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Valley Public Radio Staff
Government & Politics
Wed January 30, 2013
California Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Gun Violence
California lawmakers say they will seek consensus as they look for ways to reduce gun violence. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, they heard from gun rights advocates, law enforcement, and gun violence prevention experts at a joint legislative hearing.
Lawmakers had a chance to hold the kinds of guns and ammunition used in recent mass shootings. They saw how easy it can be to change a gun magazine.
"He can do it in very rapid succession…that gun today can be purchased in California," said Bureau of Firearms Chief Stephen Lindley.
He gave lawmakers a show and tell demonstration as they consider increasing gun regulations that are already among the nation's toughest. He told them California also has a unique system of tracking people who own guns illegally. So far that’s more than 19,000. The number goes up every year.
“Despite our best efforts, the bureau does not have enough funding or resources to keep up with this annual influx of cases to reduce the backlog.”
Gun rights advocates claim that’s a significant factor in mass shootings. Sam Peretes is with the Gun Owners of California.
“If you continue to work on issues that effect guns, ammunition and law abiding gun owners, you will continue to have the atrocities we have seen, because none of these laws will impact the people who one day are normal and the next day are insane.”
Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says he’ll introduce legislation that would provide immediate funding to the Department of Justice to clear the backlog.
“It seems to me an $8 million, a $15 million, a $20 million a year investment in getting guns out of the hands of prohibited persons would be a very wise and worthy investment," said Steinberg.
Lawmakers will also consider legislation that would tax ammunition sales and limit the number of rounds in a magazine.