The California Senate today approved a package of bills that tighten the state's regulation of firearms by outlawing detachable and large capacity magazines, keeping track of people who buy ammunition and widening the category of offenders who are prohibited from owning guns for 10 years.
Senate Democrats drafted the bills in response to December's school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
"The package, if you look at the whole array of measures before this body today, are designed to close loopholes in existing regulations, keep the circulation of firearms and ammunition out of the hands of dangerous persons, and strengthen education on gun ownership," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said to his colleagues as he argued in favor of the legislation.
"These bills attempt to respond to those well-publicized tragedies and many more that go unpublicized."
Republicans, who hold a minority in the state Senate, voted against the bills, arguing that they would make it harder for law-abiding citizens to access weapons, while doing little to combat crime. They said mass shootings are caused by mental illness, not a lack of gun regulations.
The seven gun bills the Senate approved today are:
SB 47 by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco: bans so-called "bullet buttons" used to get around existing laws banning detachable magazines
SB 53 by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles: creates new state permits that require background checks for buyers of ammunition
SB 374 by Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento: bans detachable magazines in rifles
SB 396 by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley: prohibits possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition
SB 567 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara: changes the definition of certain kinds of shotguns to make them assault weapons
SB 683 by Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego: requires all gun buyers to take a firearm safety class and earn a safety certificate
SB 755 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis: increases the number of crimes - including drug addiction, chronic alcoholism and others - that result in a 10-year ban on being allowed to own a gun
The bills now move to the Assembly.
An eighth bill that is part of the package, SB 140, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month. It increases funding for a state program that confiscates guns from people prohibited from owning them because they have criminal pasts or are mentally ill.
PHOTO CREDIT: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Sen. Kevin de León look at an assault rifle that was being demonstrated by the Department of Justice during a hearing on gun legislation in January. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua