Commentary

California passes common sense gun safety package; NC should follow its lead

There’s great news from the Golden State this morning. The Los Angeles Times explains:

“Spurred by outrage over recent mass shootings, California lawmakers on Thursday sent Gov. Jerry Brown an unprecedented package of gun control bills, including a ban on the sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines, background checks for those buying ammunition and new restrictions on homemade firearms.

In the wake of massacres in San Bernardino and Orlando, Fla., the flurry of legislative action once again puts California in the lead among states regulating firearms, and in stark contrast to inaction in the gridlocked Congress, officials said….

Among the most notable bills the Senate sent the governor was a measure from De León that would require ammunition buyers to show an ID and have their name checked against a list of felons and others prohibited from having firearms….

California already has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, including a ban on assault rifles, but lawmakers said the new bills were meant to plug loopholes exploited by gun manufacturers and owners.

Two of the bills approved by the Legislature ban the sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable ammunition magazines, including those with “bullet buttons” that when pressed with a sharp object allow the quick removal and replacement of magazines. Those who already own such guns would have to register them with the state as assault weapons.

‘These types of firearms have no legitimate use for sport hunters or competitive shooters,’ Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) said. ‘Members, too many of our sons and daughters, too many of our brothers and sisters, too many of our mothers and fathers have fallen victim to gun violence in California. We cannot afford to delay action any longer. The time to act is now.’”

While the ink is not dry on the matter — civil libertarians have raised concerns about some provisions and Gov. Brown has not yet pledged to sign all the measures — the legislative package is a wonderfully encouraging sign and stands in stark contrast to the irresponsible lack of action from North Carolina’s current political leadership. Let’s hope that, as it has with so many other issues, California’s leadership on this matter helps launch a wave that quickly spreads east.

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