SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — California's governor vetoed a bill Friday that would have banned future sales of most semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines, part of a firearms package approved by state lawmakers in response to mass shootings in other U.S. states.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed other gun-related legislation but rejected the centerpiece bill, which would have imposed America's toughest restrictions on gun ownership.
Brown said it was too far-reaching. The bill would have outlawed future sales of an entire class of weapons that includes most assault rifles.
It was lawmakers' latest attempt to close loopholes that have allowed manufacturers to work around previous assault weapon bans. Gun rights groups had threatened to sue if the semi-automatic weapons ban became law.
"I don't believe that this bill's blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners' rights," the Democratic governor wrote in his veto message.
He also noted that California already has some of the nation's strictest gun and ammunition laws.
The bill seeking to ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles went too far by also attempting to ban low-capacity weapons commonly used for hunting, firearms training and target shooting, along with some historical and collectible firearms, Brown said. He also objected because hundreds of thousands of legal gun owners would have to register their existing weapons as assault rifles and could never sell or transfer the weapons if it became law.
The governor's actions were a mixed bag for both gun rights groups and those seeking greater restrictions.
He signed a measure that bans kits that allow people to turn regular ammunition magazines into high-capacity magazines.
He also signed two other pieces of legislation that restrict the ability of mentally ill people to possess firearms.