California lawmakers have responded to the San Bernardino terrorist attacks in the only way they know how: by making it more difficult for law-abiding Californians to defend themselves against another attack.
The Senate last week approved 11 bills that all restrict the use, purchase, and manufacture of firearms and ammunition.
It’s a massive slate of bills, all of which are designed to disarm lawful residents of the Golden State. Here are three of the most significant:
- SB 1235 requires background checks to buy ammunition.
- SB 1446 bans the ownership of any ammunition clip that holds more than 10 rounds.
- SB 880 expands the legal definition of an “assault weapon” to include a group of rifles with ammunition clips that can be quickly swapped out by using a bullet to push a small release button.
Expanding the legal definition of “assault weapon” in this way effectively bans all semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Gun violence has reached epidemic proportions across our nation,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León told his fellow Senators. “We cannot stand by while our communities suffer from this horrific violence. These proposals take common sense steps to keep weapons and ammunition out of the hands of criminals.”
Senator De León failed to explain how additional laws would keep guns out of the hands of people who, by definition, do not obey the law.
He also failed to address the fact that the San Bernardino terrorists bought their guns legally and later modified them. None of the proposed measures outlaw gunsmithing tools, so it isn’t clear how these new laws would keep terrorists from modifying future rifles in a similar fashion.
The bills must now pass the Assembly, which, according to the Times, has traditionally stood up for gun rights more so than the Senate. Unfortunately for Californians, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said this week he is committed to pushing the measures through.
The best hope for the pro-gun community in California may come from Gov. Jerry Brown, who, though a Democrat, has vetoed a number of anti-gun bills that he believed were overreaching.
According to ABC 7, Gov. Brown vetoed the legislature’s last attempt to expand the definition of an “assault weapon” because he felt it exceeded their rightful power. Gov. Brown is by no means friendly to the Second Amendment, but he doesn’t seem overly inclined to make California’s strict gun laws much stricter.
Pro-gun California legislators—along with the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of California, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation—voiced their disapproval of the measures but haven’t been able to gain much traction in the legislature.