Poway Synagogue Tragedy Loophole One Step Closer to Fix Senator Portantino Continues Leadership on Gun Control

Thursday, August 6 2020

Sacramento, California – Senator Anthony J. Portantino’s (D–La Cañada Flintridge) SB 914 to address concerns related to the tragic synagogue shooting in Poway passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee and will now go to Assembly Appropriations.  The perpetrator of the Poway shooting was able to purchase a rifle despite being under 21 and not having a valid hunting license. Parties failed to adequately check the validity of the license at the time of purchase. SB 941 addresses this glaring issue in law by requiring the Department of Justice to determine the validity of hunting licenses of persons under 21 during the 10-day waiting period. This bill additionally defines what constitutes a valid and unexpired hunting license.


Senator Portantino authored the bill that banned the sale of long guns, including semi-automatic rifles often used in these tragic shootings, to those under 21. The Senator last year passed legislation to close the hunting license exemption for semi-automatic, center-fire rifles and introduced this bill to ensure that background checks are done accurately to ensure that mistakes such as the one that allowed the Poway shooter to purchase a firearm will not happen again.


“We have a gun violence epidemic in our country and it sadly has become all too common to see senseless violence in the news. It is even more appalling that these shootings, including the Poway tragedy, have increasingly targeted houses of worship. California leads the country in combatting gun violence but there is more we can do. I have made firearm reform a priority for my entire career and I am pleased to continue to author legislation to increase safety on Main Street California.  Sadly, politics often shapes our view of gun control reforms when we should be looking at the devastating impact these weapons have on people’s lives,” commented Senator Portantino.


Senator Portantino is arguably the strongest gun control advocate in the California Legislature. During his time in the legislature the Senator has passed legislation that mandated safe storage of guns in homes and residential facilities, banned the open carry of guns in California, raised the firearm purchase age, and other gun reforms.  The Senator’s record includes preventing the sale of semi-automatic, center-fire rifles to those under 21 and restricting the sale of these sorts of dangerous weapons to one a month. This brought regulations for this type of high-powered weapon in line with already existing regulations related to handguns. Other firearm victories include passing strong firearm storage reform and addressing confusion in the way that unlicensed firearms dealers are treated based on the definition of “infrequent.” SB914 reflects the Senator’s ongoing and progressive stance on keeping Californians safe.