SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today released the following statement, as leaders in the California State Assembly unveiled a package of bills aimed at reducing gun violence.
“An epidemic of gun violence has cost too many Californians their lives and jeopardized public safety for too long. As California's chief law enforcement officer, I see the urgent need to pass sensible gun safety legislation that aims to keep our streets and communities safe. This is why I am working with members of our legislature to pursue these common sense policies.”
In January, Attorney General Harris and Assemblymember David Chiu (D-SF) announced AB 1663, legislation to close the “bullet button” loophole, which allows gun owners to quickly convert a rifle into a semi-automatic assault weapon. This bill would expand the classification of assault weapons to include semi-automatic center fire rifles, which are capable of accepting detachable magazines.
Attorney General Harris has made the implementation of effective gun safety measures a priority. Since November 2013, Attorney General Harris has brought the number of individuals in the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) database to a historic low of under 11,000, the lowest level since 2008—effectively removing nearly 25,000 prohibited individuals. Over the last three years, the California Department of Justice has also doubled the average number of guns seized annually and increased the number of investigations per month by nearly 300 percent.
In 2011, Attorney General Harris sponsored SB 819 (Leno) to allow the Department of Justice to use existing regulatory fees collected by gun dealers (“DROS fees”) for purposes of regulatory and enforcement activities related to firearms, including management of APPS. This went into effect January 2012. In 2013, Attorney General Harris sponsored SB 140 (Leno) to appropriate $24 million in funding from the DROS Account to help support the APPS program; this urgency legislation went into effect immediately in May 2013.
In 2013, Attorney General Harris also convened a Leadership Group of California’s district attorneys to collaboratively develop recommendations to reduce gun violence through enforcement of existing laws and prevention efforts.