Jerry Brown vetoes gun-control legislation

October 11, 2013
California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's gun control legislation met Gov. Jerry Brown's veto pen today (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,File)
California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s gun control legislation met Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto pen today (Rich Pedroncelli/AP, File)

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Friday vetoed two measures to restrict the sale and possession of certain semi-automatic assault weapons, putting the brakes on some of the most aggressive gun-control proposals in state legislatures this year.

Brown vetoed Senate Bill 374, which would have banned semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines and required firearm owners to register even low-capacity rifles as assault weapons.

In a message to the legislature, Brown wrote he didn’t “believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners’ rights.”

The National Rifle Association had threatened to file a lawsuit over the bill, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D). In a statement earlier this week, an NRA attorney singled the measure out for special ridicule, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday.

Brown also nixed Senate Bill 567, which would have defined certain rifles and shotguns as assault weapons. Brown told legislators he didn’t believe the relatively small number of guns that were covered posed a danger to the public.

Brown signed several smaller pieces of gun legislation into law on Friday, including a measure that will limit sales of high-capacity magazines, a measure that prohibits businesses from applying for assault weapons permits and two bills restricting access to firearms for mentally ill patients. Brown also signed a measure that would give the Justice Department additional time to run background checks before a gun sale.

The Democratic-dominated legislature passed a total of 14 bills addressing gun control this year. Brown has avoided jumping into the gun-control debate as loudly as some other Democratic governors.

Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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Reid Wilson · October 11, 2013