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LIFE Act gun-control legislation passes state Senate

May 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
New gun control legislation was approved Wednesday in the state Senate, with a whole series of bills designed to cut down on gun violence. But whether they become law remains to be seen.

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.