As the community prepares to mark the one-year anniversary of the Isla Vista rampage this Saturday, a bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to expand the list of misdemeanors that carry a 10-year ban on firearm possession and purchases is making its way through the Legislature.
Senate Bill 347 would add to the list of misdemeanors that would prohibit someone from being able to purchase or possess a firearm for 10 years to include dealing in firearms without a license, petty theft involving a firearm, selling ammunition to someone under 21, and bringing or carrying ammunition onto school grounds, among other existing misdemeanor offenses.
“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,” Jackson said. “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. This bill helps keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them and keeps our communities safer.”
Federal law makes it illegal for certain people to purchase or possess guns, including those who are convicted felons, have a history of domestic violence, or a history of mental health issues. California law also prohibits someone convicted of certain misdemeanors involving violence or threats of violence from possessing a gun for 10 years. Since 2001, California has had a database called the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS), which cross-references criminal convictions with the state’s firearms registration database.
SB 347 is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee. It has the support of the City of Santa Barbara Police Department, the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association and other law enforcement groups; the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Coalition Against Gun Violence, and other organizations.
Last year, Jackson authored Senate Bill 505, now law, to require local law enforcement agencies to develop policies encouraging officers to conduct a search of California’s database of gun purchases prior to conducting a “welfare check” on a person who is potentially a danger to themselves or others. She was also the principal co-author of Assembly Bill 1014, also now law, to create a gun violence restraining order, and allow family members or law enforcement to obtain a court order to temporarily prohibit gun possession by someone who is demonstrating a propensity for violence toward themselves or others.
Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.
— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.