(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Legislation by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D – Marin County) to impose an excise tax on retailers for the sale of new firearms and ammunition was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee today. The measure, co-authored by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D – Oakland) will provide ongoing funding to reduce gun violence through the highly successful California Violence Intervention Program (CalVIP).
According to the Gun Violence Archive, in the first four months of 2021, 151 Americans have been killed due to gun violence. In just the month of March 2021, 66 Americans were killed by gun violence, including 8 individuals at neighboring small businesses in Georgia, 10 people at a grocery store in Colorado and 4 people killed on March 31 at an office complex in Orange, California.
Gun sales and incidents of gun violence have increased dramatically since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, 110,000 firearms were sold in California. That same year also saw a 46 percent increase in gun homicides. In January of this year, we saw the deadliest month for gun homicides since 2007.
The CalVIP program is one of the most cost-effective community-based violence intervention programs in the state. Communities that received CalVIP funding during the 2018 cycle saw homicides decrease by 3 times more than those that did not receive CalVIP support. In 2019, these programs helped California reduce gun homicide among the high-risk age group (15-29 years old) to the lowest rate since 1970.
“Gun violence will not end on its own,” said Assemblymember Levine. “We must take responsible action to end the public health crisis that is gun violence in California and in our country. As we see tragedy after tragedy, let’s remind ourselves that we are neither helpless nor hopeless to end this bloodshed and death in our communities. AB 1223 will provide a reliable funding source for CalVIP needed to make critical investments that will reduce gun-related violence in our communities.”
AB 1223 is supported by a number of organizations committed to ending gun violence including Advance Peace, Brady United Against Gun Violence, the California Partnership for Safe Communities, the City of Richmond, Community Justice Action Fund, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Fresno Barrios Unidos, Giffords Law Center, March for Our Lives California, Mom's Demand Action, the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, the California Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, Public Health Advocates, Shephat Outreach, Soledad Enrichment Action, INC., Students Demand Action, Team Enough, Urban Peace Institute and Youth Alive!
“As an organization dedicated to making all people safer and freer from violence, we are strongly supportive of efforts to provide sustained, meaningful investment in programs like CalVIP that are effective at interrupting cycles of gun violence and preventing shootings before they occur,” said Emily Walton with Everytown for Gun Safety. “We believe that AB 1223 (Levine) would provide a reasonable and appropriately targeted means of securing sustained revenue for these purposes.”
AB 1223 now heads to the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee for further consideration.
# # #