Calif. Lawmakers Push Gun-Control Package

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — California lawmakers advanced a package of gun-control measures Tuesday, including bids to outlaw clips holding more than 10 rounds and semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines.
     The proposals came in response to the San Bernardino mass shooting this past December, and the five gun-control bills passed the state Senate Public Safety Committee on a party-line vote. Several of the measures are recycled versions of proposals that were previously vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
     The Democratic authors stressed the importance of closing current loopholes in state laws that allow gun manufacturers to skirt automatic-weapon bans by crafting guns with “bullet buttons.” Bullet buttons allow the quick removal of magazines, and one of the San Bernardino terrorists used a gun equipped with a similar device.
     “For years, gun owners have been able to circumvent California’s assault-weapons law by using a small tool to quickly eject and reload ammunition magazines,” state Sen. Isadore Hall, D-Compton, said. “Bullet button-equipped weapons are functionally the same as illegal assault weapons.”
      Senate Bill 1446, by state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, outlaws magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. She said the proposal is aimed at gun owners who were grandfathered in to a 1999 ban on high-capacity magazines.
     “These magazines are military weapons they are not designed for hunting or target shooting,” Hancock said, noting that high-capacity magazines have been used in more than 50 mass shootings since 1980.
     Brown has vetoed similar bills targeting bullet buttons and high-capacity magazines during his second stint as governor.
     The committee also approved regulations for homemade firearms known as “ghost guns.” Under Senate Bill 1407, anyone assembling a firearm would have to submit to a background check, register the gun with the state Department of Justice and get a serial number.
     The California Police Chiefs Association supported the bill and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, said the homemade guns are becoming more popular with criminals who can easily assemble or purchase them on the black market.
     “There’s a black market for privately assembled ghost guns because criminals and those with bad intentions can acquire them without background checks, serial numbers and other gun-related laws and regulations,” said De Leon in a statement.
     Brown also vetoed De Leon’s 2014 proposal to regulate ghost guns, Senate Bill 808.
     Opponents testified that the bills would encourage large-scale gun confiscation and criminalize responsible owners who use their weapons for sporting purposes. Critics promised lawsuits and claim the Legislature continues to hold a grudge against Golden State gun owners.
     Gun-control proposals have poured in following the San Bernardino attack in both the state Senate and Assembly. Measures restricting the number of firearm purchases and another bullet button proposal passed an Assembly committee on a party-line vote in March.
     Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing a ballot initiative mandating background checks for ammunition purchases and licensing for ammunition dealers. If voters accept the “Safety for All Campaign,” California would become the first state to require background checks for ammunition purchases.
     The National Rifle Association and the California State Sheriffs’ Association denounced the proposal in a letter to Newsom, writing that it would “create a new class of criminals.”

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