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SJR-24 Firearms.(2017-2018)

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SJR24:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 12, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Joint Resolution No. 24


Introduced by Senator Jackson

March 20, 2018


Relative to firearms.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SJR 24, as amended, Jackson. Firearms.
This measure would urge the Congress of the United States to reauthorize and strengthen the federal assault weapons ban and would urge the Congress to pass, and the President to sign, the federal Assault Weapons Ban of 2018. The measure would call on CalPERS to divest all its holdings related to the production and sale of firearms. engage with companies in which it is invested that produce or sell firearms to determine a reasonable method for those companies to withdraw from the production and sale of firearms or to produce a plan to divest from those companies, as specified.
Fiscal Committee: YES  

WHEREAS, Since the 1979 shooting spree at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, where two adults were killed and eight children and a police officer were injured, school shootings have become a regular occurrence in this country; and
WHEREAS, The British Broadcasting Corporation reports that there has been on average one school shooting per week in the United States since 2013; and
WHEREAS, It is the right of California students to attend school in a safe environment, free from gun violence; and
WHEREAS, The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, which resulted in the deaths of 17 students and faculty, further demonstrates the need for stronger laws to prevent gun violence; and
WHEREAS, Numerous factors contribute to the occurrence of mass shootings, including unregulated access to assault weapons and assault magazines, insufficient background checks, and needed improvements to our mental health system, among others; and
WHEREAS, Semiautomatic weapons designed with military features allow for the rapid fire of potentially large numbers of bullets, and are distinguishable from standard sporting firearms by features such as the ability to accept a detachable magazine, pistol grips, and folding or telescoping stocks; and
WHEREAS, Semiautomatic assault weapons are frequently used in mass shootings, including the July 2012, Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting which left 12 dead and 70 injured, the December 2012, school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 students and six adults were killed, the 2015, San Bernardino, California, shooting which left 14 people dead and 22 others seriously injured, the June 2016, Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 people were killed and 58 injured, the 2017, Las Vegas, Nevada, shooting, which killed 58 people and left 851 injured, and the 2017, Sutherland Springs, Texas, shooting in which 26 were killed and 20 were injured; and
WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court has established that Americans have a right to keep and bear arms in its surprising, precedent setting holding. However, as the late Justice Antonin Scalia opined in the District of Columbia v. Heller decision, the Second Amendment does not prohibit laws forbidding firearms in places such as schools or regulation of unusually dangerous weapons, nor does it restrict laws prohibiting felons, the mentally ill, and other dangerous people from carrying guns; and
WHEREAS, The National Firearms Act of 1934 regulates the possession and transfer of fully automatic machine guns through background checks, registration, and excise taxes, with individual states permitted to enact their own stronger gun legislation and regulations which may or may not be similar to other states; and
WHEREAS, Seven states, including California, and the District of Columbia have enacted laws strictly regulating the possession, manufacture, and transfer of assault weapons; and
WHEREAS, Because our borders are porous and only a small number of states regulate assault weapons and high-capacity assault magazines, states like California that take steps to protect their communities from these weapons are vulnerable to criminals who obtain and use these weapons without a comprehensive federal approach to curb gun violence; and
WHEREAS, It is estimated that 40 percent of firearm transfers are completed without a federal background check, including the transfer of semiautomatic, military-style firearms from a private collection or at a gun show; and
WHEREAS, A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that 77 percent of respondents said President Donald J. Trump and Congress are not doing enough to stop mass shootings, and a Quinnipiac Poll found that 66 percent of voters support stricter gun laws, 67 percent support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, 83 percent support a mandatory waiting period for all gun purchases, and an overwhelming 97 percent want universal background checks; and
WHEREAS, California requires background checks for all firearm sales and transfers through various procedures; and
WHEREAS, A renewed assault weapons ban will not necessarily stop every mass shooting but will begin to remove these weapons of war from our streets; and
WHEREAS, The California Legislature commends companies who have terminated their business dealings with the National Rifle Association; and
WHEREAS, The California Legislature further commends CalSTRS for divesting its holdings in companies making guns that are illegal in California; and
WHEREAS, With its passage of comprehensive gun reform, California has reduced its gun mortality rate by 56 percent since 1993, three and one-half times the reduction made in the rest of the United States; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California, jointly, That a comprehensive federal approach to reducing and preventing gun violence is needed to ensure that our communities are safe from future mass shootings; and be it further
Resolved, That the California State Legislature calls on CalPERS to divest all its holdings related to the production and sale of firearms; engage with companies in which it is invested that produce or sell firearms to determine a reasonable method for those companies to withdraw from the production and sale of firearms, and if a company refuses to participate in that engagement with CalPERS, to produce a plan to divest from that company; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature urges the Congress of the United States to reauthorize and strengthen the federal assault weapons ban and for the Congress to pass, and the President to sign, the federal Assault Weapons Ban of 2018; and be it further
Resolved, the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, and to the author for appropriate distribution.