Lawmakers in California hashed out a slew of bills regarding the hot-button issue of gun control on Wednesday. Sparked by the Newtown shootings, and their own personal experiences, several legislators made it clear that they were to face impending death threats in moving forward with any gun control legislation.
These death threats, ominous as they may be, have not halted California legislators one iota. Senator Don Perata (D-Oakland), was actually driven to purchasing a firearm for himself in response to the threats. Tweet
Perata is no stranger to gun violence, as he was the victim of a carjacking in Oakland in 2007. Though he was uninjured, and eventually relocated his car, Perata said:
"There are too damn many guns out there and now I have exhibit a. I've known it, but now I really know it, and it's very frightening - having a gun three feet from your face and any mistake and that would be the end of it. He's a young kid, I'm not excusing it, but guys like that make dumb mistakes."
Prior to the incident, Perata was already an outspoken gun control advocate.
Perata and former Senator David Roberti implored the Legislature to strengthen gun laws throughout the state, which gun rights advocates believe are already some of the toughest in the U.S.
According to the LA Times, two other legislators, Assemblymen Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) and Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), have introduced a tax on ammunition. Though taxes driven from ammunition sales will benefit preventative causes in gun control, both legislators' bills would differ in where the funding is to be utilized.
Assembly Bill 187, which was introduced by Bonta, would raise funding for policing crime-laden areas through the proposed ammo tax.
Dickenson's proposed "nickel a bullet" tax would be utilized to establish a statewide mental illness screening program for children. This legislation is highly preventative, in that if an illness is discovered early, intervention measures would be taken. Tweet
Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, a gun rights advocacy group, rebuked the proposed bills.
In 2012, gun dealers sold 600,000 guns, which was a significant increase from nearly 350,000 in 2002. Despite the quantifiable jump within a decade, gun-related deaths fell from about 3,200 annually to about 2,800, trending with a nationwide "drop in violent crime." Tweet stat: Tweet
The steadfastness of Perata, Bonta, Dickenson, and Roberti -- despite looming death threats -- shows some shred of hope for gun control legislation in California. Known as a bellwether of progressive gun legislation, it is definitely beneficial that the state is addressing this issue in concrete terms.
Though they are sure to meet opposition from constituents, as well as those in the Legislature, these legislators show no signs of easing up on this issue.