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California passes new bills on gun control

The picture shows weapons confiscated from an attack in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015. (Reuters photo)

The US State of California has passed new laws on firearm restrictions, expanding background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines as part of a package for stricter gun control across the country.

On Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law six measures that encompass a wide range of new limits on the purchase and possession of rifles in the western state, amid US federal lawmakers’ deadlock over gun reforms.

The passage of the bills occurred two weeks after Omar Mateen, the American-born US citizen armed with assault weapons, stormed the Pulse Club in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others at the gay club, marking the worst ever mass shooting in US history.

The ban includes the possession of firearms and weapons with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of bullets.

A background check was also approved to be required when a gun is loaned to someone other than a close family member.

Meanwhile, the California governor passed a bill for the enhancement of penalties meted out for filing false reports of stolen guns, a measure which is aimed at decreasing the flow of guns into the US black market.

The new laws would “enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner, while protecting the rights of law-abiding owners," Brown said in a statement.

“California has taken a giant step forward in sensible gun safety regulations... Taken together, they really will make our neighborhoods safer,” said California Senator Loni Hancock.

The approved measures were slammed by pro-gun advocates who said the bills were “turning tragedy into political gain” and transforming “law-abiding gun owners into criminals.”

The California Rifle and Pistol Association also took a swipe at the new laws and said they were “stripping citizens of their right to protect themselves.”

Every year, more than 30,000 people are shot and killed in the United States. The US averages 87 gun deaths each day as a function of gun violence, with an average of 183 injured.

In October last year, a gunman opened fire at a community college in Oregon and killed 9 people before taking his own life.

On December 2, 14 people were killed and 22 others were injured as gunmen attacked a center for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, California.

In January, US President Barack Obama vowed to bypass Republican-dominated Congress and its opposition to gun control through introducing a raft of executive actions to resolve the country’s gun crisis.


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