Aiming high: California trumps New York with toughest gun law

In the firing line

Hand guns that were turned in by their owners are seen in a trash bin at a gun buyback held by the Los Angeles Police Department following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, in Los Angeles, California, December 26, 2012. (Reuters/David McNew)

Hand guns that were turned in by their owners are seen in a trash bin at a gun buyback held by the Los Angeles Police Department following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, in Los Angeles, California, December 26, 2012. (Reuters/David McNew)

California announced it will pioneer the US’ harshest gun control laws a week after New York claimed the accolade. The legislation comes after a wave of fatal shootings and has been criticized by opposition as a game of ‘one-upmanship’ with New York.

The new legislation, consisting of 10 different proposals, will dramatically crack down on gun use and ownership, making California the most restrictive state in the US.

“California has always been a leader on the issue of gun safety,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said to AP. “New York has stepped up and stepped forward. California needs to answer the call.”

President of the California State Senate Darrel Steinberg said that time had run out for the savvy gun industry, which he described as “very adept at exploiting the fine print and finding ways to get around the letter of the law.”

“The time is now to close those loopholes in the circulation, in regulation and in the education relating to guns and to gun ownership,” said Steinberg.

Among the most significant prohibitions imposed by the new legislation is the ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles.
– A ban on high-capacity magazines, prohibiting those that hold over 10 rounds of ammunition. The sale of such magazines was outlawed in the state back in 2000, but possession is still legal.
– Comprehensive background checks for buying ammunition. Gun users will also be obliged to obtain an annual safety certificate which requires them to take courses in gun use and safety.
– A ban on the sale and loan of firearms between people who know each other personally.
– Compulsory insurance to provide for any possible damage they may cause with the firearm.
– A 5 per cent tax to be applied to each bullet, to be donated to policing in crime areas or screening treatment for children.
– Mandatory registration for ammunition sellers.

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