California governor Jerry Brown wants to pass a Texas-like law that would allow local officials to ban assault weapons and shootouts – but critics say the law does little to stop or prevent gun violence.
Brown on Monday released the text of his plan, which would require gun owners to surrender weapons to law enforcement or turn them over to a state firearms dealer with at least 10 days’ notice. The weapon could not be resold or borrowed but could be handed in to a police station.
“Proposals that would ban all or most of the weapons people use to protect themselves from crime or other dangers have a chilling effect on responsible gun ownership,” the governor said. “I believe everyone’s primary goal ought to be to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”
California has one of the toughest gun control laws in the country, with background checks required for nearly all gun sales. However, there are still shops across the state that sell weapons without checks, including AR-15 rifles and a few types of handguns.
Under Brown’s plan, owners of those prohibited weapons would be allowed to keep other weapons and accessories which do not have the military features.
Brown called his proposal a “first step” to making the state gun control laws “robust and just.” The state Senate passed its own assault weapons ban in December.
A number of other proposals have gained traction in California.
A recent UC Berkeley study estimated that 67 percent of firearm deaths in California in 2014 were guns owned by individuals who should have been subject to a background check, as well as 38 percent were purchased by straw purchasers. The rest were suicides.
The NRA says its advocacy group has listed several, specific legislation regarding firearm legislation that the group has identified as needed.
California gun owners immediately reacted negatively.
Todd Barratt, of the Firearms Policy Coalition said in a statement that “this weak proposal from Brown is just one more piece of the Democrat gun-grabbing attempt that puts dangerous criminals before law-abiding citizens. Brown has made himself the gun control governor of California – and that doesn’t make him a friend of gun owners.”
Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said he worries the proposal doesn’t really do enough to address the number of guns on the streets.
“Right now it just punishes responsible, law-abiding gun owners,” Horwitz said. “They still have rifles with a certain cosmetic feature that they don’t need and if you can run a background check they are still approved.”
Brown wants to eliminate magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Ammunition would be “limited to two cartridges,” according to the plan.
Brown said as president of the United States he should be especially watchful of government intrusion into people’s private lives.
“Although I believe in individual liberty, I believe in a fair balance between individual rights and the common good,” he said. “I believe that local police officers, after considering alternative approaches, have decided that the best way to keep us safe is to ban assault weapons.”
Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of “MediaBuzz” (Sundays 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.