Assemblyman takes aim at reducing mass shootings

Assemblyman Joe Patterson has reintroduced legislation intended to reduce mass shootings throughout the state by holding some of the worst domestic abusers accountable.

Last year, his domestic violence bill received extensive media coverage and yet was killed on a party-line vote in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. AB 2470 would classify felony domestic violence as a “violent felony” and would make convicted felony domestic abusers ineligible for early release.

More than 68 percent of mass shooters have a documented history of domestic violence or have killed a family member.

By definition, domestic violence is violent; however, under current California law, in most instances, felony domestic abuse convictions are considered “nonviolent” and offenders are eligible for early release under Prop 57 after serving only 50 percent of their sentence. Additionally, nonviolent felonies are not considered strikes under California’s three strikes law, limiting prosecutors from seeking longer sentences for repeat offenders.

Patterson cites the 2022 Sacramento mass shooting by Smiley Martin as an example of how his bill could have stopped a mass shooting.

Martin, the primary shooter arrested in connection with the killings, was previously convicted of domestic violence after breaking into his girlfriend’s home, beating her repeatedly with a closed fist on the face, head and body and dragging her outside by her hair. Martin then shoved her in the car and continued beating her with a belt. He was convicted in 2018 but was released early having served only four years of his 10-year sentence. Within just a few months of being released early and despite being prohibited from owning a gun, Martin shot and killed 6 people.

“Whether you’re a Republican, independent or Democrat, you can’t argue with the data,” Patterson said. “Statistics show that violent domestic abusers are the individuals most likely to commit mass shootings. If we hold them accountable, we will reduce mass shootings.”

Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire agrees. “Domestic and intimate partner violence affects every community, regardless of socioeconomic status,” Gire said. “It’s also a high indicator for future escalated violence. AB 2470 acknowledges these realities and allows prosecutors to hold abusers accountable to prevent future tragedies.”

Patterson has been a strong advocate for victims of violent crimes since being elected to office in November of 2022 and is continuing his promise to prioritize public safety.