CA gun control laws would not make us safer

by Katy Grimes | April 18, 2013 9:14 am

April 18, 2013

By Katy Grimes

Broan and prisons, Cagle, Jan. 14, 2013[1]

While the state of California has been letting thousands of criminals out of prison since 2009 under Gov. Jerry Brown’s realignment law[2], California lawmakers are simultaneously proposing dozens of new gun control laws. Looked at separately, the two issues don’t appear necessarily connected. But closer scrutiny shows a dangerous correlation meant to undermine the state’s Three Strikes law[3], while disarming California citizens.

Instead of focusing on the more than 20,000 criminals released the last two years under AB 109[4], California’s Prison Realignment law[5], and the subsequent crime wave, the California Legislature has attempted to divert citizens’ attention by taking up dozens of gun control bills.

AB 109 was the prison “diversion” law that dumped thousands of criminals from state prisons onto local jails, many subsequently being released into the general public and committing crimes.

Brown signed AB 109 [6]only two years ago, ostensibly to “stop the costly, ineffective and unsafe ‘revolving door’ of lower-level offenders and parole violators through our state prisons.”

Despite the success of the Three Strikes law[7], and the substantial immediate decrease in California crime rates after passage, Democrats in the state Legislature are working to undo all of the good which came from the tough-on-crime law.

Study after study has shown that between 6 percent and 10 percent or criminals are responsible for up to 70 percent of all crimes committed.

School shootings

The worst deadly massacre at a school in American history was not the Newtown shootings, or the Columbine shootings. The worst school massacre took place before there was even a television in every home — in Michigan in 1927.

“A school board official, enraged at a tax increase to fund school construction, quietly planted explosives in Bath Township Elementary. Then, the day he was finally ready, he set off an inferno. When crowds rushed in to rescue the children, he drove up his shrapnel-filled car and detonated it, too, killing more people, including himself,” according to Lenore Skenazy, author of the book, “Free-Range Kids[8],” about how to raise self-reliant kids.

While the media and politicians respond purely emotionally and opportunistically, they have ignored that these incidents are not new, and are certainly not indigenous to America.

Despite media claims that these types of mass killings are on the rise, the facts simply don’t bear this out. Experts who study mass shootings say they are not becoming more common or on the rise, the New York Daily News reported[9].

“There is no pattern, there is no increase,” said criminologist James Allen Fox[10], of Boston Northeastern University, who has been studying the subject since the 1980s, spurred by a rash of mass shootings in post offices.

“The random mass shootings that get the most media attention are the rarest,” Fox said. “Most people who die of bullet wounds knew the identity of their killer.”

Society moves on, he says, “because of our ability to distance ourselves from the horror of the day, and because people believe that these tragedies are one of the unfortunate prices we pay for our freedoms.”

But the media will not allow people to move on. And politicians have jumped on the opportunity as well.

Three strikes, you’re out of prison!

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics[11] under the U.S. Department of Justice, during 2011, the 688,384 releases from state and federal prisons exceeded the 668,800 admissions.

Additionally, there were 21,663 fewer sentenced inmates in 2011 than in 2010. Seventy percent of this decrease was due to California’s Public Safety Realignment program, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

In 2011, California released 15,493 prisoners, a decline of prison population by 9.4 percent, and the highest in the entire country. The state let 6,213 prisoners out in 2009-10.

The BJS report [12]showed that during the first three quarters of 2011, 98 percent of releases were conditional mandatory releases to parole, compared to 1.5 percent for unconditional releases due to expiration of prison sentences.

But in the fourth quarter, only 46 percent of releases were conditional, while 52 percent were unconditional, meaning they were without post-release stipulations.

Overall, unconditional releases increased by 691 percent from 2010 to 2011, while conditional releases decreased 20 percent. All types of admissions to California state prisons decreased in 2011, with readmissions of parole violators down 22 percent.

However, Brown and state Democrats have ignored that nearly half of these “non-violent offenders” had previously been incarcerated for serious crimes, which is what led to convictions under the Three Strikes Law in the first place. But parole supervision is now based entirely on an inmate’s current conviction, not on cumulative crimes for which he had served prison time in the past.

As the Huffington Post reported[13] on March 20, “Recent shootings in the LA area have police wondering if a new California law is to blame for the outbreak of gun violence.

“LA County jails assumed supervision of thousands of non-serious felons[14] from California in 2011 when the state legislated ‘inmate realignment’ to deal with state prison overcrowding. The realignment left county jails across the state so overcrowded that low-level inmates have been released early to be rehabilitated on the streets as parolees.”

It’s also unclear how crime will be affected by Proposition 36[15], which voters passed last November. It lessened the Three Strikes Law from the third strike being any kind of felony, to mandating a life sentence only if the third strike is a serious or violent felony. Within a year we should know if crime has gone up.

 California lawmakers want your gun 

There is little doubt the recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is the motivation behind the large number of gun-control measures moving rapidly through the state Legislature.

SJR 1[16], by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, is a resolution passed by the state Senate which urges the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama to enact a comprehensive gun violence prevention policy, including prohibiting the sale of military-style assault weapons and “high-capacity magazines.” It also encouraged strengthening criminal background checks.

The Senate also recently passed SB 140[17], by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, which would allow the Department of Justice to take illegal firearms away from convicted felons, the mentally unstable and parolees. But existing laws already ban guns for such people.

The California Department of Justice has identified 19,784 Californians who illegally own firearms. The new bills would do nothing to help reduce that number. Instead, law-abiding Californians would be prosecuted for defending themselves.

There are bills proposed to drastically tax ammunition, and bills to ban ammunition and gun replacement parts. Said Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, author of AB 48[18], the bill to ban ammunition and gun parts, “bullets are the very thing making guns deadly.”

AB 760[19], by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, would charge 5 cents on every round of ammunition sold in California.

The Assembly Public Safety Committee, led by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, voted to kill AB 249[20] by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, to repeal the ban on open carry of firearms. AB 249 would have merely restored a right, matching California law to those of 43 other states that allow open carry.

The same committee voted to kill AB 871[21], by Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, which would have provided “good cause” to the conditions for the issuance of a concealed carry permit license. Many studies[22] have shown that granting concealed carry permits to law-abiding citizens has reduced crime by making criminals wary of assaulting decent people who might be armed.

Gun control hurts law-abiding citizens

Gun-control laws only impact the gun owners who follow the law. There are no statistics to show reductions in crime when guns and ammunition are restricted. While 12 of California’s elected sheriffs have taken a stand against gun control, the Legislature forges ahead on unnecessary restrictions in an effort to gin up emotion and opposition, while putting criminals back on California streets.

“People should have as much access to a weapon as a criminal does,” said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, at the Public Safety hearing.

  1. [Image]:
  2. realignment law:
  3. Three Strikes law:,_Changes_in_the_%22Three_Strikes%22_Law_(2012)
  4. AB 109:
  5. California’s Prison Realignment law:
  6. Brown signed AB 109 :
  7. success of the Three Strikes law:
  8. Free-Range Kids:
  9. reported:
  10. James Allen Fox:
  11. Bureau of Justice Statistics:
  12. BJS report :
  13. Huffington Post reported:
  14. assumed supervision of thousands of non-serious felons:
  15. Proposition 36:,_Changes_in_the_%22Three_Strikes%22_Law_(2012)
  16. SJR 1:
  17. SB 140:
  18. AB 48:
  19. AB 760:
  20. AB 249:;jsessionid=416eae3a0017865c6a0d6e3c9ea6?bill_id=201320140AB249
  21. AB 871:
  22. Many studies:

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