The National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of California are among Second Amendment advocacy groups considering legal challenges of several gun control measures signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown over a three-day span beginning Oct. 11.
Brown signed 39 bills over the weekend, including 11 firearms-related laws. Among the 11 is one law that makes California the nation's first state to prohibit the use of all lead ammunition for hunting; another bans the sale of parts and repair kits that can create or convert a magazine to a capacity greater than 10 rounds.
Brown also vetoed 30 proposed laws, including seven firearms-related bills. Among the seven is a controversial measure that classifies all semi-automatic rifles with a detachable magazine, or holding more than 10 rounds, as "assault weapons" that owners would need to register and pay a special tax to legally retain.
"The state of California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, including bans on military-style assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines," Brown wrote in vetoing Senate Bill 374, which also banned the sale and transfer of "'assault weapons." "I don't believe this bill's blanket ban on semiautomatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners' rights."
"That was, without a doubt, the most egregious piece of anti-gun legislation ever brought to a governor for his signature," Clint Montfort, an attorney with Michel and Associates, West Coast counsel for the NRA told sfgate.com. "We appreciate that the governor has respected the rights of California gun owners."
However, Montfort added, the NRA "will be looking over all the recently signed laws and our legal options for law-abiding Californians" in challenging the lead-shot ban.
Sam Paredes of the pro-firearms group Gun Owners of California said while the lead-shot ban is bad news, it could have been worse -- far worse -- had Brown signed SB 374.
"We were only shot in the heart six times instead of 12 times, and I guess we should be happy with that," Paredes said.
Gun control supporters criticized Brown for vetoing seven of the 18 gun bills, hysterically saying the governor now has "blood on his hands" for not endorsing a law that would have forced hundreds of thousands of Californians' into registering and paying extra taxes on their semiautomatic guns.
"Specifically, the vetoed legislation would have prohibited the sort of hunting and target rifles that recreational shooters have used for generations to hunt deer and blast away at paper targets," writes Bloomberg Businessweek Assistant Managing Editor Paul M. Barrett in an Oct. 14 column. "People who think all firearms are evil may want to deny grandpa his deer rifle; Governor Brown does not. He and others who actually want to fight crime realize that these are not the weapons typically used to stick up convenience stores. Calling them 'assault weapons' doesn't make them more dangerous."