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Petaluma City Council backs federal ban on assault weapons

The Petaluma City Council waded into the national gun control debate Monday night by backing a proposal to renew and broaden a federal ban on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

Acting on a request from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the council voted 6-1 to pass a resolution supporting reinstatement of the federal weapons ban that expired in 2004.

Feinstein is pushing a bill, which she said she plans to introduce next month, that would go further than the 1994 law she authored.

That law expired nine years ago, but mass shootings in Tucson, Ariz.; Aurora, Colo.; and Newtown, Conn., have energized calls for tighter restrictions on guns, particularly military-style rifles and large-capacity magazines.

Three people urged the council not to bring Petaluma into Second Amendment debates. No one spoke in favor of the resolution.

The proposed bill would prohibit the sale, import and manufacture of nearly 160 specific weapons, including the make of Bushmaster rifle used in the Newtown school shootings, and ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds.

Mayor David Glass said the "overwhelming sentiment" of Petalumans is supportive of restricting such weaponry.

"It's not a takeaway of weapons," he said.

Some officials around the country are sending letters to federal officials opposing new gun-control measures. Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman has said he plans a similar letter.

Councilman Mike Harris, the only Republican on Petaluma's seven-member council, was the sole vote against the resolution.


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