Ventura County Star: Sen. Jackson and Assemblywoman Irwin announce plans to pursue gun legislation

January 03, 2019

California Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin recently announced they are pursuing new gun legislation.

The two pieces of legislation, which were announced separately and are independent of one another, were announced a few weeks after the Nov. 7 deadly shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.

On Nov. 7, Ian David Long, 28, of Newbury Park, opened fire at the Borderline killing 12 people, before turning the gun on himself.

Jackson’s Senate Bill-55 and Irwin’s Assembly Bill-12 both focus on the correlation between mental health and gun violence.

Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, said her bill does not directly correlate to the Thousand Oaks shooting but noted there have been correlations between mental health issues and other mass shootings throughout the nation recently. Her legislation was based on research from the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, which developed a health-oriented approach to firearm violence. The research program found individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors were more likely to commit a firearms-related crime in the future, according to Jackson.

California law states that individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors may not purchase, own or otherwise possess any firearm for a period of 10 years. Those misdemeanors include battery and stalking, among others.

Jackson’s legislation would apply that 10-year prohibition to an individual convicted of two or more specific misdemeanors in a three-year period that are not currently covered by state law. Under her bill, new misdemeanors that would result in temporary gun prohibition would include alcohol intoxication and possession of certain controlled substances with intent to sell.

“We know that people who sell drugs are more likely to commit offenses going forward and we included vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated,” Jackson said. “If you or someone you know has been convicted of two of these crimes within a period of three years, the ban will take effect.”

Federal law prohibits the government from collecting gun-related data, which Jackson said she is opposed to. She hoped the UC Davis program could be emulated in other states to improve public information about gun violence and prevent future shootings.

“This program is important because what people opposed to any gun regulation say is, ‘You can’t do (gun legislation) because there is no data,’ which is by design,” Jackson said. “Well, now we have that data and I have specifically fashioned this bill to correlate with the data. We need to try to identify potential perpetrators before they commit these crimes and that’s what this bill tries to do.”

Irwin’s AB 12, which would allow the California State Legislature to enact legislation related to gun violence and mental health, does not have specific language that would enact any sort of change to current gun laws. Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, said the lack of specificity was intentional and added the legislation was an effort to show her constituents that she was aware of the importance the relationship between gun violence and mental illness.

“Gun laws in California are among the strictest in the nation so I think we need to look more at the mental health angle, which is specifically what happened in the case of (the Borderline shooting),” Irwin said. “We are hearing from constituents that say the problem is not guns and is mental illness. AB 12 bridges both.”

Although AB 12 does not have any specific language that would change current laws, Irwin said she is looking into lowering the threshold where guns could be removed from an individual detained under Section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code. Section 5150 allows a qualified officer or clinician to detain an individual suspected of having a mental health disorder that makes them a threat to themselves or others. Under current law, individuals detained under Section 5150 are not allowed to own firearms for five years.

https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2019/01/01/gun-legislation-senator-hannah-jackson-assemblymember-jaqui-irwin/2338456002/