SAN FRANCISCO – Yet another study shows that the states with the toughest gun laws have the lowest rates of gun-related deaths, while states with weak gun laws have the highest rates of gun deaths, State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) said Jan. 2.
The latest study – released by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence – shows that of the six states with the lowest per capita gun death rates (Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut), all had some of the toughest gun laws in country.
In contrast, the top 10 states with the highest per capita gun death rates (Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi) all had weak gun laws.
“It is a fact that strong gun laws work and weak laws result in the loss of innocent lives,” said Yee, who is authoring legislation to close a major loophole in California’s assault weapon ban and to strengthen state law regarding safe storage of weapons. “Clearly, there is a direct correlation between common sense gun laws and fewer gun-related homicides. While we cannot stop every senseless act of gun violence, we should certainly strengthen our laws to prevent tragedies.”
Yee’s SB 47 is modeled after a bill he introduced last year but that was held by the State Assembly. The bill prohibits semi-automatic weapons like AR-15s and AK-47s from having devices known as “bullet buttons” and “mag magnets,” which allow the gun to be easily reloaded with multiple rounds of ammunition. SB 47 also prohibits add-on kits that allow high-capacity magazines.
Yee is also planning to introduce legislation that will toughen safety requirements. Current law only requires that gun owners own a trigger lock or safety lock box for their weapon, but doesn’t require the safety device to be used on an idle firearm. Yee’s bill will require that all guns have a locked trigger and be properly stored in a lock box when not in use.
On Dec. 21, Yee, the author of California’s law to prohibit the sale of ultra-violent video games to children (which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011), issued the following statement on the National Rifle Association’s proposal in response to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.:
“I find it mind-boggling that the NRA suddenly cares about the harmful effects of ultra-violent video games. When our law was before the Supreme Court – while several states, medical organizations, and child advocates submitted briefs in support of California’s efforts – the NRA was completely silent. Now, rather than face reality and be part of the solution to the widespread proliferation of assault weapons in America, they attempt to pass the buck. More guns are not the answer to protecting our children, as evident by the fact that armed guards weren’t enough to stop the tragedy at Columbine High School. The NRA’s response is pathetic and completely unacceptable.”