Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown signs gun restraining-order bill

Gov. Jerry Brown took mixed action on several gun control bills Tuesday, approving a measure allowing temporary restraining orders to block gun use but vetoing legislation that would have required Californians to register homemade guns.

Assembly Bill 1014, by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, was the Legislature’s central response to the lethal shooting in May near the University of California, Santa Barbara. It will allow family members of someone who is displaying signs of mental instability to request a court order temporarily barring gun use and purchase.

Families of people killed in Isla Vista had lobbied for the bill at the Capitol, and Skinner cheered Brown’s action Tuesday.

“Family members are often the first to spot the warning signs when someone is in crisis,” she said in a prepared statement. “AB 1014 strengthens our mental health and gun control laws by providing an effective tool which family members and law enforcement can use to help prevent shootings before they occur.”

The measure was opposed by gun rights advocates, who feared potential misuse.

The bill “goes far beyond just gun rights. It’s a due process issue,” said Craig DeLuz, director of communications for the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees. “It throws the basic concept of innocent until proven guilty on its ear.”

Brown also signed Senate Bill 199, by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, which will require toy guns to be brightly colored. Proponents cited incidents in which police officers have shot young Californians wielding realistic-looking toy guns.

Critics said people could take advantage of the law by painting real guns in bright colors, putting law enforcement in an untenable situation.

Brown, a Democrat, signed the measures without comment.

Brown vetoed Senate Bill 808, by de León, which would have required Californians to register firearms they make themselves. The bill was in response to concerns about the availability of homemade guns, including those produced by 3-D printers.

“I appreciate the author’s concerns about gun violence,” Brown said in his veto message, “but I can’t see how adding a serial number to a homemade gun would significantly advance public safety.”

Brown’s action on the gun control measures came on the final day of signing and vetoing more than 1,000 measures sent to him by the Legislature this year.

Among other measures, Brown:

• Signed legislation expanding California’s so-called “revenge porn” bill to include “selfies.”

Existing law makes it a misdemeanor to post online private graphic pictures or footage of someone with the intention of humiliating them.

Senate Bill 1255, by Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, expands the prohibition to include sexually explicit images that are meant to be private, regardless who created the image.

Brown also signed Assembly Bill 2643, by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, that permits a person whose sexually explicit image is posted online without his or her consent to bring a civil action against the person posting the image.

• Signed Senate Bill 1019, which requires upholstered furniture to include a label indicating whether it has added flame retardant chemicals.

The bill’s author, Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said in a prepared statement that Brown’s approval of the bill “is a huge victory for California consumers who have long demanded the right to know what chemicals are in the furniture they purchase for their homes and families.”

• Vetoed legislation to give victims more time to seek civil damages against third parties in childhood sex abuse cases – typically private or public employers of the alleged perpetrators.

Brown, though, signed separate legislation increasing the criminal statute of limitations against perpetrators in such cases.

State Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, the author of both measures, has said the civil damages bill, Senate Bill 924, responded to Brown’s lengthy veto of last year’s Senate Bill 131. Supporters said that allowing childhood victims to seek damages up to the age of 40, instead of the current 26 years old, would correct laws adopted in 1990, 1998 and 2002.

“Changing the law allows more adult survivors of childhood sex abuse to gain a measure of justice by pursing civil damages against their assailants,’’ Beall said in a statement after the Legislature sent the bill to Brown last month. The Catholic Church and nonprofit organizations led opposition to the measure, contending that it “pays lip service to the interests of victims of abuse” while exempting state employees from its provisions. The measure passed the Legislature largely along party lines.

In a message accompanying his SB 924 veto, Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, wrote that “statutes of limitations exist as a matter of fundamental fairness.”

“As I wrote last year, there comes a time when an individual or organization should be secure in the reasonable expectation that past acts are indeed in the past and not subject to further lawsuits. With the passage of time, evidence may be lost or disposed of, memories fade and witnesses move away or die,” Brown wrote. “There needs to be a compelling reason to lengthen the statute of limitations for civil claims against third parties. I do not see evidence of that here.”

Senate Bill 926, the criminal statute of limitations measure, passed unanimously and takes effect Jan. 1. It increases the statute of limitations from the victim’s 28th birthday to his or her 40th birthday.

• Vetoed a bill that would have criminalized the selling of mislabeled seafood, handing another loss to lawmakers who pursued several high-profile efforts this year to give Californians more information about what they eat and drink.

“Much of what the bill seeks to accomplish is good,” Brown wrote in his veto message for Senate Bill 1138. “Requiring seafood producers and wholesalers to identify whether fish and shellfish are wild caught or farm raised, domestic or imported – these are reasonable and helpful facts for purchases to know.”

“Requiring more precise, species-specific labeling of seafood, however, is not as easily achieved,” he added.

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