Firearms advocates say ‘Gunmegeddon’ bills demonise ‘law-abiding’ weapons collectors

Weapons confiscated from last Wednesday's attack in San Bernardino, California are shown in this San Bernardino County Sheriff Department handout photo from their Twitter account released to Reuters December 3, 2015. © San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department
Gun owners in California are up in arms over a series of proposed laws, which if passed by the Senate could see San Bernardino-style assault rifles banned and herald greater restrictions on ammunition.

Five bills introduced by Democratic California state senators aimed at curtailing gun violence will go before the state Senate after being approved by a panel of a public safety committee on Tuesday.

However, those against the proposed changes fear the measures would do little to hinder criminals intent on breaking the law and only demonize law-abiding gun owners.

One bill introduced by Senators Isadore Hall and Steve Glazer would amend California’s assault weapon laws to close loopholes that enabled the San Bernardino shooters to legally acquire the high-powered firearms that were used to kill 14 people last December.

Senate Bill 880 would revise the definition of an assault weapon to mean a semiautomatic centerfile rifle or semiautomatic pistol, and also ban the use of “bullet button” detachable magazines.

In addition, a bill concerning lost or stolen firearms would make failing to report a gun theft within five days a crime that could land a person in prison for six months or slap them with a fine.

The Democratic state senators pushing for the legislation are also seeking to make the definition of “ammunition” more explicit. The bill would stipulate that “one or more loaded cartridges consisting of a primer case propellant, and with one or more projectiles” would qualify as such, the Sacramento Bee newspaper reported.

The move to pass the changes has been labelled “Gunmeggedon” by Second Amendment advocates, including Firearms Policy Coalition spokesperson Craig J DeLuz.

He told weapons blog Guns.com that anti-gun legislators had “ignored the facts, reason and the constitution and moved their agenda along to the next level.”

Republican state Senator Jeff Stone, who opposes the proposals, contends that passing the bills would only work to the “benefit of criminals.”

“Today we want to make criminals out of law abiding citizens that have been collecting guns and gun equipment,” he told the state’s Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.

“Certainly, we want to do everything we can to stop the horrific mass shootings that we have seen at schools, and certainly the incident in San Bernardino. But we have to remember that criminals don’t follow the law. It was mentioned that we have millions of these high capacity magazines all over the country and most of them are held by law abiding citizens.”