California News

Aurora movie theater shooting raises gun control debate

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ranks California as having the strongest gun control laws in the country.

While the state has had the assault weapons ban in place for nearly two decades, the Brady Campaign says the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater highlights the need for tighter restrictions.

"We do have an assault weapons ban, but how you define what an assault weapon is?" said Rebecca Gonzales of the Brady Campaign. "It's a little tricky, and the manufacturers have figured out how to get around that."

Even before the shooting rampage, state lawmakers have been working on several gun control proposals, including ones that require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms; ban open carry of unloaded long guns, though the open carry of hand guns are already prohibited; and make it harder to reload bullets on semi-automatic weapons.

If the suspect had bought the AR-15 assault rifle in California, it would have come with a "bullet button," which slows down the time it takes to reload. The state's limit on a magazine is 10 bullets. However, magazines with 100 bullets can be purchased in other states, but are illegal to bring to California.

Gun shop owner Joe Deaser doesn't think California needs more gun laws.

"Compared to the rest of the nation, they're a little bit overkill," Deaser said. "I think right now we have enough laws in place to adequately keep anybody from owning a gun that shouldn't, with the exception of on-the-street purchases, which we have no control over."

But tragedies tend to spark legislation.

"We should all be asking our legislators, our members of Congress to strengthen guns laws so this doesn't happen again," Gonzales said.

Deaser says, "This is a person issue, not a gun issue. I think we need to keep that in mind."

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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shooting, california news, nannette miranda
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