Gov. Jerry Brown signed six gun-control bills into California law on Friday. They encompass restrictions on semiautomatic rifles, as well as a requirement that ammunition purchasers go through background checks in order to “enhance public safety” in California.
Gun regulation advocates did not get everything they wanted, as the governor vetoed five other measures, like an expansion on the use of restraining orders to confiscate guns from individuals.
The Legislature approved on Thursday a dozen gun-control bills introduced in the aftermath of December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, which left 14 dead. The tragic events in Orlando, having claimed 49 lives, helped push the bills through.
“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 stated in a signing message.
The California spokesperson for the The National Rifle Assn. Institute for Legislative Action, Amy Hunter, excused the governor of using tragedy for political momentum: “Gov. Jerry Brown today signed a draconian gun control package that turns California’s law-abiding gun owners into second-class citizens. 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.”
The bills, including a ban on sales of semiautomatic rifles with “bullet buttons”, which enable the swift taking out of a magazine and the reloading of the gun.
Brown is a gun owner. He hunted when he was younger. In 2013, he vetoed numerous gun control bills.
Brown said then: “I don’t believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semiautomatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners’ rights.”
He was happy with Friday’s version, citing its better focus. Brown’s office evoked Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s expansive gun control measures which will appear on the November ballot in the state.
“The governor took swift action today and voters will have a chance to go even further in November, if they choose, with the lieutenant governor’s initiative,” remarked Evan Westrup, Brown’s spokesman.
Newsom sees the actions as a start. “Today’s steps in the right direction will grow into a giant leap forward for public safety if voters pass the Safety for All initiative to keep guns and ammo out of the wrong hands.”