Last Updated:November 28 @ 05:03 pm

Democrats push gun control laws in 3 states

By Don Thompson

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Democratic leaders in three big states have used this summer's Colorado mass shooting to push bills that would crack down on assault weapons and ammunition sales, rekindling a debate that has not gained much traction in Congress or the presidential campaign.

In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn proposed that his state enact a strict ban on assault weapons, similar to California's. New York lawmakers have proposed wide-ranging legislation that would limit weapons purchases.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the Democratic state Senate leader back a bill that would make it more difficult and time-consuming to reload assault weapons. The chairmen of public safety committees in California's Assembly and Senate co-authored a bill that would require dealers to report purchases of large quantities of ammunition to law enforcement authorities.

The suspect in the July 20 Colorado shooting, James Holmes, legally bought 6,000 rounds of ammunition online without raising authorities' attention. He had four weapons, including an assault rifle, on him after the rampage that killed 12 people and injured 58 at a midnight movie screening.

"California sets the pace for the country. If there's no action in Congress, we better do something here and hope it catches fire in other states," said state Sen. Leland Yee, a San Francisco Democrat who authored the legislation that would slow down the process of reloading an assault weapon with a new magazine.

With strong support from Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York lawmakers have offered a similar rationale for proposing a series of bills that together would give their state the nation's toughest gun control laws.

"I think there is appetite for reform," Cuomo told reporters this week. "I think that's a good thing, and I think that's one of the issues I'm going to have at the top of the list next January."

Because California's legislative session ends in a few weeks and most others are done for the year, this summer's proposals will be addressed in earnest when lawmakers return next year. Some could be altered as lawmakers and governors test the appetite for reform in the months ahead.

But the push in some of the nation's most populous and liberal-leaning states illustrates a national divide, often along party lines, over whether the public should have unfettered access to military-style weaponry and ammunition.

"It's time for the people to band together in our state ... and do something about these weapons. We should remember those who lost their lives," Quinn said last month after he added his gun control proposal onto a bill that had dealt with ammunition sales.

New York state Sen. Michael Gianaris has proposed legislation limiting firearms purchases to one a month, requiring background checks for all gun sales, a firearms safety course for gun buyers and a cooling-off period before a gun could be picked up after purchase. It also would require that sales of firearms and ammunition be reported within 24 hours.

Fellow Democratic Sen. Jose Peralta also introduced a bill that would prohibit the sale or purchase of more than 500 rounds of ammunition during any 30-day period.

"The recent rash of gun violence makes clear that enough is enough," Gianaris said in a statement.

The leaders hope the legislation will go further than gun control bills have in Congress, where Republicans are generally opposed to further restrictions and Democrats are reluctant to engage on the issue during a presidential election year.

After the Colorado shooting, two Democrats introduced a bill that would prohibit the general public from buying thousands of rounds of ammunition by mail or online.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said the Senate's schedule is too crowded to allow a debate on gun control this year and has been noncommittal about whether Congress would consider the issue next year. The White House has said President Barack Obama will not push for stricter gun laws this year.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, complained after the Colorado shooting that Congress has failed since 2004 to renew the federal assault weapons ban she authored a year after a gunman killed eight people in a San Francisco high-rise in 1993.

Nor will Congress take up the bill introduced after the Colorado shootings by U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York.

"The reality is that these tragic shootings will continue if we can't break the gun lobby's stranglehold on Congress," Lautenberg said in a statement.

Since 1990, the National Rifle Association's political action committee and individuals associated with the NRA have contributed nearly $19 million to members or candidates for Congress, with 82 percent of those contributions going to Republicans, according to The Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C.

The National Rifle Association did not respond to repeated messages left by The Associated Press over several days. Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, said the state's current laws are already working and don't need to be tougher. He cited a 2010 state attorney general's report that found less than 4 percent of the weapons used in violent crimes and sent to state crime labs wereassault weapons.

"We're governed by people who have an inordinate fear, a knee-jerk, visceral, emotional reaction to guns," Paredes said.

The divide is not just between states and the federal government, but also between Democratic- and Republican-leaning states.

In Wyoming, for example, the Republican-dominated Legislature recently passed a bill allowing residents to carry concealed guns with no permit or background check. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, defended gun rights even after a shooting this week near Texas A&M University that killed three people including a police official and the gunman.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said the gun control proposals were a step in the right direction.

"There are places where we're seeing kind of the hopeful signs," he said. "But right now, there are far too few of them."


Associated Press writers Michael Gormley in Albany, N.Y.; Sophia Tareen in Chicago; Ben Neary in Cheyenne, Wyo.; and Will Weissert in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

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  1. arwenusaComment by arwenusa
    August 17, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    California sets the pace for the country? That would explain a lot — the drugs, the aggressive homosexuals, the Muslims working toward their World Caliphate, the illegals costing the US taxpayer almost half a TRILLION a year. Yes, California’s forward-thinking anything-goes philosophy has certainly set the pace.

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    • cynicalpeteComment by cynicalpete
      August 17, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

      California is a welfare state with many crazies imported from other states. Actually, it should be seized by the Federal government and the entire state “authorities” investigated.m California, the land of the fruits, nuts and freeloaders.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (17 votes cast)
    • capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
      August 17, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

      any good socialist/communist knows the way to total control of the population it to DISARM them.they wont get mine freeley.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      August 17, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

      Gun control means “I control the gun, and after 40 years of practice, I think I control it fairly well”.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (13 votes cast)
  2. Greg RoyComment by Greg Roy
    August 17, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    Jeez, CA, NY, and IL supporting gun control, who’d a thunk? You couldn’t give me those 3 $h!Tholes for free. There’s probably one or two sane individuals that live in those States, but gee whiz are they all overwhelmed by idiots. Here’s an idea, why don’t we give all 3 of those States to China and call us square as the day we met. Hell, the inhabitants of those States are are hellbent on being Socialist/Communists anyway. Sounds like win-win for everybody.

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  3. thomasjeffersonComment by thomasjefferson
    August 17, 2012 @ 10:47 am


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  4. cynicalpeteComment by cynicalpete
    August 17, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

    Gun control will give only the criminals guns, Yet the Legislatures of gun grabbing states are all protected by armed security.These hypocrites have sold their sold to criminals.

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  5. bishacudaComment by bishacuda
    August 17, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    You can’t legislate or control crazy. Crazies are not exactly well known for following the rules. Neither are criminals … or politicians.

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  6. pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
    August 17, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

    What they fail to mention everytime they talk about how much ammo the guy purchased is how much ammo he actually used. Anyone who ever carries a range bag to the shooting range knows how heavy the stuff is. I doubt if the little doofus could have carried 6,000 rounds.

    People who shoot to stay competent may purchase a case or two of ammo to save money. Thanks to lawmakers the stuff is expensive. You can save 2 or 3 bucks a box by buying in bulk. This is just a thinly veiled attempt to track gun-owners, which are primarily conservatives. They can’t register our guns so they want to force gun shops to report us to the police if we buy “too much” ammo.

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    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      August 17, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

      BTW, it is illegal to carry a gun in DC in most cases. Seems like the loony liberal that shot the guard at the FRC failed to obey that law. Imagine that. I thought gun control laws were supposed to prevent gun violence.

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  7. MarvComment by Marv
    August 17, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    As I recall when a man drove his car into a playground
    killing children, no one called for getting rid of cars.

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    • KAHR50Comment by KAHR50
      August 17, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

      I have an umbrella that doubles as a weapon too. And a rock, And a………….

      Go figure.

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  8. KAHR50Comment by KAHR50
    August 17, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

    Wow, the new BIG THREE “IL, CA, NY”. Shocking news only to those who are brain dead.

    If you chose to live in any of these three states, you deserve what you get.

    Too bad they are not contiguous states so we could draw a line around them and kick them out.

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    • MattNComment by MattN
      August 17, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

      KAHR50 says “If you chose to live in any of these three states, you deserve what you get.”

      I have lived in California most of my life. We started getting problems when the teachers unionized. That got the liberals into power and they have made sure they are re-elected each time they come up for office again.

      I don’t think I deserve what I’ve got. The fraud in the elections is higher than most people think it is (thanks liberals and progressives). I can’t get rid of a bad legislator unless he is in my district and the districts get re-drawn to make sure the incumbent continues to stay in office (both Democrats and Republicans do this). We instituted term limits and we get the same people in office supposedly for a max of 3 terms who are in office for 3 terms in each house (comes out to 18 years). We just passed a modification to that law (making it 12 years total) but it will probably be overturned by the courts.

      Take things to court and liberal judges rule from the bench (and look where the Federal 9th court exists). Once they have filled their time in the legislature they start with the cities and the higher offices (that’s how we ended up with Governor Moonbeam (Jerry Brown who is the exact opposite of his father Pat Brown). He is another Obama at the state level.

      Why do I stay here? My wife and her family live close by. My kids have bought homes and live close by. I would move in a heartbeat, but family ties me to this place.

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  9. all7741Comment by all7741
    August 17, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    According to California state senator Leland Yee, a ‘democrat’ from San Francisco, “California sets the pace for the country.” Folks we are in deep dodo!

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  10. memawComment by memaw
    August 17, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

    I wonder what our boys and girls are going to do for fun when they decide to outlaw baseball bats. They probably will throw rocks, then what?

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  11. lowlifeComment by lowlife
    August 17, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

    “To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege.” — Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878- Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, 560

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  12. nhpollackComment by nhpollack
    August 17, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    Makes sense to me. Chicago has some of the most Draconian gun laws in the country yet Chicago’s murder rate is currently quadruple that of New York and double Los Angeles’ rate.

    More Chicago residents, 228, have been killed so far this year in the city than the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan, 144, over the same period and Rahm Emanuel’s solution was to tell the gangs to aim better and not hit the children.

    More gun control, that’s the ticket! Should fix everything.

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  13. Larry ArnoldComment by Larry Arnold
    August 18, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

    “The divide is not just between states and the federal government, but also between Democratic- and Republican-leaning states.”

    I think it goes a bit further than “Republican-leaning.” According to Brady gun-control scores, since 2007 thirty-six states have strengthened gun rights. Only ten have added gun control. THAT’S the trend.

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