New tax on gun manufacturers and dealers advances to Senate floor

Today, the California State Senate Appropriations Committee voted to advance Assembly Bill 28, a landmark measure that would impose an 11 percent excise tax on the sale of guns and ammunition by gun manufacturers and dealers. Having cleared its final committee, AB 28 is now on the Senate floor, where it is expected to be voted on in the next two weeks.

Authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Chair of the Legislature’s Gun Violence Prevention Working Group, AB 28 would generate more than $100 million annually to fund school safety and violence prevention programs, including initiatives to prevent mass shootings, bolster firearm investigations, and remove guns from domestic abusers.

“It’s shameful that gun manufacturers are reaping record profits at the same time that gun violence has become the leading cause of death for kids in the United States,” Gabriel said. “This bill will fund critical school safety measures and proven violence prevention programs that will save lives and protect communities across California. I am grateful to the Senate Appropriations Committee for advancing this bill and look forward to a vote on the Senate floor.”

“California has a long history of paving the way for effective methods of reducing gun violence,” said former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford. “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 to help advocate for the state’s latest effort. We urge the legislature to prioritize the safety of California’s kids and communities and pass The 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.”

“California is a leader when it comes to gun safety,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action. “This bill would 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. In the aftermath of the horrific shootings we’ve seen nationwide over the last week, and in response to the gun violence that kills 120 Americans each day and wounds hundreds more, I urge California lawmakers to recognize the necessity of passing this act, and to continue modeling what it looks like to be truly committed to public safety.”

The Senate is expected to vote on AB 28 — officially known as The Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety Act — in the next two weeks. It must receive a two-thirds vote of the legislature to advance to Governor Newsom’s desk.