The California Senate’s Public Safety Committee voted 4-2 Tuesday to approve a measure authored by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and 20 other members of the state Senate urging Congress and the president to support comprehensive gun violence prevention policy at the federal level.
“Existing law in California is already much stronger than federal law in that it regulates and requires background checks for the possession and transfer of assault weapons,” Wolk said in a news release. “But California isn’t an island. Because our borders are porous, and since only a small number of states regulate assault weapons and high-capacity assault magazines, Californians remain vulnerable to weapons purchased elsewhere and brought illegally into our state.
“Without a comprehensive federal approach to curbing gun violence, our laws will fall short of providing the security our citizens expect.”
Senate Joint Resolution 1 supports efforts led by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives, to enact comprehensive gun violence prevention policy that includes prohibiting the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and strengthening criminal background check requirements.
Specifically, SJR 1 urges the President and Congress to place generically defined assault weapons and high-capacity assault magazines under the scope of the National Firearms Act of 1934, as is the case in California. The act regulates the possession and transfer of fully automatic machine guns through background checks, registration and excise taxes, but individual states are able to enact their own stronger gun legislation and regulations.
Seven states, including California, have enacted laws strictly regulating the possession, manufacture and transfer of assault weapons.
SJR 1 also supports federal legislation to require universal background checks for all firearm transfers, using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which can instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives.
Additionally, SJR 1 requests that the president take steps to ensure that all states and applicable federal agencies report all necessary records to the federal background check system. It is estimated that 40 percent of firearm transfers are completed without a federal background check, including the transfer of semiautomatic firearms from private collections.