Gun Laws & Legislation

California’s Share Of Mass Shootings Remains High Despite Strict Gun Laws

(Photo by Jeff Dean / AFP) (Photo by JEFF DEAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Bronson Winslow Contributor
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  • California has the strictest gun control laws in the nation, but accounts for 14% of mass shooting fatalities in the U.S., the second largest number of fatalities behind Texas, according to Mother Jones’ mass shooting database.
  • California currently requires background checks and concealed carry permits, while banning “assault weapons,” ghost guns, high-capacity magazines and handgun purchases under the age of 21.
  • Following the three mass shootings in California in January, Democratic lawmakers began to call for more gun control in the state, but gun rights advocacy groups believe the state needs to address how the current laws have failed before adding new laws.

Despite a long history of gun laws aimed at curbing gun violence in the state, 14% of U.S. mass shooting fatalities have taken place in California, making it the state with the second most mass shooting fatalities, just behind Texas, according to data reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Since 1982, there have been 23 mass shootings and 152 fatalities in California, according to Mother Jones data on mass shootings in the U.S. over the last 40 years. The database shows 1,074 mass shooting fatalities since 1982, and California, which comprises 12% of the US’ population, accounted for 14% of the fatalities – not including the three California mass shootings in January.

“Contrary to the claims of Newsom and his ilk, California gun laws have not given the state dramatically less mass shooting deaths. As the data shows, we have our share and then some. Newsom will usually also claim that California has less ‘gun deaths’ thanks to its gun laws,” attorney Konstadinos Moros, who initially identified the California mass shooting statistics from the Mother Jones database, told the DCNF.

“In terms of overall homicide, California is unremarkable,” he continued.

Compared to California, Arizona is considered one of the least restrictive states for gun ownership in the country, according to AZDefenders. Since 1982, Arizona has had one mass shooting with six fatalities, according to Mother Jones data.

Arizona is 2% of the nation’s population, but accounts for less than 0.6% of the mass shooting fatalities, according to Mother Jones data.

Texas, a moderate state for gun laws, has had 12 mass shootings and 151 fatalities since 1982, according to Mother Jones data. Texas  is 8.7% of the U.S. population but accounts for 14% of mass shootings fatalities in the U.S.

New York, a restrictive state for gun owners, has had 5 mass shootings and 40 fatalities since 1982, according to Mother Jones Data. Now York is 6% of the U.S.’ population and accounts for 3.7% of mass shootings fatalities in the U.S.

Washington, a state with restrictive gun laws, has had seven mass shootings since 1982, according to Mother Jones data. Washington is 2.3% of the U.S.’ population, but accounts for 3.4% of mass shooting fatalities.

California, considered the number one state for gun law strength, currently requires background checks and concealed carry permits, while banning assault weapons, ghost guns, high-capacity magazines and handgun purchases under the age of 21, according to Everytown. California also requires handgun microstamping and limits concealed carry locations, amongst numerous other restrictions.

“California continues to demonstrate that governments that choose to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens’ while embracing policies that are soft-on-crime create communities where criminals thrive and good citizens are left defenseless,” National Rifle Association Communications Executive Lars Dalseide told the DCNF. (RELATED: ‘It’s An Abomination’: Judge Throws Out California Gun Law Designed To Challenge Texas Abortion Law)

Following the three mass shootings in California in January, Democratic lawmakers began to call for more gun control in the state, but gun rights advocacy groups believe the state needs to address how the current laws have failed before adding new laws.

After the Monterey Park mass shooting Saturday, Democratic California Rep. Judy Chu called the shooting “one of the worst mass shootings in L.A. County,” stating that, “We have to take actions to make sure that people are safe in America,” according to CBS News.

Chu, a member of the gun safety caucus in Congress, is working on gun control legislation that would “take guns out of dangerous people’s hands,” according to CBS News.

“Nothing about this is surprising. Everything about this is infuriating. The Second Amendment is becoming a suicide pact,” Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom told CBS Evening News. Following the mass shooting, Everytown, a Bloomberg backed gun control advocacy group, highlighted the gun industry’s role and called for federal regulations, saying the industry has made weapons deadlier over the years, according to a release.

“There are millions of law abiding gun owners in California who didn’t harm anybody over the weekend. Still, the first reaction from too many public officials is to penalize them for crimes they didn’t commit. We certainly sympathize with the people of Monterey Park, but asking for gun laws that already exist and fail to prevent this crime amounts to running in circles and that’s not a way to make progress,” Gottlieb said.

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