(Sacramento, CA) Assemblymember Miguel Santiago authors legislation supported by the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, to limit the amount of firearms that may be purchased at one time.
Earlier today, the Majority Whip of the State Assembly, Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), introduced Assembly Bill 1674 to help reduce gun violence in California. AB 1674 caps the amount of firearms that may be purchased by a person at one per month – the same restriction currently in place for handguns. “Reducing gun violence is an issue that is of vital importance to me,” said Assemblymember Santiago.
“It is mind boggling that a person – no matter their intentions – could purchase as many rifles or shotguns that they want at any given time,” continued the Assemblymember. “This is a common sense solution to gun violence in California.”
Historically, policymakers have believed that the bulk of gun violence is perpetuated by handguns. Recent data collection efforts in California and elsewhere have refuted that theory, however and also revealed that long guns are a significant piece of California’s gun trafficking problem.
Over the past ten years, Californians have typically purchased more long guns than handguns, including 538,149 guns in 2013 . Of the 26,682 crime guns entered into the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Automated Firearms Systems database in 2009, 11,500 were long guns . Furthermore, DOJ has found that half the illegal firearms recovered from prohibited persons are long guns .
A 2007 University of Pennsylvania report to the National Institute of Justice found that a quarter of all guns used in crimes were purchased as part of a multiple-gun sale, and that guns purchased in bulk were up to 64% more likely to be used for illegal purposes than guns purchased individually. Further, "guns sold in multiple sales also had an elevated risk of being recovered ... from someone other than the last registered buyer."
Moreover, experts believe that unstable individuals frequently attempt to stockpile large quantities of weapons for use in mass shootings . An examination of forensic data collected from the mass shootings that have occurred in the United States throughout the last 30 years shows that 72 (exactly half) of the weapons used in those crimes were long guns: rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic versions thereof. Of the 11 mass shootings in California, nearly the same is true: 12 long guns were used along with 16 handguns .
Assemblymember Santiago noted that, “It is past time for us to treat long guns the same as handguns – they hold equal powers of destruction and create major problems for law enforcement, and society in general, when they fall into the wrong hands.”
"The 26 California Chapters of the Brady Campaign fully support AB 1674 to prevent illegal trafficking of long guns, including "bullet button" assault weapons, that often wind up in the hands of dangerous and prohibited people," said Amanda Wilcox, legislative co-chair of the California Brady Campaign Chapters. "We applaud Assemblymember Santiago for his leadership on this legislation that will make our communities safer while protecting the ability of law-abiding hunters and sport shooters to purchase long guns."
"We thank Assemblymember Santiago for introducing this important legislation," said Juliet Leftwich, Legal Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "Studies have shown that firearms sold in multiple purchases to the same buyer are frequently used in crime and that laws limiting multiple purchases help reduce gun trafficking. The California Legislature enacted a law to limit the purchase of handguns to one per person per month in 1999. We encourage the Legislature to enact AB 1674 to impose similar limitations on the purchases of long guns, given the significant role they play in our gun violence epidemic. AB 1674 would not unduly burden law-abiding Californians, who would still be able to buy 12 long guns a year."
AB 1674 is likely to be referred to the Assembly Public Safety Committee for a hearing in March.
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Majority Whip of the California State Assembly and sits on the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.
California Department of Justice, “Dealer’s Record of Sale (Calendar Year Statistics),” http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/firearms/forms/dros_chart.pdf?
Koper, Christopher S.; Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, Univ. of Penn., Crime Gun Risk Factors: Buyer, Seller, Firearm, and Transaction Characteristics Associated with Gun Trafficking and Criminal Gun Use -- A report to the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice (2007). https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/221074.pdf.
Peter Langman, Ph.D., School Shooters: The Warning Signs (Jul. 29, 2014), https://schoolshooters.info/sites/default/files/school_shooters_warning_signs_1.1.pdf