Revised California bill would warn parents of guns danger
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California parents of middle and high school students would be warned about the dangers of firearms every year under a measure that advanced Wednesday.
But they would no longer be required to tell school officials if they keep guns in the house, under the revised legislation.
The state Senate Education Committee three weeks ago rejected the firearms reporting requirement as an invasion of privacy.
So Democratic Sen. Anthony Portantino reworked his bill, eliminating the parental reporting. The narrower version cleared the same committee Wednesday on a 5-1 vote.
His revised bill requires schools to include information on the safe storage of firearms in the annual notifications they send home to parents of students in middle and high schools, starting in the 2023-24 school year. Legislation with a similar requirement has already passed the state Assembly.
More than two-thirds of school shootings involve weapons taken from the students’ home, friends or relatives, Portantino said.
“This is an attempt to try to empower school districts to do everything they can to make the school environment safe,” Portantino said. “This errs on the side of caution.”
If there are threats or perceived threats of school shootings, Portantino’s proposal goes farther than the Assembly-approved bill by requiring investigators to check the state’s firearm database to see if the suspect’s family has registered firearms. About 80% of firearms are in the state’s registry, he said, while others are held illegally.
His measure also would require educators to report homicidal threats to law enforcement.
It would also require state education and criminal justice officials to create model content by June 2023 that officials at middle and high schools would use to respond to threats or perceived threats of mass casualty incidents. The bill would specifically allow law enforcement searches of the school and the suspect’s property at the school.
Gun groups still opposed the legislation, while the ACLU said it goes too far in requiring educators to inform law enforcement instead of leaving it to their discretion.