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California Senate Votes to Strengthen Handgun Law

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Sacramento, Calif. - The California Senate passed legislation that will close a loophole that has allowed gun dealers to skirt California law and sell handguns without child safety features. The legislation is a priority bill of the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and now goes to the governor's desk.

The legislation will ensure that handguns purchased through a dealer in California meet all safety and firing tests and contain state required handgun safety features as mandated by the state's "Unsafe Handgun" law. The existing law requires guns sold and manufactured in California be determined to be "safe" by the California Department of Justice, including having child safety features like loaded chamber indicators and magazine disconnects, and meet specified firing and drop safety tests.

"Gun dealers in California have been skirting the law and are selling handguns without child safety features, putting profits over the safety of Californians," said Nick and Amanda Wilcox, co-chairs of the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "Today the California legislature acted to make new handguns sold in the state safer."

Since 2010, there has been an explosion of semi-automatic handguns being modified into single-shot handguns to get around California's "Unsafe Handgun" law, thereby eroding the law's intent. For example, in 2013, more than 18,000 of these altered weapons were purchased in the state, up from just 1,100 in 2009, according to the bill's author, Assembly Member Roger Dickinson.

"Safety should not be an option or an upgrade when it comes to firearms. The California law was passed in 1999 to make sure all handguns were safety compliant. Today the California legislature restored the intent of the original safety law by making new handguns safer. Now we need Governor Brown to sign the legislation," said Nick and Amanda.