Arguing that it is not the number of gun laws already on the books but "the degree of public safety provided," Assembly Member Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, told the Sacramento Bee that California "has room to improve."
What are some of the new gun laws that may be voted on in Sacramento?
Currently in the works is a permanent prohibition for mentally ill Californians to purchase any type of firearm. Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, explains that mental illness currently prevents a Californian from purchasing a firearm. However, if the would-be gun buyer completes a treatment program and petitions the court, the legal finding of being "mentally disordered" may be set aside and the petitioner may regain the right to purchase a firearm. Considering it a worrisome loophole, Gaines proposes that "if the court has ruled you are a danger to others, that's it. That is your one strike. We are not going to pave the way for you to own a firearm ever again."
Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, intends to push through legislation that would prohibit "bullet buttons" and "mag magnets" for semi-automatic weapons. He also intends to author legislation that would call for a yearly registration as well as background check for gun owners. Moreover, he wants to introduce a law requiring "that all guns have a locked trigger and be properly stored in a lock box when not in use."
What is the current process for purchasing a firearm in California?
As noted by the Office of the Attorney General, any firearms purchases -- including those at gun shows and via private party transactions -- must be made through a licensed dealer and are subject to background checks. There is a 10-day waiting period before the buyer can legally receive the weapon. A buyer must be at least 18 years old to purchase a shotgun or rifle. For buyers of handguns, the minimum age is 21. During the purchase process, the buyer must show proof of identification, legal United States residency status and proof of California residency.
Which firearms are banned in California?
With the exception of antique firearms and exemptions for those who are legally entitled to carry certain types of firearms, California Firearms Laws make it unlawful to "own, possess, lend, manufacture, import, sell, or offer to sell" any short-barreled shotgun or rifle. It is also illegal to "sell, offer for sale, possess, or knowingly transport any machinegun." Moreover, California has declared it a felony "to manufacture, distribute, transport, import into California or keep or offer for sale, or give or lend" assault weapons.
How are Californians reacting to the possibility of tighter gun regulations?
The Press-Enterprise reports that California gun sales are skyrocketing. Between October and November, background check requests increased by 27 percent. Actual gun sales went up by 49 percent after the November election. As noted by the California Department of Justice, there may be 725,000 legal gun sales in California in 2012.
Sylvia Cochran is a Los Angeles area resident with a firm finger on the pulse of California politics. Talk radio junkie, community volunteer and politically independent, she scrutinizes the good and the bad from both sides of the political aisle.
- Politics & Government