RELEASE: Legislation to Close a Dangerous Ghost Gun Loophole Moves Forward

AB 1057 Adds Handmade Firearms to Gun Violence Restraining Orders

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – America continues to battle an epidemic of gun violence. In the last month alone, our nation has suffered more than 45 mass shootings. In response to this rise in gun violence, the California Legislature continues to work for comprehensive gun safety laws. AB 1057, authored by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, has passed the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee and would allow for the seizure of ghost guns when an emergency Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) is served. By closing this loophole in the current law, law enforcement will be able to confiscate untraceable, handmade guns in addition to traditional licensed firearms when a person is deemed by the court to be a threat to themselves or others.

Ghost guns are homemade guns made from parts that are readily available and unregulated. Unlike other firearms, they can be bought without a background check and are not built by licensed manufacturers but come in kits that are easily assembled. The California Penal Code does not classify ghost guns as firearms, which prevents law enforcement from seizing them when serving a GVRO. 

“The recent spike in deadly mass shootings across the country is a stark and tragic reminder that we must do everything in our power to close dangerous loopholes in California’s gun safety laws,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “Because they are unregulated and don’t require a background check, ghost guns are showing up at crime scenes across the country. By ensuring that ghost guns are part of Gun Violence Restraining Orders, AB 1057 will help protect our communities from these deadly DIY weapons that look and kill like any other gun.”

According to Everytown, there has been a surge in gun sales since the onset of the pandemic, including ghost guns, which are more difficult to track as they can easily be bought with cash and are not subject to background checks. Businesses who sell ghost gun kits reported that they were experiencing shipping delays due to “exceptionally high demand.” By allowing for ghost guns to be seized under GVROs, AB 1057 ensures that those who are a known danger to themselves or others are not able to have these precursor parts which can be readily converted into a functional firearm.

AB 1057 is supported by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, the Center for Public Interest Law, Giffords, March for Our Lives San Diego, San Diego City Attorney's Office and Women for American Values and Ethics. 

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
“California’s Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) law has enjoyed broad bipartisan support. In emergency situations, it is clear that dangerous individuals should not have access to a deadly weapon, and it is inexcusable that there remain loopholes in the law that allow them to possess ghost gun kits and parts that can easily be assembled into a firearm,” said Legislative Chair of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence Amanda Wilcox. “Brady is grateful to Assemblymember Petrie-Norris for introducing and championing this legislation to close such a loophole. This bill will make all Californians safer.”

“As San Diego City Attorney, I’ve used Gun Violence Restraining Orders hundreds of times to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to harm themselves or others,” San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “Keeping ahead of the national epidemic of gun violence requires constant vigilance by our lawmakers, however, which is why I'm proud to support Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris’s AB 1057, which would ensure dangerous ghost guns and gun parts can be seized through a GVRO.” 

"AB 1057 advances California's goals to prevent gun violence tragedies before they occur,” said Administrative Director of the Center for Public Interest Law Bridget Gramme. “The Center for Public Interest Law is proud to support the inclusion of ghost-gun parts as seizable items under gun violence restraining orders. This bill will save lives by protecting those that may cause harm to themselves or others."

“Individuals prohibited from possessing purchased firearms should also be prohibited from possessing homemade firearms,” said AB 1057 Co-author Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park). “I am proud to co-author AB 1057 to close this dangerous loophole in California law.”

“When used properly, gun violence restraining orders are a powerful tool that can prevent mass shootings and save lives,” said AB 1057 Co-author Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills). “AB 1057 will help to close an unfortunate and deadly loophole so that GVROs can be used to their full potential. I’m proud to coauthor this important measure and applaud Assemblymember Petrie-Norris for her continued leadership on keeping our kids and communities safe from gun violence.”

“The increase in gun violence has become a national crisis that the State of California will not ignore, nor be immune from,” said AB 1057 Co-author Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton). “As a co-author of Assembly Bill 1057, I am proud to support legislation that will address the concerns in our current emergency Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVRO’s). I firmly believe that we must continue to strengthen our laws as we focus on advocating for gun safety legislation.”

This bill is co-authored by Assemblymembers Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), Marc Levine (D-Marin County), Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) and Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay).