Capitol Alert

No gun sales under age 21 in California starting in 2019

Californians under the age of 21 will no longer be able to legally buy firearms starting next year.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed Senate Bill 1100, which raises the age limit for the purchase of long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, from 18 to 21. The state already restricts handgun sales to adults 21 and older.

The measure, by Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, includes exemptions for law enforcement officers, members of the military and hunters with a valid license issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“I was determined to help California respond appropriately to the tragic events our country has recently faced on high school campuses,” Portantino said in a statement. “I feel it is imperative that California leads when Washington refuses to act. No parent should have to worry that a gun gets in the wrong hands and commits a heinous and violent tragedy on our school campuses.”

Firearms Policy Coalition, a gun rights advocacy group, slammed SB 1100 as “age discrimination, pure and simple.”

“Governor Brown just told millions of people under 21 that they can fight and die for our state and country with machine guns, but they can’t buy a gun for self-defense in their homes,” spokesman Craig DeLuz said in a statement. “That’s nuts.”

Brown has approved several bills in recent weeks that will tighten what are already arguably the nation’s strictest gun control laws.

Legislators this session passed a spate of proposals to further restrict access to firearms, following a school shooting in Florida in which a former student killed 17 people despite warnings to law enforcement.

Other measures Brown has signed include:

  • Assembly Bill 2103, by Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, which requires applicants to undergo a minimum of eight hours of training and pass a live-fire shooting test to receive a concealed carry weapons permit.
  • Senate Bill 1346, by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, which explicitly ban “bump stocks” in California. The rapid-fire device was used in in a mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert last year that was the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
  • Assembly Bill 1968, by Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, which establishes a lifetime ban on gun ownership for anyone who is involuntarily admitted to a facility for a mental health disorder, and determined to be a danger to themselves or others, more than once in a year.

  • Assembly Bill 3129, by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, which bars gun ownership for life for anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.

  • Senate Bill 1200, by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, which adds magazines and ammunition to the list of items that can be temporarily confiscated as part of a gun violence restraining order.

Brown has also rejected a handful of gun control proposals that he believes went go too far.

Earlier this week, he vetoed a measure by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, that would have expanded the list of people who can seek a gun violence restraining order. Assembly Bill 2888, which was prompted by the Parkland shooting, would have allowed employers, co-workers, high school and college staff, and mental health workers to petition a judge to to order the temporary removal of firearms from someone they believe poses a danger to themselves or others.

Experts say the system, which is limited to family members and law enforcement, is an effective tool to prevent gun violence, but it is rarely used. Brown said in his veto message that “law enforcement professionals and those closest to a family member are best situated to make these especially consequential decisions.”

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Among other measures Brown has vetoed are:

  • Assembly Bill 1927, by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, which would have directed the California Department of Justice to study options for a system where individuals could opt in to prevent themselves from purchasing a firearm.
  • Senate Bill 1177, from Portantino, which would have prohibited most Californians from applying to buy more than one firearm in a 30-day period. The state already limits handgun purchases to one every 30 days. A similar proposal was vetoed in 2016 by Brown, who said then that it “would have the effect of burdening lawful citizens who wish to sell certain firearms that they no longer need.”
  • Assembly Bill 1903, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, which bans public agencies that run gun buyback events from giving out gift cards for retailers that sell firearms. Brown wrote in a veto message he doesn’t believe local firearm buyback programs need to be “micromanaged to this degree.”

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