The recent session of the state Legislature ended last week with three new gun-control bills authored by Sen. Anthony Portantino landing on the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Portantino, a Democrat, is a leading gun-control advocate in the state, and author of several earlier bills, including laws banning the open carry of handguns and rifles, and raising the legal gun-purchase age in California to 21.
He labeled his bills as “sensible” means of gun control.
The passage of Senate bills 61, 172 and 376 also provided Portantino a platform to criticize Washington’s “inaction” on gun-control — something he’s done before, most recently in the wake of the mass shootings in Gilroy, Calif., El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left a combined 34 dead and scores more wounded.
“It’s a solemn day for me as I wish Washington would act at the national level to take needed and prudent gun-control steps,’’ Portantino said.
“Washington’s inaction has again forced me to author and pass important gun-control bills for California. It is my hope that these bills can prevent a future horrendous violent situation.”
In August, Portantino was one of numerous local officials to blame the recent tragedies on lax federal gun-control laws and Republican failures to pass stronger anti-gun legislation.
“As a dad, I’m horrified. As a citizen of this country, I’m angry. As a legislator, Washington’s impotence has been striking and it’s costing lives,’’ Portantino told the Review at the time.
“Ninety percent of America supports background checks. They (the majority of Americans) support a ban on assault weapons, they support reasonable gun control. And the fact that (Sen.) Mitch McConnell and the NRA (National Rifle Association) have the issue held captive is unconscionable and horrific.’’
SB 61 would limit a single buyer’s ability to purchase a center-fire, semi-automatic firearm to one per month, and would also prohibit the sale of this high-powered weapon to anyone under 21.
SB 172 proposes to resolve the problem of improper storage of firearms in homes and residential care facilities, since, Portantino pointed out, the vast majority of accidental firearms deaths, suicides and acts of violence are associated to easy access to firearms. This bill ensures that firearms are properly stored.
SB 376 seeks to address “the disparity and confusion” in the way unlicensed firearms dealers are treated based on the definition of “infrequent.” It would reduce the number of firearms an unlicensed individual is annually able to sell and the frequency with which they are able to sell.
“We are grateful to Senator Portantino for his long-established leadership on sensible gun-violence prevention legislation,” said Samantha Dorf, volunteer leader with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.