CA Dems seek to export gun crackdown

AR-15 Rifle - wikipediaMarch 6, 2013 

By Dave Roberts

California’s Democratic politicians, not content to have enacted some of the nation’s strictest restrictions on their citizens’ right to keep and bear arms, now want to do the same to the rest of the country. The Senate Public Safety Committee on a 4-2 vote (Republicans dissenting) last week passed SJR 1, a resolution urging President Obama and Congress to ban so-called “assault” weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as require universal background checks.

State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, presented the resolution at the request of U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force of the Democratic Caucus. The task force is pushing for a ban on “assault” weapons and magazines along with requiring background checks for every gun sale and updating the national background check database. Thompson, in a town hall meeting in Vallejo in January, rejected the National Rifle Association’s preferred solution to preventing school shootings: providing trained personnel in schools who can access weapons in an emergency.

“Existing law in California is already much stronger than the federal law in that it regulates and requires background checks for the possession and transfer of assault weapons,” Wolk told the committee on Feb. 26. “But without a comprehensive federal approach, states will remain unprotected and vulnerable in protecting their communities from the violence associated with these weapons.”

She was backed by Amanda Wilcox, representing the 25 California chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Wilcox’s daughter was killed in 2001 by a disgruntled patient who went on a rampage at the mental health clinic where the daughter worked.

“We need a comprehensive approach to address the problem of gun violence in our nation,” said Wilcox. “And this resolution is very simple. It urges the president and Congress to pursue that approach. I have family members and friends across the nation and want them to be safe. From a California perspective, we have strong gun laws. Guns do not stop at our border. We cannot do it alone. We need national solutions to reducing gun violence. And in particular a universal background check. So that people who cannot pass a background check in our state are unable to go across the border to neighboring states and buy a weapon through a private party sale.”

‘Assault’ weapons same as regular firearms

Two gun rights supporters spoke in opposition to the resolution.

Tom Pedersen, representing the California Rifle and Pistol Association, said his organization supports background checks and would like California to adopt an instant-check system. But he argued that, with “so-called assault weapons, there’s actually no real difference in the function of a firearm. A semi-automatic firearm, you pull the trigger each time, it discharges one round. And so to say that they are distinguishable between an assault weapon, so called, and a sporting firearm, that really is not the case.” An AR-15 semi-automatic rifle of the type he was discussing is pictured above.

Pedersen also argued against limiting the capacity of magazines.

“The reality of it is citizens want to have the same ability to protect themselves for the same reason that law enforcement officers want those high-capacity magazines,” he said. “The reality of it is that a woman by herself in her house at night who is 5-foot-2, and somebody breaks in who is 6-foot-2 and weighs 300 pounds, the firearm is the only equalizer there is.”

Ed Worley, representing the NRA, argued that the profusion and complexity of gun control laws has turned law-abiding citizens into criminals.

“Throughout the history of California, with the so-called gun bans that we’ve had in California, the biggest victims have been those who cannot understand what the law means,” he said. “Because laws are so arbitrary and capricious: if it has a pistol grip, if it has a magazine this size. What we’ve seen over the years is that thousands and thousands of people who have tried to comply with the law can’t figure out when the law took effect, didn’t know they had to register their gun again.

“The last case was a gentleman 69 years old, a school teacher who recently retired. He got in trouble because he tried to comply with the law. He contacted his state Assembly member and said, ‘I recently realized that I need to re-register my gun.’ So he went to his Assembly member to help with the Department of Justice and do the paperwork. He was informed that he needed to surrender his rifle and have it cut up.

“So in the state of California, what you have is an overly broad list of so-called assault weapons that don’t exist. So-called assault weapons are not machine guns. They are guns with various features on them. The federal assault weapons law that Dianne Feinstein [Democratic Senator from California] put into effect [from 1994 to 2004] had absolutely no effect. … You have tens of millions of people who lawfully possess high-capacity feeding devices, magazines of 10 rounds, usually 15 rounds. And now we have in the state of California legislation that is going to require them to be surrendered and confiscated. So what we are seeing in this resolution is trying to take the failed policies in California and trying to move them across the United States to people who have never committed a crime.”

Committee Chairwoman Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, who has introduced SB 396 limiting magazines to 10 rounds, responded that gun control legislation is effective.

“Of the 10 states with the strongest gun safety regulations, seven of them have the lowest level of gun crime, and that includes California,” she said. “Guns in homes result more often in suicide, or family members, mistakenly or not, killing or injuring one another, than they do for protection from outside people entering the home.”

Sen. Joel Anderson, R-San Diego, said he supports universal background checks, and would support Wolk’s resolution if it were limited to just that provision. Wolk said she would consider that. But Anderson joined Steve Knight, R-Palmdale in voting against it in committee.

6 comments

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  1. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 6 March, 2013, 11:55

    “But without a comprehensive federal approach, states will remain unprotected and vulnerable in protecting their communities from the violence associated with these (assault) weapons.”

    Just another lie from the gun prohibition elitists. So called assault weapons are rarely used in violent crime because they are not concealable. The 2011 FBI crime stats show that rifles of all types account for only 2.6% of homicides, with so called assault rifles being just a fraction of that. More people are killed with knives or beaten to death every year than are killed with “assault weapons”. Handguns are the firearm of choice for violent criminals, not rifles.

    Unfortunately for the gun haters SCOTUS has recognized a constitutionally protected right for non-felons to own handguns, which are very popular weapons for personal defense. So they had to find something else to demonize, hence the war on semi-auto rifles. Despite the tendentious blathering of Senator Feinstein, “assault weapons” are not particularly dangerous or unusual weapons. They are used safely and regularly for a wide range of lawful activities by millions of law abiding citizens and are therefore, according to Supreme Court precedent, protected by the 2nd Amendment. Why should the general citizenry be disarmed of a class of weapons which the police (our servants) use ubiquitously these days? If they need them, then we need them.

    “We need a comprehensive approach to address the problem of gun violence in our nation,”

    Violent crime, gun related or otherwise has been falling in this country for 25 years now. It fell again last year. That’s why gun prohibitionists rarely mention statistics or anything factual. They lie and deceive with emotionalism and propaganda. They prey on an ill informed public’s irrational fears.

    What the oligarchs really fear isn’t violent crime. It’s an armed insurrection by the millions of people they’ve been kicking around for decades now. Though that seems improbable at the moment, history can change on a dime, just ask the Soviet Politburo or Nicolae Ceausescu.

    Americans are buying semi-auto firearms, standard capacity magazines and ammunition at unprecedented rates, causing severe shortage across the country. They aren’t doing that just to surrender or register them with the local Geheime Staatspolizei. These Fascist swine can pass all the gun laws they want. We will simply exert our supreme natural and inalienable rights and ignore them. Then what will they do in the face of massive civil disobedience?

    The detestable miscreants of the Senate Public Safety Committee can take their resolution and shove it in an inappropriate orifice.

    Reply this comment
  2. BobA
    BobA 6 March, 2013, 18:10

    Dyspeptic,

    Here is what I think about gun control:

    The average response time of a 911 call is 23 minutes. The average response time of a .357 magnum is 1400 feet per second.

    I’d rather have a gun in my hand than a cop on the phone.

    Reply this comment
  3. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 6 March, 2013, 21:32

    Sorry, Dyspeptic. Comparing gun control legislation in the U.S. with the oppression of the old USSR or other Soviet Bloc countries shoots well past hyperbole into true madness. If and when our legislators pass some new laws that appropriately restrict the possession or transfer of certain weapons or magazines, there won’t be “massive civil disobedience” like that you hope for.

    There will be people who choose to ignore the law and become outlaws as you suggest. The most vocal and prominent of them will be targeted first for prosecution, since they will provide a high profile example and object lesson for others. If you wish to be such an exemplar, you will end up joining some of the other former CWD posters who have crossed the line into criminality and are enjoying a lengthy stay as a guest of the government you despise.

    Pleasant dreams.

    Reply this comment
  4. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 7 March, 2013, 11:28

    We keep hearing from the gun nuts that strict gun control laws like those in California, etc., “are not working.” The REASON they are not working is because the bad guys can easily go to another jurisdiction or another state and purchase their weapons.

    I’m willing to bet big money that if you expanded the California law nationwide, gun violence would drop significantly over time. If that happened, of course, the NRA would set up an online store for gun purchases or sponsor bus trips to Mexico.

    Reply this comment
  5. ilikepie
    ilikepie 8 March, 2013, 10:01

    oooh, good idea bus trips to mexico… wait didnt eric holder try that with fast and furious?

    Reply this comment
  6. Smarter than Steve
    Smarter than Steve 30 July, 2013, 00:27

    As a retired public safety officer StevefromSacto I’ll take that bet and double down. First, according to the article and Sen. Wolk; the laws in CA ARE working. This is why we do not need any MORE gun control here in the Golden state.

    Interestingly you mention Mexico. A recent news article did a story on Mexico and reports the safest towns are in the North where citizens have taken up their legal arms (shotguns and bolt action rifles mainly) blockaded the entrances and exits to their towns and now search anyone coming or going. Guess what? The kidnappings, murders, and dumping of bodies has stopped! Completely.

    Now of course the Bloombergs in the Mexican Government are concerned about ‘vigilantism” and want to bring in sworn officers to protect the towns. (The same sworn “officers” that work for the cartels and who were responsible for all the murders and violence before the militia came along and put a stop to it, no doubt)

    The rest of your comment may sound good to those that agree with you, but to those of us that embrace fact and logic it is without substance. Your insult towards the NRA also defines you.

    While I do not agree with everything the NRA does, they do a lot of good and do not deserve the knee jerk bashing that is so common these days. The NRA has numerous gun safety, gun awareness, and many other gun safety and training programs for adults as well as children. The NRA is very involved in many good causes, not just morally reprehensible ones and in all fairness you should recognize that fact..

    Lastly; since when is supporting the 2nd amendment or gun ownership/advocacy the activity of a “Nut”?

    Reply this comment

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