Batch of California Gun Bills Passes Senate

We’ve reported that California residents could be facing some serious new gun control laws, and that fear is a step closer to becoming a reality.

The state Senate approved sweeping new restrictions on Thursday, including 11 bills mandating background checks for every single ammunition purchase and outlawing the manufacture and sale of semi-auto rifles that have a detachable magazine of any capacity within the state, according to this story from the LA Times.

The bills will next head to the Assembly for consideration, in the state that already has the strictest gun laws in the entire country.

In the story, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) said he is committed to pushing the bills through. If that happens, the bills next must be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has vetoes some gun control measures in the past that he felt were overreaching.

“We cannot stand by while our communities suffer from this horrific violence,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles). “These proposals take common sense steps to keep weapons and ammunition out of the hands of criminals.”

Opponents of the draconian gun control measures say that criminals don’t typically go into gun shops to buy their firearms and ammo in the first place.

“The criminals will not be affected,” state Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) said in the story. “They will not pay any attention to these bills. These bill will disarm the law-abiding public.”

State Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) called the bills “an assault on our 2nd Amendment rights,” in the story.

The NRA, the NSSF, and Gun Owners of California are opposing the bills, including the prohibition on semiauto rifles with detachable magazines, which would result in “banning many popular semi-automatic firearms currently legal under California law while doing nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” the NSSF said in a statement.

Anyone possessing centerfire rifles with a “bullet button” would have to register them with the state as an “assault rifle.” A bullet button is a recessed button that must be pressed with a sharp object to allow the removal of the magazine, supposedly preventing quick magazine changes.

Another bill approved Thursday would ban the possession of “large-capacity” magazine, which in California apparently means any mag that holds more than 10 rounds.

“This represents the incremental beginning of the taking of weapons by government,” said Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Murrieta). That particular bill allows owners of magazines that would become banned to sell them to licensed gun dealers or out of state.

Another bill would require anyone buying ammunition to present ID, “which would be used by the seller to check to make sure the buyer is not a felon or otherwise prohibited from possessing guns.” The story doesn’t say how that would be done, but it’s presumed that it would be accomplished through the already overburdened NICS background check system.

According to the LA Times, other bill approved by the Senate on Thursday would:

  • Require owners of homemade guns to get a serial number for the firearms, register them with the state and undergo a background check

  • Ask voters in November to reverse a provision of 2014’s Proposition 47 that made thefts of guns worth $950 or less a misdemeanor. The measure would allow felony charges in all gun theft cases. (this was the only measure not opposed by gun rights groups)

  • Mandate that gun owners report lost or stolen firearms to the authorities within five days of discover that they are missing. Some straw purchasers illegally sell guns and then later claim they were stolen.

  • Limit lending of firearms to specified family members

  • Establish a Firearm Violence Research Center at one of the University of California campuses to study potential policies to reduce shooting deaths and injuries.

    For the full story from the LA Times, go here.