California lawmakers shelve bill restricting assault rifles
A last-minute proposal to restrict assault rifles in California in the wake of mass shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin has been shelved for the year by state lawmakers.
The measure would have prohibited semi-automatic weapons from having devices that allow them to be easily reloaded with multiple rounds of ammunition, but it had become the target of an intense lobbying campaign, including radio ads, by gun groups who said it would result in legal owners losing their firearms.
Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) said that his proposal would have closed a loophole in California’s strict gun law and that he is "deeply disappointed" to have been notified that it will not be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee by Thursday’s deadline.
“My greatest fear is that another senseless act of violence will happen before the loophole is closed," Yee said in a statement. "When California enacted our assault weapon law there was no intention of allowing such easily changeable magazines on military-style weapons."
Yee said he would explore alternatives including the possibility of the state Department of Justice adopting new regulations. State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris had endorsed his bill.
The bill was shelved by the committee because it is a significant change in law introduced in the last month of the session without going through normal policy committees for public input, according to Geoff Long, chief consultant for the panel. "It has nothing to do with politics,'' Long said.
--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Candles cover the sidewalk at a memorial across from the Aurora, Colo., theater where a gunman killed 12 people last month. Credit: Alex Brandon / Associated Press