Gun control: California Senate passes sweeping new restrictions on firearms owners By Jessica Calefati firstname.lastname@example.org Posted: 05/19/2016 10:28:26 AM PDT | Updated: about 6 hours ago State Sen. Isadore Hall III, D-Compton, left, gives a thumbs up as the "bullet button" bill he and Sen. Steven Glazer,D-Orinda, right, authored was approved by the Senate, May 19, 2016. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP) Related Stories May 13: California ballot: Is a new law that allows activists to yank measures working? SACRAMENTO -- Responding to last year's deadly terrorist attack on San Bernardino and other mass shootings, the state Senate this morning approved a package of sweeping gun-control legislation. The Senate approved measures that would regulate the sale of ammunition, make several changes to the assault weapons ban lawmakers passed almost two decades ago and close a loophole that allows anyone to borrow a gun for up to 30 days without background checks. Democrats acted over the objections of Republicans, who argued that the new rules would unfairly punish law-abiding gun owners. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, hopes to use the Senate's actions today to create momentum in the Capitol that helps carry the bills through the Assembly and to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk as soon as next week. Swift success, he hopes, will convince Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to yank an initiative from the November ballot that tackles many of the same problems the legislation addresses. "Hiram Johnson's vision for empowering citizens didn't involve burying citizens with an avalanche of initiatives," de León said of the California governor credited with creating the state's cherished system of direct democracy almost a century ago. "This is a common sense approach." Advertisement But none of it will be easy. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, D-Paramount, has not yet endorsed de León's strategy, the governor's position on the gun legislation remains uncertain and Newsom has vowed not to pull his measure from the ballot no matter what the Legislature does. Legislation authored by de León in 2009 regulated the sale of ammunition, but a judge later ruled that its definition of ammunition was too vague to enforce. De León's Senate Bill 1235 and Assembly Bill 156, authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, seek to remedy the problem by defining ammunition as "one or more loaded cartridges consisting of a primer case, propellant and with one or more projectiles." The Senate approved both measures on a 24-15 vote. Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Riverside, insisted that the bills would do nothing to deter criminals from obtaining ammunition, and he noted that Brown has already vetoed a similar piece of legislation. "They'll go to the black market to buy their ammunition," Stone said. "I'm going to stand with the Second Amendment. I urge a no vote." Senate Bill 880, authored by Sens. Isadore Hall, D-South Bay, and Steve Glazer, D-Walnut Creek, and Assembly Bill 1135, authored by Assemblymen Marc Levine, D-Marin County, and Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, seek to modify the assault weapons ban to effectively prohibit "bullet buttons." Aiming to work around current law, which bans long-guns with detachable magazines, firearms manufacturers began selling "California compliant" assault weapons with recessed buttons that allow users to instantly detach a magazine by pressing it with the tip of a bullet or another small tool. The Senate approved these measures on a 24-14 vote. California's assault weapons ban has been on the books for close to two decades now, and it banned the importation, manufacture and sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines. It did not, however, place any restrictions on possession of high-capacity magazines. Senate Bill 1446, authored by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, would prohibit possession of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. San Francisco, Sunnyvale and Los Angeles have already passed local ordinances that make possession of large-capacity magazines a misdemeanor. The Senate approved the measure on a 22-15 vote. The final two bills the Senate approved this morning are Senate Bill 1407, authored by de León, and Assembly Bill 857, authored by Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, which aim to eliminate the proliferation in recent years of so-called "ghost guns," which are manufactured at home from parts that don't have serial numbers and can't be traced by law enforcement officials when they're used to commit crimes. The measure would require anyone who manufactures a gun at home to apply to the state Department of Justice for a unique serial number and engrave or permanently affix the number to that firearm within 10 days. The Senate approved those two measures on a 24-14 vote.