California seeks to put 10-year gun bans on more misdemeanor offenders

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, wants more gun bans on more misdemeanor gun offenders. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

A proposal backed by a number of gun control groups that would expand the list of crimes that trigger an automatic 10-year ban on gun possession is moving through the Senate.

The bill, backed by a lawmaker who helped write last year’s Gun Violence Restraining Order legislation, would add such crimes as selling ammunition to someone under the age of 21 to current ones that mandate a ban on gun ownership and purchases for a decade. Introduced in April, it passed the Senate by a 24-15 vote and is now winding its way through the Assembly.

The measure’s sponsor is Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, who contends it will help stop future gun crimes.

“The horrific tragedy that happened nearly a year ago in Isla Vista has strengthened the resolve of so many of us that we must do more to prevent gun violence,” she said in a statement. “We know that those convicted of nonviolent firearm-related offenses are more likely than the average person to commit very serious crimes in the future. They are five times more likely to be charged with crimes like murder, seven times more likely to be charged with other nonviolent firearm offenses, and four times more likely to be charged with new violent offenses.”

Jackson’s bill, SB 347, adds to the state’s already existing list of misdemeanor crimes that result in a 10 year prohibition on possessing a firearm. These include:

  • Transferring a handgun without a firearms license.
  • Selling or giving possession of ammunition to a minor.
  • Selling handgun ammunition to a person under 21 years of age.
  • Possession of ammunition by a person prohibited from possessing a firearm.
  • Furnishing ammunition to a person prohibited from possessing ammunition.
  • Carrying ammunition onto school grounds.
  • Receiving stolen property consisting of a firearm.
  • Carrying a loaded or concealed weapon if the person has been previously convicted of a drug charges.
  • Possession of a firearm that is not registered.

“This bill helps keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them and keeps our communities safer,” said Jackson.

The legislation is supported by the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association and other law enforcement groups as well as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Coalition Against Gun Violence.

In opposition are the National Rifle Association and its state affiliate, the California Rifle and Pistol Association who contend the move is overly broad.

“The addition of these misdemeanor offenses to the prohibited category list that include the ‘transfer’ of firearms or ammunition could entrap family members who are giving firearms to relatives and are unaware of the requirements for firearm transfers through licensed dealers,” reads an alert from the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

Jackson’s bill is scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.