by John | September 15, 2014 10:19 am
GOP candidate Neel Kashkari assured gun owners Friday he’s opposed to controversial gun-control measures now sitting on the desk of his Nov. 4 election opponent, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.
The four measures, which include a ban on home-built firearms and the importation of firearms across state lines, would add more gun laws to the books of a state ranked by Guns & Ammo magazine as 46th of the 50 states in respecting the Second Amendment “right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
After being pressed for his position on four bills by the state’s leading grassroots Second Amendment group, the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, Kashkari said on Twitter he “would veto them” if he was governor.
Twitter user and gun-rights supporter Jay Medina first asked Kashkari for his position on the bills early Friday morning. By mid-day, that Tweet had been picked up CAL-FFL.
“Why is @NeelKashkari dodging @JayMedina’s simple question? Is that Kashkari’s definition of ‘leadership?’ Looks like typical wishy-washy politics to us,” the organization asked on Twitter and Facebook.
Kashkari replied, “@CALFFL @JayMedina because I was having lunch. Chill dude. Would veto them.”
Kashkari, who has previously clashed with gun supporters on Twitter, likely headed off a torrent of social media criticism with his quick reply.
CAL-FFL President Brandon Combs, who criticized Kashkari earlier this year for his comments on guns, welcomed the announcement as “a change for the better.”
“Neel Kashkari’s views on Second Amendment civil rights has been a trying experience for us, to say the least,” Combs said. “However, we’re certainly encouraged by his new position and welcome the move towards embracing fundamental individual liberties.”
The organization, a member of the Firearms Policy Coalition, has called on its members to inundate the governor’s office with phone calls, emails, faxes and letters urging Brown to veto four measures:
Kashkari’s recent statements in opposition to new gun control could help him win over skeptical gun owners, who overwhelmingly backed Tea Party Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, in the June primary.
In February, first-time candidate Kashkari committed his first — and arguably only — unforced gaffe of the gubernatorial campaign, when he offended California’s gun owners with an off-the-cuff remark at a College Republican meeting.
“If you’re a single issue voter, and you just want someone to give you a full capacity assault rifle magazine, God bless you, you can go vote for somebody else,” Kashkari told a group of Sacramento State College Republicans. “I’m not your guy.”
The comment inspired a wave of criticism on social media from the state’s most ardent gun-rights activists. CAL-FFL encouraged its 27,970 Facebook fans to, “Tell Neel Kashkari that he’s WRONG about the Second Amendment on Twitter if you disagree.”
That gaffe was compounded during a May gubernatorial debate with Donnelly on KFI AM 640’s The John and Ken Show. Kashkari attacked the Twin Peaks lawmaker for carrying legislation that would take power away from county sheriffs and adopt sweeping reforms to the state’s handgun carry license laws.
“You introduced a bill recently that takes power away from county sheriffs and puts our gun rights in the hands of Kamala Harris – why would you do that?” Kashkari asked Donnelly during their only gubernatorial debate.
The Donnelly-authored bill in question, AB1563, was sponsored by the CAL-FFL. It would have required the California Department of Justice to issue conceal-carry permits to law-abiding Californians. So Harris’ “hands” would have been limited to following the bill.
Afterword, Combs wrote in an open letter to Kashkari, “I encourage you to educate yourself on history. Get a book on civics. Read up on the Second Amendment and landmark cases like D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago.” The cases struck down strict state and local restrictions on gun ownership.
Gun rights advocates appreciate that Kashkari has taken that advice to heart. Combs said, “Perhaps Mr. Kashkari took my advice after all.”
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