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Portantino Gun Loophole Bill Advances

SB 914 would force DOJ to verify hunting license before gun license

Published on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 | 12:02 pm
Senator Anthony J. Portantino

A bill authored by state Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D–Pasadena) SB 914 to address the gun purchase loophole related to the tragic synagogue shooting in Poway passed the State Senate yesterday along party lines.

SB 914 requires the Department of Justice verify the validity of the hunting license of persons under 21 who are eligible to purchase a firearm during the 10-day waiting period.  Additionally, the bill defines what constitutes a valid and unexpired hunting license.   The bill also updates several outdated code sections pertaining to fees associated with firearm purchaser information and includes code section cross references.

The bill is now headed to the State Assembly.

“It’s a somber day as the passage of this important legislation also reminds us of the tragedy that provided its Genesis. We have all joined in heartfelt prayers for victims of gun violence and their families but we must also set our politics aside and do everything we can to stem the tide of these violent episodes in our country,” commented Senator Portantino.

The Poway shooter was able to purchase a rifle despite being under 21 and not having a valid hunting license.  Parties to the purchase failed to adequately check the validity of the license at the time of sale which resulted in the purchase being completed and the horrific and tragic violent crime happening. Senator Portantino had committed to closing the loophole in State Law to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands in the future.

Previously Portantino authored a bill that banned the sale of long guns such as the semi-automatic rifles often used in these tragic shootings to those under 21. There were exemptions to this, including if the person had a valid hunting license.

The Senator last year passed legislation to close the hunting license exemption for semi-automatic, center-fire rifles and introduced this bill to ensure that background checks are done accurately to ensure that mistakes such as the one that allowed the Poway shooter to purchase a firearm will not happen again.

Senator Portantino is arguably the strongest gun control advocate in the California Legislature. During his time in the legislature the Senator has passed legislation that banned the open carry of guns in California, raised the firearm purchase age, and many other bills related to this issue.  His record includes preventing the sale of semi-automatic, center-fire rifles to those under 21 and restricting the sale of these sorts of dangerous weapons to one per month. He has helped to bring regulations for high-powered weapons in line with already existing regulations related to handguns. Other firearm laws include passing strong firearm storage reform and addressing confusion in the way that unlicensed firearms dealers are treated based on the definition of “infrequent.” SB 914 reflects the Senator’s ongoing and progressive stance on keeping Californians safe.

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