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Governor Vetoes Bill Aimed at Banning Future Sale of Many Semiautomatic Rifles in California

California already imposes some of the country’s strictest gun control laws. On Oct. 10, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the most significant gun control bill from this year’s legislative session. Senate Bill 374, authored by Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), would have banned the future sales of semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines. In addition, current owners of these firearms would be required to register their firearm by July 1, 2015.

What were the Arguments in Support of the New Law?

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Senate Bill 374, as well as many of the other gun control bills from this year, was a response by the state legislature to the Newtown school shootings and other gun violence incidents. Supporters of the bill argued that imposing a ban on the sale of these semi-automatic rifles will help prevent other mass shooting incidents in the future. In addition, improving firearms safety laws will help prevent other gun-related deaths and injuries to California residents. In the end, this bill was intended to save lives and improve the public safety for all Californians.

Proponents of SB 374 also argued that California needs an aggressive bill in order to counter the aggressive actions of the gun industry and lobby. Gun control activists point to the actions of gun manufacturers in exploiting loopholes in the existing assault weapons ban. Senator Steinberg crafted this particular bill in order to close a loophole in the state’s assault weapons ban.

What were the Arguments for Vetoing Senate Bill 374?

Gov. Brown vetoed SB 374 primarily because he decided it was too far-reaching. California already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and many opponents of this bill felt that it went too far. People also objected that the bill would have applied to rifles used for firearms training, marksmanship practice, and hunting, as well as historical and collectibles rifles. In addition, thousands of current gun owners would have been required to register their rifles as assault weapons and would not have been able to sell or transfer their rifles in the future. In the end, the Governor vetoed SB 374 because he thought the law’s infringement on gun owner’s rights outweighed its benefits to public safety: “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.”

What about the Other Gun Laws Passed by the State Legislature this Year?

In October, the Governor signed ten and vetoed seven gun control laws. The Governor signed a measure to ban people from gun ownership for five years if they tell a licensed psychotherapist that they plan to shoot people. California also became the first state in the county to impose a statewide ban on the use of lead bullets for all types of hunting. In addition to vetoing the semi-automatic rifle ban, the Governor also vetoed a bill that would have added repeated alcohol and drug offenses to the list of reasons for denying gun ownership in California.

How do you feel about this important issue? Do you think the Governor made the right decision vetoing SB 374? Do you think the bill properly balanced gun owners’ rights with the need to enhance our public safety?

Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

If you have a question about the recent changes in California’s gun laws or any other legal matter, call Wallin & Klarich today. The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients against criminal charges.

Our offices are located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance and Sherman Oaks. Contact us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.