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(Sacramento, CA) Assembly Bill 1674, authored by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Earlier today, Assembly Bill 1674, a measure to cap gun sales in California to one per person per month, was passed by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.  The measure, authored by the Majority Whip of the State Assembly, Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), passed 5-2 along partisan lines.

“There are over 300 million guns in the United States.  That’s more than one gun for every man, woman, and child” said Assemblymember Santiago. He continued by noting that “in April 2014, one transaction resulted in the sale of 177 guns to a single person. As a father, these statistics are terrifying.  As a legislator, I am in a position to do something about it.”  *

Historically, policymakers have believed that the bulk of gun violence is perpetuated by handguns.  In fact, when examining forensic data collected from the mass shootings that have occurred in the United States throughout the last 30 years, 72 (exactly half) of the weapons used in those crimes were long guns: rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic versions thereof.  And while data is still being collected about the three mass shootings that occurred in the past week, we know that at least one of those incidents involved use of a long gun.

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.”

California law has restricted new hand gun purchases to one per month per person since 1999.  AB 1674 creates parity in the state’s treatment of guns – applying the same restriction across all gun categories: hand guns, rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic versions thereof. 

Assemblymember Santiago stated 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 ability of law-abiding hunters and sport shooters to purchase long guns.”

“We thank Assemblymember Santiago for introducing this important legislation,” said Julie Leftwich, Legal Director for 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 to help gun trafficking.  The California Legislature enacted a law to limit the purchase of handguns to one 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 will still be able to buy 12 guns a year.”

AB 1674 next moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration of its fiscal impact.

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.

* 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).

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