Capitol Alert

AM Alert: ‘Gunmageddon’ restrictions face referenda drive

Explaining California's new assault weapon ban

New California laws will broaden the definition of prohibited assault weapons, cracking down on a quick-reloading device referred to as the "bullet button."
Up Next
New California laws will broaden the definition of prohibited assault weapons, cracking down on a quick-reloading device referred to as the "bullet button."

If the signing of seven new firearms restrictions last month was the “gunmageddon,” as California gun rights activists put it, then this is the scene where they suit up in preparation for a dangerous mission to stop the giant asteroid hurtling toward Earth.

They recently filed referenda in hopes of overturning all of the new laws, and the petition drive to qualify those measures for the ballot kicks off today. If they can collect nearly 366,000 signatures for each referendum by the end of the September (or Oct. 20, for one that was filed later), the laws will likely go before voters in November 2018, suspending them for at least two years.

Among the new laws, which would otherwise take effect next Jan. 1, are a required background check for ammunition purchases, a prohibition on the possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, a ban on semi-automatic rifles with magazines that can be detached with the push of a button, and registration of homemade firearms.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Things happen fast when the appropriations committees take up their suspense files.

IN OTHER LEGAL NEWS: Opponents of last year’s controversial law mandating vaccines for schoolchildren, which took effect on July 1, are in a federal courtroom in San Diego at 1:30 p.m. seeking a preliminary injunction against the rule while their broader lawsuit – claiming it was unconstitutional to repeal the state’s religious and personal exemptions for vaccinations – proceeds. Their efforts to reverse the law via referendum and recall its author, Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, have already failed.

WORTH REPEATING: “Katehi’s resignation will allow a terrific university, UC Davis, to focus on education and research instead of distractions.” - Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles

MONEY MATTERS: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stepped up his fundraising in a big way last month, cutting into one of the biggest advantages that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has held in this race and setting off alarms for her campaign. So former President Bill Clinton will make a swing through the political ATM that is California this weekend to beef up her coffers. The potential first First Husband is set to host a reception tonight at the Rutherford home of vintners Kathryn and Craig Hall, with tickets running between $2,700 and $33,400 apiece. (Kathryn Hall is a former ambassador to Austria under Clinton.) Events with a slightly smaller price point are scheduled tomorrow in Pebble Beach and Oakland.

BY THE NUMBERS: The current fiscal year got off to an inauspicious start, with July revenue coming in $591.3 million, or nearly 10 percent, below projections, Controller Betty Yee reported Thursday. Sales and use tax revenue last month was $694.5 million – $213.5 million below what the budget projected. Income tax revenue of almost $4.4 billion was $323 million under projections for July.

PARTY TIME: Not satisfied with either Trump or Clinton for president? Among your third-party options is the Peace and Freedom Party, a small group of about 73,000 members in California that touts a commitment to “socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism and racial equality” as its core tenets. The Peace and Freedom Party is holding its nominating convention in Sacramento this weekend, starting with a candidates’ forum at 7 p.m. at the Hawthorn Suites on Bercut Drive. The slate is all women, including Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who has said she is hoping to “help foster solidarity and build a unified movement” by representing both groups on the November ballot.

OUT WITH IVORY: After a debate over illegal trade and property rights, the Legislature last year passed a bill banning nearly all sales of ivory and rhino horn objects in California, a victory for animal rights activists who argue it will help tamp down on renewed poaching of elephants and rhinoceroses. Supporters will celebrate the law, which took effect July 1, during a World Elephant Day event at 11 am on the north side of the Capitol.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, D-Los Angeles, who turns 29 today.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff