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California governor signs raft of gun control bills into law

California governor signs raft of gun control bills into law
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California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Friday signed several gun control bills into law, including legislation that raises the minimum age for buying rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21.

The bills, which faced opposition from pro-gun activists, were confirmed to have been among dozens signed by Brown on Friday. Brown's office did not issue a statement accompanying the signing.

Among the legislation signed into law was a bill prohibiting Californians with previous convictions for domestic violence charges and those who have been hospitalized for mental health issues more than once in one year from making firearm purchases, according to Reuters.

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The laws go into effect on Jan. 1, and exempt law enforcement and military service members from the provisions.

“No parent should have to worry that a gun gets in the wrong hands and commits a heinous and violent tragedy on our school campuses,” state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D), who wrote the bill raising the age on rifle and shotgun purchases, told Reuters.

Portantino added that February's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida was the impetus behind the introduction of the gun control bills.

The Feb. 14 shooting, which left 17 dead, rekindled the national gun control debate and sparked the creation of "March for Our Lives," a student-led movement in support of tougher gun control measures. Tens of thousands of Americans have participated in rallies across the country with the group and its offshoots since the shooting.

Students and alumni of the Parkland, Fla., high school have also called out conservative lawmakers with ties to the pro-gun National Rifle Association (NRA).

NRA officials told California lawmakers that the organization would "continue" to oppose bills such as the ones passed in California, but were unclear about the possibility of a legal challenge.

“We will continue to oppose gun control measures that only serve to punish law abiding citizens,” Daniel Reid, the director of the NRA in California, told lawmakers in a letter, Reuters reported.