The California Senate approved seven new gun control bills on Wednesday that impose strict regulations on the sales and purchases of firearms.
“We all can recite the horrific acts that have occurred in our country over the last year,” said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D.-Sacramento, referring to the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn. and Aurora, Colo. “These bills attempt to respond to those well publicized tragedies and many more that go unpublicized.”
One of the bills, SB 53, requires registration of ammunition. In order to buy or sell ammo, individuals would have to pay a $50 fee to the California Department of Justice, “which would maintain a list of qualified buyers that would be checked by ammo stores. Purchasers would have to show their driver’s license or other ID at the time they buy bullets,” reports the LA Times.
“To purchase a product that has the potential to maim or kill another human being you can (now) walk into a gun store, no questions asked,” said Sen. Kevin De Leon, D.-Los Angeles, who authored SB 53. “I think that’s a little outrageous.”
The other passed bills include:
SB 47 by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco: bans so-called “bullet buttons” used to get around existing laws banning detachable magazines
SB 374 by Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento: bans detachable magazines in rifles
SB 396 by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley: prohibits possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition
SB 567 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara: changes the definition of certain kinds of shotguns to make them assault weapons
SB 683 by Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego: requires all gun buyers to take a firearm safety class and earn a safety certificate
SB 755 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis: increases the number of crimes – including drug addiction, chronic alcoholism and others – that result in a 10-year ban on being allowed to own a gun
The bills passed by a 22-14 vote. The 14 who voted against it were mainly Republicans such as Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber, who criticized the bill as too broad.
“We are criminalizing legal, historic behavior in the state of California and putting onerous burdens and regulations and requirements on law-abiding citizens,” said Nielsen.
It wasn’t just Republicans who opposed the bills, though. Four Democrats voted against them, such as Sen. Roderick Wright of Inglewood, who said that he believes that the right to buy ammunition is implied in the Second Amendment.
The gun rights community has also offered criticism of the bills.
“Naturally, these are all measures that would be considered reprehensible by the same people proposing them if they were directed against free speech, voting rights or gay marriage instead of firearms,” writes Nick Leghorn of the blog The Truth About Guns. “But lawful gun owners are the favorite whipping boys for the civilian disarmers who hold that legal gun owners are the root cause of ‘gun violence.’ Background checks for voter registration? Mandating a civics class before you get to the ballot box? Defining marriage as being between people with certain features? Yeah, somehow I don’t think that would fly in San Fransisco.”
The bills now make their way to the California Assembly for passage.