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Gun Laws in California

Current Gun Laws and Statistics For Los Angeles and California

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Shooting at SMC Leave Five Dead in Los Angeles

SMPD prepare to search Santa Monica College after shootings were reported on campus on June 7, 2013 in Santa Monica. Six people were killed in the rampage, according to news reports.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Staff/Getty Images

California gun control laws are some of the most rigid in the country (according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; source: Reuters). Most assault weapons are illegal here. Sales (including those conducted at gun shows) must be made by a licensed dealer, and there is also a ten-day waiting period.

Like many other states, California was rocked by the horrific shooting sprees that took place in 2012 in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado (12 dead, 58 wounded) and at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut (two wounded, 28 dead; 20 of which were children). Most recently, six people (including a gunman) died in a spree shooting in Santa Monica. (source: LA Times

Considering 'Sandy Hook' and 'Aurora,' California legislators have passed a slew of new gun laws. In May, a package of seven bills, related to regulating and banning firearms, was passed the California Senate (source: Reuters). Among other things, the bills will do the following:

  • Outlaw all new sales of semi-automatic weapons with removable magazines
  • Make it illegal for those convicted of drug and alcohol felonies to own a gun for 10 years
  • Ban ammunition clips capable of firing more than ten rounds
  • Require people wishing to purchase ammunition in California to undergo background checks and obtain a permit

Gun Micro-Stamping Law

Five years prior to the aforementioned shootings, in 2007, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a gun law which went into effect in May 2013. The delay in its institution was due to patents on technology--some of which were purportedly filed by gun activist groups in efforts to delay the law’s implementation.

The law requires new semi-automatic handguns to be furnished with a device that micro-stamps each bullet with the weapon’s make, serial number and model. It will not apply to the 1,200 guns already on California’s firearm roster.

Officials hope that the new law and concomitant technology will help law enforcement to identify and locate people who illegally and improperly use guns.

In a federal court filing, gun rights advocates such as the Calguns Foundation, have challenged the requirements of California's handgun roster as being unconstitutional. (source: ABC 7)

Los Angeles Gun Statistics:

  • Nearly one-third of all firearm deaths in LA county are suicides; these rates have been increasing (source: LA County Department of Public Health)
  • Where an average of four years of life was lost from every coronary heart disease death, an average of 46 years of life was lost from every firearm homicide (source: LA County Department of Public Health)
  • Firearm deaths in LA County are higher than the national rate (source: LA County Department of Public Health)
  • In 2010, there were 798 firearm deaths in LA County (504 homicides, 281 suicides, and ‘other intent’)(source: LA County Department of Public Health)
  • Approximately 40 percent of the state’s homicides are unsolved; many of those involve firearms (source: ABC 7)

    California's Gun Death Toll

    A recent FBI uniform crime report showed that California had the highest number of gun murders in 2011: 1,790 (68 percent of all murders that year; actually down by 3 percent on the previous year) (source: The Guardian)

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