SACRAMENTO -- A package of seven bills to tighten gun regulations, including one to require registration for the purchase of ammunition, was approved by the state Senate on Wednesday after emotional debate about the limits of the Second Amendment's guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms.
The bills were drafted in response to the Dec. 14 mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Three measures are designed to close what supporters say are loopholes that have allowed firearms manufacturers to skirt California's longstanding ban on the sale of assault weapons.
Republicans almost uniformly opposed the bills, calling them an affront to law-abiding gun owners in the state.
"Every time there is a mass shooting, there comes this storm raining down upon us," said Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber. "Disarm us no further."
Passage of the bills came as lawmakers in both houses of the Legislature worked through the day to dispatch scores of bills in advance of a Friday deadline to move legislation out of its house of origin. In all cases, the measures approved now move to the other house for consideration.
Reciting a list of recent mass shootings, Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, said the shooters all had one thing in common: "They used high-capacity magazines to shoot as many people in as short a time as possible."
Hancock's SB 396 would ban the possession of magazines containing more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The sale, manufacture and importation of such magazines are already illegal. Under the proposed legislation, California gun owners who possess high-capacity magazines would have to dispose of them or ship them out of state by July 1, 2014.
The measures were approved on votes that were split largely along party lines.
Four moderate Democrats opposed most of the bills, and one Republican -- Sen. Anthony Cannella of Ceres -- supported one measure to expand the list of crimes that would disqualify someone from gun ownership for 10 years and another to extend to buyers of long guns a current requirement that handgun purchasers first take a written test on gun safety and storage.
The two senators who represent portions of Ventura County, Democrats Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara and Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills, voted in favor of all seven bills.
Among other significant bills approved Wednesday were:
AB 60 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, that would allow people who are living in the country illegally to receive driver's licenses.
SB 52, by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, that would require ballot-measure campaigns and independent advocacy groups that support or oppose candidates to clearly disclose in political ads and mailers the names of their top three financial contributors.
AB 241, by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, that would establish new workplace rights for maids, nannies and other domestic workers. Among other things, it would require that they be paid overtime, be paid for time spent traveling with the person they are caring for, and that they be provided with adequate sleeping quarters if required to stay overnight in their employer's home.
In addition, the Assembly defeated a proposed constitutional amendment authored by Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, that would have required a write-in candidate to receive a minimum number of votes in order to qualify for a place on the general election ballot.
It had long been the standard in California that write-in candidates receive at least 1 percent of the total number of votes cast for the office they were seeking in order to advance to the general election. But that requirement was eliminated when voters approved the top-two primary system. As a result, in 2012, the first year under the top-two primary, there were six write-in candidates who emerged after the candidate-filing deadline in the primary and were able to advance to the general election ballot after receiving only a handful of votes.
The vote on the measure was 44-26, well short of the 57 votes needed to reach the two-thirds majority it required. ___
(c)2013 Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.)
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