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Governor Signs Berman Bills to Strengthen California's Gun Safety Laws

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Today Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bills 1420 and 1598, both authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), to protect Californians from gun violence. AB 1420 gives the California Department of Justice (DOJ) the authority and enforcement tools necessary to hold lawbreaking firearm dealers accountable and ensure they are complying with California’s smart gun safety laws. AB 1598 ensures that potential firearm purchasers are made aware of the risks of owning and bringing a firearm into the home, as well as learn about California’s life-saving firearm laws.

“California has some of the smartest, strongest gun safety laws in the country, but we must do more to reduce the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “This past January a horrific shooting in Half Moon Bay rocked my district. In the aftermath, the message from my constituents was clear: do more to combat gun violence. We have endured our collective grief and frustration long enough. As a founding member of the Gun Violence Working Group in the Legislature, I introduced AB 1420 and AB 1598, two smart, pragmatic bills that received bipartisan support from my colleagues. I want to thank Governor Newsom for signing these bills so that Californians can take another step towards a future where we no longer live under the constant threat of gun violence.”

Cracking Down on Lawbreaking Gun Shops

AB 1420 will ensure the California DOJ has the authority and tools necessary to adequately enforce any violations relating to the governing of the sale, transfer, and storage of firearms.

“Smart gun safety laws work. California has some of the toughest gun safety laws in the nation, and one of the lowest firearm death rates. But bad actor gun shops are skirting these life-saving laws,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “AB 1420 will crack down on gun shops that are not following California's firearm laws. I am proud to partner with Attorney General Rob Bonta to ensure that the Department of Justice has the necessary authority to enforce California's life-saving firearm laws. We cannot tolerate gun shops flagrantly violating our laws with no recourse.”

“My office is proud to sponsor Assembly Bill 1420 to expand the California Department of Justice’s ability to conduct firearm dealer inspections and ensure dealers are following California’s gun laws,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “California has some of the strongest gun safety laws in the nation — and these laws save lives. AB 1420 provides California DOJ with the necessary authority and tools to hold accountable gun dealers who transfer, sell, or store firearms in violation of these laws. I thank Assemblymember Marc Berman and our state leaders for advancing AB 1420 to help ensure that law enforcement has the tools we need to enforce California’s commonsense gun laws and keep our communities safe.”


Busting the Myths of Gun Ownership

AB 1598 expands what is covered on the firearm safety certificate (FSC) test, requires that FSC applicants receive a study guide with this safety information prior to the test, and requires that information about the risks of gun ownership be provided at point of sale.

“Many people buy firearms because they think it will make them safer at home. The evidence is indisputable, however: keeping a firearm in your home dramatically increases the likelihood that you or someone you love will be a victim of gun violence,” said Assemblymember Berman. “The data clearly shows that having a firearm at home increases the risk of death or serious injury by suicide, homicide, or unintentional injury. The myth that having a gun at home will keep you safe disproportionately harms women, who are uniquely impacted by the presence of a firearm in the home. In fact, the National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that the presence of a gun in the home increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent. AB 1598 will ensure that Californians are fully informed of the risks of gun ownership before they buy a gun.”

“This will give firearm owners accurate information about the risks posed by having a firearm in the home, and about protective orders for high-risk situations when someone is at risk of harm. With this, they can make more informed, independent, and responsible decisions about their firearms and the safety of their families,” said Amy Barnhorst, MD, psychiatrist and Associate Director of the California Firearm Violence Research Center at UC Davis.

"Family physicians have long recognized that gun violence is a national public health epidemic," said California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) President Raul Ayala, MD, MHCM. "We care for victims of gun violence every day. Gun violence is a physical and psychological trauma that affects the health of our patients, families, and communities. AB 1598 is part of a needed comprehensive public health approach to address the gun violence epidemic by requiring education and demonstrated knowledge about the responsibilities of gun ownership and operation. Thank you Assemblymember Berman for helping family physicians care for and protect our patients and communities from the devastating effects of gun violence."

“When Californians go to purchase a firearm, they should be empowered with the facts—including how to use them safely and the risks of having a firearm in their home,” said Zeenat Yahya, the Director of Policy at March For Our Lives and a native Californian. “This bill will give Californians the tools they need to make an informed decision and help protect the lives of families and children across the state. We already lead the country on gun safety, and this bill is another chance for us to keep leading. AB 1598 will encourage responsible, safe gun ownership and we’re pleased to support this measure.”