Sacramento – Gun owners will be held criminally responsible for not adequately storing their weapons outside of the reach of children under a bill by Assemblymembers Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) and Jimmy Gomez (D-Northeast Los Angeles) that was passed today by the California State Senate.
“Ignorance is no excuse,” Assemblymember Ting said. “Gun owners must be responsible for ensuring there is no way curious children can get their hands on deadly weapons. It is a serious responsibility and there should be real accountability.”
"Gun safety and responsibility rests in the hands of the gun owner," said Assemblymember Gomez. "Ensuring guns are out of the reach of children and holding those accountable who are irresponsible is the first step in reducing firearm accidents."
AB 231 would strengthen California’s Child Access Prevention laws (CAP laws) by imposing a third degree misdemeanor if a person negligently stores or leaves a loaded firearm in a location where they know, or reasonably should know, that a child can access the firearm without parental/guardian permission and the person fails to take proper safety measures.
The bill also requires licensed gun dealers to post this warning in their place of business alongside the other already required postings of child safe storage laws.
Supporters of AB 231 include the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and California’s emergency room physicians, pediatricians, social workers and children’s advocates.
Quick facts about gun-related destruction:
- From 2005 – 2010, nearly 3,800 people in the US died from unintentional shootings. Eight percent of such deaths resulted from shots fired by children under the age of six.
- Most unintentional firearm deaths among children occur in or around the home; 50% at the home of the victim and 40% at the home of a friend or relative.
- More than one-half of firearm owners keep their firearms loaded and ready for use some of the time.
- Approximately 3.3 million children in the US live in households with firearms that are, at times, kept loaded and unlocked.
- For every time a household gun was used for self-defense, there were four unintentional shootings. Overall, guns kept in the home were 22 times more likely to be used in unintentional shootings, murder or assault, and suicide attempts than in an act of self-defense.
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 Subcommittee on Education Finance, Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials and the Revenue and Taxation committees.
Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez represents the 51st Assembly District, which includes Unincorporated East Los Angeles and the neighborhoods of Glassell Park, Highland Park, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Elysian Park, Mt. Washington, Atwater Village, Montecito Heights, Chinatown and Silver Lake.
CONTACT: Ting: Colleen Beamish, email@example.com, Office: (916) 319-2019
Gomez: Aaron Keshishian, firstname.lastname@example.org, Office: (916) 319-2051