CA lawmakers at hearing aim at guns, not crooks

guns and american revolution, cagle, Dec. 24, 2012Jan. 30, 2013

By Katy Grimes

SACRAMENTO — There was no shortage of drama yesterday in a Capitol hearing about California’s gun laws. A show-and-tell, demonstration by the California Department of Justice, of several high-capacity rifles held the rapt attention of lawmakers.

A short documentary was shown of the survivors of the 1989 Cleveland Elementary school killings in Stockton, during which five children were murdered by a deranged shooter.

The prevailing theme for state Democrats during the three-hour hearing was that there are bad  guns and good guns, and the bad guns need to be outlawed.

They did not discuss that home robberies have increased in many cities in California. The typical home invasion consists of three to four perpetrators, armed with semiautomatic pistols or semiautomatic rifles, who force their way through the door of the home. Police report that the perpetrators do not care at all about gun laws, and are willing to kill. And since a felony murder charge already carries a life sentence or the death penalty, the gun crime is a freebie in sentencing.

Sen. Joel Anderson, R-San Diego, told me about a meeting he recently had with another lawmaker about gun bans. “What’s a good gun?” he asked. “The one which a single mother uses against an intruder to save her children.”

In reply, the other lawmaker told Anderson, “We just want to ban the bad guns.”

Opening statements set the bias

Nearly every lawmaker present at the Joint Committee on Public Safety made an opening statement which drew a line in the sand on their position. “Perhaps after the recent shootings, we’ve reached the tipping point,” said Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, the committee’s co-chairwoman.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said certain laws may need to be tweaked, and asked everyone “to respect those with divergent views.”

“I am looking forward to engagement with regard to ammunition,” said Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles. De Leon has proposed regulating gun ammunition.

Freshman Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said the Newtown tragedy and the previous shooting in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater has reignited a national debate about how to prevent such senseless crimes. “While this is a highly emotional and political issue, we shouldn’t rush into passing measures that may sound or feel good, but do nothing to save lives,” Melendez said.

Melendez also reminded the committee that even the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence says California has the toughest gun laws in the country. “California’s laws already match U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed law, and much of what President Obama wants.”

Interestingly, all of the Democratic lawmakers acknowledged during the hearing that California already has the toughest gun control laws in the nation, leaving many to wonder what the problem is.

What is the problem?

It quickly became apparent during the hearing that many legislators pushing for more gun control laws were trying to legislate a problem that does not exist. Or if there is a problem, it is that law enforcement is not following up on criminals who have guns.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, referred to Interstate 80 and several other state highways as “leakage” to other states. According to Skinner, Californians drive to nearby states to purchase guns, and then bring them back to California illegally.

The Department of Justice issues an annual report every year on firearms, and includes statistics about crimes committed in California with guns. “In the past 11 years, fewer than 60 crimes have been committed in California with assault rifles,” Sam Paredes with Gun Owners of California told me in an interview after the hearing. “Some years, zero crimes were committed with assault rifles.”

“Of the more than 170,000 legally registered assault rifles in California, not one has ever been involved in the commission of a crime.”

Paredes explained to the committee that much of what they think they know and have been told about guns is not correct. “It is already illegal for anyone to buy a handgun in another state and come back to California,” Paredes said. “Everyone must comply with the laws and procedures of this state.”

Several legislators said the National Rifle Association is trying to recruit members by attracting children. Paredes reminded lawmakers that the Boy Scouts of America has been teaching boys about guns for decades.

As for assault rifles, “The AR 15 and AK 47 are the single most popular guns in America,” Paredes said. “They are used for home defense, recreation, target shooting as well as personal defense. There are 40 million guns owned in California, and 400 million in the U.S. Homeland Security just bought 2,000 AR 15 guns for personal defense.”

No follow up on convicted criminals

While every lawmaker on the committee agreed that all efforts should be made to get and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, asked some of the best questions of the hearing. Wright grilled Stephen Linley, Bureau of Firearms chief, about why his agency and state law enforcement do not follow up on criminals attempting to purchase guns and falsify the applications.

Linley admitted that California already has laws in place to deal with situations like this, and said they do not follow up in these cases.

Linley also told Wright the guns used in the commission of the majority of crimes in the state are handguns.

“The fact is that the person is the problem, not the gun,” Sen. Steve Knight, R-Antelope Valley, told me. “It is people committing these acts, not the guns.”

Knight said that, of all of the crimes committed in California, not one was committed by a person with a concealed carry permit.

California stiffened its criminal laws in the 1980’s, and made a point of not only identifying criminals, but puting them in prison when they were caught breaking the law. Knight said that, in order to bring down the violent crime rate, when criminals are caught using a weapon during the commission of a crime, they need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law instead of getting plea deals from district attorneys.

Knight added, “Laws that punish law abiding citizens are not the answer to reducing crime in the United States.”

34 comments

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  1. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 30 January, 2013, 12:03

    You gun nuts should be advocating for real weapons. If you were truly arguing for guns to protect against a tyranical gov under some misquote of Jefferson etc, you’d be asking for machine guns and rpg’s. The peashooters you have now will do little to repel the forces of tyranny so obviously arrayed against you.

    All clear in the bunker, fire for effect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Gun nuts please respond asap.

    Reply this comment
  2. us citizen
    us citizen 30 January, 2013, 12:40

    “Paredes explained to the committee that much of what they think they know and have been told about guns is not correct. “It is already illegal for anyone to buy a handgun in another state and come back to California,” Paredes said. “Everyone must comply with the laws and procedures of this state.”

    Well how about all the illegals in this state then. Why are they not complying with the laws and why arent they being enforced? Whats with cities refusing to obey the law and setting up sanctuaries.

    This is [expletive deleted] legistration, once again. You really think because someone says its illegal, someone isnt going to do it? Yeah right.

    Im starting to think that laws are just suggestions. If that is so……..then the least people can do is protect themselves by being armed against the idiots in the govt who think they know everything.

    Reply this comment
  3. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 30 January, 2013, 13:55

    Someday Eddy Baby, you will have something intelligent to write here. I’m not holding my breath though.

    Reply this comment
  4. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 30 January, 2013, 14:56

    Dysphoric– While I know you twist and squirm at my accurate and thoughtful posts, I too wonder when you’ll post ANYthing that does not come from the Fox News talking points.

    Reply this comment
  5. Hondo
    Hondo 30 January, 2013, 15:52

    Is Obama going to the funeral of the Chicago girl who was just gunned down? The one who just played at his inauguration. He went to the funerals of all the WHITE kids who were gunned down in Sandy Hook. Is he going back home to help bury the BLACK CHILD who was murdered?
    Why doesn’t he want to talk about Chicago or Detroit. The genocide of black children by democratic policies.
    Hondo….

    Reply this comment
  6. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 30 January, 2013, 16:14

    Hondo– you don’t honestly feel that the President has no empathy towards the murder of black children do you? That would be silly considering he is black and a Dad, right? Or are you one of the hater crowd and ANYthing to do with this President?

    Reply this comment
  7. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 30 January, 2013, 16:19

    “All clear in the bunker, fire for effect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    “Gun nuts please respond asap.”

    Yes, those are some real “thoughtful posts”.

    The fact that you think 2nd Amendment civil rights activism is only of concern to “nuts” shows how truly empty headed and foolish you are. And the typical smear job referencing Fox News is so tired and predictable. Believe it or not Ted, some of us avoid TV “news” altogether, maybe you should try it too. Surprise us Ted, write something that proves you’re more than a lurking hobgoblin. (And look on the bright side Ted, compared to Don Perata you’re a genius).

    Hondo,
    Of course Obummer isn’t going to acknowledge that restrictive gun control laws don’t work by visiting the murder & gun control capital of the country. Just like he isn’t going to talk about all of those third world peasant children his military has bombed to oblivion in the name of the terror war. Maybe he’s too busy planning his next drone strike on some hapless Afghan villagers, for the children of course.

    Reply this comment
  8. us citizen
    us citizen 30 January, 2013, 17:40

    Nah, he’s working on planning his next vacation and golf extravaganza.

    Reply this comment
  9. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 30 January, 2013, 17:55

    No Katy, the focus is on crooks with guns. That’s why fewer guns will lead to fewer armed crooks.

    Reply this comment
  10. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 30 January, 2013, 18:07

    Dyspeptic says:
    The fact that you think 2nd Amendment civil rights activism is only of concern to “nuts” shows how truly empty headed and foolish you are.
    ============================
    Hey Rambo, it has nothing to do with the 2nd amendment!!! And more has been done for your civil rights without the use of an assault weapon with a 100 round banana clip. Rosa parks didn’t need an AR15!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  11. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 30 January, 2013, 18:24

    dyspeptic says,
    Just like he isn’t going to talk about all of those third world peasant children his military has bombed to oblivion in the name of the terror war.
    ===================================
    At least he’s fighting the War on terror and getting things done! Unlike old drunk a$$ Bush who lied to the people with fabricated BS to attack Iraq and cause the downfall of our economy!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  12. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 30 January, 2013, 18:33

    “Is Obama going to the funeral of the Chicago girl who was just gunned down?”

    Of course not. There is nothing to be gained politically.

    NTHEOC: I’ll make your life much easier. From now on, just like your boy Olbermann, all you need to post is a single word:

    “BOOOOOOSH!”

    We’ll understand completely. No deep thoughts, no need for logic, or reason, no nuanced considerations of current events. None of that yucky stuff that demands hard thinking.

    Just…………….BOOOOOOSH!

    Reply this comment
  13. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 30 January, 2013, 19:50

    Oh jimmy, you are the ultimate “TEABAGGER”! Please tell us what new derogatory words you learned from Hannity today about the President.

    Reply this comment
  14. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 30 January, 2013, 20:00

    Dysphoric– I know it hurts to hear someone call you a gun nut….but……dude…….you are a died in the wool, tea baggy gun nut, aren’t you? …arming teachers? Assault weapons in every household, big clips????? No background checks at gunshows??? and on and on and on…….

    You gun nuts should be advocating for real weapons. If you were truly arguing for guns to protect against a tyranical gov under some misquote of Jefferson etc, you’d be asking for machine guns and rpg’s. The peashooters you have now will do little to repel the forces of tyranny so obviously arrayed against you.

    Is there oxygen in your Beckian fantasy world little buddy?

    Reply this comment
  15. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 January, 2013, 21:13

    No Katy, the focus is on crooks with guns. That’s why fewer guns will lead to fewer armed crooks.
    ==
    Your stoopidity never fails to amaze us. PS nice pad.

    Reply this comment
  16. Lee Welter
    Lee Welter 30 January, 2013, 21:30

    It’s great to read an article about this important topic, written by an intelligent, honest, respectable reporter.

    Reply this comment
  17. fred
    fred 30 January, 2013, 21:49

    Ted –

    So if our weapons are “peashooters” then I guess you fully
    support our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms…
    as silly as it may appear…to pro-tyranny nuts

    Reply this comment
  18. Donkey
    Donkey 30 January, 2013, 22:15

    Ted Steals, the Founders could see the future would be filled with free loading RAGWUS feeders that would try anything to live off the labor of free citizens.

    The founders were every bit as leary of the government they created as they were of the one they had just overthrown.

    “… but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens little if at all inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and the rights of their fellow citizens.”

    – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist # 29

    NTHEOC, you have stumbled on my favorite “stuck inside the box” pet peeve. “Supposed to” does not mean can’t. Can’t is things like I can’t move objects with my mind. The military can and has fought its own populace. The police states of past and even present countries is an example. To say it will not happen here is to suppose America is somehow populated exclusively by the altruistic. Do you know of Kent State, Wounded Knee? Do we suddenly forget Waco, Texas? Whether one agrees with David Koresh or Janet Reno, this is one example where the US has waged a small battle on its own citizens in the name of law and won. And any outrage or controversy is moot. It is done, it was not prevented nor condemned. We have done similar actions since. And most of us watched in silence and indifference.

    Yes, the language is clear. The Thompson sub-machine gun was legal to own during the Prohibition Era. Again, it matters not which side you agree with, what matters is that the government had a tougher time subduing criminals when the weapons were more evenly matched. You may feel comfortable in your box finding such an idea preposterous. I do not. The simple fact is that an armed populace not only is less succeptible to government influence, it is also protected from criminal action by its own armament as well. An armed populace needs less police protection. And as I cited in past posts, such protection is an illusion. Police do not prevent crime, they mop up the aftermath.

    The 2nd Amendment is not for hunting, or sport shooting. It is to protect the people from the over-reaching power grasp of our government. The more people have your mentality NTHEOC the closer we come to being sheep in a pen, doing what the shepherd wishes, being slaughtered as the shepherd’s appetite demands. As we become sheep, less and less will we resist. And as sheep we also fall more victim to the criminal element and with less fight in us, we ask for more government. It is a cycle where liberty is sacrificed, inch by inch.

    The government does not need to subdue the entire population. It must first slowly cultivate a mentality like yours in the vast majority, which it has done more and more blatantly. After sufficient time, it only needs to subdue small pockets of resistence in the name of public safety, with the approval of the rest of the populace. Hitler did this. He placated the majority and the majority turned a blind eye to the sufferering of the few. He did this by being elected during a time of crisis and producing peace and restoring the national pride of the German people. He mastered the art of propoganda. His people cheered him not for his evil, but for the good things he did for them. The US populace is no different in its succeptibility to such actions. To say otherwise is to deny our humanity.

    The only reason you find this unlikely is because you are either a RAGWUS feeder, have accepted it as impossible, or highly improbable. You are sheep. If you don’t want to be then question. Deny power to your officials. Fight every step of the way. Or you can bleat how the wolves can not come into your pasture because your pasture is a wolf-free zone. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  19. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 30 January, 2013, 22:18

    fred says:
    So if our weapons are “peashooters” then I guess you fully
    support our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms
    ==========================
    You have no RIGHT to own AR15s with 100 round clips fred Mcveigh!! Can you hear that Fred? That’s the gov’t coming for your guns!!!!

    Reply this comment
  20. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 30 January, 2013, 22:30

    Wow Donkey, that was long. But I appreciate your post and info. You know there was a guy named Tim Mcveigh that also was upset about Waco. The situation in Waco could have been easily avoided by David Koresh!

    Reply this comment
  21. Donkey
    Donkey 31 January, 2013, 06:09

    NTHEOC, I am quite sure you know next to nothing about Waco, or Tim McVeigh. If you would like to educate your mind on the topic, since you feel the need to use it in defense of your syllogisms, may I suggest reading up in Kenny Trentidue, and how he was beat to death by Federal agents after being mistaken for another man. Tim McVeigh and Kenny Trentidue were both pawns being played by the Sorthren Poverty Law Center and the various Federal agencies seeking to create the myth that America was in danger from domestic terrorists, so they went out and made one, but didn’t count on McVeigh being one step ahead of the supplers of his bomb. McVeigh was picked up driving from the bombing because the Feds knew who he was, they made him, a story you know nothing about my friend. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  22. The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm)
    The Modified Ted Steele Methodologies (tm) 31 January, 2013, 06:48

    Fred— YES and No—-To make your argument honest you have to advocate for EVERYthing—- you don’t. You guys agree in some restrictions…therefore, you agree to gov restriction. End of story. The second A. is not absolute or you’d have a Supreme Court that allowed machine guns, claymores and bazookas. When the fascist armies of Obama come for you, and you know they will, they will be in F18a’s and have tanks and machine guns. You will be easy pickins little buddy. Be very afraid.

    All trolls please respond at once.

    Reply this comment
  23. Darryl Haas
    Darryl Haas 31 January, 2013, 12:45

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to 1st say THANK YOU, each and every one of you, for supporting our Precious 2nd Amendment. WE DID IT! The Petition went Public earlier this morning, and is “Quickly” getting on track to reach the Goal of the needed 100,000 SIGNATURES requiring a Response from the White House. This will again become possible only because of YOU and the Combined Support of Everyone that signed the Petition.
    For ALL of you that have not Signed the Petition, and wish to do so, I have included the link to the White House dot gov website below.
    Once again, THANK YOU for standing up for LIBERTY!
    .
    .
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/we-people-united-states-demand-any-infringement-our-2nd-amendment-be-impeachable-offense/hPHY24RY

    Reply this comment
  24. BobA
    BobA 31 January, 2013, 17:57

    Donkey:

    Well said my friend. What many people don’t realize is that all governments tends towards tyranny over time and our government is no exception.

    Fortunately our founding fathers saw fit to include the 2nd amendment in the constitution as a check against government tyranny. Without it the rest of the Constitution would be unenforceable and meaningless.

    The only rights any of us have are those which we are willing and can to defend. Without the means to defend our rights, we would have no rights and thus could not claim that we are a free people.

    Reply this comment
  25. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 31 January, 2013, 20:33

    You freedom is your vote, Donkey. If you plan to fight the government with a gun, you are an anarchist!

    Reply this comment
  26. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 31 January, 2013, 21:08

    Can we have Teddy and seesaw “arm bears” 🙂

    Reply this comment
  27. BobA
    BobA 31 January, 2013, 22:50

    Rex:

    Some people are just sheeple who do what they’re told and when they’re told without question. They are the fearful types who only think and do what they are expected to do.

    Tyrants, dictators, ruthless & corrupt politicians, bullies and even thugs and criminals love these type of people. They are easy prey who will not resist and are easily cowed and threatened into submission. Tyranny, slavery and all the “isms” of the world could not exist without then.

    Don’t bother with those types. Their fate in life is to be servile, submissive and perpetually fearful and nothing you can say will ever change them. They are what they are.

    Reply this comment
  28. Marten Purdy the metroman
    Marten Purdy the metroman 1 February, 2013, 12:08

    “If guns made people safe, America would be the safest country in the world.”

    Reply this comment
  29. BobA
    BobA 1 February, 2013, 22:27

    Marten Purdy:

    Anyone who equates a firearm to safety is mentally disturbed and should not own or possess a firearm or any type of lethal.

    Reply this comment
  30. BobA
    BobA 1 February, 2013, 22:28

    Marten Purdy:

    Anyone who equates a firearm to safety is mentally disturbed and should not own or possess a firearm or any type of lethal weapon.

    Reply this comment
  31. Marten Purdy the metroman
    Marten Purdy the metroman 2 February, 2013, 11:58

    founding fathers:
    A group of kids from Fremont, that organize parties? BobA.

    Reply this comment
  32. BobA
    BobA 2 February, 2013, 15:27

    Marten Purdy:

    The founding fathers were a group of serious men who founded a country that changed the world. Before America you were either a slave or a subject of some monarch or emperor and tyranny and wars of conquest was the order of the day.

    The founding fathers were far more honorable and infinity than the people who run our government today.

    If the Constitution were written today the powers that be would model it after the old USSR constitution of what suffices for China’s constitution.

    Freedom and government power is a zero some game. The more power the government has the less freedom we the people have.

    The only thing that differentiates America from the rest of the would is our Constitution. Let’s keep it that way.

    Always remember that a government that’s big enough to give you everything you want is also big & powerful enough to take everything you have.

    And just like in the old USSR and China and a host of other countries around the world, if you complain to loudly, you will disappear and never seen or heard from again.

    Why? Because an omnipotent government serves it’s own purposes and can force it’s will upon the people whenever and however it wants and they do not tolerate criticism or disobedience of any kind.

    Reply this comment
  33. RB
    RB 14 February, 2013, 11:05

    Love the comments re: AR-15s and “100 round clips.”

    NTHEOC – just curious as to where you get your info on AR-15s. I’m just not seeing all of these “100 round clips” you mention (FYI – they are magazines, and there is a difference).

    The magazines you refer to, Beta Mags, are certainly not in wide circulation. They cost a lot of money and are notorious for feed problems.

    Here in California, you will occasionally see pre-ban standard capacity magazines (30 round) on AR-15s. The current legal configuration is 10 round magazines on an AR-15 with a bullet button (the magazine release, which requires a ‘tool’ to use).

    Aside from the look of the rifle, there’s no functional difference between an AR-15 and standard semi-automatic deer rifle (except the deer rifle, a .30-06 or .308 for example, is higher powered).

    Statistically speaking, AR-15s and rifles in general account for a very small percentage of gun-related deaths. Illegal handguns are far and away #1.

    Reply this comment

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