‘Restraining orders save lives’: California AG releases report prior to Supreme Court gun case

California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Monday released a report on the links between domestic violence and shootings, one day before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a case that could restrict the power of federal lawmakers to regulate gun possession nationwide.

At the heart of the Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Rahimi, is a Second Amendment challenge to a federal law that disarms people with certain domestic violence restraining orders. Bonta said the argument against the law is that people who’ve committed violence against family or their intimate partners should be allowed to access guns even after a judge has ruled that the victim survivors need court-ordered protections for their safety.

“These are people who have demonstrated a significant danger of abuse, of violence, who have a higher risk of perpetrating future violence, including mass shootings,” Bonta told reporters at a news conference Monday in Sacramento. “I can’t fathom how this is something we are debating.”

The data released by Bonta showed there were more than 670 total domestic violence gun homicides reported statewide between 2018 and 2022. The report’s figures also showed that during the coronavirus pandemic, the number of domestic violence calls involving firearms spiked dramatically while the number of domestic violence restraining order filings declined.

The case before the Supreme Court is the first among dozens of challenges to gun control laws to reach the justices since their decision last year in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. Gov. That decision struck down a New York statute regulating concealed carry weapons, and experts then predicted new legal challenges to similar gun laws throughout the country including in California.

Bonta said domestic violence restraining orders have worked “as a common sense tool for safety” to reduce gun violence, and they must continue to be accessible to protect survivors and the rest of the community.

“This is not about encroaching gun rights,” Bonta said. “This is about protecting the rights, the liberty, the safety, the lives of people who are under serious threat. DVROs have been shown to increase survivor safety and prevent gun violence, including mass shootings.”

The 41-page report from Bonta’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention presents data on the impact of firearm-related domestic violence in California. The report’s data and findings included:

▪ From 1993 to 2019, California had a 63% drop in per capita rates of domestic violence-related calls for law enforcement help involving firearms, a 61% reduction in domestic violence-related gun homicides, a 67% reduction in female-victim gun homicide rates, and an 80% reduction in gun homicide rates for children aged 14 and under.

▪ From 2018 to 2022, California’s female-victim gun homicide rate was about half (46% below) the rate for the rest of the United States. For children 14 and younger, the state’s gun homicide rate was 57% below the rate for the rest of the country.

Click here to read the full article in the Sacramento Bee

Calif. Attorney General Leaks Names and Addresses of State’s Legal Gun Owners Following SCOTUS Gun Ruling

‘Vindictive sore loser bureaucrats have endangered people’s lives and invited conflict by illegally releasing confidential private information’

Last week the Supreme Court issued a decision striking down a New York gun law that puts unconstitutional restrictions on concealed carry of a gun out in public, as the Globe reported.

Less than one week later, it appears the California Attorney General leaked the state database of names and addresses of the state’s legal gun owners and concealed carry permit holders.

How could this happen – is it accidental or deliberate? California gun owners cheered the Supreme Court’s decision reaffirming that state officials cannot require concealed carry applicants to show “proper cause” and “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.”

The Reload reports:

“The California Department of Justice’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal went live on Monday with publicly-accessible files that include identifying information for those who have concealed carry permits. The leaked information includes the person’s full name, race, home address, date of birth, and date their permit was issued. The data also shows the type of permit issued, indicating if the permit holder is a member of law enforcement or a judge.”

The AG’s Firearms Dashboard Portal is currently down:

The Reload reported they reviewed a copy of the Lost Angeles County database and found 244 judge permits listed in the database including the home addresses, full names, and dates of birth for all of them. “The same was true for seven custodial officers, 63 people with a place of employment permit, and 420 reserve officers.”

Last year Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 171 into law, which allows the state to share personal information of gun owners with gun violence research organizations.

Bill analysis of AB 171 specifies “the DOJ may at its discretion, also disclose specified information, to other nonprofit bona fide research institutions that are accredited by the United State Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation for the study of violence prevention in the matter prescribed. Requires that any material identifying individuals to only be used for research and statistical purposes and prohibits reports or publications derived from the material from identifying any specific individuals. Requires DOJ to establish procedures for these requests and allows researchers to be charged reasonable fees related to their requests.”

The Reload reported that the office of Attorney General Rob Bonta confirmed private information had been exposed and said they are examining the situation.

“We are investigating an exposure of individuals’ personal information connected to the DOJ Firearms Dashboard,” a spokesperson for the office told The Reload. “Any unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable. We are working swiftly to address this situation and will provide additional information as soon as possible.”

The Reload published a statement from the California Rifle & Pistol Association, which they say “slammed the leak and said it was looking into potential legal action against the state.”

“Vindictive sore loser bureaucrats have endangered people’s lives and invited conflict by illegally releasing confidential private information,” Chuck Michel, CRPA President, told The Reload. “CRPA is working with several legislators and sheriffs to determine the extent of the damage caused by DOJ’s doxing of law abiding gun owners. Litigation is likely.”

Attorney General Bonta announced the new and updated firearms data available through the California Department of Justice (DOJ)’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal in a press release Monday:

“Transparency is key to increasing public trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve. As news of tragic mass shootings continue to dominate the news cycle, leaving many with feelings of fear and uncertainty, we must do everything we can to prevent gun violence. One of my continued priorities is to better provide information needed to help advance efforts that strengthen California’s commonsense gun laws. Today’s announcement puts power and information into the hands of our communities by helping them better understand the role and potential dangers of firearms within our state.”

“Instead, the leaked private information of gun owners is likely to increase the risk criminals will target their homes for burglaries–something the state’s dashboard reports happened 145,377 times in 2020 alone,” the Reload reported.

Click here to read the full article at the California Globe

Safeway Employee Fatally Shot in South Bay — Gunman Remains at Large

A Safeway employee in San Jose was shot and killed early Sunday, police said, and authorities were searching for the gunman.

The incident unfolded at about 3:35 a.m. inside the Safeway grocery store on the 1500 block of Hamilton Avenue in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood, said San Jose police Officer Steve Aponte.

According to a preliminary investigation, authorities said the fatal shooting appeared to have followed an altercation between the Safeway male employee and another man.

The gunman had not been identified as of Sunday and remained at large. A motive for fatal shooting was under investigation.

The victim died from his gunshot wounds at the grocery store. His identity will be released by the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office after his family has been notified.

Phone calls to the San Jose Safeway store went unanswered Sunday evening.

Wendy Gutshall, a spokesperson for Safeway, told The Chronicle in a statement Monday that the company was “mourning the tragic loss of one of our associates” and working with San Jose police for the investigation.

“Our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts are with his family. We are sending our deepest and heartfelt condolences to them,” Gutshall said.

Click here to read the full article in the San Francisco Chronicle

The history of the Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms

With all the debate going on about guns and gun control in America, here’s a little history. The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Those favoring gun control stress the “militia” part, saying the “right of the people” part is subordinate to it. But the late Charlie Reese, for 30 years a journalist with the Orlando Sentinel, once parsed the 18th-century language.

He wrote: “Notice that it does not state that the right of the states to have militias shall not be infringed. This amendment consists of a nominative absolute and a subject and verb.

“The nominative absolute is the phrase ‘A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.’ The subject of the sentence is ‘right.’ The verb is ‘shall be infringed’ modified by the adverb, ‘not.’ Thus the main sentence states plainly that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringe. … A modern way of writing might state, ‘Because a well-trained militia is essential to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’”

Next, in 2000 historian Michael A. Bellesiles published “Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture.” Its narrative that American gun culture was not there from the beginning, but began only around the 1850s, earned him the prestigious Bancroft Prize in 2001. Then the prize was rescinded when his fellow historians showed he had faked his research. The fact is America from the beginning was a gun culture.

Sometimes gun-control advocates point out how much stricter gun-control laws after mass shootings have been enacted by the United Kingdom and its former colonies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But America is different. We gained our independence from the British Empire through a violent revolution. We also fought a Civil War that killed 850,000 people to keep the country together and free the slaves. That was about 3% of the population, the equivalent to 9 million today.

Many gun control laws in American history have been harmful to Black Americans, including the slaves before the war, and the newly emancipated freedmen and freedwomen after. In a 2011 article in the Atlantic, UCLA constitutional scholar Adam Winkler wrote, “Indisputably, for much of American history, gun control measures, like many other laws, were used to oppress African Americans …

“Civil-rights activists, even those committed to nonviolent resistance, had long appreciated the value of guns for self-protection. Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a permit to carry a concealed firearm in 1956, after his house was bombed. His application was denied, but from then on, armed supporters guarded his home.”

In District of Columbia v. Heller from 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

By the way, who is in the militia? 10 U.S. Code § 246 (a) reads: “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and … under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Court: California’s Under-21 Gun Sales Ban Unconstitutional

A U.S. appeals court ruled Wednesday that California’s ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to adults under 21 is unconstitutional.

In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday the law violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms and a San Diego judge should have blocked what it called “an almost total ban on semiautomatic centerfire rifles” for young adults. “America would not exist without the heroism of the young adults who fought and died in our revolutionary army,” Judge Ryan Nelson wrote. “Today we reaffirm that our Constitution still protects the right that enabled their sacrifice: the right of young adults to keep and bear arms.”

The Firearms Policy Coalition, which brought the case, said the ruling makes it optimistic age-based gun bans will be overturned in other courts.

Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the decision is a clear sign of how courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court which has a major gun case before it, are expanding gun rights.

“Federal judges can read the tea leaves,” Winkler said. “In the coming years, the courts seem certain to strike down numerous gun safety measures in the name of the 2nd Amendment. This 9th Circuit ruling is a harbinger of things to come.”

The ruling, however, was not a total victory for gun rights advocates.

They also sought an injunction blocking the state from requiring a hunting license for adults under 21 — who are not in the military or law enforcement — to purchase rifles or shotguns.

Handgun sales to those under 21 were already prohibited when the hunting license requirement was passed in 2018 after some of the nation’s worst mass shootings were committed by young adults using rifles, including the Valentine’s Day slayings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The following year, the Legislature acted to address what they saw as a loophole after an April 2019 synagogue shooting in San Diego County.

A 19-year-old armed with a semiautomatic rifle he had just purchased with a hunting license killed a 60-year-old woman and injured three others, including the rabbi and an 8-year-old girl at Chabad of Poway.

The state passed the law banning sales of semiautomatic centerfire rifles to anyone under 21. There were exemptions for police or military troops but not for those with hunting licenses.

Matthew Jones, a 20-year-old at the time from Santee in San Diego County, originally sued saying he wanted a gun to defend himself and other lawful purposes but didn’t want to obtain a hunting license.

His lawsuit, which had been filed before the under-age ban on semiautomatic weapons, was amended to also challenge that law.

The suit said the state had “whittled down (the) already inapplicable and irrelevant hunting license ‘exemption’ — the only exemption that is even possible for an ordinary, law abiding young adult who does not wish to enter into a highly dangerous career in law enforcement or the military — by prohibiting an entire class of firearms.”

The 9th Circuit ruled the hunting license requirement was reasonable for increasing public safety through “sensible firearm control.”

But it said an outright ban on semiautomatic rifles for those under 21 went too far.

“It’s one thing to say that young adults must take a course and purchase a hunting license before obtaining certain firearms,” Nelson wrote. “But to say that they must become police officers or join the military? … It is a blanket ban for everyone except police officers and servicemembers.”

Nelson and Judge Kenneth Lee, who ruled in the majority, were part of Republican President Donald Trump’s wave of conservative-approved nominees that reshaped the famously liberal court.

Two years ago, Lee authored a 2-1 decision that threw out California’s ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, saying the law violated the U.S. Constitution’s protection of the right to bear firearms. That ruling was later overturned by the court’s 7-4 review of the decision.

A dissent was written by U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein, who was assigned to the panel from the Southern District of New York. Stein was nominated to that court by Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Stein said he would have upheld the lower court’s decision not to block either law.

Stein said the regulation did not place a “severe burden” on gun ownership rights on young adults and noted they could get semiautomatic rifles from family members or borrow them from others.

He also said the majority failed to consider the the disproportionate amount of violent crime committed by those under 21 who have relatively less mature cognitive development.

Click here to read the full article at AP News

California’s Background Check Law Had No Impact on Gun Deaths, Johns Hopkins Study Finds

A new academic study has found that, once again, gun laws are not having their desired effect.

A joint study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of California at Davis Violence Prevention Research Program found that California’s much-touted mandated background checks had no impact on gun deaths, and researchers are puzzled as to why.

In 1991, California simultaneously imposed comprehensive background checks for firearm sales and prohibited gun sales (and gun possession) to people convicted of misdemeanor violent crimes. The legislation mandated that all gun sales, including private transactions, would have to go through a California-licensed Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer. Shotguns and rifles, like handguns, became subject to a 15-day waiting period to make certain all gun purchasers had undergone a thorough background check. …

Click here to read the full article from fee.org

California ammo check law blocked 100 sales in first month

California’s new ammunition background check law in its first month stopped more than 100 people from buying bullets illegally, officials said late Monday as they struggled to deter more of the mass shootings that have roiled California and other states over the last week.

“Countless other prohibited persons were likely deterred from even trying to purchase ammunition that they cannot lawfully possess,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a court filing. He disclosed the early results in response to a gun owners’ rights group attempt to block the law that took effect July 1.

A federal judge is expected to decide later this month whether to halt the law as a violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms and other federal laws.

The filing came as Gov. Gavin Newsom said the federal government should follow California’s lead in requiring background checks for ammunition buyers. …

Click here to read the full article from KRCA3 News

San Diego council votes to require gun owners to lock away firearms at home

The San Diego City Council voted 6-2 on Monday in the first of two votes to approve a new gun storage ordinance aimed at preventing accidental shootings and other firearm-related injuries and deaths.

City Attorney Mara Elliott introduced the Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance last month. It would require all firearms in a residence be stored in a locked container, or disabled by a trigger lock, unless they are being carried by or are under control of the owner.

Monday’s vote was the first of two required for the ordinance to become law, and came after about 90 minutes of public comment, with about two-thirds of those who spoke urging the council to pass the ordinance. Those who opposed the proposed regulations told the council the ordinance infringes on their Second Amendment rights. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Diego Union-Tribune

Needles declared itself a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” city

One of San Bernardino County’s easternmost cities wants to be a sanctuary, not for undocumented immigrants, for gun owners.

Needles this month declared itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary City” a message that city leaders say is partly about support for gun rights and partly a desire to get an exemption from state law so out-of-state gun owners can travel through town and for residents to purchase ammunition.

The former railroad town of about about 5,000 is near the Colorado River, close to the Arizona state line, and city officials say that California’s gun laws are prompting Arizona residents to stay out of Needles, hurting business in the town. …

Click here to read the full article from the Riverside Press-Enterprise

Judge blocks California’s ban on high-capacity magazines over 2nd Amendment concerns

High capacity magazineHigh-capacity gun magazines will remain legal in California under a ruling Friday by a federal judge who cited home invasions where a woman used the extra bullets in her weapon to kill an attacker while in two other cases women without additional ammunition ran out of bullets.

“Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote as he declared unconstitutional the law that would have banned possessing any magazines holding more than 10 bullets.

California law has prohibited buying or selling such magazines since 2000, but those who had them before then were allowed to keep them.

In 2016, the Legislature and voters approved a law removing that provision. The California arm of the National Rifle Association sued and Benitez sided with the group’s argument that banning the magazines infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press