California Governor Signs Sweeping Gun Control Bills

California Governor Signs Sweeping Gun Control Bills

How's this for an anti-freedom slap in the face? As we freedom-loving Americans got set to kick off the Independence Day weekend Friday, the California State Senate and Assembly sent a hefty gun-control package of nearly a dozen anti-gun bills to Governor Brown—six of which he quickly signed—en route to rushing off for a European vacation. For those unfamiliar with how the process works, the governor must sign or veto legislation within 12 days of the day of transmittal or it becomes law without his signature.

Here is an NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) recap of the bills Gov. Brown signed:
  • Assembly Bill 1135 and Senate Bill 880 would change California’s firearm laws by reclassifying hundreds of thousands of legally owned semi-automatic rifles as “assault weapons.”  
  • Assembly Bill 1511 effectively would prohibit the practice of loaning a firearm for lawful purposes to anyone other than a family member unless conducted through a dealer, absent limited exceptions. A loan to a friend would take weeks to complete due to background checks, two 10-day waiting periods and multiple fees and trips to a gun dealer. 
  • Assembly Bill 1695 would create a 10-year firearm prohibition for someone convicted of falsely reporting a lost or stolen firearm. The NRA does not oppose making a false report a misdemeanor. NRA's opposition is due to the restriction of a constitutional right for the conviction of a misdemeanor offense.
  • Senate Bill 1235 would place unjustified restrictions on the purchase of ammunition and would require the attorney general to keep purchasing records. It also would require online ammunition sales to be conducted through a licensed vendor. The reporting of ammunition sales has already been attempted—and it failed—at the federal level. In 1986, the director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms supported eliminating the reporting requirement because the record-keeping requirements had no substantial law enforcement value. (Governor Brown twice vetoed similar legislation.)
  • Senate Bill 1446 would ban the possession of ammunition-feeding devices capable of holding more than 10 cartridges. The federal “large-ammunition feeding device” ban of 1994-2004 was allowed to sunset partly due to its ineffectiveness.

NRA-ILA's Response
Of course, these bills merely place more burdensome restrictions and fees on law-abiding citizens seeking to exercise their constitutional rights. "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," said NRA-ILA California spokesperson Amy Hunter. "These bills make no one safer, they only add another layer of laws that criminals will continue to break. The National Rifle Association is prepared to pursue all options moving forward--legal, legislative and political.”

In making sure this loss does not curtail gun owners' resolve, NRA-ILA urges Californians to contact Governor Brown’s office throughout his vacation. Click here to use NRA-ILA's quick "Take Action" button to let him know of your opposition to the bills he so quickly signed into law—or contact Gov. Brown at 916-445-2841.

California's Ongoing Stampede
The continued trampling of the legislative process in the Golden State shows how bad things are there and is one more example of why NRA-ILA maintains a California office to serve as a watchdog over state gun owners' rights. Here is yet another reason why California needs that NRA office as the package of gun bills were rushed through the state legislature with no regard for proper process. Fortunately, this time Gov. Brown vetoed four of the gun control measures in the mix that would have accomplished the following:
  • expanded the definition of “firearm” to include unfinished frames and/or receivers that are “clearly identifiable as being used exclusively as part of a functional weapon”;
  • expanded the existing one-handgun-a-month law to include all guns, including those acquired through private-party transfer, which would not impact criminal access to firearms;
  • expanded the class of individuals who could seek a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO), which NRA currently opposes as procedures provide for an individual to lose gun rights with no due process of law.
  • required a crime victim to report the theft of a firearm within an arbitrary time requirement of five days and the recovery of the firearm within 48 hours. Governor Brown has twice vetoed similar legislation.