The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

New gun laws aim to positively impact communities statewide

Claire Geriak
As one of the land marks of City College, the Great Meadow hosts many students faculty and dogs on Oct. 16 in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Great Meadow is one of the most popular spots on campus for students to lounge, do homework and socialize.

Since January 1, 2023 the Gun Violence Archive has recorded 597 mass shootings in America. Since the start of the year, 36,999 individuals have died due to gun violence.

In continued attempts to lower gun violence,  California Governor Gavin Newsom passed a series of new gun laws, keeping California as the nation’s leader in the severity of gun law restrictions. 

In September, Newsom passed new gun safety laws that will reinforce public carry permits, enact a micro stamping procedure, impose an 11% tax on fire guns and ammunition, strengthen the process that bars individuals in mental health diversion programs from purchasing a firearm and provide more support to the process of removing firearms from people who are prohibited from owning them due to criminal conviction.  

Controversy has arisen over the new laws.  The Firearms Policy Coalition filed a second amendment lawsuit against one of Newsom’s new laws, SB2. The group opposes the new law stating that it pushes the boundaries of what the second amendment protects. 

SB2, written by Senator Portantino D-Burbank, aims to “strengthen California’s restrictions regarding public carry laws by enhancing the existing licensing system” and setting a minimum age requirement of 21 years old, ensuring stronger firearm training requirements and identifying certain sensitive public places. 

The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) argues that in the now stated “sensitive” areas it is unconstitutional to take away the firearms of law-abiding citizens residing in the identified zones. 

Nationally, California is ranked number one in gun law restrictions. According to the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, California was first awarded the title in 2021. The state still holds the number one spot and now falls 43% lower than the national gun death average. 

There is a national standard of 50 gun laws that fall into six categories, Foundational Laws, Gun Industry and Product Safety, Guns in Public, Keeping Guns out of the Wrong Hands, Policing and Civil Rights, and Sales and Permitting. 

Out of the 50 possible laws, California has enacted 45 of them. 

In comparison, Mississippi holds rank as number 50 in the nation for gun safety. The Mississippi government has only passed three gun safety laws. 

Everytown Research organization provides statistics that explain gun laws per state, rankings and other averages. According to Everytown Research, California is first in the nation with a gun law strength composite score of 86.5 in comparison to Mississippi’s score of three. 

The organization also draws statistics for the national gun death rate. Per every 100,000 people the national gun death rate (GDR) is 14.8. California’s GDR lies at a low 9 whereas Mississippi follows with a 33.9 people killed by gun violence per every 100,000.  

Despite California’s strict gun laws, the state has had 202 mass shootings since January 1, 2023. In correlation to population density and GDR per 100,000 , the averages equal out to be below national average but still, the threat remains. 

Director of Safety and Emergency Response Erik Fricke of City College described what would happen if a mass shooting occurred on campus. In City College history, there has never been an incident of a gun being discharged on campus. Though Fricke noted that campus security has found firearms brought on campus in cars. 

In the event of a shooting, a text notification would initially be sent out via an emergency system called AlertU to all students and faculty warning of a potentially dangerous individual on campus or active shooting. Lockdown sequences would then engage. Electronic locks on every classroom and at all building entrances would be triggered. Law enforcement would simultaneously be alerted while students and faculty shelter in place. Trauma kits and AED machines are located on every floor of every building and most faculty have some degree of CPR, AED, or advanced bleeding control training as well. 

On a day to day basis, police officers and student workers are employed to patrol campus to maintain peace and be on alert for a potential threat. 

 “We are always patrolling to help keep the campus safe…Responding to calls of harassment, security or emergency,” Fricke noted. 

Following California legislation, states are beginning to pass more gun laws. In early 2023 Washington became the 10th state to ban the purchase of new assault rifles. Colorado also passed laws increasing the minimum age from 18-21 along with creating a three-day waiting period and background checks.

The data proves they save lives; California’s gun death rate is 43% lower than the rest of the nation. These new laws will make our communities and families safer,” Governor Newsom stated.

Story continues below advertisement
More to Discover