Assembly bill to seize assault weapons is dead

One of the most controversial gun-control bills introduced in California this year – a move toward taking the 166,000 registered assault weapons that are grandfathered under the state’s ban – is dead, its author said today.

When Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, introduced AB 174 in January, it declared the Legislature’s intent to end all “grandfather clauses” allowing ownership of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. The bill was gutted and amended Tuesday to address public-school health centers instead.

Bonta said Thursday that he realized his proposal was a non-starter.

Rob Bonta“It would be extremely expensive, for one – if you were going to take back guns that have were grandfathered in, you would have to provide market compensation for them,” he said. “I didn’t think that made the most sense from a fiscal perspective.”

Bonta also said he was very aware of the gun lobby’s assertion that any state or national registration of firearms is merely a prelude to confiscation – something his bill actually pursued.

“I didn’t want to have a bill that plays into that argument,” he said. “I wanted to concentrate on some other bills that I thought would be more focused and more effective.”

Bonta is carrying other gun-control bills including AB 187, a 10-percent tax on ammunition sales to fund crime-prevention efforts in California cities most torn by gun violence; AB 180, giving Oakland special dispensation to enact gun regulations more strict than the state’s; and AB 1020, requiring the state to send a letter to gun buyers during their 10-day waiting periods reminding them that “straw purchases” on behalf of those banned from owning guns are illegal.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    This is the first I’ve heard of Rob Bonta. It looks like he wants to introduce one ridiculous bill after the next. That way he will receive name recognition & advance in politics.

  • Elwood

    “I didn’t think that made the most sense from a fiscal perspective.”

    So why did you introduce the bill? And others equally insane and without a snow ball’s chance in hell?

    ****heads like this guy are the best argument for returning to a part-time legislature.

  • RR senile columnist

    Bill was endorsed by Local chapters of Crips and Bloods.

  • Bruce R. Peterson, Lafayette

    Now I known his full name, nationality, address, parents, wife & 3 children’s names & that he receives out of area campaign money. Just like all corrupt politicians.