California has a violent crime problem. Despite having some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, violent crime is above the national average, and cities like Los Angeles are seeing huge spikes in violent crime. Meanwhile, law enforcement officers say many other crimes are being committed by individuals who should be behind bars, but are instead free because of California’s decision to reduce overcrowding in prisons by releasing many offenders. But anti-gun lawmakers in Sacramento have a plan: Go after the state’s legal gun owners.
Amid much political jousting from state Sen. Kevin de Leon and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, lawmakers recently sent Gov. Jerry Brown a package of anti-gun bills. The governor on Friday signed six of the bills—all of them targeted squarely at those law-abiding, legal gun owners in the state—while vetoing five others. No longer will California’s law-abiding gun owners be able to legally possess magazines they’ve owned for at least 16 years. No longer will they be able to order ammunition online. Now they’ll have to pay a new government fee to have a license to purchase ammunition, with a background check performed every time (for an additional fee, of course). Loaning a firearm to a friend, even temporarily, without going through a firearm dealer and paying an additional background check fee will now be a crime. Semi-automatic rifles, already required to have a recessed magazine release button that can’t be accessed without a tool, will now not be allowed to have detachable magazines at all.
Meanwhile, Brown vetoed a bill that would have made theft of a firearm a felony offense in all cases. It was the one bill that dealt specifically with punishing people who’ve committed a pre-existing crime, and the governor turns it down while signing all kinds of new criminal offenses into law.Thanks to these anti-gun lawmakers, more good people in more bad neighborhoods will be unable to protect their loved ones.
If the goal is to enhance public safety, these bills are a huge failure. They don’t deal with the mess in California’s criminal justice system, nor do they do anything to target any of the state’s violent criminals or those most likely to offend. Instead, these bills restrict and confine the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right by Californians who want to remain in the good graces of the law. These laws won’t make Californians any safer, but they will make it harder for Californians to exercise their rights.
Thanks to these anti-gun lawmakers, more good people in more bad neighborhoods will be unable to protect their loved ones. Cops and prosecutors, already overworked to the point that crimes like burglary often go uninvestigated in many cases, are now being told to enforce a new category of misdemeanor, non-violent offenses.
If violent criminals are paying any attention to the news, they must be cheering. I have a feeling, however, most of them aren’t following the political theater in Sacramento, what with all the misery and mayhem that they’re causing in their communities. For them, life continues on just as it was before Jerry Brown put pen to paper.