Portantino’s Gun Safety Bill Goes to Governor

First published in the July 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

A bill authored by Burbank’s state senator that would provide parents of schoolchildren information about safe gun storage passed the California Legislature on Thursday and went to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for approval.
Senate Bill 906, written by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, would require schools to include information related to the safe storage of firearms in their annual notifications provided to parents and guardians. It would also require schools to immediately report “credible violent threats” to law enforcement, and require school leaders and law enforcement to search students’ on-campus property for the presence of firearms.
SB 906 would also require the state Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Justice, to develop “model content” for public and charter schools on a threat or perceived threat of a mass shooting incident.
The bill is part of a slate of gun control measures being fast-tracked by the Legislature in collaboration with Newsom after a series of devastating mass shootings.
“California must continue to lead the nation — more boldly and quickly — in adopting common sense gun safety measures to prevent future tragic violence on our schools,” Portantino said in a news release. “SB 906 will help prepare educators and parents to identify red flags and heed warning signs of threats and educate parents on the importance of safe gun storage. Comprehensive safety plans on our campuses are necessary to help save lives.
“We need to be diligent with our efforts to keep our communities safe and improve public safety for all Californians. And that means using every tool available. We cannot afford to wait another day.”
Since 1970, the United States has had 1,316 school shootings, according to the news release, with 164 occurring in California. Portantino said SB 906 provides a “strong and prudent mandate” to follow through on threats and an effort to educate parents on what safe storage means.
The original version of the bill would have required parents and guardians to tell schools whether they keep firearms in the house.
“At a time when it is easy to become discouraged, we are encouraged by California’s efforts to help prevent gun violence,” Margot Bennett, executive director of Women Against Gun Violence, said in a news release. “SB 906 is one of those important, critical pieces of legislation made possible by the efforts of state Sen. Anthony Portantino and the California Legislature. We look forward to Gov. Newsom signing this life-saving bill into law.”
Portantino has a long history of advocating for gun restrictions. During his time as an assemblyman, Portantino wrote a law banning the open carry of handguns and rifles in California. As senator, he raised the general gun purchase age in California to 21.
In 2019, Newsom also signed Portantino’s SB 172, which broadened criminal storage crimes, adding criminal storage offenses to those offenses that can trigger a 10-year firearm ban, and creating an exemption to firearm loan requirements for the purposes of preventing suicide.