Calif. seeks to adopt nation's toughest gun laws
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Weeks after New York enacted the nation's toughest gun laws, California lawmakers said Thursday they want their state to do even more in response to recent mass shootings, particularly the Connecticut school massacre.
Democrats who control the state Legislature revealed 10 bills that they said would make California the most restrictive state for possessing firearms. They were joined at a Capitol news conference by the mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
"California has always been a leader on the issue of gun safety," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "New York has stepped up and stepped forward. California needs to answer the call."
Among the bills is one that would outlaw the future sale of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines -- a restriction that would prevent an assailant from quickly reloading. Lawmakers also want to make some prohibitions apply to current gun owners, not just to people who buy weapons in the future.
Like New York, California also would require background checks for buying ammunition and would add to the list of prohibited weapons.
Those buying ammunition would have to pay a fee and undergo an initial background check by the Department of Justice, similar to what is required now before buyers can purchase a weapon. Subsequent background checks would be done instantly by an ammunition seller checking the Justice Department's records.
The measures also would ban possession of magazines holding more than 10 bullets, even by those who now own them legally. All weapons would have to be registered.
The bills are the most stringent to date among numerous proposals introduced this year to strengthen California's firearm regulations.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said he is confident Democrats can use their majorities in the Assembly and Senate to send the measures to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown this year.
Brown has declined to comment on weapons legislation before it reaches him.