The California senate has approved seven new bills dealing with firearms. SB 47 bans so-called “bullet buttons” allegedly used, according to one report, “to get around existing laws banning detachable magazines.” SB 374 bans detachable magazines in rifles and SB 396 prohibits possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. SB 53 creates new state permits that require background checks for buyers of ammunition. SB 567 changes the definition of certain kinds of shotguns to make them assault weapons. SB 683 requires all gun buyers to take a firearm safety class and earn a safety certificate. SB 755 increases the number of crimes—including offenses related to drug addiction, chronic alcoholism and others—that result in a 10-year ban on gun ownership.
California already has strict gun laws and the new measures come in the wake of ongoing federal measures against ownership. Californians can get a pizza to their house faster than the police, but none of the new measures will help law-abiding citizens defend themselves against violent criminals. The background check for purchasers of ammunition is particularly onerous.
The measures go to the Assembly and, if approved, to governor Jerry Brown. The governor already signed SB 140, which increases funding for a state gun confiscation program, and all the new measures are from his fellow Democrats. But in his first stint as governor Brown looked the other way at gun violence. AIM activist Dennis Banks was convicted of riot and assault for a 1973 courthouse gun battle in South Dakota. Banks duly fled to California, where governor Jerry Brown refused to extradite him.
Meanwhile, the anti-gun crusade of California’s U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein also represents a change of sorts. During the 1970s, when Feinstein was a San Francisco supervisor, the New World Liberation Front accused her of “horrible crimes against the people,” planted a bomb at her San Francisco home, and shot out a window at her vacation home. Feinstein responded by packing a .38 revolver in her purse. The future U.S. senator didn’t need a background check to purchase ammunition for her personal handgun.