California governor signs sweeping gun control legislation including tax on firearms and ammunition News
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California governor signs sweeping gun control legislation including tax on firearms and ammunition

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed more than 20 bills into law concerning guns on Tuesday. The new laws cover a variety of topics including, but not limited to, an increase in taxes, requirements for gun dealers, waiting periods, criminal penalties, individuals prohibited from owning firearms and safety materials.

Specifically, Assembly Bill (AB) 1598 requires a gun dealer to give the most recent safety pamphlet to purchasers of a firearm. Additionally, a purchaser must complete a written safety test that explains “the reasons for and risks of owning a firearm and the increased risk of death to someone in the household by suicide, homicide, or unintentional injury.” AB-724 expands the language options for instruction manuals and written tests to include English, Spanish, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, Dari and Armenian. Previously, the language options only included English and Spanish.

One of the biggest bills to come out of this signing session includes AB-28, which places an excise tax on firearms and ammunition in the state. The law highlights the fact that gun violence is now the leading cause of death or injury for children and teens, disproportionately impacts the Black community, and stresses that some gun dealers contribute to gun violence by selling guns to illegal markets. For these reasons, the law states, the state will now place a “reasonable” tax of 11 percent on firearms dealers and manufacturers, as well as ammunition vendors. This tax will fund programs to help those impacted by gun violence.

Newsom stated:

While radical judges continue to strip away our ability to keep people safe, California will keep fighting — because gun safety laws work. The data proves they save lives: California’s gun death rate is 43 [percent] lower than the rest of the nation. These new laws will make our communities and families safer.

Only days before, a federal judge held California’s law banning high-capacity gun magazines was unconstitutional, violating the Second Amendment.