California Considers Gun License Law


Tuesday, August 29th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Senate approved a proposal for one of the nation's toughest handgun licensing laws, a bill that would require most prospective gun owners to pass a safety course and get a license from a local law enforcement agency.

The legislation, approved Monday by 22-15, faces a likely veto from the governor should it win passage in the Assembly.

The proposal would require every prospective gun owner except current and retired law enforcement officers to pass a written exam and a firing range safety test. A written test would be required for license renewal every five years or when the gun owner's driver's license expired.

Current law exempts licensed hunters and anyone who served in the military from the written test and has no firing range safety test.

Supporters say the bill would reduce the number of accidental shootings. Opponents play down the risks posed by firearm ownership and say the bill wouldn't stop criminals from obtaining guns.

The new bill's prospects are uncertain in the Assembly, which is to adjourn for the year Thursday and historically has been more reluctant to support gun-control legislation. If the Assembly passes the bill, Gov. Gray Davis is expected to veto it.

Davis has not said whether he would sign the bill, but he has called for a moratorium on new gun-control legislation, said Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the Democratic governor.

``We've got some of the toughest gun-control laws in the nation right now,'' Salazar said, noting that Davis signed bills last year expanding the state's assault weapons ban, toughening gun show regulation and banning cheaply made handguns known as Saturday night specials.

Another law signed by Davis on Monday will give police more time to seek court permission to keep weapons seized in domestic disputes and from people who undergo mental evaluations.

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On the Net:

Senate Web site: www.sen.ca.gov.

Assembly Web site: www.assembly.ca.gov