California already has a reputation as the nation's toughest gun-control state, but lawmakers are moving quickly to add further restrictions after last week's schoolhouse massacre.
Proposals Tuesday to crack down on ammunition sales, registration requirements, gun-lock mandates and other such laws have firearms advocates declaring that crackdowns are going too far.
"We are by far the highest gun-control state in the union we control people, we control guns, we control everything" associated with firearms, said Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California.
Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento countered that the key issue is not the number of existing gun-control laws but the degree of public safety provided and California has room to improve, he said.
The killings of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last week has sparked new debate over how far states and the federal government should go in attempting to curtail gun violence.
California has passed dozens of firearms restrictions during the past two decades, angering many gun owners but prompting the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to give it the nation's top ranking in gun control.
In 1989, California became the first state to ban the manufacture, transport, import or sale of assault weapons.
Other key gun-control laws in California:
Require gun buyers to undergo background checks and mandate that handgun buyers obtain safety training and certificates.
Require gun sales to go through licensed gun dealers, and mandate a 10-day waiting period and criminal background check.
Ban gun sales to felons, drug addicts and various other people deemed potentially dangerous, including those suffering from certain mental disorders or covered by a restraining order for domestic violence.
Prohibit possession of concealed weapons without a permit. County sheriffs have discretion to approve or reject such applications.
Outlaw high-capacity magazines that house more than 10 rounds.
Several years after five children were killed at Stockton's Cleveland Elementary School in 1989, California banned the carrying of a firearm within 1,000 feet of public or private schools.
Other California gun laws prohibit consumers from buying more than one gun per month, require people who move to California to register their firearms, ban the sale of various cheap guns commonly used for crime, and bar possession of armor-penetrating bullets.
Hotly contested bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in the past two years outlaw carrying unloaded handguns or rifles on city streets. The state also passed a law requiring registration of rifles, but implementation was delayed until January 2014.
Republican state Sen. Ted Gaines of Rocklin acknowledged the state's gun-control reputation Tuesday in proposing a measure to permanently prohibit various mentally ill Californians from ever buying a firearm.
"Although California has the toughest gun laws in the nation, there is a loophole that must be closed," Gaines said in a written statement.
California law currently bars gun possession or ownership by a mentally disordered sex offender or someone judged to be dangerous due to mental instability. Courts can overturn the ban, however, once the person receives treatment.
Gaines' proposal is designed to make the prohibition permanent by eliminating any possibility of petitioning courts.
State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, vowed Tuesday to reintroduce legislation sidetracked last year that would ban devices allowing ammunition to be reloaded so quickly that semi-automatic weapons can be fired almost like assault weapons.
Yee also promised bills that would penalize Californians who fail to use gun locks they are required to possess, and would mandate that gun owners renew their registrations annually.
Other lawmakers are weighing other possibilities, such as a limit on the quantity of ammunition that can be purchased, or a mandate that lost or stolen firearms be reported quickly to local law enforcement.
State Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, proposed Tuesday to require ammunition buyers to purchase annual permits that would cost about $50. The process would include a yearly background check.
De León said he has no interest in keeping law-abiding Californians from owning firearms, but more needs to be done to curtail gun violence like that at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"For too long, too much ground has been ceded in this debate about reasonable gun and ammunition control," he said. "We will not capitulate any longer. I, for one, have had it."
Paredes said that California lawmakers are using the Connecticut tragedy as an excuse, seizing the moment to "dust off every gun-control proposal that has been on their wish list and throw it into the hopper for consideration."
Paredes said the new proposals, even if they had been in effect in Connecticut, would not have prevented the schoolhouse tragedy.
"It's incrementalism," he said. "They're trying to chip away, the best they can, at the Second Amendment."