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Proposed California bill AB 66 would regulate 'less lethal' weapon use at protests

Posted at 12:56 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 15:56:56-04

(KGTV) – A California bill co-authored by San Diego-based Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez would limit the use of so-called “less lethal” weapons against protesters.

Leslie Furcron said she will never forget the pain she felt May 30 when she was hit in the head with a rubber bullet during a protest in La Mesa.

"My head was on fire," she remembers, “they should never be shot at somebody's head like they did to me."

Furcron joined several other victims of so-called "less lethal" weapons used by law enforcement on protesters throughout the state in recent months, on a call Tuesday to discuss their support for Assembly Bill 66.

Victim stories prompted Gonzalez to draft AB 66. It would create the country's first standards for how and when law enforcement agencies can deploy so-called “less lethal” weapons, like rubber bullets and pepper spray.

It would also ban the use of tear gas for crowd control and set minimum standards for the weapons’ use by law enforcement; for example, when a person's life is at risk. It would also require data be collected on the use of those weapons and any resulting injuries.

Gonzalez also claimed that one of the rubber bullet manufacturers has indicated that firing them at random into crowds goes against their intended use, citing a study in the medical journal BMJ Open.

The sentiment was echoed by victims who described serious, and in some cases, potentially lifelong injuries, including loss of eyesight, traumatic brain injury and PTSD.

AB 66 passed through a committee in early August and the state Senate is expected to vote on the bill this week.