Capitol Alert

California has new gun control laws for 2019. Here’s what you should know

This story has been updated to reflect that SB 1200 applies to gun violence restraining orders that SB 1100 also includes an exemption for anyone who possesses a valid, unexpired hunting license.

California has a slew of new gun control laws heading into 2019, the result of legislation inspired by America’s growing gun violence epidemic, including high-profile mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.

Several of the bills passed in the 2017-18 legislative session went into effect immediately, while others will apply in 2019 or 2020:

AB 2103, by Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego. This law mandates that applicants for concealed carry licenses undergo a minimum of eight hours of training, and that they demonstrate proficiency in both shooting and the safe handling of firearms. This law is already in effect.

SB 1346, by Sen. Hannah Beth-Jackson, D-Santa Barbara. This law bans the manufacture and sale of bump stock and burst trigger devices that enable a semi-automatic firearm to shoot in rapid-fire bursts. This law is already in effect.

SB 1200, by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. This bill adds ammunition cartridges and magazines to the list of items that police can confiscate as part of a gun violence restraining order. This law is already in effect.

AB 3129, by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park. This law prohibits anyone convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense after Jan. 1, 2019, from possessing a firearm for the rest of their lives.

SB 1100, by Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge. This law prohibits anyone younger than 21 from purchasing a long gun, such as a rifle or shotgun, from a licensed firearms dealer. However, the law includes an exemption for law enforcement officers, members of the military and anyone who possesses a valid, unexpired hunting license.

AB 1968, by Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell. This bill prohibits anyone who has been hospitalized more than once in a year for a mental health diagnosis from owning a firearm for the rest of his or her life. This law goes into effect in Jan. 1, 2020.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 54,400 shootings in America in 2018, more than 500 in California, as of Monday. That includes nearly 14,000 deaths and 334 mass shootings but does not include the annual average 22,000 suicides by firearm.

Portantino’s bill, banning the sale of long guns to youths, drew criticism from a number of groups, including the Outdoor Sportsmen’s Coalition and the Firearms Policy Coalition.

The Outdoor Sportsmen’s Coalition argued in an opposition statement that “persons who have an intent to commit such crimes ... will always be able to obtain firearms through unlawful sources without going through a licensed firearms dealer.”

The Firearms Policy Coalition called the law “age discrimination, pure and simple.”

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which championed SB 1100, argued in a supporting statement that “maturity, impulsive or reckless behavior, and responsibility vary greatly among 18-20 year olds. This is recognized in other areas – those under age 21 cannot buy alcohol, rent a car, or purchase a handgun – and the same age restriction should apply to long guns.”

California lawmakers are already gearing up for a fresh push for tighter gun control measures.

One such measure is a proposal by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, to tax the sale of all semi-automatic firearms in California, with the revenue going toward community violence prevention programs across the state.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.