Assemblymember Catharine Baker voted against
an amendment to move four assault weapon bills
for a vote in the near future.

In the wake of the Orlando tragedy and a full-throated protest by House Democrats this week calling for Republicans to allow a vote on gun-related legislation, there is great pressure from the public for legislators to do something to quell gun violence.

However, East Bay Assemblymember Catharine Baker and other Assembly Republicans Thursday unsuccessfully voted to block a package of four gun control bills from coming to a vote in the Assembly.

The procedural vote, approved by Democrats, moved the bills from the Assembly Appropriations Committee to a third reading possibly next week.

Republican leadership in the Assembly objected to the amendment because the bill’s cost have not yet been reviewed by Appropriations. All four bills were approved by the state Senate last May.

Instead, the quartet of legislation will force Baker, who is in a tight re-election campaign against Democrat Cheryl Cook-Kallio, to register a vote on the hot-button issue. How Baker votes on the gun control bills could become a major campaign issue this fall.

The batch of gun legislation, according to the authors, was initially a response to the shootings last December in San Bernardino. Together they propose to ban the sale of assault weapons with a so-called “bullet button,” which allows users to easily detach its magazine (SB 880); and require gun owners to report the theft of their weapon to authorities within five days of realizing it was stolen (SB 894).

Another bill would require background checks on ammunition purchases, and for vendors to register with the state (SB 1235). More on this from the Sacramento Bee.

A fourth bill (SB 1446), authored by East Bay state Sen. Loni Hancock, seeks to ban the possession of assault weapons with a magazine of more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta is also a coauthor of the bill.

In addition, Senate Bill 880, the bill to close the “bullet button” loophole, is coauthored by another East Bay legislator, state Sen. Steve Glazer.