Expect tougher gun laws in 2019, including multiple states to raise the minimum age from 18 years old to age 21 for the purchase of long guns.
- More than a dozen new gun laws passed by California lawmakers go into effect in 2019, including a lifetime gun ownership ban for those involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility.
- Another California law requires a lifetime ban on gun ownership for some domestic violence offenders.
- In addition, there are new laws in California and several other states (Washington, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois and Vermont) and District of Columbia, that raise the minimum age from 18 years old to age 21 for the purchase of long guns.
- Ohio’s state legislature, meantime, could vote as early as Thursday to override a gun bill rejected by outgoing Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
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In California, Assembly Bill 1968 mandates a lifetime ban on the ownership of firearms for individuals if they were involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility more than once within a one-year period because they were deemed a danger to themselves or others. The individual could appeal the ban every five years. The bill becomes operative at the end of 2019.
At the same time, California Assembly Bill 3129 puts a lifetime ban on gun ownership or possession for individuals convicted on or after Jan. 1, 2019, of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense or for battery on a spouse, cohabitant or person the defendant currently or previously dated or engaged in a relationship. Current state law requires a 10-year ban on possessing a firearm or ammunition for those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
California already is known for having one of the toughest sets of gun laws in the nation. On the first day to introduce bills for the 2019-20 legislative session, Assembly Bill 18 was proposed to place a new excise tax on gun sales and use the money to fund violence intervention and prevention activities.
In Oregon, the state’s so-called intimate partner loophole or boyfriend loophole bill — House Bill 4145 — goes into effect Jan. 1 and bans the ownership or purchase of guns by domestic abuse offenders or people under restraining orders. At least 29 other states have similar laws that put curbs on the ownership or purchase of guns for convicted domestic abusers or stalkers.
Meantime, in Washington state, voters passed ballot Initiative 1639 in November, which sets into motion several new gun regulations, including raising the legal age to buy semi-automatic assault rifles from 18 years old to 21. It also requires the purchaser to provide proof they completed firearms safety training.
Also, other changes under the voter-approved initiative include enhanced background checks, waiting periods and increases secure gun storage for all guns to prevent them from getting in the hands of children. Washington’s law raising the age to buy a semi-automatic assault rifle takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, while the other new rules in Initiative 1639 take effect July 1, 2019.
In Illinois, a new law goes into effect next year that allows authorities to seize guns from someone determined to be a danger to themselves or others. House Bill 2354 was signed in July by Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican who was ousted last month by Democrat J.B. Pritzker. At least seven other states passed similar so-called red flag laws this year.
Also, another gun law passed by Illinois this year extends the 72-hour cooling-off period for the purchase of all firearms. Similarly, Florida state lawmakers passed a three-day waiting period on most firearms purchases and outlawed bump stocks.
New Jersey’s new law banning gun magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition went into effect Dec. 10. At least seven other states have passed similar laws along with several cities and the District of Columbia.
Finally, the Ohio state legislature will soon vote to consider overriding the rejection of House Bill 228, which would expand the ability of individuals or groups impacted by local firearm regulation to sue for damages. Among other provisions, it would shift the burden of proof on self-defense cases involving firearms to prosecutors from defendants.