12/6/15, "California's strict gun laws failed to stop mass shooting," AP, Juliet Williams and Don Thompson
"The deadly shooting in San Bernardino happened in a state with some
of the nation's toughest gun laws.
California bars assault weapons,
blocks the sale of large-capacity magazines and requires universal
background checks for all gun purchases.
Authorities say they believe attackers Syed Rizwan Farook and wife
Tashfeen Malik had legally obtained two handguns and that two rifles
were also legally purchased in California. Federal officials say the
attackers had large-capacity magazines that violate California law in
Since the attack Wednesday at a social service center in Southern
California, the state's strict laws and the apparent legal purchase of
the weapons have set off a debate over the effectiveness of gun measures
and whether getting tougher would help prevent more violence....
Crime Prevention Research Center president John Lott, a critic of
additional gun laws who is often cited by the gun lobby, argued that the
shooting illustrates how expanded background checks supported by
President Barack Obama do not stop mass public shootings.
He noted that California, Colorado and Oregon — sites of the three most recent shootings — already have such laws in place.
"We're being told that even though these laws didn't stop these
attacks in these states, somehow they would work in the rest of the
country," he said. "I know the claim is, 'we don't expect it to do
everything but it will do some.' Maybe they could point to one case
where these laws would make a difference."
The FBI said Farook legally bought the two handguns used in the
attack — purchases that would have required a background check. And
there is no indication he or Malik had any criminal record or history of
mental illness that would have triggered California's unique law
allowing authorities to seize weapons from those who aren't allowed to
Federal officials are investigating whether the military-style rifles
used were part of an illegal straw purchase, possibly from a former
neighbor of Farook, and then given to Farook or Malik.
California limited access to high-powered, military-style rifles in
1989 and lawmakers passed further restrictions in 2000, when the state
banned specific types of AR-15 and AK-47 style rifles. It also bans the
sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets.
Legislation that would have banned so-called bullet buttons, which
allow shooters to rapidly exchange empty magazines for ones fully loaded
with bullets, stalled in the state Legislature two years ago....
Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, vetoed a bill in 2013 that sought to
ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, saying
that he didn't believe it would enhance public safety enough "to warrant
this infringement on gun owners' rights."
The impression that California has strict gun laws is "based on fact,
but in some cases it's inaccurate," said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a
Newsom has proposed a ballot initiative that would require
on-the-spot background checks when buying ammunition, ban the
possession, not just the sale, of large-capacity magazines with 10
rounds or more and require police reports when guns are lost or stolen.
Those measures might not address the specific circumstances of what
happened in San Bernardino, he acknowledged. But, he said, "that doesn't
mean they're not appropriate proposals to address the next circumstance
and the next moment.""
Monday, December 7, 2015
California Islamist killer passed gun background check when he purchased hand guns and rifles in the state. Calif. strict gun laws bar sale of assault weapons, large capacity magazines, require background checks for all gun purchases, and failed to stop massacre-AP
Posted by susan at 2:25 AM