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California Gets Tough On Guns

Outside the medical center where victims of a gunman's rampage at a Jewish community center were treated earlier this month, Gov. Gray Davis signed into law three bills tightening the state's control over guns.

One is a Senate bill that outlaws making or selling any handguns that do not meet minimum safety standards, including firing tests and drop tests to ensure it does not accidentally fire, reports CBS Station KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.

The other is an Assembly bill requiring trigger locks on all guns sold in order to prevent the weapons from getting into the wrong hands.

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With other new laws expanding the state's assault weapons ban and limiting residents to purchasing one gun a month, California now has the nation's toughest package of gun control laws, Davis said.

"I believe in the Second Amendment. But we have been able to balance the rights of the Second Amendment in a responsible way to protect public safety," Davis said Friday outside Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.

Critics, including the National Rifle Association, said the laws will increase illegal gun sales.

"They're high on symbolism and low on substance," said Steve Helsley, state liaison for the NRA.

"Unfortunately, on virtually every street corner in every neighborhood, you can find one of these unsafe handguns," Davis told reporters at a press conference. "It's not too much to ask a cheap handgun to be safe so that it does not hurt people accidentally."

The legislation comes two weeks after an avowed white supremacist opened fire on children at the North Valley Jewish Community Center, wounding three day campers, a teen-age counselor and a woman who worked as a receptionist.

Buford O. "Neal" Furrow Jr. of Washington state, who had ties to the Aryan Nation, then allegedly carjacked a vehicle and shot to death Filipino-American letter carrier Joseph Ileto.

The bill signing was held at the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, where most victims from the Aug. 10 shooting were treated. The law will take effect Jan. 1, 2001.