Updated 10:39 pm, Thursday, February 7, 2013
Sacramento –California would significantly restrict gun use and ownership, including major new bans on ammunition magazines, under dozens of new proposed regulations that would cement the state’s status of having the strictest gun-control laws in the United States.
The magnitude of restrictions introduced by Democrats is greater than gun-rights advocates say they have ever seen at one time and puts the debate in California in the forefront, even as Congress considers a number of gun laws. The drive for tougher regulations in California also highlights the relative weakness of the gun lobby and gun manufacturers in the state.
Restrictions would include a ban on possession of all high-capacity magazines. Such magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and that were purchased before the state banned them in 2000 are currently legal.
Also, lawmakers proposed a ban on the sale of any long gun with a detachable magazine, classifying such guns as assault weapons.
‘Exploiting the fine print’
State lawmakers announced those proposals at a news conference Thursday, along with plans to impose stricter certification requirements for handgun ownership and a requirement that all guns in the state be registered, not just handguns as is required now. Other recent proposals include a tax on ammunition and requiring that gun owners acquire liability insurance.
The gun industry “is very adept at exploiting the fine print and finding ways to get around the letter of the law,” said state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. “The time is now to close those loopholes in the circulation, in regulation and in the education relating to guns and to gun ownership.”
He said he acknowledged the argument that new restrictions won’t stop gun violence in neighborhoods, but he said they would save some lives.
“If we can save lives, we must act to do so,” Steinberg said.
Lawmakers were joined by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, both Democrats, and public safety officials from around the state.
Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus played a recording of dozens and dozens of gunshots fired in rapid succession over just a few seconds at 11 p.m. at Stege Avenue and Cutting Boulevard that were picked up by the city’s gunfire recording system soon after it was put in place.
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