Senate Democrats say they're taking action because Congress won't. But critics say the proposals only hurt law-abiding gun owners.
"We all can recite the horrific acts that occurred in our country over the last year," said state Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).
The California Senate approved the Lifesaving Intelligent Firearms Enforcement (LIFE) Act, a package of seven gun control bills aimed at tightening the state's regulation of firearms.
The most lively debate centered around a bill requiring buyers to obtain a permit, which must be shown for every ammunition purchase.
"To purchase a product that has the potential to maim or kill another human being, you can walk into any gun store, no questions asked. I think that's a little outrageous," said state Sen. Kevin DeLeon (D-Los Angeles).
While Republicans opposed the permit measure or abstained, the gun lobby unsuccessfully relied on moderate Democrats or Democratic gun-owners themselves, to block more restrictions.
"People register their automobile when they buy them. You pay a fee when you register the car. You buy insurance when you register the car. We don't make people get a permit to buy gasoline to go in the car," said state Sen. Rod Wright (D-South Los Angeles).
The package of bills approved also includes:
- Prohibiting detachable magazines in semiautomatic rifles
- Expanding the list of offenders banned from owning a gun
- Barring the possession of large-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds
"Every precious life that we save of a child or an adult, every family that is not torn apart by grief for the rest of their lives, matters," said state Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley).
"Disarm us no further. Address the problem, the mental health problems, of such individuals who commit these crimes," said state Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber).
The LIFE Act now heads over to the state Assembly where it's expected to face a tougher fight.