This Saturday was the 147th day of this year and there had already been 246 mass shootings and 23 mass murders in the country, which left 17,130 dead, including 107 children.
These may be cold numbers from the gun violence archives, but the business of selling guns doesn't stop and represents a human tragedy for those injured, including 252 children this year, and for the survivors.
However, a national background check system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) counted until the end of April – the most recent month counted this year–, one million 369 thousand 296 new applications for arms purchases of fire, which equates to 11,410 new requests per day.
“It is shameful that gun manufacturers are making record profits at the same time that gun violence has become the leading cause of death for children in the United States,” said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel.
The legislator from North Los Angeles got the California Assembly to pass a bill to increase taxes on firearms businesses and with the money raised to finance gun violence prevention programs and safety against shootings in the schools.
The tax would be higher than regular California sales, considered excise tax.
“This bill will fund critical school safety measures and proven violence prevention programs that will save lives and protect communities across California,” Gabriel said.
His proposal estimates that up to $160 million a year will be raised through a new excise tax on firearms manufacturers, gun and ammunition dealers, and sellers in the state of California.
The money will help fund a whole package of programs to prevent gun use and mitigate its harm among Californians.
The funds could fund, for example, the Gun Prevention and Intervention program Violence in the State, and for school mental health services and safety measures.
But Gabriel says it's also funding that can support gun relinquishment programs for domestic abusers and other prohibited persons, services for victims of gun violence, and firearm safety education.
During the period when Assemblyman Gabriel's bill was being debated in the California lower house, in just two days there were two of the largest shootings in California, both involving assault rifles, in Monterey Park and in Half Moon Bay.
Mrs. Reina Webb of Mothers Demanding Action in California, an organization that has supported Gabriel's proposal, said the bill would have made it at least a little harder for those guns to be sold in the state.
The proposal “is a transformative approach to addressing gun violence and a crucial step to improve the safety of all California families,” she said.
The bill has now moved to the California Senate, where it is expected to be approved without major opposition so that it enters into force on July 1, 2024.
Proposal AB28 or Law for the Prevention, Healing, and Recovery of Armed Violence, establishes a tax of 11 percent on gross receipts from the retail sale of firearms, precursor parts, and ammunition.
“The bill would require that money received into the fund, once allocated, be used to fund various gun violence prevention, education, research, response, and investigation programs,” the text says.
Considers that “armed violence is a public health and safety crisis throughout the country. Firearms are now the leading cause of death for America's children.”
While the initiative acknowledges that California's firearm death rates are lower than the national average, firearms are one of the leading causes of death, injury, and trauma among youth, especially youth of color in this state.
Regulator Gabriel asserts that “gun violence also contributes to significant racial and socioeconomic inequality in safety”
According to the most recent data available According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2021, African-American parents across the country were more likely to lose their 13- to 19-year-old child to firearm homicide than to any other cause of death.