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Weapons ban bill headed for Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk

Prohibits new sales of semi-automatic rifles

OW Staff Writer | 9/12/2013, midnight

New sales of semi-automatic rifles with removable magazines would be banned in California if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill passed Tuesday by the state legislature.

The measure passed the Assembly 44-31 and is part of a package of gun-control laws ratified earlier this year in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders last December in Newtown, Conn., as well as the 2012 shootings at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. and the Aurora, Col. massacre in August and July respectively. The bill would classify as an assault weapon as any rifle that accepts a “detachable magazine” that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and would prohibit the sale or purchase of these weapons. Persons who already own such weapons would be required to register the guns.

Assemblyman Reginald B. Jones-Sawyer, whose 59th district covers a portion of South Los Angeles, made a passionate plea supporting the ban. Passage of the bill comes in the wake of the death sentence imposed this week on Charles Ray Smith who used an AK-47 assault rifle to carry out a so-called gang “revenge killing” of four persons in South Los Angeles in 2006.

“How many more innocent men, women and children have to be slaughtered while going about their daily lives before we do something,” Jones-Sawyer asked when speaking in favor of the ban.

It has not been easy in Sacramento to gain passage of anti-assault-weapon measures, despite the state’s history of strong gun control laws—even with the majority-Democrat body which has shown a history of supporting such laws. This is because the state’s new voting laws have made it necessary for Democrats—particularly in the Assembly—to win over moderates and conservatives.

Republicans such as Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, representing the Twin Peaks community located near Lake Arrowhead, joined some Democrats in opposing the measure. “I don’t know what the right word is to express how strongly I oppose this bill,” Donnelly said. He complained that the bill essentially amounted to infringement on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

California already has some of the nation’s toughest gun-control laws; already banned are rifles with large-capacity fixed magazines and weapons that can be fired at the push of a button, instead of pulling a trigger.

Another ban was placed on possession of any ammunition clip that holds more than 10 rounds, while another bans gun ownership for 10 years for persons who have multiple drug and alcohol convictions, and those found guilty of gang-related crimes.