Guns are once again a hot topic in Sacramento. Tuesday the Assembly Public Safety Committee will consider four bills regulating guns. Among the measures is one by Democrat Marc Levine that would expand the state’s assault weapons ban to include firearms with a button that allows magazines to be easily detached.
“This makes it very easy to change magazines,” says the San Rafael legislator. “Literally in a second (you can) go from one ten-clip magazine to another one, so that shooters can fire more bullets.”
The committee will also take up a measure that would more broadly expand the definition of an assault weapon. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in 2013. Levine says he believes the political climate is different in the wake of mass shootings like the one in San Bernardino. But Claremont McKenna government professor Jack Pitney is not convinced.
“On this issue public opinion tends to be pretty entrenched,” he says. “The people who support stricter regulation of firearms tend to be pretty firm, and the people who oppose stricter regulation of firearms also tend to be pretty firm.”
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is choosing to bypass the Legislature in his attempt to further gun control. His proposed ballot initiative would require background checks for ammunition purchases and ban possession of large-capacity magazines.