This week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 906, a strong and necessary campus safety and gun reform measure authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank). SB 906 prioritizes student safety by promoting safe at-home storage of firearms and mandating robust investigations of imminent violent school threats. Governor Newsom made SB 906 one of his legislative priorities and helped fast-track it through the Legislature.
In 2019, Senator Portantino authored California’s original safe firearm storage law, which was signed by Governor Newsom. Recently, President Biden proclaimed at the White House that the elements of Portantino’s safe storage law should be adopted on the national level. In addition, SB 906 was drafted as a reaction to the inaction on the part of Michigan educators who received information about a violent threat on their campus and failed to properly investigate the threat. The inaction led to four violent and tragic deaths.
“As a parent and legislator, I am excited and appreciative that Governor Newsom made SB 906 one of his gun reform priorities. California must act proactively to prevent future violence on our school campuses. By educating parents on the importance of safe gun storage, SB 906 will help prevent weapons from getting into the wrong hands and save lives. SB 906 helps prepare educators and parents to identify red flags and heed warning signs. Like in Michigan, we know that there sometimes can be hesitancy in acting on these warning signs, which is why we needed to mandate prudent investigations of violent threats. I am very thankful to Governor Newsom for his support and leadership on this issue as California continues to lead the nation in gun safety,” commented Senator Portantino.”
Since 1970, the United States has had over 1,316 school shootings with 164 occurring in California. As experienced in Michigan and Uvalde, these shootings are horrific and fatal. Senator Portantino current action is a follow up to his safe storage of firearms legislation signed into law three years ago. His comprehensive school safety plan, compliments storage education with a strong and prudent mandate to investigate credible violent threats to our campuses.
“Today our children are a little safer. SB 906, authored by California State Senator Anthony Portantino and signed into law by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, helps protect our most vulnerable from gun violence in our schools. At a time when gun violence shakes our nation, we are grateful California continues to lead the nation with fast action and innovative solutions!” stated Margot Bennett, Executive Director of Women Against Gun Violence.
SB 906 would:
· Require the State Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Justice, to develop model content for public or charter schools on a threat or perceived threat of a mass shooting incident
· Upon becoming aware of a credible violent threat, schools must immediately report that threat to the law enforcement authorities, and school leaders, in consultation with law enforcement, must search a student’s on campus property for the presence of firearms
· Schools are required to include information related to the safe storage of firearms in the annual notification provided to the parents or guardians.
“We are grateful Governor Newsom has signed SB 906, which will enable our schools to better assess dangerous threats. We appreciate Senator Portantino’s important work authoring this important legislation, which will help prevent harm to our students, school workers, and communities.” stated Jeff Freitas, President of the California Federation of Teachers.
SB 906 continues Senator Portantino’s record as one of California’s most ardent gun reform advocates. During his time in the Assembly, the Senator successfully banned the open carry of handguns and rifles in California and as Senator, he raised the general gun purchase age in California to twenty-one. In 2019, Governor Newsom also signed Senator Portantino’s SB 172. The bill enacted a slate of significant provisions related to firearms storage by broadening criminal storage crimes, adding criminal storage offenses to those offenses that can trigger a 10-year firearm ban, and creating an exemption to firearm loan requirements for the purposes of preventing suicide. The same year, SB 376 was signed into law, which reduces the number of firearms an unlicensed individual is annually able to sell and the frequency with which they are able to sell. In 2021, Senate Bill 715 was signed into law, which enacts important gun purchase safeguards. Senator Portantino is also a joint author of SB 1327 which allows private citizens to sue a person who manufactures, distributes, transports, imports, or sells assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, ghost guns, or ghost gun kits in California. He is also working closely with Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta on SB 918, California’s answer to the recent Supreme Court decision on Concealed Weapons Permits.