The student news site of Claremont High School

The Wolfpacket

The student news site of Claremont High School

The Wolfpacket

The student news site of Claremont High School

The Wolfpacket

New “Red Flag” Laws Fire Back At Gun Violence

photos+courtesy+of+Canva
photos courtesy of Canva

It is undeniable that school shootings and their staggering frequency have become a tragedy nationwide. Even though California has the lowest rate of gun violence out of any US state, this perceived safety still does not erase the atrocities of shootings in places like Monterey Park or Half Moon Bay, nor does it make the risk of a firearm entering a classroom any less plausible. Fortunately, the preemptive action of our state lawmakers suggests that this concern is a top priority among many. On the second day of the 2024 session of the California State Senate, a new gun law was introduced. Senators Nancy Skinner and Catherine Blakespear brought forth Senate Bill 899, also called SB 899, as a means of strengthening the “red flag”, or gun confiscation, law in the state of California.
The current “red flag” law, enacted under Assembly Bill 1014, enables gun violence restraining orders, or GVROs, to be given out by the California courts to individuals who are proven to pose a threat to themselves or others with a firearm. The GVRO temporarily confiscates and prevents the purchase of firearms, but the practicality of this solution has been less than optimal. In a January 4th press release, Senator Skinner admitted that recipients of a GVRO often do not turn in their guns as ordered. SB 899 would follow up on this systematic flaw to guarantee that a GVRO could not simply be denied; if a proper receipt of compliance is not submitted to court, they would have the power to employ law enforcement to force the turnover of the confiscated weapon.
“After all,” Senator Blakespear said, “ laws are only as effective as their implementation.”
This is not the first time that the CA Senate has targeted gun laws; California actually has the most active firearm restrictions of any state and the lowest rates of gun violence. In fact, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has been such a vocal proponent of firearm safety that he proposed an amendment to the United States Constitution in June of 2023. The amendment would make the process of purchasing guns more rigorous, as well as raise the minimum age to get an owner’s license to 21. Just a month later in September, he signed a bill doing nearly exactly that, set to take effect on the first day of 2024. Two months after being signed into action, it was blocked by a federal judge. Newsom successfully fought the block, taking it to the federal court of appeals which dissolved the block, allowing the restriction to take effect on the first day of this year.
Whatever the case may be, the renewed attention being given to “red flag” laws and general limits on firearms provides hope that safety will continue to be a top priority among California legislators. Camden Barber, a senior at Claremont High, agrees.
“I think that they [California lawmakers] want to pass more gun laws because California is a very dense state with a lot of areas which can lead to violence and illegal activities,” said Barber. “It’s also very hard to keep track of weapons because of how many people there are, so the easy solution is to pass a plethora of gun laws.”
The country can afford to learn from Barber’s words as an adolescent constantly in fear of a mass shooting. States beyond California can follow our lead in reaching the “excessive” firearm measures this state has, and realize that there can never be an excess of lives saved. Every life counts and every voice supporting that statement does too.

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About the Contributor
Pablo Guevara, Reporter
Pablo Guevara is a sophomore at Claremont High School, and a first-year reporter for the Wolfpacket. Guevara was incentivized to join the Wolfpacket staff because of how writing-centric the class is, which is something he didn’t often find in many other activities on campus. During his time on the staff, Guevara hopes to not only get exposure from his writing, but to also do it on a variety of topics. He currently serves as a Congressional Debate leader for the CHS Speech and Debate team, and is also an avid member of the school tennis team and Interact club. In the future, Guevara hopes to attend a university and study law or political science. But firstly, he navigates his second year of high school, where he looks to demonstrate leadership, empower an array of diverse opinions in his section, and utilize his season passes to three California theme parks.
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