California Senate Makes Multiple Moves to Restrict Gun Rights

Detachable magazines, ammunition purchase without background check, and magazines holding more than 10 bullets among many things the California Senate wants to outlaw.


The California Senate late last week passed 11 new bills aimed at restricting gun rights in various ways (even more than the state already does), all of which must go to the state Assembly now before ending up on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. (Brown is not always a reliable supporter of gun right restrictions.)

Among the things that would be risk getting you locked up in California if the Senate gets its way includes buying ammunition without a background check, possessing magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, or selling or making semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines. If you already own such, you will be required under penalty of law to "register them with the state as assault rifles," reports the Los Angeles Times.

jdlasica via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

The politicking was as usual pretty partisan along Democratic (pro the new laws) and Republican (against) lines and drowned in unproven rhetoric about the harms they will prevent and weapons that allegedly have "no legitimate use" despite being owned by millions legitimately, in the sense of not being used to harm innocents.

Details of some of the other bills, from the Times report:

—Require owners of homemade guns to get a serial number for the firearms, register them with the state and undergo a background check.

— Ask voters in November to reverse a provision of 2014's Proposition 47 that made thefts of guns worth $950 or less a misdemeanor. The measure would allow felony charges in all gun theft cases. Republicans supported this measure.

— Mandate that gun owners report lost or stolen firearms to the authorities within five days of discovery that they are missing. Some straw purchasers illegally sell guns and then later claim they were stolen.

— Limit lending of firearms to specified family members.

— Establish a Firearm Violence Research Center at one of the University of California campuses to study potential policies to reduce shooting deaths and injuries.

Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee notes both the complicated inter-Democratic war over Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's anti-gun ballot measure tied in to the Senate bills, as well as the fact that the bills are more about punishing gun owners than any proven public safety benefits:

The bills were rushed through the Senate for reasons that have nothing to do with gun violence, but rather three-sided political jousting.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing his own gun control ballot measure, and he and de León have been feuding, with the latter openly urging the former to drop his measure.

One factor is fear among some Democrats that having Newsom's gun control measure on the November ballot would encourage turnout among gun-owning voters that would hurt the party's other causes and candidates, as it did in the 1982 election for governor.

And of course Attorney General Kamala Harris cheers the bills.