New gun control bills in California could make it the most firearms-restrictive state in the US.
Lawmakers are now doing a final review of a whole host of Second Amendment-infringing bill. One of the gun control laws would ban a vast array of semi-automatic rifles. Another would enact even more strict regulations on ammunition used and purchased within the state.
In March Guns & Ammo magazine ranked California 47th in its list of best states for gun owners, ahead of only Massachusetts (48th), New Jersey (49th) and New York (50th). (Arizona ranked first, Vermont second and Alaska third.)
“When we see movement on the California bills and the sort of tenacity that you had post-Newtown, it makes it really hard for the gun lobby to say the momentum has gone away,” Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristen Rand told the San Jose Mercury News. “And it’s certainly something Congress pays attention to. You can’t underestimate how important it is for Congress to see movement in the states, especially big states like California.”
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the various gun control bills would:
- “add all semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines to the state’s list of banned assault weapons;
- “ban owning any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds, including existing ones;
- “ban ‘bullet buttons’ that allow fast swapping of rifle magazines;
- “require long-gun buyers to pass a written safety test;
- “add more crimes to the list of those that would bar someone from carrying a firearm.”
Said firearms expert and tactical trainer Patrick J.G. Troy, “Since the Second Amendment to our Constitution only discusses the right of the people to keep and bear arms — have them in your possession and on your person — providing no specific protection for ammunition, the left sees this as their opportunity to make gun ownership of no value by eliminating the supply of ammunition. Ammo is in short supply nationwide and has been since [Barack Obama] was re-elected. The Sandy Hook tragedy and subsequent gun banning/gun confiscation rhetoric that followed put the demand for ammunition over the top and that, coupled with the DHS actively seeking to deplete the national ammunition supply by purchasing 1.6 billion rounds, has left the retail shelves bare for months.”
California state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, said the bills are needed.
“We’re going to be open to amendments and suggestions from the administration and the Assembly, but we think we’ve hit the sweet spot in a lot of these areas,” Steinberg told the Mercury News. “… We ought to do everything we can to protect the people of our state from some of these horrible things that have happened.”
Democratic Assembly Speaker John Perez recently stated that he was “struck” by gun rights advocates’ statements that a significant increase in firearms ownership in recent years was the reason the California crime rate had gone down. Perez instead feels that increasingly stringent gun laws should receive the credit for the violent crime reduction.
“That means California can continue to have very strict gun control laws and not infringe on people’s individual rights to purchase guns,” Perez said “I’m also a gun owner, and so I’m always very thoughtful about how you balance safety concerns and the law enforcement concerns of gun control with the individual rights of gun owners.”
Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said California will not impact what happens in the nation’s capital.
“While they may try to reignite their lost momentum, I don’t think anything California does is going to affect what Washington does,” Keane said. “We constantly see a barrage of anti-gun, anti-industry legislation being introduced in California, far more than in any other state.”