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Gov. Brown signs bills to curb gun thefts from police cars, speed up confiscation of firearms from felons

 (Andrew Burton / Getty Images)
(Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

Capping a year of major gun control legislation in California, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a raft of bills including one addressing a series of killings involving firearms stolen from law enforcement vehicles.

Brown signed SB 869, which Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Leandro) introduced in response to an incident in which a gun stolen from the car of a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger was used to kill a 32-year-old woman on San Francisco’s Pier 14.

Hill noted that two months later, a gun stolen from the car of a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer was used to kill a 27-year-old muralist as he worked in Oakland.

The new law requires law enforcement officers and concealed weapon permit holders who leave firearms in their cars to lock them in a safe box or in the trunk.

Hill said his bill will “ensure that the requirements for safe gun storage in vehicles are the same for everyone — law enforcement officers and civilians."

Brown also signed a bill aimed at speeding up action on gun purchasers who are ineligible to possess a firearm, giving the Department of Justice seven days to review each case when prohibited persons are discovered.

Another bill approved by Brown requires the state attorney general to develop a uniform license to carry a concealed firearm to replace the permits that differ from county to county.

Brown also signed a measure that allows law enforcement officers to buy and use guns on a list of firearms deemed unsafe for untrained civilians.

The flurry of action comes two months after Brown signed seven other gun control bills that include a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, a prohibition on the sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines and a requirement that people purchasing ammunition undergo background checks.

The flood of legislation approved during the summer was in response to the December mass shooting in San Bernardino that killed 14 people. Since then, lawmakers were shocked by a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub that killed 49 people.

On Monday, Brown vetoed two other gun bills, including one that would have allowed sheriffs and police chiefs to lift the $100 cap on fees for concealed weapons permits.

Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) authored the bill after noting that the cap has resulted in Sacramento County facing a budget shortfall of about $250,000.

Brown said it did not warrant a statewide change.

“This bill was spurred by a local dispute in one county,” he wrote in his veto message. “I am unaware of a larger problem that merits a statewide change at this time.”

Brown also vetoed a measure by Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) that would have allowed joint registration of firearms shared by spouses and domestic partners and changed the rules for lending firearms to one another.

“This bill creates millions of dollars in new and ongoing costs for the Department of Justice,” Brown wrote in his veto message. “I do not believe that this additional burden and cost comes with a commensurate public safety benefit.”

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