Published : Thursday, January 31, 2019 | 5:40 AM
Pasadena-area State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge) continued his ongoing offensive against gun-related accidents and violence with the introduction of a bill making the improper firearm storage in a house with a minor, or prohibited person, a crime.
The idea behind the legislation is the prevention of accidental firearm deaths, suicides, and senseless acts of violence in the home.
This week’s introduction of SB 172 follows the senator’s reintroduction of SB 1177, now SB 61, in the first week of the new year. That measure would limit individual gun purchases to one a month.
Portantino’s SB 1100, which raised the legal gun purchasing age to 21, took effect Jan. 1.
To avoid running afoul of the latest proposed measure, a firearm would have to be properly stored and locked in a gun safe or equipped with a firearm safety device.
“It just makes sense to me to make sure gun owners properly and safely store their weapons,” Portantino said in a statement announcing the bill’s introduction. “Statistics don’t lie, and home gun accidents occur far too often, and the State of California needs to act.”
Portantino observed that, during the last 30 years, the state has added firearms storage requirements in a piecemeal approach, yielding inconsistencies and anomalies. SB 172, he said, is the results from an extensive review of current state laws and court decisions and would modernize the status quo.
Portantino said over 2,500 children, from newborns to 19 year-olds, die yearly from firearms. Of those deaths, 62.1 percent were homicides, 31.4 percent were suicides, while many of the other incidents caused injury and resulted in legal interventions.
States with common-sense firearm laws have lower rates of gun deaths among children and teenagers, he added, and laws to keep guns away from minors are linked to fewer gun suicides in that demographic.
The senator said that, in contrast to positions argued by many pro-gun groups, firearms regulations do make a difference.