California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law half a dozen gun bills on Friday, unnerving rural and more conservative segments of the northern state, who turned to familiar tales of violations gun law and government overreach.
The bills, sent to Brown’s office a day earlier, will create a regulatory framework for ammunition purchases that could lead to mandatory background checks, redefine “assault weapons” at the state level to include more types of guns, limiting the loan of guns to family members only, and limiting gun magazines to 10 rounds or less.
The new laws come into force next year.
“My goal in signing these bills is to improve public safety by strengthening our existing laws in a responsible and purposeful manner, while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Brown said in a statement. from his office.
The reaction of local elected officials was immediate.
Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, said Thursday night that ammunition limits would increase cost and availability for hunters in rural areas. Redefining a rifle without a fixed magazine will also force hunters to register weapons that are rarely used in criminal activity.
“We all want to reduce gun violence,” Dahle said. “But these votes treat regular shotguns as ‘military-style weapons.’ They aren’t, but too many lawmakers are voting out of fear and ignorance.”
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said the bills would impose additional costs on law-abiding citizens and create additional burdens on law enforcement.
“Overall, I think they will do little or nothing to stop the criminal element from acquiring guns,” he said.
Bosenko favored a bill that would have sent voters an amendment to Proposition 47 — the voter-approved initiative to reclassify certain crimes as misdemeanors that are reported locally as contributing to rising crime — to make theft of weapons a crime. Brown, however, vetoed this bill.
“It was a bill that could have made a difference on crime, yet it was vetoed,” he said.
Patrick Jones, of the Redding Jones Fort armoury, estimates ammunition makes up about a quarter of his business.
“It’s going to change a lot of things,” Jones said. “I just don’t see people getting that permit and registering that ammunition with the state of California every time they buy.”
Instead, more people will likely leave the state to buy ammunition without the same limits as in California, he said.
For Mike Schroeder, who has run ammunition wholesaler The Cartridge Family since 2014, sales could increase before the ammunition law comes into effect, but then slow significantly.
“I know none of my clients are going to sign up or do a background check,” Schroeder said.
Schroeder said he would likely halt retail sales once the law takes effect in favor of wholesale and bulk trade. The law will likely end ammunition sales at gun shows and possibly force people to buy bullets illegally, he said.
“These laws, they’re just awful, every single one of them,” Schroeder said.
Jones called the bills — including most of those Brown vetoed — government overreach.
“They attack the wrong people and we know it,” he said. “They are misleading the public by saying that these measures will somehow stop criminal behavior.”
The vetoes included bills that would have made stealing a gun a grand theft, expanding the definition of a “firearm” to include home-made guns, limiting any purchase of firearms to one per months, expanding the range of who could apply for gun violence prohibition orders and demanding tighter reporting deadlines for victims of gun theft.
Gun control measures have long been popular with Democratic lawmakers who control the California Senate and Assembly. But they stepped up their efforts this year after the December shooting in San Bernardino by a couple who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, the Associated Press reported.
Advocates on both sides of the gun control debate say California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. According to the AP, it is one of six states to earn the highest rating from the Pro-Gun Control Legal Center for preventing gun violence.
Signed into law
Senate Bill 1235: Requires background checks on ammunition purchases and creates a statewide tracking system for ammunition purchases. The bill is contingent on voters passing a similar initiative in November, although absent that approval, the bill would ban the purchase of ammunition for those who do not have the right to buy firearms.
Senate Bill 880 and Assembly Bill 1135: Redefines “assault weapon” to include semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines.
Assembly Bill 1511: Limits the lending of firearms without a licensed firearms dealer to spouses or other family members.
Assembly Bill 1695: Prohibits anyone who files a false report of theft of a firearm to the police from owning a firearm for 10 years after their conviction.
Senate Bill 1446: Imposes fines from July 2017 on anyone with a gun magazine that can hold more than 10 bullets.
Assembly Bill 1176: Place on the November ballot an amendment to Proposition 47 to make gun theft a felony a grand theft. Prop. 47 made all thefts under $950 a misdemeanor. “This bill proposes to add an initiative almost identical to one that will already be on the November 2016 ballot,” Brown said. “While appreciating the authors’ intent to strive to improve public safety, I believe the goal is best achieved by presenting the measure only once to voters.”
Assembly Bill 1673: Expands the definition of “firearm” to include home-made weapons that function in the same way as a firearm. “This bill is intended to stem the growing tide of untraceable homemade firearms on our streets,” Brown said. “While I appreciate the author’s intent, the actual wording of this bill is unduly vague and could have far-reaching and unintended consequences.”
Assembly Bill 1674: Expands state law limiting handgun purchases to one per month for each type of weapon. “While well-intentioned, I believe this bill would have the effect of burdening legitimate citizens who wish to sell certain firearms they no longer need,” Brown said.
Assembly Bill 2607: Expands the list of people who can apply for a gun violence restraining order from immediate family members of the target of the order to employers, co-workers and mental health workers or school workers who have had contact with the person in the last six months. “In 2014, I signed Assembly Bill 1014 which allowed law enforcement immediate family members to apply for a gun violence prohibition order,” Brown said. “This law entered into force on January 1, 2016, so it would be premature at this stage to enact a new extension.”
Senate Bill 894: Requires the victim of gun thefts to report the crime to law enforcement within five days. “I continue to believe that responsible people report a lost or stolen firearm and irresponsible people don’t,” Brown said. “This bill is unlikely to change that.
Assembly Bill 857: Requires serial number or other official mark before assembling firearm as of July 2018.