The bill passed the Senate 23 to 15, with most of the opposition coming from Republicans who voiced their usual complaint: The background checks would only harass law-abiding citizens.
One rural Republican, Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber in the Sacramento Valley, asserted it was part of an effort "to disarm Californians and Americans."
A bunch of gun control bills passed that day and moved to the Assembly, some perhaps relevant to the Santa Monica shooting.
SB 396 by Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) would ban possession — not just purchase — of high-capacity magazines, those holding more than 10 rounds. Zawahri possessed 40 capable of holding 30 each.
"You've heard that a ban on high-capacity magazines won't stop killers from killing," Hancock told colleagues. "But it will stop them from killing so many."
Responded Republican Sen. Stephen Knight of Palmdale: "It's not the magazines. These people have problems. They're crazy. You can't stop crazy people from doing crazy things."
Maybe not. But you can stop them from being armed for bear — or, more specifically, for the mass slaughter of truly innocent people.
SB 374 by Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) would ban the sale of semiautomatic rifles that accept detachable magazines, a feature of assault weapons.
"The reason the assault weapons ban has not worked as well as it should," Steinberg said, "is because the gun manufacturers have found every single loophole possible" to get around it. Such as selling parts so killers like Zawahri can customize their own weapons.
Another reason is there's no nationwide ban. Californians can buy assault weapons from private sellers at gun shows in Reno and Las Vegas and tote them back across the border. They can also avoid criminal background checks that way.
Whether any of the gun control proposals could have spared lives in Santa Monica — or Newtown or Aurora — cannot be stated for certain. But that's no reason to meekly crawl into a ball and whine that gun deaths are inevitable.
"There's nothing that's an absolute solution," says Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. "But if you put enough controls in place, that makes it less and less likely there will be gun violence."
"I don't think anyone can argue," Beck adds, "that keeping ammunition out of the hands of people prohibited from having it is not a good thing."
It might slightly inconvenience gun owners. But their convenience is trumped by saving lives.