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California Senate Approves Package of Gun Control Bills

California has never been known as a haven for gun owners and outdoorsmen, and it looks like the Golden State's reputation is about to be tarnished even more.

On Wednesday, the California Senate approved a package of seven gun control bills by a 22-14 vote, the latest wave of anti-gun legislation introduced in direct response to the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Among these is SB 53, a bill that would require a background check for anyone purchasing ammunition. In addition, buyers would need to submit their information and a $50 fee to the California Department of Justice, which would keep a record of "qualified" buyers. Buyers would then need to present a driver's license or ID to buy ammo after that.

"To purchase a product that has the potential to maim or kill another human being you can (now) walk into a gun store, no questions asked, I think that's a little outrageous," Sen. Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Times.

Not all Democrats were as gung-ho as De Leon, however. Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood, citing Americans' right to own firearms, said the right to purchase ammunition to go with that firearm is "implied" in the Second Amendment.

Also included in the package is SB 374, which would ban the sale, purchase and manufacture of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines. Subjects — er, citizens who own such rifles would be required to register the firearms with the state.

Furthermore, the Senate approved SB 396, a bill banning magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds; magazines may not be grandfathered in. In addition, the Senate passed SB 47, which would ban the so-called "bullet button," a device gun manufacturers have placed on California-legal ARs — which do not have detachable magazines — which pops the mag out of the rifle when the tip of a bullet is inserted, similar to a typical mag release on any AR model. Because the device does not operate by the user's finger, it is not legally considered a detachable magazine.

Other measures included:

  • SB 755: Anyone convicted of additional drug or alcohol offenses would be barred from owning a firearm.
  • SB 567: Shotgun-rifle combinations would be added to the list of already banned shotguns.
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  • SB 683: In addition to handgun purchases, a firearms safety certificate would be required for rifle purchases as well.
  • SB 299: Gun owners would be required to inform law enforcement officials when a gun is lost or stolen within 48 hours, punishable by a $100 fine.
  • SB 293: Borrowing from the latest James Bond film, SB 293 would require all firearms sold in California to be sold with "owner-authorized" technology — such as biometric readers — to prevent anyone other than the owner from operating the firearm.

The approved legislation will head to the state Assembly before making its way to California Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. There's still hope that these measures won't make it that far, but given California's torrid relationship with outdoorsmen, that seems rather unlikely.

If you're a Californian looking to relocate — or if you want to see how good you've got it in your state — check out our 50 best states for gun owners in 2013.

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