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California Senate OKs Gun Ban

August 24, 1999

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ A bill that would ban the sale of cheap, poorly made handguns known as Saturday night specials won Senate approval and went to the governor Monday.

The Senate voted 24-13 to send Gov. Gray Davis the measure, which would give California one of the toughest gun safety laws in the country. Davis supports the legislation.

The bill, which is slated to take effect January 2001, would make it a misdemeanor to make or sell handguns that have no safety device and have not passed firing and drop-safety tests in independent laboratories.

``We do not allow the importation of these so-called junk guns into the United States,″ said Sen. Bruce McPherson, R-Santa Cruz. ``Why should we allow them to be manufactured in the state of California?″

The bill is aimed at handguns known as Saturday night specials, or inexpensive guns that police say are popular with criminals.

Supporters said the measure would affect gun production nationwide because many handgun manufacturers are based in California.

Opponents contend the bill will merely increase the sales of new guns and expand the black market for existing weapons instead of reducing the number of firearms on California streets.

Also on Monday, the legislature approved a bill that would require trigger locks on guns sold in California beginning in 2002.

Backers say trigger locks would help prevent accidental shootings, particularly those of children in homes. Between 1987 and 1996, nearly 2,200 children under the age of 15 died in such shootings in the country, said the author, Sen. Tom Hayden.

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