Bonta at a press conference last May on
gun violence in Oakland.
PHOTO/Steven Tavares

LEGISLATURE//GUN CONTROL | A bill giving the Oakland City Council a blank slate to enact stronger gun control measures than the rest of the state heads to the governor’s desk.

The legislation authored by Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta, passed Friday by the State Senate, allows the city stricken by gun violence to potentially offer gun laws along the lines of federal regulations, which are more restrictive than the state’s current laws.

The bill’s primary focus rests with the registration and licensing of commercial firearms, but does not contain specifics for how public officials in Oakland should implement any new rules. That will rest with Oakland City Council, a body known for its infighting, but regarding the issue of gun violence, have typically been unified in recognizing its corrosive effect on the city.

“No one can deny that Oakland is suffering from among the highest levels of gun violence in the state and in the nation,” Bonta said in a statement late Friday. “AB 180 is a smart and sensible bill that empowers Oakland and provides local control in addressing gun violence–where it is needed most.”

Budget cuts at the statewide level and locally have created a disastrous situation in Oakland as steep cuts in the number of cops on the street has exacerbated its problem with crime, Bonta added.

Gun rights advocates fear Bonta’s bill could set a precedent for tighter gun control measures across the state. During a discussion o then topic last May, Republican Assemblymember Tim Donnelly said the bill’s unintended consequences threaten law-abiding residents. “It is going to deny every citizen in Oakland the right of self-defense,” said Donnelly, who added. “This is really a poll tax on your right to defend your own life.”