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Victory For Gun Safety: Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Legislation to Eliminate Qualified Immunity, Several Other Life-Saving Gun Safety Bills

September 30, 2021

California Becomes the Third State in the Country to Eliminate Qualified Immunity

This Marks the Fourth Straight Legislative Session in which Governor Newsom Has Signed Life-Saving Gun Safety Legislation Into Law

Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers and Supporters Made More Than 3,800 Calls and Sent Nearly 12,000 Emails to Lawmakers Urging Action on Gun Safety, Are Available for Interviews

SACRAMENTO— Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown, released the following statements after  California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the “Kenneth Ross Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2021”  or SB 2, legislation to  eliminate qualified immunity and increase accountability for law enforcement officers through a decertification process for when misconduct has occurred and “Angelo Quinto’s Law” or AB 490, legislation to expand the current ban on chokeholds by police officers. 

Governor Newsom has already signed SB 715, additional legislation to ensure increased police accountability and is poised to sign the remaining gun safety bill on his desk — AB 1057, legislation to include ghost guns in the process of extreme risk laws. 

“This session was a marathon not a spirit,” said Krystal LoPilato, a volunteer leader with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action. “The bills passed this year are the beginning of a better system for police accountability that will make our state safer for everyone — especially communities disproportionately impacted by gun violence and police violence.”

“It’s a sigh of relief to know that California continues to prioritize gun safety measures,” said Tristan Cotter, volunteer leader with Students Demand Action in California. “In a country that has not always taken this public health crisis seriously, we are grateful to our partners, state legislature, and governor for their years of leadership in the fight to end gun violence.”

Qualified immunity makes it nearly impossible for civilians who are hurt or killed to sue law enforcement after a constitutional violation has happened. For decades, qualified immunity has been one of many institutional barriers to accountability — and eliminating qualified immunity is a vital step towards meaningfully reducing the unacceptable toll of police violence. 

This session, volunteers and supporters made 3,800 calls and sent nearly 12,000 emails to support vital gun safety measures. Additionally, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers spent hundreds of hours organizing to make sure that gun sense champion, Governor Newsom, stays in office. 

Volunteers are also continuing to work at the local level to pass ordinances and notifications at the city level to regulate ghost guns, encourage secure storage practices, and promote gun safety. 

Since 2018, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers in California have been able to pass 11 gun safety bills into law and countless local measures, including secure storage notifications, ghost gun ordinances and other gun safety measures. Volunteers have also helped secure a historic $239 million in funding for CalVIP, a state grant program that supports effective, community-based violence intervention programs across the state. 

California is no stranger to gun violence, but in the decade prior to the start of the pandemic — in large part due to strong gun safety policies — gun deaths have decreased 6% in the state, compared to a 17% increase nationwide. And, the rates of gun suicide and gun homicide have also decreased, respectively. Currently, on average, over 3,000 people are shot and killed and over 6,800 others are wounded by guns every year in California. 

Statistics about gun violence in California are available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator – which shows how California’s gun laws compare to those of other states – is available here.

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