As Students Return to School in the Wake of the Sandy Hook Tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
OAKLAND, CA. – Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) unveiled legislation today at a press conference that aims to regulate ammunition sales in the same manner as gun sales in California.
Law enforcement officials including Emeryville Police Chief Ken James, Richmond Deputy Chief Allwyn Brown, other public safety leaders, bill co-author Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, United Teachers of Richmond President Diane Brown, additional city and school officials as well as youth, community and faith leaders all voiced their support for Assembly Bill 48.
A moment of silence, led by True Vine Ministries Pastor Zachary E. Carey, was held to pay respect to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
"Assembly Bill 48 aims to restrict the bullets that are ravaging our communities," Skinner said. "Tragic but true, it is easier to buy ammo than to buy cold medicine, alcohol or tobacco. It's time for buying deadly bullets to fall under the same controls as guns and Sudafed."
AB 48 will establish procedures and restrictions on the sale of ammunition comparable to those that currently cover gun sales. The legislation bans kits that convert guns into illegal assault weapons, requires ammunition sellers to be licensed and to report ammunition sales to the Department of Justice, and additionally requires large ammo purchases made over a short time period to be reported to local law enforcement.
AB 48 Co-Author Assemblymember Rob Bonta said, "The tragic and far too common incidents of gun violence in Oakland, including those that took the lives of 12 of our children in the past year, underscore the need for lawmakers to tighten ammunition oversight to protect communities throughout California."
AB 48 will:
- Require ammunition sellers to be licensed,
- Require ammunition purchasers to show identification,
- Require ammunition sellers to report all ammunition sales to the Department of Justice,
- Require Department of Justice to create a registry of ammunition purchases, which shall be available to all law enforcement agencies;
- Require the Department of Justice to notify law enforcement of large quantity ammo purchases, and
- Ban the kits that convert ammo feeding devices into high-capacity magazines.
"Like pseudoephedrine is the precursor to methamphetamine, bullets are the precursor to gun violence," said Emeryville Police Chief Ken James, who also serves as the chair of the California Police Chief's Association Firearms Committee. "If we can control the precursors, we may avert tragedies like the ones at Oikos University in Oakland, Aurora and Newtown."
In Aurora, Colo., the alleged gunman amassed 6,000 rounds of ammunition over a few-week period without raising red flags. In Newtown, Conn., police found the shooter had multiple high-capacity magazines and hundreds of unspent rounds.
"With rights come responsibilities," Skinner said. "While the Second Amendment gives each of us the right to bear arms it also says clearly that such rights can and should be well regulated."
Representing the growing list of supporters backing AB 48 were City of Oakland Councilmembers Dan Kalb, Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, Larry Reid, Noel Gallo, Patrica Kernighan and Libby Schaaf, Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker, Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, Alameda Councilmember Lena Tam, Alameda Police Captain David Boersma, San Leandro Vice Mayor Michael Gregory, additional city officials, and members of the Boards of Education of Alameda County, Albany Unified School District, Oakland Unified School District and West Contra Costa Unified School District.
In addition, representatives from business, community, youth and faith-based organizations also attended in support of AB 48. A complete list of press conference attendees is attached.
Last year, Skinner authored Assembly Bill 2512, which would have required large ammunition purchases to be reported to local law enforcement. Her bill also sought to close a loophole in the assault weapons law allowing individuals to have high-capacity magazines.
# # #
Elected in 2008, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) represents the 15th Assembly District, which includes Hercules, Pinole, El Sobrante, San Pablo, Richmond, El Cerrito, Kensington, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Piedmont and parts of Oakland. Skinner serves as Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee.