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Connecticut school shooting sparks gun control debate

7:02 PM, Dec 17, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO - In the wake of the Connectiucut school shooting, a California lawmaker is vowing to reintroduce a bill that would close a "loophole" allowing owners of military-style guns to sidestep the state's assault weapons ban.

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, said his measure would prohibit assault weapons from having devices known as "bullet buttons" and "mag magnets," which allow semi-automatic weapons to be easily reloaded with multiple rounds of ammunition. The bill died in committee earlier this year.

State Sen. Ted Gaines, (R-Roseville) opposed Yee's bill at the time. Gaines said he would have to look at the wording of Lee's current bill. But he says he's open to a discussion on gun control.

"We probably ought to look at what they've done in Virginia since the Virginia Tech massacre," Gaines said. "They passed legislation that states a gun will not be sold to someone who is unstable mentally and has a history of violence."

California already has one of the nation's toughest assault weapons bans following the deadly shooting at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton in 1989. With a new Democratic super-majority in the state Legislature, it's unknown how gun control will play out in the state Capitol.

Gun Owners of California says it's not the time for a knee-jerk reaction.

"The proposals they generate will clearly be unconstitutional," Executive Director Sam Paredes said. "We will be very ready to go to court to overturn anything they do that infringes on our right to keep and bear arms."

In response to the political uncertainty, local stores say gun sales are up.

But families who have lost children to gun violence say something has to be done. The Wilcoxes lost their daughter in 2001. Laura, 19, was volunteering at a Nevada County mental health Clinic when a gunman opened fire, killing her and two others.

"If there is concern about someone in your family in terms of their mental health situation," Amanda Wilcox said, "it certainly is good sense, smart sense, to make sure they don't have access to firearms."

Siemny Chuuon,


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