Garen Wintemute, former member of our Editorial Board and Director of the Violence Prevention Research at UC Davis, sent this urgent request regarding pending legislation in California:
I write with good news and a request. The California legislature has just passed a large number of firearm policy measures and sent them to Governor Brown for consideration. ( A brief summary of all the bills was attached but I was not able to include them in this blog posting. If you want to read them, contact Garen whose email appears below .BP)
One of the two most important, in my opinion, is SB 755 by Senator Lois Wolk (full text available at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB755). SB 755 prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms by those with multiple convictions for alcohol-related offenses in a 3-year period. The prohibition is for 10 years; an additional conviction for such an offense during that time resets the clock to zero. Because many in the legislature were opposed to any proposals that would add to our population of incarcerated persons (you may have read about California’s troubles in this regard), violations will be infractions punishable only by a fine. Nonetheless, purchases by this demonstrably high-risk group will be prevented—and recall that California requires all firearm transfers to be routed through licensed retailers. The other is SB 374 by Senator Darrell Steinberg (full text available at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB374). This proposal expands our current ban on assault-type weapons (in place since 1989) by prohibiting future sales and manufacture of semiautomatic rifles that accept detachable magazines. Currently-owned rifles will be grandfathered.
Now for the request: would you be willing to write a letter to Governor Brown, in your capacity as someone with special expertise in the field, urging that he sign SB 755, SB 374, and as many of the other bills as you see fit to include? There are many things to like about Jerry Brown; one is that he values science. Letters from the experts will be very important to him. And there is lots of science to rely on, as exemplified by the attached summary of research on alcohol and violence (which will be developed into a journal article by next spring).
Letters from us as individuals will do better than a single letter signed by many of us. Yours need not be long; one page, on your institutional stationery, will be fine—preferable, actually.
Twenty minutes should do it. Please point out that you are among the nation’s leading experts on this issue and are familiar with the evidence on which such policy proposals are based. To whatever extent you like, make use of the research summary for SB 755. Mention the strong public support that such proposals enjoy; support for the specific proposal embodied in SB 755 and many proposals that resemble SB 374 were assessed by Colleen Barry and colleagues this year, and their New England Journal of Medicine paper is also attached.
If at all possible, please send your letter this week by expedited delivery. Governor Brown has until October 13 to make decisions but is likely to do so much sooner than that. I am reliably informed that real letters, on paper, will be best received (yes, he reads them). But please email me a copy of your letter so that I can be sure it also gets distributed to the appropriate staff.
A final note: Two other important measures, one to ban possession of high-capacity magazines (sales have been outlawed since 1989) and one to regulate ammunition purchases, fell just short of passage and will be reconsidered next year (they’re still active). I’ve attached a recent op-ed that briefly discusses all them along with SB 755 and SB 374.
Thanks very much for your help. Please let me know if you have any questions or need further information. Governor Brown’s contact information follows; I have included all the options in case you would prefer to fax or complete a web form (please send me a copy).
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
PS: If you participated in the Hopkins Gun Summit last January, you are also receiving a message from me specific to SB 755, which implements one of the recommendations made by the participants. My apologies for the duplication. Please proceed as you see fit. Thanks.
Garen Wintemute, MD, MPH
Susan P. Baker and Stephen P. Teret Chair in Violence Prevention
Professor, Emergency Medicine
Director, Violence Prevention Research Program
UC Davis School of Medicine/ UC Davis Medical Center
2315 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817
(Visited 56 times, 1 visits today)