Law Enforcement, Mayors Join Senate Democrats in Proposals to Curb Gun Violence

February 07, 2013

(Sacramento) – Senate Democrats have unveiled ten legislative actions to curb gun violence in California designed to close loopholes in the existing regulations, keep the circulation of firearms and ammunition out of the hands of dangerous persons, and strengthen education relating to firearms and gun ownership.

The legislation would limit the proliferation of rapid-reload weapons, by banning rifles with detachable magazines and making all high-capacity magazines illegal to possess in California. The measures also will regulate the purchase of ammunition, strengthen efforts to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and require gun owners to be educated, trained and tested in the safe use of firearms.

“We respect the Second Amendment right of law abiding citizens to have guns for hunting, for sport, for protecting their homes and families. But loopholes in California’s tough gun laws have been exploited long enough,” said Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. “We can save lives by curbing the proliferation of guns designed to be fired and reloaded rapidly. We can save lives by getting guns and ammunition out of the hands of the wrong people. We can save lives if every gun owner knows how to safely handle those guns. And if we can save lives, we must act to do so.”

Among those showing strong support for the proposed measures are Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus, Emeryville Police Chief Ken James, El Cerrito Police Chief Sylvia Moir, the Brady Campaign and other advocates for prevention of gun violence.

"This Senate package builds on California’s strong record and takes the next step with smart policies that close loopholes that have remained open for too long," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "Other states, cites, and the federal government need to join us and do everything we can - as quickly as we can - to keep our communities safe."

“Violence does not know City borders and no single Mayor can stop gun violence alone.  But if we work together – as a region, as a state and as a nation – we can make a real impact,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “Under the leadership of President Steinberg, the Senate has taken a comprehensive look at existing law, strengthening what’s there and addressing loopholes, while addressing the enforcement backlog so that we can reduce gun violence and make Californians safer. We must do everything we possibly can to prevent another tragedy.”

The ten legislative actions are contained in bills being authored by Senator Steinberg (D-Sacramento), Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego), Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), Senator and Chair of the Public Safety Committee Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), and Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco). 

Senate Democrats’ Ten Legislative Actions

REGULATION: Closing loopholes in existing laws

Fixed magazines (Steinberg): Prohibit the future sale, purchase, manufacture, importation, or transfer in California of semi-automatic rifles that can accept detachable magazines. This legislative action decisively closes the loopholes that have allowed the gun industry to flood our communities with rapid-reload battlefield weapons.

EXAMPLE: The featureless Mini-14 rifle, which contributed to the deaths of 69 people in the 2011 Norway massacre. This rapid-reloading firearm is currently legal in California.

High Capacity magazines (Hancock): Ban possession of large capacity ammunition magazines over 10 rounds. This legislative action decisively closes loopholes that have allowed the gun industry to enable the assembly and home-modification of 10-round magazines into larger capacity magazines.

EXAMPLE: In 2011, Jared Lee Loughner was able to fire 31 bullets in 15 seconds because he had supersized his Glock 19 handgun with a high-capacity magazine. In those 15 seconds, he shot 19 people, killing six, wounding 13 others.

Bullet button (Yee): This legislative action closes the loophole that has allowed the gun industry to flood our communities with modification tools to rapidly detach and replace magazines from semi-automatic rifles.

Shotgun Definition (Jackson):  This legislative action updates the definition of a banned shotgun with a revolving cylinder to include the new technology of a shotgun-rifle combination.

EXAMPLE: The “circuit judge” with a rifled bore and revolving cylinder, capable of rapidly firing both 0.410 gauge shotgun shells and .45 caliber ammunition and has the same characteristics of the 1990s Street Sweeper.

CIRCULATION: Keeping weapons and ammunition in the hands of responsible gun owners

Requires Ownership Record of all Guns (Steinberg): Applies ownership records consistently across-the-board, ensuring all firearms are recorded, and ensuring that no firearms of any classification are legally accessible to prohibited persons or persons without a background check.

Ammunition Purchase Permit (de Leon): Expanding on what Los Angeles and Sacramento are already doing requiring anyone wishing to purchase ammunition in California to obtain a purchase permit first, by passing a full and complete background check.

Gun Loans (Block): This legislative action prevents unregulated gun loans, with exceptions, including hunting. To limit legal accessibility of weapons to prohibited persons or persons without a background check.

APPS Expansion (Leno): This legislative action prohibits individuals on APPS from residing in a home with any weapons. Expand the APPS list by adding more than two DUIs, other crimes. 

APPS Enforcement (Leno/Steinberg): This legislative action authorizes DOJ to use existing DROS funding to eliminate the 19,000 backlog of individuals on APPS.

EDUCATION: Fostering a culture of responsible and informed gun ownership

Fire arm safety certificate (Block): This legislative action will establish a safety certificate for handguns, mirroring the training currently required annually to lawfully carry a concealed weapon (CCW).