California Governor Vetoes 'Junk Gun' Ban

Saying it wouldn't protect the public, Gov. Pete Wilson (R) vetoed a bill that threatened California's gunmakers by proposing new safety standards for "Saturday night specials."

The bill, touted as a safety-boosting effort, would have required "junk guns" - cheap, easily obtained pistols, mostly made in southern California - to meet the same standards as imported guns. It called for pistols to be at least 6 inches long. Revolvers would have to be 4 inches long.

Gunmakers faced with paying for new designs and production contended the new weapons would be not only bigger, but deadlier.

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"The real test applied by the bill is whether or not the weapon is readily concealable," Governor Wilson said Friday. "By this definition and test, all handguns - except, ironically, the largest and deadliest" would be banned.

Five California gunmakers produce 80 percent of the Saturday night specials sold in the US. They made 900,000 pistols in 1993, though a sales slump dropped that to about 300,000 in 1995.

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