Browns acts on array of gun bills

Gov. Jerry Brown, acting before a weekend deadline on an array of major gun bills, signed into law measures to ban lead in ammunition and require tougher screening to keep weapons from the hands of the mentally ill.

The Democratic governor signed 11 of the gun bills on his desk, including a ban on lead ammunition that environmentalists and their allies said will reduce the impact of lead poisoning has on wildlife.

He also vetoed eight gun-control bills, including one that would have allowed the city of Oakland, where Brown once served as mayor, to enact more restrictive firearm regulations.

In signing the ban on lead in ammunition, the governor noted that other states already had taken similar action.

“In fact, at least thirty other states regulate lead ammunition in some manner,” Brown wrote to the Assembly in his signing message.

Brown said he was able to sign the bill, authored by Assemblymember Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, because of amendments made to better protect the hunting community, in which opposition to the bill had been strong.

The governor also signed into law more rigorous screening and review processes for mentally ill persons seeking to obtain a firearm or weapon, safe storage requirements if a prohibited person shares residence with a lawful gun owner, and an expansion of the safety certificate requirement to apply to purchases of all firearms, rather than just handguns.

Brown signed legislation by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, to extend from six months to five years the prohibition period for persons who communicate to a psychotherapist a serious threat of physical violence against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims.

Gov. Brown vetoed eight gun-related bills, a proposal to tighten firearm restrictions in Oakland, a high-crime community.

Brown said the bill would “sow confusion and uncertainty,” noting that while he is mindful of the challenges faced by the city, this was not the right solution.

The governor also vetoed a bill authored by Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, to ban military-style assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

“The State of California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, including bans on military-style assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines,” the governor said in his veto message of the bill.

Brown, a gun owner himself, has had a mixed history in his positions on legislation to regulate firearms.

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