Ting/Gomez Legislation to Strengthen California’s Firearm Child Access Prevention Laws Advances

For immediate release:

Goal of AB 231 is to limit a child’s access to guns

Sacramento – Legislation authored by Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D – Los Angeles) to strengthen remedies for the preventable tragedy of gun accidents among children passed the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. Their legislation, AB 231, would help ensure child safety and responsible ownership of guns by strengthening California’s existing firearm Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws AB 231 would make the act of leaving or storing a loaded firearm in a location where a child is likely to gain access a misdemeanor.

“California is one of the nation’s leaders in strict gun-law legislation. But those laws deal with after-the-tragedy consequences,” Ting said. “AB 231 focuses on preventing these tragedies by increasing the duty of care by gun owners, and imposing penalties when they do not do so.”

 CAP laws are relatively recent legislative interventions intended to prevent gun accidents by limiting a child’s access to them. CAP laws establish criminal penalties for owners who do not store their firearms appropriately and as a result, a gun accident occurs because a child acquired a gun and caused damage, injury or death. Criminal penalties also exist if a child brings a gun to a public place, such as a school.

“Whether an accident happens with a gun or not, a child’s safety should not be left to chance,” Gomez said.  “Guns must be stored properly, and if they are not, someone should pay the consequences.”

Studies of child access prevention laws show them to be effective at reducing unintentional firearm deaths among children. In fact, one study found that in 12 states where such laws had been in effect for at least one year, unintentional firearm deaths fell by 23 percent among children under 15 years of age.
The bill now goes to the Assembly Floor for a vote.

Assemblymember Ting is the Chair of Assembly Democratic Caucus and the Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion, and he serves on the Budget, Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials and the Revenue and Taxation committees.

Contact:  Carol Chamberlain
Office: 916-319-2019