June 30, 2016 – 2:25 P.M.
Spurred by outrage over recent mass shootings, California lawmakers on Thursday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a sweeping package of gun control bills, including a ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, background checks for those buying ammunition and new restrictions on homemade firearms.
The flood of bills was introduced in response to the December terrorist attack in San Bernardino that killed 14 people at a holiday party, but momentum for action swelled after the June 12 mass shooting at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub that killed 49 people.
“The killer sprayed that nightclub with bullets,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said during the floor debate Thursday. “How could someone filled with so much hate have such easy access to ammunition?”
Among the bills the Senate sent the governor was a measure from De León that would require ammunition buyers to show an ID and have their name checked against a list of felons and others prohibited from having firearms.
Most Republicans voted against that bill and others. Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber said the measures would hinder citizens who obey the laws and would be ignored by criminals.
“Gun violence is not committed by law-abiding citizens, it is committed by criminals,” Nielsen said during the floor debate.
The measures were expedited to the governor’s desk Thursday in hopes that he might act on them immediately.
Legislators hope to convince Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to drop an initiative that has qualified for the November ballot that contains many of the same provisions in the gun bills approved Thursday. Newsom has indicated he has no plans to drop his ballot measure by Thursday’s deadline, saying his proposal goes further in controlling firearms.
California already has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, including a ban on assault rifles, but lawmakers said the new bills were meant to plug loopholes exploited by gun manufacturers and owners.
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