California passes new gun laws, including restricting access to some with mental health issues

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — There were loud and sustained calls for more gun control legislation after the mass shooting earlier this year at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

A lot of those efforts failed — but not in California.

Gov. Jerry Brown just signed several gun control bills in a state the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence says already had the strongest gun laws in the nation.

One law raises the age for buying a shotgun or rifle in California from 18 to 21. It’s similar to a law signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott after the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland left 17 people dead.

A California lawmaker said he had the Parkland massacre and other recent school shootings in mind when he introduced the legislation.

“I was determined to help California respond appropriately to the tragic events our country has recently faced on high school campuses,” Democratic state Sen. Anthony J. Portantino said in a statement.

“I feel it is imperative that California leads when Washington refuses to act. No parent should have to worry that a gun gets in the wrong hands and commits a heinous and violent tragedy on our school campuses.”

The law, which goes into effect January 1, 2019, carves out exceptions for hunters, police officers and members of the military.

Other gun measures signed into law last week by Brown will do the following:

  • Ban anyone convicted of certain domestic violence misdemeanors from owning a firearm for life.
  • Prevent people who have been hospitalized more than once in one year for mental health issues from owning a gun for life.
  • Require people applying for concealed gun permits to get at least eight hours of gun safety training.
  • Allow police to ask for a gun violence restraining order verbally when there’s not time to make a written request.
  • Require all California law enforcement agencies to input information on lost or stolen guns into a state database within a week of the agency finding out the firearm was missing.

The National Rifle Association voiced its opposition to the new laws, specifically to the measure raising the minimum age for the purchase of a rifle or shotgun.

The NRA filed suit against Florida after Scott signed that state’s version of that law, and the gun-rights group said on one of its websites that it was exploring pursuing similar legal action against California, saying the law violates the Second Amendment.

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