California gun laws: Rifle ban vetoed; lead hunting ammo outlawed

by Josh Richman, San Jose Mercury News  |  published on October 22, 2013

Antonio Villaraigosa, Darrell Steinberg, Leland Yee, Ed Lee
SACRAMENTO — Capping a tumultuous year of national debate over gun control, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday vetoed seven gun bills, including an effort to outlaw all semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines. But he signed 11 others, including a groundbreaking ban on lead ammunition in hunting.

Sparked by December’s massacre of 20 elementary school children and six educators in Newtown, Conn. — and sustained by other mass shootings that followed — a wave of new gun legislation erupted across the nation this year with varying results. Many gun-control advocates had hoped the Golden State would succeed where most others failed, as gun rights advocates fought to limit the California damage.

Activists on both sides of the issue expressed a mixture of elation over their victories and anger over their defeats Friday — yet another sign that the governor’s “paddle to the left, then paddle to the right” philosophy has sent California’s canoe sailing up the middle of the policy stream once again.

Most significant among the vetoed bills was SB374 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, which would have added all semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines to the state’s list of banned assault weapons. In his veto message, Brown said California already has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws and that other bills he signed will make them even stronger.

“I don’t believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners’ rights,” the governor wrote.

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