Ting/Gomez Legislation to Strengthen California’s Firearm Child Access Prevention Laws Passes Key Senate Committee

For immediate release:

Limiting a child’s access to guns is priority of AB 231

Sacramento – Legislation authored by Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D – Los Angeles) to impose penalties for the preventable tragedy of gun injuries involving children passed the Senate Public Safety Committee today. 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.

“By imposing a misdemeanor on those who allow children to gain access to their guns, we can prevent accidents and even save lives,” Ting told the members of the committee. “It is not an infringement of rights to expect persons who own guns and have children in their lives to be especially careful.”

AB 231 would strengthen Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws. CAP laws are legal vehicles intended to prevent gun accidents by limiting a child’s access to firearms. 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.

“Unfortunately, California’s CAP laws do not go far enough because they do not emphasize prevention,” Assemblymember Gomez said.   “We need to put greater emphasis on the safe storage of weapons so that we may avoid unauthorized access.”

Studies have shown that one third of all households with children have a gun, 90 percent of unintentional firearm-related deaths that involve children occur at home or at the home of a friend or relative, and more than 40 percent of gun-owning households with children store their guns unlocked. Prompted by those staggering statistics, San Francisco’s district attorney has offered his official support for AB 231.

“District Attorney Gascón supports AB 231 because he knows how the negligent storage of firearms can lead to horrible, unintentional consequences and heartache,” Ting said.  “I appreciate that our district attorney sees the value of strengthening California’s existing CAP laws and is supporting our bill.”
Support for AB 231 also includes the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Advocacy Institute and the National Association of Social Workers.

AB 231 now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

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, carol.chamberlain@asm.ca.gov, 916-319-2019