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California's Assault Weapon Restrictions Might Have Prevented Florida Shooting

SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) -- The shooter who killed 17 people at a Florida school on Valentine's Day allegedly used a legally purchased AR-15.

In California, the Rancho Tehama killer in later 2017 made his own AR-15.

KPIX 5 took a look at the California laws on AR-15s.

Starting in January 2017, it is illegal to buy or sell them. And people who already had one could keep it, but had to register it with the state Department of Justice.

Many gun owners say there is a workaround to be legally compliant, but avoid giving the government more personal information.

This is the 18th school-related gun incident since 2018 started.

The mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, prompted State Assemblyman Phil Ting to introduce a gun bill in Sacramento.

Ting says the law introduced Thursday morning, and those already in place in California, could have prevented Wednesday's tragedy if in place in Florida.

"There were a number of signs this person should not have been allowed to purchase guns, much less possess guns," Ting said.

Ting's new bill would expand the already in place gun violence restraining order.

That bill allows loved ones to report a family member they fear could become violent to law enforcement and prevents that person from buying or possessing a gun.

Ting's bill introduced Thursday would expand that to allow an employer, a coworker, a mental health worker, or an employee of a high school or college to also be able to request a Gun Violence Restraining Order.

Craig Deluz, a gun lobbyist and a spokesperson with Firarms Policy Coalition said, "Think about this, someone you may or may not know goes to the authorities and tells them you're a danger to yourselves or others."

Deluz points out that California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. He says they're not helping here.

Deluz said, "Criminals by definition don't obey laws when you pass laws that simply restrict the rights of law abiding citizens. That does nothing."

In 2016, California passed an assault weapons ban forcing residents to register AR-15's, which prompted manufacturers to release a workaround before the bill even passed.

Ting said, "Every time we pass a law, the gun manufacturers are finding ways to workaround our very specific laws."

Ting says he knows the workarounds won't stop, but neither will he.

"We can't excuse gun violence at a school," Ting said.

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