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  Doing Something About Gun Violence
May 16, 2013

It’s been over three weeks since Corky Booze bullied City Council members into supporting a hollow agenda item purportedly intended to address gun violence (“The City Council on Tuesday voted 6-1 to direct staff to develop a plan to "draft initiatives on gun control" and "support gun control laws." – Contra Costa Times). See Richmond Deserves Better City Council Behavior
April 24, 2013.

Later, Corky’s Army demonstrated in front of my office two weeks in a row because I did not vote for it (Corky's Army Demonstrates in Point Richmond, April 30, 2013).

Well, nothing has happened, primarily because the State of California has a lock on gun control laws.

But Councilmember Beckles, Mayor McLaughlin and I will be introducing a resolution next Tuesday to support efforts in the legislature to try and tighten up state gun control laws. See below:


RESOLUTION NO.___________


WHEREAS, the Federal government has failed to pass national legislation to strengthen gun control laws, California has the responsibility to protect Californians and the opportunity to lead the nation by passing stricter gun control legislation at the State;

WHEREAS, crime and violence prevention are two of the City of Richmond’s highest priorities. Over the past several years, the Richmond Police Department and community partners have become more and more effective addressing gang violence and driving down violent crime.  The City has strategically focused on the most active shooters, doing good neighborhood policing, participating in the Ceasefire program, and by building stronger relationships with community groups--including the faith community. As a result, since 2006 Richmond has reduced its crime rates by more than 20 percent and this past year, Richmond reported only 18 homicides, a ten year low.

WHEREAS, Richmond’s crime and violence statistics have improved, these numbers are still too high. We need stronger gun control legislation to further reduce gun violence and protect the community at the State and Federal Governments as the City legally cannot enact firearm regulations (under California law 53071 GC) at the local level;

WHEREAS, the 2013 California Senate LIFE (Lifesaving Intelligent Firearms Enforcement) Act Bills including:

SB 47 (Yee) Strengthens CA’s assault weapons ban by closing the bullet button loophole that allows for easily exchangeable magazines.
SB 53 (De Leon) Requires a background check and a permit to purchase ammunition.
SB 140 (Leno) Appropriates $24 million to disarm prohibited persons known to be in possession of firearms. (signed)
SB 374 (Steinberg) Simplifies and strengthens California’s assault weapons law by prohibiting future sale of long guns with exchangeable ammunition magazines that enable rapid reload.
SB 396 (Hancock) Bans possession of large capacity (greater than 10 rounds) ammunition magazines.
SB 567 (Jackson) Bans rifled bore shotguns with high capacity revolving ammunition cylinders.
SB 683 (Block) Expands the Handgun Safety Certificate program to include all firearms.
SB 755 (Wolk) Expands the list of misdemeanor categories that carry a ten year prohibition from firearm possession.

Will further tighten gun control and safety laws in California;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Richmond does hereby support the California LIFE (Lifesaving Intelligent Firearms Enforcement) Act Bills in their entirety and encourages the California State Senate Assembly to move swiftly to pass all eight Bills.
I certify that the foregoing resolution was passed and adopted by the Council of the City of Richmond at a regular meeting thereof held on May 21, 2013, by the following vote:

May 21, 2013

Senator Hancock, Chair of Public Safety
California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 2082
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Senator Hancock:

On behalf of the Richmond City Council, we write to express our strong support for the Life-Saving Intelligent Enforcement (LIFE) Act, comprised of SB 47, SB 53, SB 374, SB 396, SB 567, SB 683, and SB 755.   These legislative actions will help to strengthen California’s gun safety regulations.

Crime and violence prevention are two of the City of Richmond’s highest priorities. Over the past several years, the Richmond Police Department, working with other police agencies and a broad range of community partners, has become more and more effective addressing gang violence and driving down violent crime.  The City is strategically focusing on the most active shooters, doing good neighborhood policing, participating in the Ceasefire program, and by building stronger relationships with community groups--including the faith community. As a result of these efforts, since 2006 Richmond has reduced its crime rates by more than 20 percent and this past year, Richmond reported only 18 homicides, a ten year low.

While these statistics demonstrate an improvement, these numbers are still too high. We need to do more to reduce these numbers. We need stronger gun control legislation.

The Richmond City Council supports California’s enactment of the strongest possible legislative and regulatory approaches to prevent firearm injuries and death, including strengthening bans on high capacity weapons and establishing appropriate regulation and monitoring of all ammunition sales.  

To that end, the Richmond City Council strongly supports the LIFE Act, a series of important steps to appropriately and reasonably augment current gun violence prevention efforts in California.

Thank you for your leadership on this issue and for working to protect the lives and health of all Californians, including our children.


I have also contacted Assemblymember Nancy Skinner to ask her to try and have Richmond added to Oakland as a city covered under AB 180. See below.

Proposed Bill Would Give Oakland More Authority Over Gun Laws
A bill which would essentially allow the City of Oakland to circumvent California gun laws is currently making its way through the state legislature. AB 180, sponsored by Assembly Member Ron Bonta (D-Oakland) would allow the city to impose stricter gun laws than are currently offered by the state, such as requiring gun owners to re-register their firearms every year. Licensing and registration directives are currently under the purview of the state. Bonta, however, says that one-size-fits-all policy isn’t working for Oakland, which has been ranked as one of America’s most dangerous cities based on FBI statistics
"Given the unique challenges and rampant gun violence facing Oakland, we wish to empower the city to enact a stricter regulatory regime for firearms licensing or registration than is in place for the state,” Bonta said. There were 131 homicides in the City of Oakland last year—the highest number in six years, according to Bonta. 
Supporters of the bill note that Oakland officials understand the particular dynamics of their city best, and that Oakland’s unique situation requires tailored action. Opponents like the National Rifle Association, however, say the bill would lead to “an unpredictable patchwork of local laws,” resulting in mass confusion and potential infringement upon Second Amendment Rights. The NRA is specifically concerned about the effect it would have on the neighboring city of Alameda, as its residents continuously pass through Oakland on their way to and from home. 
This would not be the first time such city-specific firearm legislation was enacted. SB 1315, which was passed last year, allows Los Angeles to regulate imitation firearms, including BB guns or gun replicas, at the local level. 
AB 180 passed the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee on May 7.  It now heads to the Assembly floor and is expected to receive a vote by the end of this month.  
Read more about Oakland’s gun bill here
Oakland Gun Bill Would Give Violence-Plagued City Ability To Write Own Gun Laws
Posted: 05/14/2013 7:50 pm EDT  |  Updated: 05/14/2013 11:38 pm EDT

Oakland Guns

When the FBI released its figures for the most dangerous cities in America for 2012, Oakland came in fourth place.
Now, some Oakland residents are hoping a bill currently winding its way through the California legislature may help turn that tide by allowing the city, where 11 crimes are committed with firearms every day, to create its own slate of gun control regulations tougher than those governing California as a whole.
"It's truly an extraordinary situation with the violence happening right now in Oakland," the bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), told The Huffington Post. "Oakland had 131 homicides last year and 12 of victims were children. This is the highest level of violence we've experienced in six years."
Under current California law, individual cities have some leeway in enacting their own gun laws; however, regulations regarding the licensing and registration of firearms is under the explicit purview of the state. This one-size-fits-all strategy creates a situation where dense urban centers like Oakland, which have major issues with gun violence, share the same set of regulations as rural areas that tend to have a very different relationship to firearms.
The bill would allow Oakland to do things like require all gun owners to re-register their guns annually so the city could have a better idea of where guns are at all times or create its own comprehensive gun licensing system. "It provides the city with a whole lot of opportunities to address the issue of gun violence," Bonta explained.
Bonta noted that he chose to specifically direct the law at Oakland rather than allowing all cities in California to write their own gun regulations in order to target the solution where it is most drastically needed and to minimize political opposition.
This sort single-city exemption isn't unprecedented--last year, the city of Los Angeles got its own exemption through the legislature allowing California's most populous city to regulate imitation firearms at the local level instead of leaving it up to the state.
Gun rights advocates slammed the proposal as something that could lead to a confusing set of contradictory regulations that differ from one street to the next.
"The repeal of state preemption would lead to an unpredictable patchwork of local laws," wrote the National Rife Association in its analysis of the bill. "American citizens have right to travel from one jurisdiction to another in California without the fear of violating locally politically motivated ordinances."
The NRA, which unsurprisingly opposes the legislation, also noted that, by enacting its own strict gun regulations, Oakland could adversely affect the ability of residents in the neighboring city of Alameda, which is accessible only by going through Oakland, to legally transport firearms to and from their homes.
Even so, the bill's backers pushed back on those assertions.
"This is not banning guns," Oakland City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf, who initially petitioned Bonta to write the legislation, insisted to CBS San Francisco. "This is just having tighter controls on who’s owning and who's selling them and buying them. This law would allow Oakland to actually create that type of procedure and get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them."
According to the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, California has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation, with measures like a 10-day waiting period on all gun purchases and the tight regulations on gun shows already on the books. However, that hasn't stopped Democrats in the state legislature from introducing a slew of new gun control bills in the months since the tragic Sandy Hook shooting.
Bonta's bill is expected to receive a vote on the Assembly floor before the end of the month.
Related on HuffPost:


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