California lawmakers balk at proposed gun tax to fund violence prevention programs

California lawmakers balk at proposed gun tax to fund violence prevention programs

A mourner leaves flowers at a memorial for victims of the San Jose mass shooting. SACRAMENTO — Despite concerns about a spate of fatal shootings in California, a bill to create new taxes on the sale of guns and ammunition to pay for gun-violence prevention programs failed to get the two-thirds vote needed for passage Thursday in the state Assembly. The bill by Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) fell nine votes short of the 54 needed for approval. It would have created a 10% excise tax on retailers for the sale of new handguns and an 11% tax for long guns and ammunition, and raised more than $100 million annually for a gun violence prevention program to mediate disputes in the community, including those involving gang members. Levine cited a string of mass shootings, including one May 26 at a San Jose light rail yard in which a gunman killed nine people before dying of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound. “When our communities continue to be devastated by gun violence, I ask you: When will we take action to save the lives of our fellow Californians?” Levine asked his colleagues during the floor debate. “Gun violence will not end on its own. We must take responsible action to end the public health crisis that is gun violence in California and in the United States.” Although Thursday was the deadline for the bill to move out of the Assembly, Levine said he is not giving up on having his proposal […]

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