Democrats line up to support tougher California assault weapons law

From Sacramento Bee:

In the wake of mass murders in Colorado and Wisconsin, a California lawmaker is pushing to close a “loophole” allowing owners of military-style guns to sidestep the state’s assault weapons ban.

Sen. Leland Yee is gaining support from top Democrats in a bid to ban devices that allow magazines of ammunition to be reloaded so quickly that semiautomatic guns can be fired almost like assault weapons.

California already has one of the nation’s toughest assault weapons bans. Permitting devices that allow dozens of bullets to be shot in a matter of seconds undermines that law, the San Francisco Democrat contends.

“That’s not the kind of weapon you want hanging around in a theater, a shopping center or a school,” Yee said.

Yee’s effort has gained support from state Attorney General Kamala Harris and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, among others.

Gun owners’ groups are calling Yee’s Senate Bill 249 unnecessary and unconstitutional.

Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, said he believes California would be the first to ban the devices, which he said have not sent crime soaring. Such weapons can be used for recreational shooting, hunting, or for protecting your home or family members, Paredes said.

Yee’s SB 249 comes in the wake of multi-victim, high-profile shootings at a Colorado movie theater in July and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday.

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