is growing ever louder following the tragedy in Half Moon Bay.

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

Both from state leaders as well as local politicians.

"What the hell is wrong with us that we allow these weapons of war and large capacity clips out on the streets and sidewalks," Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a news conference in Half Moon Bay on Tuesday.

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

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One of those leading the charge is state Assemblyman Phil Ting, who has long called on lawmakers in Sacramento to set an example for the rest of the nation.

"We should have much tighter licensing restrictions," Ting said. "We should really focus on making sure assault weapons across the country are banned."

While California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the US, it's still much easier to obtain a firearm here than in any other developed country.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom calls for gun reform after 5 men, 2 women killed in Half Moon Bay

"If you compare California to any other nation in the Western, industrialized world: Japan, South Korea, England, France, we have some of the loosest, most permissive gun laws in the world," UCLA law professor Adam Winkler said.

Winkler has written extensively about guns in America and says individual states can only do so much given the patchwork of firearm laws across the nation.

Winkler believes that in order for real change to occur, laws need to change on a nationwide level.

This is a tough hurdle to cross given a divided Congress and a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

RELATED: What we know about Half Moon Bay mass shooting suspect Chunli Zhao

"The Supreme Court has expanded second amendment protections in the past year and some of California's most aggressive gun safety reforms are likely to be called into question in the coming years," Winkler said.

But despite the tough road ahead, Ting says no other option remains.

He wants the violence to stop, once and for all.

"It's got to happen," Ting said. "I know when people talked about civil rights, they never thought we could have an end to segregation. We need to make sure that this happens in order for our country to be safe."

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