Sacramento police make more arrests
Just blocks from where a recent mass shooting took six lives in Sacramento, the state Senate advanced legislation supporters say would hold gun manufacturers accountable.
The legislation, backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta, is modeled after Texas’ infamous abortion bill. It is designed to allow private citizens to bring civil action against a person for the distribution, manufacturing or transportation of certain guns, including .50 BMG rifles or ghost guns (privately made firearms that lack serial numbers and are untraceable).
The bill is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Emeritus Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, and passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
“The alarm bells are blaring. We could not have a clearer call for action to stop gun violence than what happened on Sunday at the doorstep of our state’s democracy,” Sen. Hertzberg said. “The Legislature will act.”
“This creates a powerful incentive for folks to help get these weapons off the streets and out of the hands of criminals,” Sen. Hertzberg said. “It also creates a powerful deterrent effect for those seeking these kinds of weapons.”
As of Wednesday, Sacramento police have made three arrests in connection to the early Sunday morning shooting. Police said at least five people fired guns, and gunfire was exchanged between at least two groups of people.
Dandrae Martin, 26, was arrested first, and police have identified him as a suspect in the shooting. He was arrested for assault with a firearm and for being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
Smiley Martin, 27, suffered serious injuries from the gunfire and is being treated at a nearby hospital. Police said he will face charges of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun. He has been taken into custody and will be booked at the Sacramento County Main Jail once he’s completed his medical treatment.
Dandrae Martin and Smiley Martin are brothers, police said.
Smiley Martin was granted early release from prison last year while serving a 10-year sentence for domestic violence and assault with great bodily injury, the Sacramento Bee reported. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office asked that he remain in custody, but Smiley Martin was released in February 2022.
According to the newspaper, Smiley Martin recorded a Facebook Live video Saturday night prior to the shooting during which he allegedly displayed a firearm.
“This was a violent felon with a long rap sheet who should have been in prison,” said Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher of Yuba City. “If he was, this tragedy might have been avoided. If this violence a few blocks from the Capitol doesn’t serve as a wake-up call to the policymakers in this building, I don’t know what will.”
Police said they believe gang violence to be at the center of the incident.
“This tragedy downtown is a very public example of what families in many of our neighborhoods know too well,” said Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester. “The suffering inflicted by gang violence does not limit itself to gang members. It spills over to claim and shatter innocent lives and harm our entire community.”
Additionally, police arrested Daviyonne Dawson on charges of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. Mr. Dawnson, 31, was seen carrying a gun in the aftermath of the shooting, but police said they do not believe the gun was used during the incident. He is not charged with a crime directly related to the shooting.
In all, six people died during the shooting, and another 12 individuals suffered gunshot wound injuries that occurred at about 2 a.m. Sunday, police said.
The shooting prompted national and state leaders to issue familiar calls for stronger gun control measures.
Sen. Hertzberg’s bill is conditional on the Texas abortion law remaining valid and not struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The bill is part of a larger legislative package touted by Gov. Newsom, which includes legislation prohibiting the marketing of firearms to minors, adding further restrictions on ghost guns and allowing individuals to sue gun manufacturers and sellers for harm caused by the products.
“This week’s unconscionable act of gun violence is a tragic reminder of the lives that are at stake in this crisis that endangers communities across the country,” Gov. Newsom, who is out of the country, said in a statement.
Sam Paredes, the longtime executive director of the pro-gun Gun Owners of California organization, said lawmakers’ focus should be on “crime control” as opposed to gun control.
“As long as you continue to put all of your attention and emphasis on some sort of agenda of gun control, we are going to continue to experience these types of horrific events,” Mr. Paredes told the News-Press. “All of the laws that are proposed on gun control only affect law-abiding citizens; they don’t affect criminals at all.
“By definition, they’re criminals and don’t obey the law. It was an illegal act to shoot people; it was a criminal act to steal the gun that was used at the shooting; it was a criminal act to do a drive-by. All of those things are crimes, and the laws don’t prevent them from happening.”