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Maienschein introduces bill restricting who with criminal record can own guns

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Courtesy of California State Assembly Democratic Caucus
Assemblymember Brian Maienschein introducing his bill to expand the list of convictions that would prompt a 10-year ban on gun ownership at San Diego City Hall, Feb. 25, 2022.

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, D-San Diego, Friday announced legislation intended to prevent people convicted of specified crimes from possessing a firearm in California.

State law prohibits a person convicted of a felony from possessing a firearm. It also prohibits people convicted of specified misdemeanors from possessing a firearm for 10 years after their conviction. Maienschein's Assembly Bill 2239 would expand the list of convictions that prompt a 10-year ban to include crimes such as child endangerment and elder abuse.

"Allowing firearms to be placed in the hands of the wrong individuals can have disastrous effects," Maienschein said. "This bill is not a permanent fix to this issue, but I am confident that AB 2239 will help California take the necessary steps in advancing protections for vulnerable individuals from violent offenders."

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Maienschein announced the legislation in partnership with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott.

"I will always stand for efforts to keep San Diegans safe from gun violence," Gloria said. "AB 2239 is one of many actions our partners in the legislature are considering to protect our communities. This bill will help ensure these dangerous weapons do not end up in the wrong hands."

In September, San Diego banned firearms without individual serial numbers -- so-called "ghost guns" -- in the city in an attempt to address increasing gun violence. In 2020, San Diego saw a 169% increase in the number of ghost guns retrieved and impounded compared to the previous year.

A similar measure was passed by the county in January, as well as requiring firearms have either a trigger lock or be locked in a secure container when not in possession of a lawful gun owner. AB-2239 would continue gun regulations driven by local elected leaders.

"This bill closes a significant loophole in California laws, which prohibit individuals from having guns when they are guilty of assaulting a stranger, but not when they abuse children or seniors," Elliott said. "By removing guns from these households, we can protect our most vulnerable citizens from the escalating violence that occurs when abusers have unfettered access to firearms."