LEGISLATURE//GUN CONTROL | Gov. Jerry Brown signed two gun control bills authored by East Bay Assemblymember Nancy Skinner Friday, while vetoing another that would have given Oakland the ability to further strengthen state gun registration and licensing laws.
“Large-capacity magazines have no place on our streets," said Skinner in a statement. “California has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, but our laws are easily undermined by these blatant loopholes. I applaud Gov. Brown for signing this legislation to protect our communities ravaged by gun violence.”
The new law now makes it a crime not only to sell large-capacity magazines, but also to buy them. In addition, kits that allow gun owners to convert their firearms into assault-style weapons will become illegal starting Jan. 1, 2014.
Another gun-related bill by Skinner establishing a five-year waiting period on owning or purchasing a firearm for those who make credible and specific threats to themselves or others to a licensed mental health expert, was also signed Friday. The previous law only provided a six-month prohibition.
Another much-publicized gun control bill that would have given the Oakland City Council the opportunity to enact stronger licensing and registration laws than the rest of the state was vetoed by Brown. The bill, offered by Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta, was designed to give the city a unique tool for fighting its continuing problems with violent crime.
Brown, as a former mayor of Oakland, was mindful of the city’s struggles with gun violence, “but this is not the right solution,” he said in a veto message.
Ironically, Brown's rationale for not signing the legislation mirrored an argument proffered by the gun lobby and conservatives who argued against the bill on the Assembly floor. “The State of California has among the strictest gun laws in the country," said Brown. "Allowing individual cities to enact their own more restrictive firearms regulations will sow confusion and uncertainty.”
A legislative analysis published last May included a similar refrain from the National Rifle Association. "The repeal of state preemption would lead to an unpredictable patchwork of local laws. American citizens have right to travel from one jurisdiction to another in California without the fear of violating locally politically motivated ordinances."
Firebrand Republican Assemblymember Tim Donnelly was also a frequent critic of Bonta’s bill. During a floor speech last May, Donnelly said, “Just because people live in a certain zip code, I do not believe we should pass a law to deny them a fundamental, God-giving, Constitutional right to defend their lives and their families and their businesses.”