11 Gun Control Bills in California Pushed Through
California lawmakers take urgent action after Orlando shooting
The aftermath of the Orlando shooting left California had lawmakers in a rush to push through 11 gun control bills. Opponents of the measures accused legislators of politicizing the tragedy that left 49 victims dead and several others injured at a gay nightclub in Florida after a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic firearm.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a gun control initiative for November, stating that December’s terrorist shooting in San Bernardino that killed 14 people illustrates how existing gun laws aren’t working. Newsom argues that the “fact that this individual allegedly was able to purchase an assault rifle so easily despite being watched by the FBI suggests that our gun laws are wholly inadequate in this country.”
Newsom and Democratic state lawmakers say Congress is falling short of results, so it’s up to the states.
Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) said the Orlando shooting is a “call to action” in an effort to make dangerous weapons not so easily available.
California law bans the sale of AR-15-style assault weapons, the gun the shooter had when he shot his way into the Orlando nightclub and brutally killed and injured so many patrons.
What the California gun control bills dictate
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said the bills scheduled for action Tuesday in legislative committees would essentially close loopholes that allow the sale of assault rifles with detachable ammunition magazines.
Additional measures would outlaw the possession of magazines that have the ability to hold 10 bullets, and require background checks on individuals buying ammunition.
Newsom’s initiative is similar in that it would require background checks for ammunition buyers, ban large-capacity magazines, and order the fast removal of guns from those disqualified from owning them due to a felony conviction or other offenses.
Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and a known advocate for gun owners, blasts lawmakers for trying to use a terrible tragedy as a tool to make bad legislation. He says it’s the “latest effort by anti-gun politicians to exploit tragedy to extinguish what little remains of the Second Amendment in California.”
Chuck D. Michel, president of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, is just one opponent of the California gun control bills. He said the “worst response to attacks” like the one in Orlando “is to strip law-abiding citizens of their rights and the ability to protect themselves and their families.”
The series of bills pending in the Legislature were introduced in response to the San Bernardino attack on December 2. Democratic Assemblymen Rob Bonta of Oakland and David Chiu of San Francisco cite the Orlando shooting in pushing through the measures.
Another bill being pushed through is one Ting proposed that would extend a year-old law giving law enforcement and family members permission to request that a court issue a restraining order to seize guns from people they deem as dangerous.
Ting notes the Orlando shooter’s wife would’ve had the law on her side if she spoke up since she had concerns over his actions.
Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) urged approval of the gun bills.
Equality California lobbying for gun control bills
It was reported in the Sacramento Bee that Equality California is supporting the legislative push for more firearms restrictions. The LGBT organization joined lawmakers at Los Angeles City Hall on June 17 to endorse a package of nearly a dozen gun control bills.
Equality California has vowed to “aggressively lobby” in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. The organization is still evaluating Newsom’s initiative.
On June 16, Democratic senators in Washington, D.C. took on a 15-hour filibuster in an attempt to force a vote on their gun control bills.