California’s Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom chided the National Rifle Association for its claim that a gun control initiative he backed will put transgender women at risk.
“They kinda disagree with me on everything I said,” Newsom said about the NRA during an interview with comedian Chelsea Handler on Friday in which she asked him about his latest spat with the gun lobby. He added in jest, “Oh yeah, they’ve been leaders on transgender equality.”
Last month, gun rights groups, including the NRA, criticized Newsom for his Facebook comments on a pro-gun meme containing a quote by a transgender woman named Nicki from Fresno. “If Gavin Newsom gets this passed, how will transgender women like me be able to protect ourselves?” the meme reads.
In response, Newsom said, “The NRA group in California is using the Trans community to fight our common sense gun safety initiative. Using the Trans community to fight their battle of lies is arguably one of the most disgusting things they’ve ever done.”
However, the group that shared the meme was the Coalition for Civil Liberties, a group formed to oppose Newsom’s measure, and the woman was Nicki Stallard, a member of gun- and gay-rights group Pink Pistols.
During the interview, Newsom went on to discuss issues involving gun violence from his perspective. “We estimate 310 million guns in the United States of America,” he said, referencing data published by federal regulators.
“No nation comes close per capita of having more guns. No nation has had more mass shootings going back decades than the United States of America,” he added.
Handler called the disparity between the U.S. and other countries “embarrassing.”
According to 2016’s Small Arms Survey, there are 88.8 guns per 100 people in the U.S. and a distant second is Yemen with 54.8 guns per 100 people.
Newsom closed out his answer by saying: “To put it in perspective, we’ve had 330 mass shootings last year in the United States. One-hundred and twenty-six so far this year — 26, by the way, school shootings this year alone. It’s unconscionable and again the rest of the world is bewildered by the United States of America’s incapacity to get their arms around this violence and the only way it’s gonna change is if we step up and step in and say ‘enough’ and take on the National Rifle Association.”
Newsom’s measure, which will appear as a ballot initiative, includes an end to grandfathering of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, relinquishment of weapons by those prohibited by the state from legal possession and mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns, and would require background checks prior to all ammunition sales – a first for any state.