Proponents of Stricter Gun Laws Meet at California Capitol

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SACRAMENTO --

Proponents of stricter gun laws met at the state Capitol to discuss ways to reduce gun violence, not just in California, but nationwide.

U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson, a Democrat from Napa County, hosted the meeting.

The goal of the gun violence prevention forum was simply to talk about how to limit access to guns to those may pose a danger with them, increase background checks and ways to reduce gun crime.

"Before someone gets a gun, there should be some measure to ensure they're not criminals," Thompson said.

The meeting fell on the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook mass shooting, one of the nation’s worst in its history, and years later the debate continues as to how to prevent these types of tragedies.

Thompson, who chairs the U.S. House Gun Violence Prevention Committee, wants to do that through a few federal measures including a bill to require a background check for anyone buying guns at gun shows or online.

"There's no law that stops every tragedy, there's no regulation that stops every tragedy, but it's our first line of defense,” he said.

California already requires background checks for commercial sales, but bordering states like Nevada don't -- which makes it easier to transport guns across state lines illegally.

He also supports denying sales to anyone on the no-fly list, which prompted a tense moment in which a woman in the crowd spoke up despite the no public comment rule.

"You are advocating putting their ability to own a weapon under the second amendment in jeopardy," said Mary Burwell-Morrongiello, who did not represent any specific gun rights group, but called herself a concerned citizen.

Burwell-Morrongiello works with a construction company in Napa and says one of her employees is among the thousands who are mistakenly on the no-fly list.

It affected the employee’s work status, and she says Thompson’s call is another infringement on his and others' gun rights.

"I don't, I'm afraid they shake their heads and think about where the nearest Starbucks is,” said Burwell-Morrongiello, when asked whether she thought those hosting the forum took her concerns seriously.

Local gun rights groups pointed out California’s gun restrictions couldn’t stop the shooting in San Bernardino and voiced their fears about more gun laws.

"By prohibiting or by restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens, all you're doing is making law-abiding citizens easier targets," said California Association of Firearms Licensees spokesman Craig Deluz.

"Nobody's trying to take away your gun. What we're trying to do is make sure that if you're a criminal or your dangerously mentally ill you don't get a gun,” Thompson said.

Thompson said common sense laws could save lives, but those at the meeting who disagreed said a bill won’t stop a bullet.