State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson had nothing but praise for Governor Jerry Brown even though he vetoed her bill to require gun owners to report the theft or loss of their guns within five days. “The important thing is he signed six gun bills that will make California a much safer state,” Jackson said. Brown argued “responsible people” will report their guns missing with or without Jackson’s bill, and irresponsible people won’t.
Brown signed a bill that would require all ammunition vendors to be licensed and to screen would-be buyers to make sure they pass a background test. People deemed unfit to purchase a firearm — because of violent criminal history or severe mental illness — will not be allowed to purchase ammunition. Brown also signed a bill that would outlaw any gun that can be equipped with a quick-reload button for multi-round cartridges. The couple who killed 14 in San Bernardino last year had weapons equipped with this feature. In addition, Brown and the Legislature agreed to spend $5 million to study gun violence to determine what methods are most effective in reducing gun deaths and injuries.
Rick Dodge, owner of Santa Barbara’s Dodge City gun shop, dismissed the package of new bills as “feel good” legislation that will have little practical effect. “Sales will go up initially because people don’t want to be regulated,” he said, “but then after a while, they’ll go down.” Dodge said California gun dealers were required to track ammunition sales between 1968 and 1986 to assist law enforcement, but the legislation was repealed because it had little utility. “Right now, 14,000 people are killed annually in car accidents,” he said. “Why aren’t we requiring all cars to come equipped with built-in breathalyzers?”
Even though Brown approved a major legislative package, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom stated he plans to proceed with an even more ambitious collection of gun-control measures slated for the statewide ballot this November. Many Democratic party leaders fear that Newsom’s initiative will galvanize gun-control opponents and bring them to the polls in large numbers.