A series of high-profile mass shootings throughout the country over the last year have resulted in a political tug-of-war. One one side, the Obama administration and liberal lawmakers call for stricter gun regulations to prevent such tragedies, while on the other side gun rights advocates point to the Second Amendment and insist that access to guns does not lead to gun violence. Both sides will be able to celebrate several statewide victories in the new year as new laws come into effect.
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As of January 1, 2016, California courts will be able to empower law enforcement to seize an individual’s gun for 21 days. Such a move would require family members of a person suspected of plotting a gun-related crime to obtain a “gun violence restraining order.” In order to do so, they would have to convince a judge that the person “poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself or another by having in his or her custody or control.”
California Senate Bill 199 will also require pellet, BB and airsoft guns to be manufactured in exclusively bright colors, like pink or red, so that they are not mistaken for actual firearms by police. The new law was inspired by the 2013 case of a Santa Rosa child who was killed by law enforcement officers who mistook his toy gun for a deadly weapon.
In Seattle, local authorities plan to combat gun violence by instituting a “gun violence tax” expected to generate anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000 per year for the city. All firearms purchases will require a $25 tax at point of sale, while ammunition purchases will incur a tax of 5 cents per round at point of sale. While city officials hope that the tax will curb violence, a similar solution in Cook County, Illinois has failed to prevent an increase in gun violence within the county.
Texas, a bastion of gun rights, will soon allow those with a concealed carry permit to carry holstered weapons in plain view. While firearms will be banned outright in churches, hospitals, prisons, jails and certain places serving alcohol, private business owners will have the option to allow customers to openly carry their guns.