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California Report 2006: Recent Developments in Federal, State and Local Gun Laws

NCJ Number
Date Published
19 pages
This report reviews 2006 legislative efforts to expand or restrict gun laws at the Federal, State, and local levels.
At the Federal level, 2006 saw continued efforts by the gun lobby to weaken Federal gun laws. These attempts were unsuccessful. One of the most potentially dangerous failed bills of 2006 was H.R. 5005, which would have limited disclosure of data obtained by ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) through crime-gun traces, which law enforcement authorities use to determine the origin of guns involved in crimes. This bill would have prevented the release of crime-gun trace data to scholars and government officials in order to examine trends and patterns in the illegal gun market. In 2006, Federal courts continued to reject second amendment challenges to State and Federal gun laws. California has some of the strongest gun laws in the Nation, and it further strengthened its gun laws in 2006, as the California Legislature adopted and Governor Schwarzenegger signed five firearm-related bills into law. These laws pertain to tighter controls on who can sell firearms; the immediate relinquishment of firearms possessed by persons placed under a restraining order for domestic violence; increased penalty for providing false information on an application for a firearm purchase; and designation of assault weapons and 50 caliber rifles as "nuisances," allowing their destruction. Local governments in California are leading the Nation in gun policy reform. Since the mid-1990s, California local governments have adopted over 300 innovative firearm ordinances. They include prohibiting the manufacture and sale of "junk guns," requiring that firearms dealers equip firearms with child-safety locks, prohibiting the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines, and limiting handgun purchases to one per person per month. Beyond California, city mayors are also acting to reduce gun-related deaths and injuries. 52 notes