Gun registration had always seemed like the “line in the sand” — a proposal that would so offend gun-rights advocates that they would bring out their full political muscle to stop it. Yet a California law mandating government record-keeping for all new long-gun purchases goes into effect on Jan. 1 and few people even seem to know about it, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. This year, gun owners were relieved that Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the toughest gun-control measures that came to his desk, including one that would have banned sales of almost all semi-automatic rifles.
Back in 2011, after much debate, the governor signed the registration law. It's far broader than any of the bills the governor dealt with recently. Supporters say it's not exactly registration, because the law calls for the state to retain background-check records of those who purchase guns and does not register specific guns to specific people. Opponents say that's just semantics. The main element of registration is that the government can track legal gun owners. In this case the department will have a list of every owner and the specific guns each person buys. The state already tracks the purchases of handguns and “assault weapons.” The new law bolsters a program that has generated controversy. This month, legislators held hearings on the effectiveness of the Armed Prohibited Persons System, used to confiscate the firearms of California residents who are no longer eligible to own them.