The surprising recall election of two Colorado Democratic lawmakers Tuesday for backing gun control laws was a warning shot for lawmakers across America eager for more gun control laws.
Not for the Democratic supermajority in the California Legislature. More than two dozen gun control bills are being voted on this week. And while lawmakers are making a pretense of having difficulty voting for their passage, the bills are being passed. Several gun control bills have passed out of both houses of the Legislature and already await the governor’s signature.
“I don’t see anybody switching teams here,” quipped Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, in the busy Assembly gallery Wednesday.
Of the original 40 gun control bills, 29 made it into the committee hearing process.
Senate Bill 396
Critics contend the most restrictive of the gun control bills, SB396 by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is constitutionally questionable. The bill would retroactively confiscate guns lawfully purchased and owned. SB396 would ban the possession of all standard capacity magazines over 10 rounds, which generally means any detachable ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
The bill language specifies, “Surrender the larger capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction.”
“This bill is going to say, if you own a Glock, you’re a criminal,” Donnelly said. “By taking away capacity of individuals determined to kill, also takes away capacity for people to defend their own lives. We never hear about the millions of times each year people defend their lives and homes. Why do we in Sacramento believe we have the right to interfere with the right to self defense?”
“I am deeply concerned with taking private property by state government,” said Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, R-Escondido.
“The Constitution says government cannot seize private property,” said Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield. ”I just pray to God Jerry Brown is the savior of the Second Amendment in this state.”
The bill failed to pass, 34-33, the first time it was voted on, and could only muster 39-34 on the second vote; 41 votes are needed to pass. Some say Hancock and Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-South Gate, will push for another vote Thursday.
Passed both houses
All the following bills passed both houses of the Legislature.
Senate Bill 374
SB374 by state Senate Pres. Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, expands the definition of “assault weapons” to ban the future transfer of all semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines. SB374 requires new “assault weapon” registration; requires the registration of all those semi-auto rifles that are currently possessed in order to retain legal possession in the future; and subjects these firearms to all other “assault weapon” restrictions. The Assembly passed SB374 on Tuesday along party lines, 44-31.
Senate Bill 567
SB 567 by state Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, would expand the definition of “short-barreled shotguns” that are illegal to reclassify even handguns shooting “Shot-shells” as shotguns. SB 567 had trouble passing the first time around, but on the second try passed the Assembly, 41-34.
Assembly Bill 48
At a hearing in April, Berkeley Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner said, “bullets are the very thing making guns deadly.” Her AB48 prohibits the sale of gun kits to convert conventional firearms into semi-automatic weapons.
AB48 would also ban the manufacture, sale or import of any device that enables a gun to fire more than 10 rounds at one time. Apparently guns are bad, but bullets are worse.
AB48 originally required dealers selling ammunition to to notify federal and local officials when someone purchases more than 3,000 bullets. ”But this gave some heartache,” Skinner said in the Assembly today. “So I took out that part — it’s been struck from the bill,” as a nod to hunters and sportsmen.
“The bill allows our assault weapons ban to be in tact,” Skinner explained. “Now legally you can buy and sell conversion kits, so they can shoot many, many more than 10 rounds, and convert your conventional weapon to an assault weapon. Now the bill would make it illegal to purchase or sell the conversion clip kits.”
“This is inviting the government to spy on us becasue we want to exercise our Second Amendment right,” said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia. “We voted to stop filling or jails with those who possess drugs. But now we want to arrest people possessing bullets and metal parts. We are setting ourselves up to become instruments of tyranny. It’s just going to turn a whole lot of innocent people into criminals.”
“This bill says any part of a conversion kit makes me a criminal?” said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Riverside. ”I don’t think so. We are going back to this timeless discussion on the Assembly floor of reducing crime. ‘Assault’ is a behavior, not a type of weapon. If they can’t do it with a gun, they’ll find a way to do it with something else.”
But AB48 was passed, 42-30.
Crossposted on CalWatchDog