SACRAMENTO — For Richard Martinez of San Luis Obispo, the Capitol has been a place of exciting memories.
“We went on a tour of the Capitol, and he loved it. He was thrilled,” Martinez said, while pointing at an old photo of his son, Christopher.
But now, Martinez is at the Capitol to tell state legislators why Christopher is no longer with us.
“The bullet went right near his heart and he died really quickly after,” Martinez said.
Christopher was shot and killed in Isla Vista near UC Santa Barbara in 2014. He was 20 years old.
The mass shooting left six people dead and 14 others injured.
Since then, Martinez has traveled across the country, demanding action against gun violence. On Tuesday, his focus was on keeping guns out of schools.
Right now, it is illegal in California to bring a firearm on any school campus, even with a concealed carry weapon permit. The exception is if you are a peace officer, or have a special, written consent form from a school official.
This is where Assembly Bill 424 comes in.
Supporters say the bill would close that so-called “loophole” by revoking that authority from school officials.
Many like Martinez said guns should never be allowed on any school campus.
“More guns in schools will not make our children complicates law enforcement’s response in case of emergency, and will lead to unintentional shootings,” Martinez said.
Opponents of AB 424 said they do not agree with the word “loophole” when talking about the written consent exemption. They also said it does not affect a lot of schools or people in the first place.
“A grand total of five school districts out of over 1000 in the State of California has adopted such policies. And guess how many incidents there have been involving CCW holders with firearms on school grounds? None,” Craig DeLuz, the Legislative Director of the Firearms Policy Coalition, said.
DeLuz is also a Trustee for the Robla School District in Sacramento. He believes school officials know their community best.
“I think the districts that have implemented policies have done so in a very thoughtful and restrictive matter. They are clearly vetted. If you want to keep the crazy people out with guns. Let’s just put it this way. This bill does not do it,” DeLuz said.
Martinez admitted that there is no one-size-fits-all law for gun safety, but he believed AB424 is a step in the right direction.
“There is not one single measure that will reduce or end gun violence in America. But we owe it to our kids to make our best efforts to enact common sense measures, consistent with the second amendment, that will make us safer,” Martinez said.
AB424 was approved by the California Legislature Public Safety Committee Monday.