California legislature passes landmark tax on firearm manufacturers, dealers

Yesterday, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 28, a landmark measure that would impose an 11 percent excise tax on firearms and ammunition sold by gun manufacturers and dealers.

Having cleared both the Assembly and Senate by a 2/3 supermajority vote, AB 28 – which is officially known as the Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety Act – is on its way to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk.

Authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Chair of the Legislature’s Gun Violence Prevention Working Group, AB 28 would generate more than $150 million annually to fund school safety and violence prevention programs, including initiatives to prevent school shootings, bolster firearm investigations, reduce retaliatory violence, and remove guns from domestic abusers.

“I am grateful that a supermajority of the legislature voted today to fund critical programs that will save lives and protect communities across the State of California,” said Gabriel. “It’s beyond shameful that gun manufacturers are reaping record profits at the same time gun violence has become the leading cause of death for kids in the United States. The Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety Act will help to ensure that we have the tools and resources necessary to better protect our kids and our communities.”

“California has a long history of paving the way for effective methods of reducing gun violence,’ said former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. “It’s an undisputed leader in the fight for gun safety, and I am proud GIFFORDS has worked alongside gun violence prevention groups across the state and members of the legislature, including Assemblymember Gabriel, to help advocate for the state’s latest effort. We urge Governor Newsom to prioritize the safety of California’s kids and communities and signThe Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety Act, a top priority for the gun violence prevention movement.”

Since AB 28 was introduced at the beginning of the current legislative session, the United States has experienced hundreds of mass shootings, including horrific incidents in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay. A recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the firearm death rate for American children increased 40 percent between 2018 and 2021.

“California is again proving why the Golden State leads the country on gun safety legislation,” said Kris Brown, President of Brady. “Imposing a modest tax on firearm and ammunition sales to provide sustained and increased funding for violence intervention and prevention programs will help us better protect our communities from gun violence. Providing long-term investments in these initiatives is a proven way to stop gun violence before it begins. Brady thanks Assemblymember Gabriel and other bill sponsors for introducing this first of its kind tax bill and calls on Governor Newsom to cement California’s position as a leader in the fight against gun violence and sign The Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety Act.”

“California continues to lead the nation when it comes to gun safety,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “This bill will take that leadership one step further by providing essential resources to life-saving programs — including the California Violence Intervention and Prevention grant program — which rightfully centers solutions from the communities most impacted by our gun violence crisis. Since the introduction of this bill our grassroots army has been committed to working with our gun-sense champions to get it across the finish line. I urge Governor Gavin Newsom to continue his commitment to public safety and sign this bill into law for the well-being of all Californians.”