CA gun control repeal effort builds
Gun rights groups have turned up the heat on Sacramento’s newest firearms restrictions, mounting an effort to repeal seven fresh laws through the ballot this election year.
“The group ‘Veto Gunmageddon’ needs to collect 360,000 signatures for each measure by the end of the month to get them before voters in November, KCBS San Francisco reported. An uphill battle awaits. “Lawmakers passed a dozen gun control bills in June, seven of which Brown signed into law, including legislation requiring background checks for ammunition purchases and a ban on possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds,” as the San Jose Mercury News observed. Those provisions, the paper added, were identical to proposals Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom touted independently in his early-bird bid to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018.
Political powder keg
Although Democratic lawmakers irked by the redundancy have won out, analysts have speculated that Newsom could wind up benefiting most from politicking the Gunmageddon ordeal. “He will be able to say gun restrictions are under attack and that it’s more important than ever to pass my ballot measure,” Loyola Law School’s Jessica Levinson told the Mercury News.
What’s more, Newsom and his allies have already stockpiled a huge amount of cash relative to opponents of the Proposition 63 ballot measure. Prop. 63 “would ban possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines, require background checks for Californians buying bullets, create a process for getting felons to relinquish firearms and mandate reporting of lost or stolen guns,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “Newsom’s Safety for All Committee reported it has raised $3.8 million so far, compared with $467,000 raised by two committees opposing” Prop. 63.
The scramble to settle the fate of the state’s gun laws in the court of popular opinion has played out against the backdrop of a very different kind of legal battle — one where the public’s voice could count for nearly nothing. Gun activists succeeded in pursuing a controversial case to the door of the U.S. Supreme Court. Although judges recently shot down their suit against the state of California, which requires a license for concealed carry outside one’s home, the groups vowed to seek a final decision from the nation’s highest court. “The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the law in June, ruling 7-4 that there is no constitutional right to carry concealed weapons in public,” the San Francisco Chronicle recalled. “Opponents sought a rehearing before the entire appeals court, but the court said […] that the request had failed to win a majority among its 28 active judges. No vote total was announced.”
“The century-old state law requires handgun owners to obtain a permit from a local law enforcement agency before they can legally pack their weapons in public. The permits are virtually unavailable to anyone except police and security guards in most metropolitan areas, but are issued in most rural and inland areas to any adult who asserts a need for self-defense and does not have a disqualifying criminal record.”
A rush to bear arms
Californians have been loading up on firearms this year. At their current pace, Golden Staters will cross the million gun threshold by January. “The soaring gun sale totals — which show 554,203 firearms sales through late July — come in the wake of mass shootings in Orlando and Dallas, followed by calls for gun control legislation,” Southern California Public Radio noted, citing new data obtained from the Dealer Record of Sales, a gun tracking system run by the state’s Department of Justice. “The system shows gun sales on track to surpass 2015 nearly everywhere in the state,” the station added, although “the percentage of households in the U.S. with guns in them has been falling for decades.”
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