Farewell to arms: California Senate passes increased gun control, aka ‘Gunmageddon’

© Wolfgang Rattay
In response to the mass San Bernardino shooting that left 14 dead in December, the California State Senate has approved sweeping controls on gun purchases and sales that could become some of the strictest gun control laws in the country if signed into law.

The 11 bills passed by the State Senate on Thursday would ban the sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines and expand background checks by requiring them for ammunition purchases. However, the next step is in the hands of the State Assembly.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has committed to passing the bills, which would leave Governor Jerry Brown to decide whether they will become law. Despite being a Democrat, there’s no guarantee that Governor Brown will sign the legislation. He vetoed a similar bill in 2013 that would have banned semiautomatic weapons with detachable magazines.

The passed measures, collectively referred to by critics as “Gunmageddon,” are:

  • SB 1235, which expands background checks by mandating them for ammunition purchases. In addition, it would require the creation of a new system for collecting information on ammunition sales and licenses for selling ammunition.
  • SB 1446, which bans ammunition clips that hold over 10 rounds.
  • SB 880, which reclassifies rifles with ammunition clips that are detachable or quickly swapped out using a release button as assault weapons, thereby banning them in the state.
  • SB 894, which requires gun thefts or losses to be reported within five days.
  • SB 1407, which requires tinkerers that build or assemble guns to receive a serial number before beginning.
  • SB 1006, which creates a new center for gun violence research at the University of California.
  • AB 1176, which makes gun theft a felony.
  • AB 1511, which increases restrictions on loaning someone a gun.

California’s Republicans are pushing back against the measures, claiming they hurt more than help. Senator Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) called the measures “an assault on our 2nd Amendment rights.”

The National Rifle Association is also unhappy with the bills, claiming that “banning many popular semiautomatic firearms currently legal under California law” will do “nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.