SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) — In the wake of a mass shooting in downtown Sacramento early Sunday that killed six and injured a dozen, California lawmakers are considering more than three dozen new gun control measures in the current legislative session.
"I think we have way too many people in denial," said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). "What they want is for guns to have more rights than people."
Ting has introduced a new bill that would allow victims of gun violence to file a civil lawsuit against gun manufacturers.
"Everybody who makes a product in this country is liable for what that product does," said Ting. "If your product creates a certain amount of harm, you're liable — except for gun manufacturers."
Sacramento police said officers recovered a stolen handgun at the scene of Sunday's shooting. It's not clear if Ting's bill would apply or would have prevented the deadly shooting.
Gun rights advocates say they believe new gun control measures are misguided and would likely be ineffective in reducing mass shootings.
"At what point are policymakers going to realize that the solution is not a knee-jerk reaction towards gun control?," said Sam Paredes, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. "You know, 'There's a tragedy, let's pass a law.' Well, it's already illegal to steal guns. It's already illegal to kill people."
Other law enforcement agencies like the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office have focused on more aggressive enforcement of existing gun control measures like so-called red flag laws and gun violence restraining orders which allow courts to seize weapons from someone who's a danger to themselves or others.
A spokesperson for the district attorney's office says the use of gun violence restraining orders has nearly quadrupled in recent years — up from 33 in 2018 to 123 in 2020.
"California has quite a few laws already on the books," said legal analyst Chris Micheli.
There are 40 new gun control bills in this year's legislative session, according to Micheli, but whether or not any of them would make us safer or less vulnerable to shootings like Sunday's is a matter of debate.
"That's the debate that's going to take place in the legislature between those who advocate for greater gun control and those who advocate for defending the Second Amendment," he said.
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