SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers Wednesday advanced a dozen gun-control measures, including background checks for ammunition buyers, and gave early approval to a tax penalty on the Boy Scouts for barring openly gay leaders.
Legislators also voted for a new $75 charge on real estate transactions to pay for affordable-housing projects.
Mass shootings such as the one in Newtown, Conn., in December spurred Democratic lawmakers to look for ways to tighten California’s gun laws, already some of the toughest in the nation.
“We all can recite the horrific acts that have occurred in our country over the last year,” said Senate President Pro TemDarrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). “These bills attempt to respond to those well-publicized tragedies and many more that go unpublicized.”
Californians who want to buy ammunition would have to submit personal information and a $50 fee for a background check by the state, under a bill passed by the Senate. The state Department of Justice would determine whether buyers have a criminal record, severe mental illness or a restraining order that would disqualify them from owning guns.
Ammo shops would check the name on buyers’ driver’s licenses against a state list of qualified purchasers.
The goal of the bill is “to ensure that criminals and other dangerous individuals cannot purchase ammunition in the state of California,” said Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles), author of SB 53.
The vote was 22-14, with a few Democrats joining the Republican minority in opposition.
Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) said, “We are criminalizing legal, historic behavior in the state of California and putting onerous burdens and regulations and requirements on law-abiding citizens.”
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