Capitol Alert

Moms rally for stricter background checks in gun lending

Moms gathered on the Capitol steps on Wednesday to call for stricter background checks in gun lending.

“We baby-proof our houses ... but no matter how secure our cabinets, outlets or toilet seat covers, it makes no difference if guns easily fall into dangerous hands in our community,” said Sara Keeler, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

More than 100 members of the California branch of Moms Demand Action, part of the larger Everytown for Gun Safety gun control advocacy organization, gathered to lobby legislators and deliver more than 11,000 signatures on a petition to the governor.

The target of their efforts is the passage of AB 1511, a firearms lending bill they say would “close a loophole” in California’s background check laws.

A registered gun owner can now loan a gun to someone they know without a background check for 30 days. AB 1511, waiting on a floor vote in the Assembly, would limit the loans to family members.

The bill’s co-author, Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, said the state of the law is “dangerous.”

“It is OK for me to loan a gun to (an acquaintance) irregardless of what someone is going to do with it, irregardless of their background, if they couldn’t pass a background check,” Santiago said.

The Legislature has considered a wide variety of gun control measures this session.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, voiced commitment to passing comprehensive firearm legislation, which the crowd met with cheers.

“The Assembly and the Senate are focused on passing a strong package of reforms by the end of this month, the end of June,” de León said.

The bill is formally opposed by the California State Sheriffs’ Association and several sportsmen’s groups. The Sheriffs’ Association wrote in a legislative analysis that the group opposed the measure because sheriffs would have to expend resources regulating “otherwise law-abiding persons” instead of focusing their efforts on criminals.

Mothers Demand Action was created after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 children dead in 2012. Mothers Demand Action advocate Jen Reidy lived near Newtown and had friends affected by the massacre.

“As a mother, I’m saddened that I worry about my kids going to school, going to church, going out in public. We shouldn’t have to worry about that,” Reidy said.

Rachel Cohrs: 916-321-1046, @rachelcohrs