News / USA

California Leads US in Restrictive Gun Laws

Mike O'Sullivan
LOS ANGELES – California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States, which some Americans see as a model for future national laws.  But others worry about the erosion of the right to bear arms as stated in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

There are few restrictions on owning guns in most U.S. states.  Guns are widely used for hunting and sport, and for self-protection.

California and several other states, including New York and Massachusetts, limit the sale of some firearms, ammunition and accessories.  California bans the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips and military-style assault rifles to the public.  Buyers of other guns must wait 10 days while state and federal authorities investigate the purchaser for a possible criminal record or history of serious mental illness.  California registers handguns, and beginning in 2014, will also keep records on rifles and shotguns sold in the state.

Los Angeles Police Detective Richard Tompkins says neighboring states are less strict.

“People do leave the state and buy those weapons out of state and then bring them back into our state.  Some people will do it just to possess them.  Some people will do it to sell on the open market in the state of California,” Tompkins said.

The sale of guns and ammunition over the Internet is unrestricted in some places.  In California, firearms must be sold through a licensed dealer.  But with inconsistent laws from state to state, and even county to county, there are gaps in enforcement, says Daniel Vice of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

“As we saw in the Colorado shooting, you can buy thousands of rounds of ammunition online," Vice said. "You can buy full suits of body armor online.  You can even go online to find private gun sellers who will sell you assault weapons no questions asked -- no background check, no record of sale.  Why do we allow that to happen in America today?”

 Former U.S. Army Ranger and gun collector Frank Sharp says most American gun users are law-abiding citizens who are exercising a basic right. He says he was shocked at the recent carnage in a Colorado movie theater.

“There's hardly any way to describe how terrible that incident is," Sharp said. "But I don't think that turning people like me into criminals prevents it.  I think that had someone been in that theater lawfully carrying a firearm, there might have been a completely different outcome.”

 Los Angeles Detective Richard Tompkins says inconsistent laws cause problems for law enforcement.

“It's hard with the different laws at state level and very few laws on the federal side,” he said.

For some, the federal government's reluctance to pass gun control legislation is the right approach.  They say that restricting the rights of gun owners will not address the problem of violent crime.  Others say that placing more limits on gun sales can reduce the violence, and that we are overdue for a national conversation on the issue.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid