Photos depicting grieving Americans after the assassination of RFK taken by photographer Paul Fusco line the walls of Gov. Gavin Newsom's office on July 16, 2019. Photo by Anne Wernikoff/CalMatters

In summary

Becerra goes to court over state’s gun magazine law. State makes clear gun violence is in doctors’ ‘lane.’ Presidential candidates rake in California cash.

Good morning, California.

“Little earthquakes are telling us where big earthquakes are more likely.”—U.S. Geological Survey research geophysicist Morgan Page, to the L.A. Times. The earth moved in Contra Costa County on Tuesday. That’s near the Hayward Fault.

Becerra vs. magazines

Attorney General Xavier Becerra

Attorney General Xavier Becerra is urging a federal appeals court to block a San Diego judge’s order striking down California’s ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. The case could test President Trump’s effort to reshape the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Remind me: Citing the Second Amendment right to bear arms, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez in March struck down a 2000 California law banning the sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. 

Benitez also struck down a provision in Proposition 63, the 2016 voter-approved initiative promoted by then-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, that banned possession of large magazines. 

  • Gun makers responded by selling large-capacity magazines into the state.

Becerra’s brief to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

  • “[T]he public safety interests in preventing and mitigating gun violence, particularly public mass shootings and the murder of law enforcement personnel, are important, and indeed compelling, government interests.”

How the case will turn out is not clear.

President Donald Trump long has attacked the 9th Circuit as liberal, but is busily reshaping it.

Over the objections of California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, the U.S. Senate confirmed Trump 9th Circuit nominee Daniel Bress earlier this month. Trump now has appointed seven judges to the 9th Circuit, more than any other circuit.

California’s ‘lane’

California’s budget includes funds to help doctors prevent firearm injuries.

Remember the Twitter war that erupted when the National Rifle Association tweeted: “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane,” and doctors tweeted back about the gun-related carnage they see?

Gov. Gavin Newsom and California lawmakers have a collective answer to that. 

  • In the 2019-20 budget, Newsom approved $57.1 million in new spending on enforcement of firearm-related laws and prevention of gun-related injuries. 
  • That includes $3.85 million for the UC Firearm Violence Research Center at UC Davis to develop curriculum to train health and mental health care providers how to talk to patients and clients about prevention of firearm-related injury and death.

Assemblyman Marc Berman, a Palo Alto Democrat, is carrying legislation that lays out how that money ought to be spent.

Berman’s bill received a mere three no-votes in the Assembly. In Senate committees, it has received one no-vote. 

Why the lack of opposition?

  • “It’s a sign of the times.”—Dr. Garen Wintemute, the UC Davis physician who heads the violence-research center and will be overseeing the curriculum.

California’s presidential ATM

Democratic presidential candidates

Want to know how California donors are sizing up Democratic presidential candidates?

Want to know where Kamala Harris is collecting most of her money? Or who’s giving to Bernie Sanders?

CalMatters’ Ben Christopher is breaking it down for you in a series of charts

  • Christopher: “Money may not count for everything in politics (just ask Jeb Bush, who spent $130 million in his run for president in 2016). But about a year out from the deadline for the Democrats to choose their presidential ticket, a boatload of cash is necessary to keep contenders in the game.”

Newsom’s poignant stamp

Gov. Newsom’s hallway photo series, RFK Funeral Train by Paul Fusco

Gavin Newsom was not yet 1 when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

But the governor quotes Kennedy, and has a photo of his father, the late California Court of Appeal Justice William Newsom, with Bobby Kennedy in 1968.

  • Daniel Zingale, a senior aide to Newsom: “RFK is an important figure in his spirit.” 

Now, Newsom has placed a poignant stamp on the wall of the hallway leading to his corner office: photos taken 51 years ago by Paul Fusco capturing the grief of people who lined up to keep vigil as RFK’s funeral train carried his body from New York to Washington, D.C.

Zingale recounted the story: New York gallery owner Jeffrey Danziger noticed Newsom staring at the photos some years back at an exhibit at Fort Mason, and introduced himself.

After Newsom’s election, Danziger donated several photos in the series to the state. Newsom intends to leave them behind when his time in office is over.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art displayed the photos last June, and the AP’s Juliet Williams described them

  • “The images captured America’s grief in a way that was unusual in photography, by seeing the events through the eyes of ordinary people.
  • “The photos show Americans of all colors and classes. Catholic schoolgirls, field hands, firefighters, blue-collar workers and housewives in their bonnets create a tableau of those who came to say farewell to the man many knew simply as ‘Bobby.’”

Replica gun-related shooting

The replica handgun that was pointed at an Orange County police officer

Hannah Williams, the troubled 17-year-old girl shot dead by police in Orange County on July 5, apparently pointed a replica gun at the officer, police body camera footage reveals.

The Washington Post reports police have killed 12 people in 2019 who had toy guns, and more than 150 people who held look-alike weapons since 2015. 

Alain Stephens of The Trace reported in May how gun makers cut lucrative licensing deals that allow toy companies to make facsimiles of their products. 

  • California long ago began regulating toy guns that look real.
  • In 2014, then-Sen. Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, carried legislation requiring that BB guns be clearly marked.
  • Numerous gun groups and replica and toy gun manufacturers opposed the bill. The bill passed on a party-line vote. Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law.

Commentary at CalMatters

Jan Smutny-Jones, Independent Energy Producers Association: If there is a war on coal—as  President Trump claims—it’s long been decided in California and most of the West. In 2008, coal comprised 18.2% of California’s electricity mix. By 2018, that number had fallen to 3%, with virtually all the coal coming from a single plant in Utah. 

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Dan Morain joined CalMatters in March 2018. He is the former editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee. Morain also spent 27 years at The Los Angeles Times, and has covered the Capitol since 1992.

Barbara is a master's student at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, where she studies new media. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Sacramento State, where she served as editor...