Bill to Protect Californians from Ghost Guns Heads to Governor
SACRAMENTO – After a year of increased gun violence, the California State Legislature has approved legislation that closes a dangerous loophole in California’s gun safety laws. AB 1057, authored by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, will allow for the seizure of ghost guns when an emergency Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) or Domestic Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) is served. The Governor has until October 10, 2021 to sign or veto bills.
Ghost guns are homemade guns made from parts that are readily available and unregulated. Unlike other firearms, they can be bought without a background check and are not built by licensed manufacturers but come in kits that are easily assembled. The California Penal Code does not classify ghost guns as firearms, which prevents law enforcement from seizing them when serving a GVRO or DVRO.
“If something looks like a gun and shoots bullets like a gun it should be treated like a gun,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “It is critical that we close this dangerous loophole—Assembly Bill 1057 will give the courts and law enforcement the tools to enforce restraining orders, and to protect innocent Californians from the tragedy of gun violence.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has reported that 31% of guns recovered in California were unserialized, untraceable ghost guns, putting the public and law enforcement in danger. Localities such as Los Angeles reported an even high number of 41%. Additionally, more than 2,500 ghost guns were connected to criminal activity in 114 Federal cases from 2010 through April 2020.
By updating the definition of seizable firearms to include ghost guns for GVROs and DVROs, AB 1057 ensures that these readily available weapons which look and act like any other firearm are treated appropriately.
AB 1057 is supported by Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Center for Public Interest Law (Sponsor), Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Giffords, March for Our Lives San Diego, Moms Demand Action, San Diego City Attorney’s Office, San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention, Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Women for American Values and Ethics.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
“The presence of firearms in a situation of domestic violence significantly increases the risk of homicide, and AB 1057 closes an important loophole by ensuring that ghost guns can be seized when a domestic violence restraining order is issued,” said Krista Colon, Public Policy Director, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. “We thank the Assemblywoman for her work on this important legislation to keep survivors and families safe.”
“The fact that untraceable ghost guns aren’t included in extreme risk protection orders doesn’t make any sense” said Tiffany Tretta, a volunteer with California Moms Demand Action and gun violence survivor whose daughter, Mia, was shot and wounded by a ghost gun in a shooting at Saugus High School in 2019. “Ghost guns have quickly become the fastest growing issue in gun safety and stolen the lives of countless people in California — including my daughter’s best friends and classmates. I’m grateful to Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris for providing another way to get these firearms out of the hands of people who are a threat to themselves and others.”
“California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) law has enjoyed broad bipartisan support. In emergency situations, it is clear that dangerous individuals should not have access to a deadly weapon, and it is inexcusable that there remain loopholes in the law that allow them to possess ghost gun kits and parts that can easily be assembled into a firearm,” said Legislative Chair of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence Amanda Wilcox. “Brady is grateful to Assemblymember Petrie-Norris for introducing and championing this legislation to close such a loophole. This bill will make all Californians safer.”
“As San Diego City Attorney, I’ve used Gun Violence Restraining Orders hundreds of times to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to harm themselves or others,” San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “Keeping ahead of the national epidemic of gun violence requires constant vigilance by our lawmakers, however, which is why I’m proud to support Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris’s AB 1057, which would ensure dangerous ghost guns and gun parts can be seized through a GVRO.”
“AB 1057 advances California’s goals to prevent gun violence tragedies before they occur,” saidAdministrative Director of the Center for Public Interest Law Bridget Gramme. “The Center for Public Interest Law is proud to support the inclusion of ghost-gun parts as seizable items under gun violence restraining orders. This bill will save lives by protecting those that may cause harm to themselves or others.”
“Individuals prohibited from possessing purchased firearms should also be prohibited from possessing homemade firearms,” said AB 1057 Co-author Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park). “I am proud to co-author AB 1057 to close this dangerous loophole in California law.”
“When used properly, gun violence restraining orders are a powerful tool that can prevent mass shootings and save lives,” said AB 1057 Co-author Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills). “AB 1057 will help to close an unfortunate and deadly loophole so that GVROs can be used to their full potential. I’m proud to coauthor this important measure and applaud Assemblymember Petrie-Norris for her continued leadership on keeping our kids and communities safe from gun violence.”
“The increase in gun violence has become a national crisis that the State of California will not ignore, nor be immune from,” said AB 1057 Co-author Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton). “As a co-author of Assembly Bill 1057, I am proud to support legislation that will address the concerns in our current emergency Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVRO’s). I firmly believe that we must continue to strengthen our laws as we focus on advocating for gun safety legislation.”
This bill is co-authored by Assemblymembers Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), Marc Levine (D-Marin County), Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) and Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay).