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Senate passes series of gun, ammunition bills

Posted: May 29, 2013 3:16 p.m.
Updated: May 29, 2013 3:16 p.m.

In this Aug. 15, 2012 file photo a plastic replica of a bullet is used to quickly remove an ammunition magazine from an assault rifle in a demonstration at the California Department of Justice in Sacramento. In response to the mass shootings in Connecticut and Colorado, California Legislators will vote on a package of gun control laws, includ...

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Invoking the image of recent mass shootings, Democrats in the state Senate on Wednesday passed a series of firearms bills intended to reduce the chances for widespread carnage even as opponents warned that the measures would not keep weapons from those intent on committing horrific crimes.

Among other changes, the seven bills that moved to the Assembly would expand the list of people who are prohibited from owning firearms, require permits and a fee when buying ammunition, and ban semi-automatic rifles with detachable ammunition magazines.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who pushed the ban on detachable magazines, said the bills would close loopholes in existing laws, keep firearms away from dangerous people and strengthen requirements for gun ownership.

He said banning rifles that can be reloaded quickly with detachable magazines would not end gun violence, but he said it would help.

"How many lives will we save? I would bet many," he said.

Republican lawmakers said repeatedly that the bills do not address the root of the problem — mental instability — and would only hurt law-abiding gun owners. Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, said much of the legislation effectively criminalizes legal behavior.

"This will not affect criminals one whit," he said in response to the bill that would require a background check and permit to buy ammunition. "They will get their ammunition. It certainly will disable law-abiding Californians."

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