California has enacted the strongest firearm laws in the nation and consistently ranks #1 on the Brady Campaign’s annual state scorecard. California has done the best job in the country adopting laws designed to make it harder for criminals and other dangerous people to access dangerous weapons. Among other benefits, these laws have: helped combat illegal firearms trafficking, reduced firearm homicides and suicides, and enabled law enforcement to seize weapons from prohibited persons. Most recently, California passed the Gun Violence Restraining Order law that will allow immediate family members or law enforcement to petition a court to remove firearms from someone temporarily if they believe there is a possible risk of injury or death.
However, more must be done at both the state and federal levels to make our communities safer. Over 6,000 people are shot in California each year, nearly half of them die. In the U.S., firearm laws remain the weakest of all industrialized nations. Weak federal firearm laws undermine California’s efforts to reduce its gun violence. In spite of this, California’s gun laws have proved effective in saving lives.
CA Continues to Reduce its Firearm Mortality Rate
From 1993 to 2013 California’s firearm mortality rate declined by 56.6 percent — 29.9 percentage points more than the decline in the rest of the nation.
In 1993, over 14,000 people were shot in California, and over 5,000 of them died. The numbers have decreased steadily since then as gun laws have been enacted. Some of California’s most important gun laws went into effect in the early 1990s including: an assault weapons ban; universal background checks of gun sales/transfers (including gun shows); a Department of Justice (DOJ)-maintained database of all handgun sales; prohibition of gun sales to persons guilty of certain violent misdemeanors; a law making it possible to hold gun owners criminally responsible for child access and misuse of their gun; and a basic handgun safety training and certificate requirement for handgun purchases. Check here for a list of California firearms laws.
Help Prevent Gun Violence in California
It is easy to get overwhelmed by statistics and studies but in the end we have to remember that gun violence takes human lives, destroys families and communities, and shreds the fabric of our society. Everyone must work together to answer the question: How can we keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people? We are accomplishing this in California without treading on any constitutional rights. By enacting strict gun laws and regulations, we are saving lives. The rest of the country must follow California’s lead until gun violence is no longer an American public health epidemic.
YOU can help!
** Get involved with a California Brady Campaign Chapter in your county or start one of your own.