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Calif. Already Tough On Guns

When a gunman shot up a California community center Tuesday, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports he opened fire in a state which had just enacted the toughest assault weapons and handgun laws in the U.S.

Less than a month ago, Gov. Gray Davis signed two bills designed to close loopholes in California's gun control laws.

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The first new law bans the sale, manufacture or import of semi-automatic weapons that can hold 10 or more bullets. Everything from assault rifles to large-magazine pistols fall under this ban. Furthermore, anyone who currently owns such a weapon must register it with the state by 2001. Davis explains, "Assault weapons have one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to kill large numbers of people quickly."

The second law Davis signed limits handgun purchases to one per month. Democratic assemblyman Wally Knox is the author of that bill. "We can stop those kinds of incidents by cracking down on the black market in handguns, ad by wiping assault weapons from the face of the country," he says.

The tough gun ban came after a 1993 shooting rampage in a San Francisco office complex that left eight people dead. It followed the state's first assault weapons ban, which was enacted after a gunman in Stockton opened fire on a schoolyard full of children in 1989. That attack left five children dead and 30 students and teachers injured.

But gun manufacturers were able to modify and even rename their weapons in order to get around that ban. Those were the kind of loopholes the new laws were meant to close.

When he signed the law, Davis said he refused to let another gun destroy one more future. But now in Los Angeles, one gunman has proven how hard it is to stop someone who is determined and well-armed.