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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on June 4th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 14

Bill to keep firearms from drunk drivers passes Senate

By Kasey Bubnash

A bill that would keep guns away from those who have been convicted of some alcohol-related crimes passed the state Senate on May 23, the fifth anniversary of the Isla Vista shooting, which left six dead and 14 injured at the hands of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger. 

Senate Bill 55, which state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) introduced on Dec. 12, 2018, would make it illegal for people who rack up multiple driving under the influence convictions in a three-year timespan to own firearms for 10 years. A vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated conviction would lead to the same decade-long restriction. 

The bill passed the Senate in a 26-10 vote and will now move to the Assembly. 

“Too many innocent lives have been lost to gun violence,” Jackson said in a press release. “This is especially clear today, on the five-year anniversary of the tragic Isla Vista shooting. We must do more to keep deadly firearms out of the hands of people at risk of committing violence.” 

California law already prohibits people convicted of some crimes from possessing and owning firearms, either permanently or for a 10-year period. Jackson said her bill would simply add some alcohol-related crimes to the list.

The bill, she said, was inspired by a study published in 2017 by UC Davis, which found that individuals who have been convicted of some alcohol-related crimes are four to five times more likely to commit violent or gun-related crimes later on.

The study, which was conducted through the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, examined the association between prior convictions for alcohol-related crimes, chiefly driving under the influence, and risk of subsequent arrest. 

Researchers followed 4,066 individuals who purchased handguns in California in 1977, and found that by 1991, nearly 33 percent of the 1,272 people with prior alcohol-related convictions had been arrested for a violent or firearm-related crime. Only about 6 percent of the 2,794 with no prior criminal history had been arrested for the same reasons. 

About 16 percent of those who had prior alcohol-related convictions were later arrested for murder, rape, robbery or aggravated assault, compared to only 3 percent of those without prior convictions. 

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