The Student News Site of Redwood High School

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Governor Gavin Newsom signs a gun tax affecting all California public schools

On Sept. 26, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 28 (AB 28), titled the Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety Act, into law. This act will tax the sale of guns and ammunition from gun manufacturers and dealers by 11 percent in California, on top of the 10 to 11 percent federal tax. The law is expected to be implemented on July 1, 2024, and will allocate $160 million annually to fund school safety and violence prevention programs, including initiatives to reduce retaliatory violence, bolster firearm investigations and remove guns from domestic abusers.

Governor Gavin Newsom shakes hands with assemblymember and author of AB 28, Jesse Gabriel. (Photo courtesy of AP News)

Already before AB 28, public schools in California dedicated funding towards supporting school safety and each school had to create and revise their security plans every year. Redwood Principal Barnaby Payne has had experience with these previous policies.

“Redwood has a school safety plan that covers all types of incidents, including things like active shooters and lockdowns, and we’ve practiced them. Last year, our district implemented an additional measure through a phone application called Share 911,” Payne said.

AB 28 allows California public schools to build on top of standard safety practices like these, bringing a greater sense of safety to school grounds. California assemblymember of District 12, Damon Connolly, was one of the co-authors of AB 28 and sees this law as a step in the right direction for the state.

“I think we can be proud [that] California has made significant strides over the years and has been a leader in combating gun violence,” Connelly said. “[Gun violence] is a serious issue for our schools right now, and for society overall. Since 2020, children in the United States are more likely to die from guns than any other cause of death. Think about that. A recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the firearm death rate for American children increased by 40 percent between 2018 and 2021. So the problem is now, and we can all feel it.”

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel holds the signed AB 28 bill, now a California law. (Photo courtesy of AP News)

Another assembly member, Jesse Gabriel, and co-author of AB 28, spoke in a clip from Fox40 News about his feelings regarding gun violence in America and how this bill will influence it.

“This bill says that at a time that the gun industry is bragging about record profits, at a time when guns are the leading cause of death for kids in America, we need to do more,” Gabriel said.

Similarly to Gabriel, Payne feels that gun violence has gotten all too familiar for high school staff and students in California, and that students especially should be able to focus on other aspects of life.

“No one [at Redwood] became a teacher to have to deal with an active shooter drill, and to think that that’s one of the challenges we’re dealing with is a lot, not only practically, but also emotionally, and it’s traumatic for students to think about having to practice active shooter drills. A place where we’re coming to get an education is supposed to be, hopefully, a place of personal liberation, right? When schools really work, we’re building students up,” Payne said.

To Connelly, the passing of AB 28 is one of many steps in the right direction.

“[Gun violence is] a huge issue that’s not going away, so we have to keep taking these steps,” Connelly said.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Taylor Allan, Copy Editor
Taylor Allan is a junior at Redwood High School and is a copy editor for the Redwood Bark newspaper. She is interested in all kinds of music and loves spending time with her friends. In her free time she plays guitar, piano, ukulele and she sings!