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    New Gun Laws Provide Fitting Tribute to Orlando Victims

    philOrlando has the unfortunate distinction of being the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, with 49 fatalities and 53 injuries. The fact that it happened at an LGBT nightclub makes it a hate crime.

    This tragedy is a shocking reminder that the fight for equality continues. The victims and their families deserve more than our thoughts and prayers. They deserve action on gun safety.

    Basic questions surround this shooting. None more disturbing than this: How did the shooter, who was once being watched by the FBI for terrorist activity, obtain military-grade weapons allowing him to kill so many people so quickly?

    While Congress dithers, California just enacted the largest gun safety reforms in a generation.

    Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1135, which I authored with Assemblymembers Marc Levine (D-Marin County) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco), to prohibit the use of a “bullet button” or other mechanism on military-style assault weapons. These devices allow for rapid reloading of magazines, which enable shooters to shoot and kill many people very quickly. These guns have been sold through a loophole in California’s assault weapons ban and were used in the San Bernardino mass shooting last year where 14 were killed and 22 seriously injured.

    The Governor also signed bills to:

    • ban ownership of high capacity magazines holding over ten rounds of ammunition;
    • crack down on false reports of lost or stolen guns, a common tactic of illegal gun sellers; and
    • regulate the sale of ammunition to prevent and investigate its use in crime.

    Unfortunately, he vetoed my bill to prevent gun tragedies at schools and workplaces. Between 2000 and 2013, 70 percent of active shooter incidents occurred at such locations.

    Critics of gun safety say it is not guns but people who kill. My AB 2607 would have allowed educators, mental health professionals, coworkers, and employers to petition the court for gun violence restraining orders (GVROs). Modeled after domestic violence retraining orders, the GVRO temporarily prohibits persons a court deems a danger to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing a gun or ammunition. This order lasts for up to one year unless renewed or revoked by a court, and it is currently restricted to immediate family and law enforcement.

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    Gun tragedies have become routine. We have seen them occur at our schools, workplaces, churches, movie theaters, and nightclubs. Enough is enough.

    By enacting such strong gun safety bills into law, California made a bold and historic statement that mass shootings are not an accepted part of our lives in California. Shooters use military-style weaponry to kill as many people as possible as fast as they can. Our smarter gun laws will logically save lives by prohibiting such deadly weapons.

    More work needs to be done. All of us have the right to live without the fear of getting shot. We need to focus on the people who commit gun violence and give law abiding people peaceful tools to protect themselves and loved ones.

    As we grieve for lives lost in Orlando, we can take some comfort in knowing that the loss of so many innocent lives has been met with meaningful action in California. Tragedy struck, but our state has become safer.

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma, Daly City, and South San Francisco.