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Lawmakers condemn school shooting, say more gun control needed

January 11, 2013 |  8:00 am


The shooting and wounding of a student at Taft Union High School near Bakersfield on Thursday happened  as momentum was already building for new gun control laws in California.

"I don’t think we need another tragedy to motivate us to do something real and significant in this area," Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said when asked how the Taft shooting might affect the gun control efforts. "We’re willing to take this on."

The real change in the dynamic of the debate happened after the December mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school killed 20 children and six adults.

In the weeks that followed, lawmakers introduced more than a half dozen bills, including a measure to track the sale of ammunition and restrictions on kits that can allow rifles to fire more shots more quickly.

"No law can prevent 100% somebody who is sick or twisted from doing awful things," Steinberg said, but he argued that additional restrictions could help reduce gun violence.

Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris noted that the budget proposed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown will help in the effort, by providing "support for law enforcement programs that reduce the number of illegal firearms on our streets."

Assemblyman John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) began a news conference on the new state budget by acknowledging the latest shooting in California.

"It really is just another very sad moment as we deal with the ongoing reality of gun violence that has captured so much of our attention this last year," Pérez told reporters.


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--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Parents, family members and friends wait behind police tape outside Taft Union High School on Thursday morning. Credit: Casey Christie / The Californian