Senator Stern Introduces Juvenile Gun Safety Act

New law closes loophole to prevent juveniles convicted of violent crimes from possessing guns

February 16, 2018

SACRAMENTO – In the wake of one of the deadliest school shootings in our nation’s history, State Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office (LADA) have introduced the “Juvenile Gun Safety Act” (SB 1281) to close a loophole in California law that allows individuals who have committed violent offenses as minors to escape prosecution for illegally owning or possessing a firearm in violation of the law.

SB 1281 will ensure that any person who commits a serious crime as a juvenile cannot possess a gun when they successfully complete probation, even if, due to rehabilitation and good behavior, their records have been sealed and cannot be used against them in a court of law, or in applying for college, a job, a credit card, or an apartment.

“Recordkeeping saves lives,” remarked Senator Stern. “People with violent criminal records should not be able to own or possess guns. We need to close the gaps in our background check systems so that, at a bare minimum, minors who commit serious crimes cannot turn around and possess guns once they successfully complete probation.”

Under current state law, individuals convicted of battery, drive by shootings, threatening witnesses and similar violent offenses are often prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. Juvenile offenders, however, can petition to have their records sealed once they successfully complete probation.  Once the records are sealed, even gun prohibitions do not appear in a person’s criminal history information. This loophole puts public safety at risk and prompted action from Senator Stern and the Los Angeles District Attorney.

"This bill closes a dangerous gap in our gun laws," Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. "We, as prosecutors, need access to sealed juvenile records so we can enforce existing laws aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of individuals found to have committed violent crimes as minors."


Henry Stern is Chair of the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, and the first millennial elected to the Senate. Senator Stern also serves on Energy, Utilities and Communications, Environmental Quality, Judiciary, and Natural Resources and Water. He represents nearly 1 million residents of the 27th District living in east Ventura County and northwest Los Angeles County.

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