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Interest is high in 14 gun bills before Brown
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San Joaquin County Undersheriff Jon Picone had a few things that he wanted to talk about to the Manteca TEA Party Patriots as their featured guest Thursday night.

But none of the topics generated nearly as much interest as the 14 gun bills that are currently being decided by California Governor Jerry Brown. Picone handed out details to those in attendance in an easy-to-follow packet that outlined the position by the California State Sheriff’s Association’s legislative team – of which San Joaquin County Sherriff Steve Moore is a voting member.

Some of the items, like requiring California hunters to use non-lead ammunition in the pursuit of game, don’t warrant a law enforcement position. Others, like classifying semiautomatic centerfire rifles without fixed magazines as assault rifles, have drawn a vote of opposition. A bill that would extend the prohibitory period for possession of a firearm or deadly weapon for a person who communicates a serious threat of physical violence against a reasonably identifiable person to a licensed psychotherapist is being supported by the organization in both the California State Senate and the Assembly.

Picone said that while the group has taken a stance on some of the items, he urged people to call their governmental representatives – whether it’s a member of the Board of Supervisors or a State Senator or somebody that serves in the House of Representatives. All of which, he said, commonly don’t have a position on what they’re voting on until they hear from their constituents. He said a single phone call can often make a difference.

“Do you know how many phone calls a county supervisor gets – how many complaint calls?” he asked. “Maybe one or two in a day. And the first person that they call is the Sheriff’s Department because they want resolution to whatever problem the person is facing because they don’t know how many people are behind that phone call. It works.”

Brown is expected to decide the fate of more than two-dozen gun reform laws by the end of this week. Some were very publicly followed through the committee process and others that were authored in the lead-up to the end of this legislative cycle.

One such bill, authored by California State Senator Lois Wolk (who at one time represented Manteca) would expand the list of crimes that would result in bans from owning firearms – including those guilty of certain intoxication or controlled substances crimes. The bill would also prohibit people, while in a mental health outpatient treatment program, from purchasing or possessing firearms or deadly weapons.

Others tackle everything from banning detachable magazines in rifles altogether to banning magazine repair kits that allow for them to be converted to another capacity. One bill seeks to limit the transfer of unsafe handguns, another requires gun buyers to take a firearm safety class and earn a safety certificate. Yet another seeks to give the Department of Justice more time to run background checks.

Another bill will, if approved, make it a law that stolen firearms need to be reported. Local gun advocate have claimed in the past that the majority of these crimes are being perpetrated with stolen firearms.