Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)
As California lawmakers began Tuesday to consider more than a dozen gun control measures, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa flew to Sacramento to urge them to take "dramatic and heroic" action.
Villaraigosa referred to mass shootings, including the one that killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, in asking lawmakers to approve a package of bills dubbed by Democratic leaders as the "Life Act."
The proposals include requirements for licenses and background checks for those buying ammunition. They also would close loopholes on the possession of assault weapons with large-capacity magazines.
"From coast to coast, we have seen too many children killed or living in the aftermath of horrific violence," Villaraigosa told a packed hearing of the Senate Public Safety Committee.
"You have before you today the opportunity to make our laws stronger, an opportunity to make California a leader again on the issue of gun violence," he added.
The hearing, which is expected to take much of the day, also saw opposition testimony early from activists including representatives of the National Rifle Assn. and law enforcement officials who said legislation being considered violates their constitutional rights and punishes law-abiding gun owners.
"I will never take a gun away from a citizen who has a right to bear arms," vowed Del Norte County Sheriff Dean Wilson.
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