With four days remaining before the deadline to send bills to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, East Bay Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and community leaders on Monday urged the Legislature and the governor to support measures to strengthen California’s gun violence prevention laws.
On the steps of Beebe Memorial Cathedral in Oakland, the legislators and a coalition of faith and community leaders, public safety officials and families of victims renewed calls to support legislation that would ban high-capacity ammunition kits, expand mental health provisions and local authority to regulate firearms.
“Where Congress failed to act, California lawmakers can do the right thing and put these gun violence prevention measures on Gov. Brown’s desk,” Assemblymember Skinner said. “We have a unique opportunity to make California a model for common-sense gun safety regulations.”
According to Assemblymember Bonta, “The tragic and far too common incidents of gun violence in Oakland underscore the need to support measures that will protect communities throughout California.”
Rev. Dr. Charley Hames, Jr. of Beebe Memorial led a moment of silence and a candle lighting ceremony to pay respect to the 69 victims who died of gun violence in Oakland this year.
The legislators have authored bills that would:
Ban kits that convert guns into assault-type weapons, make illegal the “purchase” of large-capacity magazines (AB 48-Skinner);
Lengthen the firearms prohibition on those who make a credible threat of violence from six months to five years (AB 1131-Skinner);
Provide the City of Oakland with additional tools to regulate the registration and licensing of firearms, an area which is currently pre-empted by state law (AB 180-Bonta).
This week, AB 48 and AB 1131 face votes in the Senate, while AB 180 cleared the Senate on Sept. 6 and was sent to the governor’s desk.
Skinner said AB 48 would close a loophole that circumvents the assault weapons ban, making it illegal to purchase or possess “conversion kits,” which allow owners to convert their guns into assault-style weapons.
In response to pervasive gun violence devastating Oakland, which is among the highest in the state, Assemblymember Bonta said his legislation, AB 180, will give the city the authority to regulate the registration of firearms and licensing of gun owners.
When the families of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine, 16-month-old Drew Jackson, and other homicide victims in Oakland needed comfort, Marilyn Washington-Harris, founder of the Khadafy Foundation for Non-Violence, was there to connect them to grief counseling, memorial planning and financial assistance.
“I know my calling is to help every mother, father, sister and brother who must confront the devastating loss of a loved one,” Washington-Harris said. “But my hope is that one day I’m not needed anymore – because our community will be a safe place.”
Pastor Michael McBride, who was among 12 clergy members who met with Vice President Joe Biden this year following the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn., expressed his support for the measures proposed by Assemblymembers Skinner and Bonta.
“California cannot miss out on this moment to make sure that our children can live in neighborhoods and schools free of gun violence,” said Pastor McBride, founder of the Lifelines to Healing Campaign. “I believe we are up to the challenge.”