gun reform

What's Changed (and What Hasn't) After Sandy Hook

Nighclub Shooting Assault Weapons

As we watched the breaking news out of Texas Tuesday afternoon, the name of another elementary school raced back into the forefront of so many minds: Sandy Hook.

It's been nearly 10 years since 20 children and six teachers were murderd inside their classrooms in Newtown, Connecticut, and for longer than that, gun reform has been a topic of heated debate in California and across the country.

So, what gun laws have and haven't changed since?

Four months after Sandy Hook, Congress blocked the two biggest efforts to reform gun laws:

  • Reinstating a ban on assault weapons and magazines holding more than 10 rounds (defeated 60-40 in the Senate).
  • A bipartisan bill mandating criminal background checks for online and gun show sales (which failed by just 6 votes also in the Senate).
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says looking to tougher gun laws is not the "real solution" to the problem of gun violence. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker criticized Abbott's comments, calling them a "false narrative" while citing reports that "the majority of guns used in Chicago shootings come from states with lax gun laws."

While gun reform fizzled on the federal level, California state lawmakers passed some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation including: banning assault weapons with more 10 rounds, limiting how many guns you can buy at one time, banning selling or owning unregistered gun parts, and now, a new bill allowing Californians to personally sue anyone trafficking illegal firearms.

"I don't know how anybody could not be deeply affected by what happened yesterday," Democratic State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-25) told NBC 7 Investigates Wednesday morning.

Portantino introduced the lawsuit bill, and authored a statewide ban on gun sales to those under 21.

“We’re past being brokenhearted," said Portantino. "We’re past being shattered by this. We have to do everything we can. We have to use every single tool available.”

The lawsuit bill passed on the Senate floor Tuesday night, but before anything was even in writing, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC Executive Director Michael Schwartz slammed the concept.

“It doesn’t have to do with solving crime or preventing crime," said Schwartz. "It’s really more punitive, or vindictive even, and for the governor of California to wield power in that way is pretty scary. It’s an abuse of power.”

But even if the governor signs a bill into law, that doesn't mean it sticks. Earlier this month federal courts struck down California's ban on assault weapon sales to people under 21 -- a bill passed in direct response to the synagogue shooting in Poway.

Survivors and loved ones came face to face with the shooter, reports NBC 7's Artie Ojeda

Another ruling tossed out California's high-capacity magazine ban -- though that ruling was later reversed.

There are currently at least six lawsuit filings in San Diego federal court challenging California's gun control laws.

“Yeah, I’m concerned about what the courts do, but that shouldn’t deter us from taking action," said Portantino.

The judicial battle over gun reform is playing out on the national stage too. Right now the Supreme Court is deciding whether states have the right to restrict or ban conceal and carry gun permits.

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