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CA Senate Passes Package Of Gun, Ammo Restrictions

Ben Adler/Capital Public Radio

Assembly Democrats display some firearms that would be affected under the measures at a gun control press conference earlier this year.

Ben Adler/Capital Public Radio

The California state Senate has passed new restrictions on sales of firearms and ammunition.

The Senate approved 11 gun control measures Thursday, largely along party lines.

Ammunition buyers would have to undergo background checks and sellers would require licenses. Senate leader Kevin de Léon called it a major change.

"Today any person with a criminal record can walk into any Big 5 store, any Wal-Mart store and buy all the handgun and long gun ammunition that they’d like, no questions asked," de Léon said.

Other bills banned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, as well as rifles with “bullet buttons”—which allow magazines to detach. Owners of lost or stolen firearms would have to report them. People who assemble their own guns would have to register them with the Department of Justice.

Republican Senator Jim Nielsen said the legislation will only hinder responsible gun owners.

"Were this bill really applicable to criminals, we may have some arguments here, but the criminals will not be affected," Nielsen said. "They laugh at this bill, in fact most of these bills do not affect the criminals; they will exploit these bills."

Another measure would create a University of California research center on gun violence.

The bills now move to the state Assembly, where similar legislation has failed in recent years. Speaker Anthony Rendon has signaled support for the measures.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is also pursuing an initiative with many similar changes, which he says he’ll put on the ballot, regardless of whether these bills pass.