Capitol Alert

Parkland shooting survivor joins California students to lobby for gun control at Capitol

A survivor of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida joined a group of California students to lobby for gun control at the state Capitol on Wednesday.

Tyah-Amoy Roberts, a recent high school graduate and gun control advocate, represented March for Our Lives, a national youth-led initiative to prevent gun violence.

“I still live in fear that I could walk onto my campus and not walk out alive,” Roberts said. “Reducing gun violence is important to me because it could have killed me. It killed my classmates.”

The student advocates met with their legislators about a package of new bills moving through the legislature, all part of a renewed push for gun legislation since Gov. Gavin Newsom, an outspoken supporter of gun control, took office in January.

“The bills we are fighting for today will help organizations deal with the gun violence in our communities; give teachers and employers tools to keep their schools and workplaces safe; and help keep guns out of the wrong hands,” Roberts said.

The students support legislation that proposed to ban the bulk purchase of guns and ammunition, increase funding for gun violence intervention, and an expansion of who can petition for gun violence restraining orders.

  • Senate Bill 61 would limit the purchase of rifles, shotguns and lower receivers to one per person per 30-day period, expanding the existing restrictions on new handguns to include all gun purchases.
  • Assembly Bill 1603 would create the California Violence Intervention Program and allocate $30 million to fund gun violence intervention grants.
  • Assembly Bill 61 allows coworkers, employers, and teachers to petition a court to temporarily restrict someone’s access to firearms. The bill was met with opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union, which expressed concerns about the potential for discriminatory orders “without an opportunity for the [person being petitioned] to be heard or contest the matter.”

“We have to stem the tide of gun violence not just in California but across the country,” said Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, a co-author of the bill that would limit purchases of guns to once a month. He wrote similar bills during former Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration and Brown vetoed them.

“I’m the father of a 17-year-old and to see young people engaged in the political process is really exciting,” Portantino said.

California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, including the newly passed Proposition 63, which requires background checks for ammunition purchases and a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines. The law was struck down earlier this year by a district court judge.

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Kyung Mi Lee, from Yale, writes about government and politics for The Sacramento Bee. She is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii.