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California Senate approves 11 bills further restricting gun use

Five months after the December mass shooting by two terrorists that claimed 14 lives in San Bernardino, the California state Senate approved 11 bills designed to further restrict gun use in the state. The measures include but are not limited to: mandatory background checks for those buying ammunition, banning the manufacture and sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines, and allowing felony charges in all gun theft cases.

California already has some of the most complicated and restrictive gun laws in the country. Many consider California to have the strictest laws statewide, and according to data from the National Vital Statistics Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California has one of the lowest death by firearm rates as a percentage of overall population. However, in the year 2015 in the United States, there were 372 mass shootings, 64 school shootings, and more than 13,000 people were killed by firearms.

A series of new, stricter legislation already took effect at the beginning of 2016 in California. Beginning January 1st, California courts began issuing Gun Violence Restraining Orders, which prohibit an individual from owning or possessing firearms and ammunition. Immediate family members can file such a petition if they believe the individual in question poses a serious danger to himself or others. Other legislation included regulating the appearance of toy and BB guns (to prevent cases in which police officers mistakenly shoot someone with a toy weapon they believe to be real), and SB-707, which prohibits concealed weapons permit-holders from bringing firearms onto the campus of any school or university.

The proposed bills next go to the state Assembly for consideration, where historically gun control has had a harder time passing through. The bills will also have to be approved by Governor Jerry Brown who has vetoed gun control he felt too restrictive in the past. The Senate has enacted special procedures to try and get the bills approved by the end of June.

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