California lawmakers pass expanded semi-automatic weapons ban

SACRAMENTO Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:56pm EDT

People fire at targets at the Los Angeles gun club in Los Angeles, January 23, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

People fire at targets at the Los Angeles gun club in Los Angeles, January 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - New sales of semi-automatic rifles with removable magazines would be banned in California under a bill passed by the Democratic-led state legislature on Tuesday, and those who already own such weapons would have to register them.

The measure, which passed the state Assembly 44-31 and is expected to go to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature after amendments are approved in the state Senate, is one of a package of gun control bills passed earlier this year by senators in the wake of the massacre last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

It would classify as an assault weapon as any rifle that accepts a detachable magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and would ban its sale or purchase. People who already own such weapons would be required to register them.

"How many more innocent men, women and children have to be slaughtered while going about their daily lives before we do something?" asked Assemblyman Reginald B. Jones-Sawyer, Sr., a Democrat from Los Angeles, speaking in favor of the ban.

He ticked off a gruesome list of recent gun massacres: Sandy Hook, killings at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, the Colorado movie theater killings and others.

The road to passage has not been easy for several of the weapons measures introduced this year, despite California's history of strong gun control laws and large legislative majorities for Democrats, who tend to favor them.

New voting laws in the state have made it necessary for many Democrats - particularly in the Assembly - to win over moderates and conservatives, and Republicans were joined by several Democrats in opposing the bill.

"I don't know what the right word is to express how strongly I oppose this bill," said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican who represents the Southern California community of Twin Peaks, complaining that it amounted to a direct swipe against the constitutional right to bear arms.

California, which has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, already bans rifles with large-capacity fixed magazines, which cannot be removed. This bill would expand that ban to add rifles that accept large-capacity removable magazines.

Other bills in the package passed by the Senate would have tightened additional laws, including banning a type of trigger known as a button.

Faced with reluctance by the more conservative, but still Democratic leaning, state Assembly to take up the package, Assembly Speaker John Perez, himself a gun owner, placed the bills in legislative limbo where they remained for months.

Now, with the end of the session looming on Thursday, Perez late last week released three of the bills, including the one passed on Tuesday. Six Democrats joined Assembly Republicans to vote in the minority against the measure.

Two other bills remain active from the original package, and are expected to be heard later this week.

One would ban possession of any ammunition clip that holds more than 10 rounds, and the other bans people with multiple drug and alcohol convictions and convictions for gang-related crimes from owning a firearm for 10 years.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Ken Wills)

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Comments (20)
a brain dead monkey can understand such laws will not stop criminals. But in Cali the commie state they want to ban everything YOU might have to defend your family and you!

Sep 11, 2013 3:21am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Joshua1054 wrote:
“Other bills in the package passed by the Senate would have tightened additional laws, including banning a type of trigger known as a button.”

This is a joke. Reuters needs to fire the incompetent idiot who wrote this. A bullet button is not a trigger. It is a device that replaces that standard magazine release on an AR-15. On a regular AR-15, all you have to do is push the button with your finger and the magazine is release and a new one can be inserted. With a bullet button, one can no longer do this, but must use a tool to press in the button (like using a paper clip to hit that reset button on some electronics). It is called the bullet button because CA law itself defines a fixed magazine as one that requires the use of a tool to remove it. The tip of a bullet counts as a tool. Those are the DOJ’s exact words.

The current AWB bans any semi-auto, centerfire with a fixed magazine over ten rounds, and any centerfire semiauto with a detachable magazine and any one of several features (like a pistol grip). The bullet button made the gun a fixed magazine, thus allowing for features.

This is not even the first error in the article. SB 374 includes the “bullet button” ban. The other bill was redundant. It redefines fixed magazine as requiring the disassembly of the action.

“It would classify as an assault weapon as any rifle that accepts a detachable magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition”

No. It does not. It would classify as an assault weapon any centerfire semiautomatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine (regardless of how many rounds in that magazine…after all I can get 5 round magazines for an AR-15 as if often used in hunting, or 30 rounders). As amended, semiauto rimfires (like the 10/22) would be unaffected.

As would magazine fed lever actions (old Savages with a rotary magazine) and bolt actions.

“One would ban possession of any ammunition clip that holds more than 10 rounds”

The proper term is ammunition feeding device. The sale of any magazine, clip, etc holding more than 10 is already banned. This goes after already owned ones. It would creates problems for some handguns, where though the magazine holds ten or less (being blocked to comply to law), its body is larger, necessarily so to fit the grip. But they never consider such problems. BTW, a magazine is not the same a clip. An M-1 Garand is reloaded with a clip. An AR-15 with a magazine.

Sep 11, 2013 3:26am EDT  --  Report as abuse
VidiVeritas wrote:
California gun owners are guilty before proven innocent. These lawmakers want to make gun ownership in California as difficult as possible. Just remember during the L.A. Riots when LAPD officers were told to stay inside and storekeepers were defending their businesses on their own using semiautomatic rifles.

Sep 11, 2013 3:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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