SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — 2019 has been the biggest year for mass killings since the 1970s.
211 people were killed in 41 mass killings nationwide, according to a compilation by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.
California, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, had eight mass killings this year, the most of any state.
The report defined a mass killing as one in which four people died, not including the suspect.
Many people KPIX interviewed near San Francisco’s Ferry Building said the report makes them feel sad and shocked.
“I don’t know what the answer is. I really don’t. How do you teach respect for life?” wondered Carol Hemingway of Las Vegas.
“Protect the homeland. Take care of ourselves where we’re suffering from, mentally and spiritually, and we’ll stop shooting each other,” added Marc Coleman of San Francisco.
California is enacting tough new gun-control laws in the new year.
Beginning Jan. 1, only those 21 and older can purchase a semi-automatic rifle and Californians will only be allowed to buy one such rifle per month beginning in 2021.
Gun licensing and fees will cost more come the new year and those who aren’t allowed to own guns in another state will be banned from purchasing one in California.
In addition, the state is expanding the gun-violence restraining order program to workplaces and schools.
The law is drawn from lessons learned in the Parkland, Fla. school massacre.
Right now, in California, relatives or police can get a restraining order to take away the firearms of a person who has threatened violence. The new law allows employers, co-workers, principals and teachers to request a restraining order.
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-S.F) says it bolsters a program that California has had for three years.
“UC Davis did a study on this. They found, in 21 cases, gun violence restraining orders prevented mass shootings,” said Ting. “We’re doing the most to make sure we’re proactive in preventing those mass shootings by getting the guns out of the hands of the wrong people.”
That law takes effect in September after a training period.
Also in the new year: if you have a gun violence restraining order against you, you will not be able to buy any kind of firearm for five years.