Congress may be at an impasse on dealing with assault weapons, but California isn't. This week, the Democrat-controlled legislature and Democrat Governor Jerry Brown collaborated on passing the first statewide restrictions on the arming of assault weapons. The new law includes a ban on ownership of high-capacity magazines and fast reload “bullet” buttons; and a background check in order to buy ammunition, among other things. Brown rejected five of eleven bills but that did nothing to appease the pro-gun lobby, whose spokesperson declared that firearms owners were being treated as “second class citizens.”
Opponents of the new laws predict that they will have no effect on gun violence. As for owners selling off their high-capacity magazines, Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition, said, "The government would be wise to remember that there are more California residents with guns than there are government officials to take them away. To coin a phrase, 'Come and take it.' "
Is California allowed to have two “well-regulated militias?”
California has had a number of mass shootings. The State was moved to act, and its political makeup enabled it. Brown signed only those measures which he thought would clear Second Amendment hurdles. The pro-gun lobby is preparing lawsuits in advance of the January 1, 2017, effective date. The rest of the country will see these new restrictions challenged in the streets and in the courts.
One byproduct of the federal system is that state government programs serve as laboratories: Massachusetts health care - good; Kansas austerity-not so good. California on assault weapon ammo restrictions will soon go under the microscope. Chris Rock said after Columbine that we didn't need gun control; we needed bullet control. California is going to put this to the test.