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Feuer’s Assault Weapons Ban re-auth adopted
By WeHo News staff, West Hollywood, California
And how a tiny little city can make the world a safer place...
The California State Assembly today approved Assembly Joint Resolution 45 by Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-West Hollywood), the measure that calls on the federal government to reauthorize the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.
Assembly member Mike Feuer successfully passed a joint resolution calling for a re-authorization of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Photo by WeHo News.
That legislation, also called the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, was part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a federal law in the United States that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms, so called "assault weapons."
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired on September 13, 2004, as part of the law's sunset provision.
While there have been multiple attempts to renew the ban, no bill has reached the floor for a vote.
According to the West Hollywood-based Assembly Member, “The recent tragedy in Aurora underscores—as have so many previous tragedies—the need for a national assault weapons ban. How many more Americans must die in mass shootings before we take this obvious, common-sense step?
“Here in California we’ve outlawed these deadly, military-grade weapons,” said Mr. Feuer. “But that’s not enough. I urge the federal government to re-authorize the ban.”
Juliet Leftwich, Legal Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, expressed approval of the vote, “We applaud Assembly member Feuer for this important and timely resolution,” she said in a statement.
The organization formed in the aftermath of an assault weapons massacre at 101 California Street in San Francisco added, “As the devastating tragedy in Aurora once again makes clear, military-style assault weapons simply have no place in civilian hands.”
California and seven other states have laws in effect that ban assault weapons, and local jurisdictions throughout the country also prohibit such weapons.
During the first nine years of the ban, the use of assault weapons in crime dropped by two-thirds. Since the ban’s expiration, 750 individuals have been shot by assault weapons, of which 350 were killed.
Assembly member Mike Feuer at his victory party as he replaced Paul Koretz (right). Photo by WeHo News.
West Hollywood as a city and as a part of the Assembly district with a proud tradition of gun-limiting legislation and has made a big impact on the availability of guns in California.
In 1996 West Hollywood became the first California city to ban the sale of Saturday Night Specials, the cheap handguns used in so much street crime.
That pioneering role led to 31 other cities also passing similar legislation.
The State of California eventually banned Saturday Night Specials.
As Assembly members, those who represent West Hollywood carry on a proud tradition of reducing gun violence.
Wally Know, who held the seat from 1994-2000, gained passage of anti-crime measures, including a one-gun limit law, intended to dry up the black market sales of handguns to gang members, youths and felons.
He sponsored an effort that enabled the Los Angeles Police Department to trace and crack down on illegal handguns.
His successor, Paul Koretz, a man who not only served on the handgun-banning WeHo City Council, but also co-sponsored the Saturday Night Special ordinance, took on the issue as his special mission in Sacramento.
WeHo passed the first Saturdy Night Special ban in California.
His gun violence work began in 1988, when Mr. Koretz sponsored a West Hollywood ban on military-style assault weapon, a law that most experts agree built momentum for a subsequent statewide ban on them.
He got passed, in 2003, AB 496, which made California the first state in the nation to repeal the “special immunity privileges” granted to gun makers.
Assembly member Feuer took up the issue, renaming it the Crime Gun Identification Act, got it endorsed by more than 65 police chiefs and sheriffs and signed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
That bill was the nation's first requirement that semi-automatic handguns be "microstamped"— equipped with technology that imprints bullet cartridges with data establishing who purchased the gun that fired them.
Mr. Feuer also wrote the law that will require that the Department of Justice to retain long gun ownership records, helping law enforcement solve gun crimes and keeping rifles out of the hands of felons.
As a member of the Los Angeles City Council in the late-1990s, Mr. Feuer wrote some of the toughest gun laws of any city in the nation, including laws prohibiting possession of easily concealable weapons, limiting gun purchases to one per month (to combat so-called “straw purchasing”), requiring background checks for gun store employees, requiring trigger locks be sold with each new weapon, among others.
California State Legislature Joint Resolutions require approval of the legislature but do not require the Governor’s signature. The Senate has yet to take up the item.
Upon approval, the resolution was transmitted to the President, congressional leadership, and California’s congressional delegation.