Senator Portantino’s Poway Gun License & DOJ Investigations Bill Passes Senate Floor

Wednesday, June 2 2021

For Immediate Release: June 2, 2021

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Senator Portantino’s Poway Gun License & DOJ Investigations Bill Passes Senate Floor

Sacramento, California – Senate Bill 715, a measure authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) which addresses the validity of a hunting license and independent review of gun possession disputes, was approved on the Senate Floor today.

“I am pleased to continue to author legislation on firearm reform, which improves public safety for all Californians,” stated Senator Portantino. “SB 715 is an important step towards combatting the gun violence epidemic in our country. I am hopeful that with sensible measures, we can prevent tragic incidents of violence and further independent investigations when warranted,” 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.

Under current law, when transferring or purchasing a firearm with a hunting license there is no verification process during the 10 day background check process to ensure the validity of the license. 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 is being disputed whether Mr. McClain was armed and therefore the incident was not eligible for DOJ investigation.  Under SB 715, incidents such as this tragic 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.