RICH PEDRONCELLI / Associated Press

State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, right, is congratulated Wednesday by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, after passage of Hancock's bill to limit gun magazines. Among other measures approved and sent to the Assembly are background checks on ammunition buyers and required gun safety classes.

California Senate approves seven measures tightening gun regulations

Published: Thursday, May. 30, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Thursday, May. 30, 2013 - 6:56 am

The California Senate approved a package of bills Wednesday that would tighten the state's regulation of firearms by outlawing detachable and large-capacity magazines, keeping track of people who buy ammunition and widening the category of offenders prohibited from owning guns for 10 years.

Senate Democrats drafted the bills in response to December's school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

"The package, if you look at the whole array of measures before this body today, are designed to close loopholes in existing regulations, keep the circulation of firearms and ammunition out of the hands of dangerous persons, and strengthen education on gun ownership," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said to his colleagues as he argued in favor of the legislation.

"These bills attempt to respond to those well-publicized tragedies and many more that go unpublicized," Steinberg added.

Republicans, who hold a minority in the Senate, voted against the bills, arguing that they would make it harder for law-abiding citizens to access weapons while doing little to combat crime. They said mass shootings are caused by mental illness, not a lack of gun regulations.

Here are the seven gun bills the Senate approved Wednesday:

• SB 47 by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, to ban so-called "bullet buttons" used to get around existing laws banning detachable magazines.

• SB 53 by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, to create new state permits that require background checks for buyers of ammunition.

• SB 374 by Steinberg, D-Sacramento, to ban detachable magazines in rifles.

• SB 396 by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, to prohibit possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

• SB 567 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to change the definition of certain kinds of shotguns to make them assault weapons.

• SB 683 by Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, to require all gun buyers to take a firearm safety class and earn a safety certificate.

• SB 755 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, to increase the number of crimes – including offenses related to drug addiction, chronic alcoholism and others – that result in a 10-year ban on being allowed to own a gun.

The bills now move to the Assembly.

An eighth measure that is part of the package, SB 140, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month. It increases funding for a state program that confiscates guns from people prohibited from owning them because they have criminal pasts or are mentally ill.

Call Laurel Rosenhall, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1083. Follow her on Twitter @laurelrosenhall.

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