The bill, authored by Oakland Assemblyman Rob Bonta, aims to allow the Oakland City Council to fashion legislation that would curb rising gun violence within its borders. It now heads to the State Senate after winning passage by a 45-25 vote.
“This is a unique law relating to unique circumstances in Oakland,” said Bonta on the floor of the Assembly. Following over 4,000 shootings in Oakland, in addition to 131 homicides last year, Bonta says he is seeking to give Oakland city officials to option to tighten local gun laws. Through the end of this May, Oakland has already suffered nearly 40 homicides
Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, one of the bill’s sponsors said the legislation only seeks to confer the same opportunity the Legislature recently gave Los Angeles and its own specific problems with gun violence. “This bill recognizes that one size does not fit all,” said Skinner.
Gun rights advocates, however, fear AB 180 is an attack on their right to bear arms that could spread to other municipalities.
Assembly Tim Donnelly (R-Hesperia), one of the right’s strongest Second Amendment supporters and likely gubernatorial candidate next year, said the bill is “onerous” and a “really bad idea.”
“It is going to deny every citizen in Oakland the right of self-defense,” said Donnelly. “If this were about the polls every Democrat’s mic would be up. They would be opposing this saying, this is a poll tax.
“This is really a poll tax on your right to defend your own life.”
Donnelly added during his floor speech, cities with skyrocketing crime are also places with the strongest gun control. “Just because people live in a certain zip code, I do not believe we should pass a law to deny them a fundamental, God-giving, Constitutional right to defend their lives and their families and their businesses.”