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Subdeacon Joe

EDITORIAL: Gun bills must become law

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From the Fresno Bee.

 





Gov. Brown should sign five sensible measures passed by the Legislature.

The
2013 legislative session began a few days after the massacre at Sandy
Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. It ended shortly before the
shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

In between, there were more than 800 gun-related deaths in California, and many times that number nationwide.

Congress
has proven itself unable to approve even the most modest gun safety
legislation. But California legislators passed several sensible
measures. Gov. Jerry Brown should sign them into law.

At the top
of the list is Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's Senate Bill
374, which seeks to ban future sales of semi-automatic rifles that can
accept detachable magazines.

California led the nation in 1989
when Gov. George Deukmejian, a Republican, signed a bill banning assault
weapons after the Cleveland Elementary School shooting in Stockton.

Ever
since, gun manufacturers have found ways to evade the restrictions, and
lawmakers have responded by trying to tighten the law. Steinberg's bill
would end the argument by banning future sales in California of
semi-automatic guns that can accept detachable clips, which can be
emptied and rapidly replaced.

As was hammered home Monday by the
shooting in Washington that killed 12 people, not including the shooter,
a deranged gunman can quickly do horrendous damage.

Sen. Lois
Wolk's SB 755 is a more narrow but significant measure intended to help
keep all firearms out of the hands of people who have shown through
their actions that they are not responsible enough to own them.

The
Davis Democrat's bill would expand the list of people who are
prohibited from owning firearms to include individuals who have repeat
alcohol-related arrests, including driving under the influence. People
who are directed by a judge to undergo intensive treatment for mental
illness also would lose gun ownership rights for a period of time.

Other
gun safety measures deserving of Brown's signature include SB 683 by
Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, which would require all gun purchasers to
show they know how to safely handle firearms, and SB 299 by Sen. Mark
DeSaulnier, D-Concord, seeking to require owners to report lost or
stolen guns within seven days.

AB 180 by Assemblyman Rob Bonta,
D-Oakland, would allow Oakland to impose gun control measures that are
tougher than those adopted by the state. That city's crime statistics
reflect the urgency of the measure. There have been 2,095 robberies with
use of a firearm in Oakland so far this year, compared with 865 in
2010.

No law can stop all gun violence. California lawmakers
cannot limit gun sales in other states. But Brown has it within his
power to take reasonable steps to enhance public safety. He shouldn't
let the opportunity pass.




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