SACRAMENTO (UPI) — California, already known for being one of the strictest states in the country when it comes to gun control, took additional regulatory steps Friday by imposing new restrictions on purchases for assault weapons and ammunition.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed six new gun control bills Friday at the state capitol in Sacramento, one day after California lawmakers approved several new measures related to firearms to “enhance public safety.”
One bill bans semiautomatic assault rifles with so-called “bullet buttons,” which enable the user to quickly remove an empty magazine and replace it with a full clip. Another mandates that gun owners who purchase certain ammunition undergo a background check.
Another bill prohibits the possession of high-capacity magazines, which can hold 10 bullets or more, for firearms classified as assault weapons.
The bills were passed by a legislature largely controlled by Democrats over the objections of the body’s small Republican contingent. The actions of Brown, who has in the past been a bit hesitant to over-regulate firearms, surprised some lawmakers and observers.
While the governor signed off on six new measures, he conversely vetoed five others that he believed reached too far into gun owners’ constitutional rights — including one that sought to take guns away from persons considered too dangerous, through expanded restraining order authority.
Another rejected bill would have limited gun purchases for Californians to one every 30 days.
“My goal in signing these bills is to enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner, while protecting the rights of law abiding gun owners,” Brown said.
Most of the new legislation was developed following recent mass shootings in San Bernardino and Orlando. Brown’s office said Friday that an even more expansive gun control proposal will be on the November ballot.
California, which has long been one of the country’s most restrictive states on gun ownership, continued to be a leader in firearm control with the laws’ passages.
“Military assault weapons have no place on our streets,” Assemblyman Marc Levine said.
Opponents, though, reacted skeptically to Brown’s actions Friday.
“Gov. Jerry Brown today signed a draconian gun control package that turns California’s law-abiding gun owners into second-class citizens,” National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action spokeswoman Amy Hunter said. “The governor and Legislature exploited a terrorist attack to push these measures through even though the state’s already restrictive laws did nothing to stop the attack in San Bernardino.”
Brown’s actions Friday stand in contrast to the reluctance of the U.S. Congress to pass similar federal regulations.
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