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Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes assault weapons ban

Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed several gun control bills, including one that would have banned assault weapons.
October 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gov. Jerry Brown signed 11 gun control bills into law on Friday, but he also vetoed several other gun bills, including one that would have banned assault weapons.

Among the ones he signed include one that makes California the first state to impose a ban on lead bullets for hunting. He also signed a ban on conversion kits that allow people to turn regular magazines into high-capacity magazines. Two other bills restrict the ability of mentally ill people to possess firearms.

"He really made a step in the right direction," said Josh Stepakoff, a gun regulation advocate.

Stepakoff was 6 years old when he was shot in the Jewish Community Center shooting back in 1999. He is now part of Women Against Gun Violence and speaks out on behalf of gun regulation.

"It's frustrating that things don't happen quickly, but at the same time I understand that, and I know that is the nature of this issue," said Stepakoff.

The governor vetoed one bill that would ban sales of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines, or so-called assault weapons.

"I don't believe that this bill's blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners' rights," the Democratic governor wrote in his veto message.

Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who proposed the rifle restrictions, said in a statement that more than 1,100 Californians have been killed with guns since the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December.

"I believe aggressive action is precisely what's needed to reduce the carnage in our communities, and to counter the equally aggressive action by the gun industry," said Steinberg.

"We're going to continue this fight. The assault weapons ban was knocked down in February in D.C. on a national level, and here it is being knocked down on a state level. But we are going to continue the fight until it is here," said Stepakoff.

The National Rifle Association had threatened a lawsuit if this bill became law. The NRA issued this statement:

"We appreciate that the Governor has respected the rights of California gun owners by vetoing many of the anti-gun bills on his desk. We are taking a close look at the bills that he did sign into law to determine which ones warrant legal action."

Gun owners' rights groups say they are considering mounting recall campaigns against Democratic lawmakers who voted for the gun bills.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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