California Considers Bill To Restrict Police Use Of Firearms

Scott Morefield | Reporter

California lawmakers introduced legislation Tuesday that would impose an unprecedented restriction on the rules of engagement for police.

The Police Accountability and Community Protection Act would change the state’s guidance for police use of firearms to a “necessary force” standard from the current “reasonable force” standard, according to ABC News.

The proposed change comes after Sacramento police were sharply criticized over the police shooting of 22-year old Stephon Clark.

In a Tuesday press conference, Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D) described the change as the state’s police being allowed to fire their weapons “only when necessary” instead of the current standard of “when reasonable.”

“While our hearts are broken by tragedies such as these, our resolve to fight for change will never be. Now, more than ever, we must change state laws to ensure that police are held accountable to us,” said California ACLU police practices director Peter Bibring in a statement, according to ABC.

The bill was co-authored by McCarty and Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D) and was strongly supported by the California Legislative Black Caucus and the ACLU, according to HuffPost. HuffPost also reported that Sacramento NAACP and Black Lives Matter leaders were at Tuesday’s press conference, as was Clark’s grandfather.

“We should no longer be the target practice of a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ police force,” said Assemblyman Christopher Holden.

“It’s clear that the current law protects the police, not the people,” said ACLU legislative advocate Lizzie Buchen.

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