Bill introduced in the Senate to ban assault weapons

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A bill to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines was introduced today by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and a number of other senators.

The announcement states, “We’re introducing an updated Assault Weapons Ban for one reason:  so that after every mass shooting with a military-style assault weapon, the American people will know that a tool to reduce these massacres is sitting in the Senate, ready for debate and a vote.”

It goes on to assert that the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 should have been extended in 2004, that it was, “just starting to show an effect when the NRA stymied its reauthorization.”

The bill “includes a grandfather clause that exempts all weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment.”

The bill would ban “any assault weapon that accepts a detachable ammunition magazine, and has one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel, or a folding or telescoping stock.”  Also included in the ban, “magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds without needing to reload,” and “bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.”

Also, the bill would “require a background check on any future sale, trade, or gifting of an assault weapon covered by the bill,” and that “grandfathered assault weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.”  The transfer of high-capacity magazines would also be prohibited.

Feinstein’s announcement states, “to my colleagues in Congress, I say do your job.”  (Just not this one).

 

New Gun Control Measures Signed Into Law in California

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Katie Aguilera

On Thursday, June 30, 2016, the California senate approved a series of gun control measures.  On Friday, Governor Brown signed many of them into law to take effect next year.

These include the requirement that owners of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds must give them up.  They also make the sale of guns with bullet buttons illegal and require current owners of such guns to register them.  Additionally, the new laws will require that ammunition sellers be licensed, and that purchasers of ammunition undergo a background check and the purchases must be recorded.

The measures were pushed through the Senate in order to have them passed before the summer recess in an effort to “forestall a competing gun control proposal headed for the November ballot” according to this Huffington Post article.  That article goes on to say it was rushed through because Democrats “worried in part that Newsom’s [Lt Governor Gavin Newsom] initiative would boost turnout in November among Republicans who oppose gun control.”

This Mercury News article puts it this way:

Speaking to reporters after the vote, De Leon [California Senate’s top Democrat, Kevin de Leon] thanked Newsom for “keeping gun control on the front burner” and inspiring the Legislature to act.  But citing concerns that Newsom’s measure could fail, he insisted the Capitol is the best place to craft tighter rules for gun owners–not the ballot box.  In addition, many Democratic leaders worry that the measure could drive pro-gun voters to the polls in November and swing close congressional and legislative races.

A valid concern, considering that according to polls discussed in this Yahoo News article, in 2014, 63 percent of Americans believe guns make homes safer, and California protesters are already saying that they won’t comply with the new laws.

Don’t let those pesky voters decide for themselves!

These new laws passed in California, not unlike the passage of  Senate Bill 277 among others, are important as California often leads the way on such changes. If California sets the precedent, other states may follow suit.

The Yahoo News article linked above states, “long a legislative leader in the US on issues from energy to farming, California’s new gun control package also comes amid growing judicial concerns about so-called right to carry laws, which give officials little leeway in denying concealed carry licenses.  Last month, the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of California to control who can carry a concealed weapon, requiring ‘good cause’ to do so.”

There is a plethora of information available online regarding the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of gun control laws.  Here are just a few to consider, this article on assault weapon bans, this video, and this video, both on gun control measures.  You can also read what I wrote after the San Bernardino shootings here.

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