Senator Portantino’s Poway Gun License Verification Restriction and Police Officer Education Bills Pass Public Safety Committee

Thursday, April 22 2021

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2021

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 807-6091


Senator Portantino’s Poway Gun License Verification Restriction and Police Officer Education Bills Pass Public Safety Committee


Sacramento, California – Senate Bills 715 and 387, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge), were approved this week by the Senate Public Safety Committee. SB 715 addresses the validity of a hunting license and independent review of gun possession disputes. SB 387 is aimed at improving community policing and public safety outcomes through an appropriate curriculum requirement for police officers.


“SB 715 is an important step towards combatting the gun violence epidemic in our country,” stated Senator Portantino. “I am pleased to continue to author legislation on firearm reform, which improves public safety for all Californians. I am hopeful that with sensible measures, we can prevent tragic incidents of violence and further independent investigations when warranted.  I believe that if the provisions in SB 715 had been in place in 2019, the tragedy that took place in Poway could have been prevented,” he added.


SB 715 addresses concerns related to the tragic synagogue shooting in Poway.  The perpetrator of the Poway shooting was able to purchase a rifle, despite being under 21 and not having a valid hunting license. The validity of the license at the time of purchase was not verified. This measure would require the Department of Justice, for sales of firearms to persons under 21 years of age who are eligible to purchase a firearm based upon their possession of a hunting license, to confirm the validity of the hunting license as part of the background check. This bill additionally defines what constitutes a valid and unexpired hunting license.


SB 715 also clarifies what qualifies as an unarmed civilian to prompt investigations of officer involved shootings by the Attorney General’s Office. It would authorize the state prosecutor to investigate and gather facts in an incident involving a shooting by a peace officer that results in the death of a civilian if there is a reasonable dispute as to whether that civilian was armed. Existing law, AB 1506, authorizes the state prosecutor to investigate only an officer involved shooting of an unarmed civilian.


In a recent incident, a Pasadena Police Department officer fatally and tragically shot civilian Anthony McClain. It was unclear whether McClain was armed and therefore the incident was not eligible for DOJ investigation.  Under SB 715, incidents such as the McClain shooting would be eligible for the same review included in AB 1506.  Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D –Sacramento) authored AB 1506 and is a co-author of this measure.


California must also take the lead and ensure that we have the best and most highly trained officers. Today’s peace officers face many challenges, including evolving technologies, changing laws, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and the growing mental health crisis. Studies and research from public safety experts throughout the country consistently show that increased education and training can help officers approach each interaction in a way that is proven to increase positive public safety outcomes.


“While training requirements for California’s officers are already among the highest in the nation, we want to continue to lead and raise the bar in terms of our educational standard,” stated Senator Portantino. “We need to rethink our approach of educating officers and provide them with the necessary tools and skills for the job today, tomorrow and the future.”


SB 387 would direct the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training to develop an expanded curriculum specifically designed to prepare officers to meet the expectations of a modern police force, including classes on mental health, social services, psychology, communication, and other related fields.