Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 – 9:08 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 – 7:42 am

For years, California has had some of the nation’s toughest gun control laws, but that hasn’t deterred its politicians from writing ever more restrictions on sale and possession of firearms and ammunition.

The 2013 legislative session was an especially active venue for gun control proposals, with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg the chief advocate for doing “everything we can to lessen the carnage in our streets.”

Steinberg’s measure to prohibit semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, dubbed “assault weapons” by their foes, was the centerpiece of the gun control package – although it would have restricted many guns devoted to hunting and target shooting. And it was too much for Gov. Jerry Brown to swallow.

“I don’t believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners’ rights,” Brown said in his veto message.

Brown did sign some other gun control measures, however, and California still may have the nation’s toughest such laws.

Perhaps – as Brown implied in his veto message – it’s going too far, piling on gun restrictions zealously with little thought to their efficacy and even less to their constitutionality.

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