The state Senate has approved a bill making it a misdemeanor to store a firearm where it is accessible to a child.
Existing laws allow charges to be filed if someone is injured. But AB231 by Democratic Assemblyman Philip Ting of San Francisco makes it a crime to store any loaded firearm where the owner reasonably should know that a child is likely to gain access to it.
The bill passed the Senate on a 24-15 vote Monday. It now returns to the Assembly for final action.
Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber says the law could not be enforced unless police enter homes of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
But Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of San Francisco says similar laws in other states have been shown to reduce injuries to children.