Gun control has long been a controversial topic, but the conversation has become even more heated with the rise of mass shootings and domestic terrorism. In an effort to balance gun rights with public safety, California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prevent people who are convicted of hate crimes from owning guns.
Assembly Bill 785 – introduced by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) – would prohibit people who have committed a hate crime from possessing or purchasing a firearm for 10 years after their conviction.
Expanding Current Law to Hate Crimes
Under current law, you are prohibited from possessing or purchasing firearms if you are convicted of a violent misdemeanor or misdemeanor involving the use or threatened use of a firearm. However, Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer has pointed out that the law has an “absurd” loophole.
According to Jones-Sawyer, the list of misdemeanors classified under this law does not include PC 422.6, which makes it a crime to use force or threats of force to injure, intimidate or threaten another person based on that person’s race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, disability, gender or sexual orientation. Therefore, people convicted of this crime are not prohibited from possessing a firearm for 10 years.
AB 785, which is being called the Disarm Hate Act, would close that loophole. Jones-Sawyer says it will “help keep weapons out of the hands of those who have demonstrated a dangerous readiness to escalate bigotry into criminal threats and violence.”
Why Pass This Law Now?
Opponents to AB 785 worry that the language is so broad that it could apply to petty crimes. Jones-Sawyer believes this proposed law would help curb gun violence without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
According to Jones-Sawyer, hate crimes are rising to an unprecedented level and California must do something to protect citizens from people likely to commit violent hate crimes. Since 2014, incidents of hate crimes involving guns have become more numerous throughout the country. California has experienced the largest increase in violent hate crime rates. Studies show that people who have committed violent crimes are likely to commit more violent acts.
AB 785 has passed through the Assembly and is currently being amended in the Senate.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with a hate crime, it is important to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney right away to protect your rights. At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients who have been charged with gun-related crimes. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Los Angeles, West Covina, Torrance and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Call us now at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.