California ammo check law blocked 100 sales in first month

California’s new ammunition background check law in its first month stopped more than 100 people from buying bullets illegally, officials said late Monday as they struggled to deter more of the mass shootings that have roiled California and other states over the last week.

“Countless other prohibited persons were likely deterred from even trying to purchase ammunition that they cannot lawfully possess,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a court filing. He disclosed the early results in response to a gun owners’ rights group attempt to block the law that took effect July 1.

A federal judge is expected to decide later this month whether to halt the law as a violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms and other federal laws.

The filing came as Gov. Gavin Newsom said the federal government should follow California’s lead in requiring background checks for ammunition buyers. …

Click here to read the full article from KRCA3 News

San Diego council votes to require gun owners to lock away firearms at home

The San Diego City Council voted 6-2 on Monday in the first of two votes to approve a new gun storage ordinance aimed at preventing accidental shootings and other firearm-related injuries and deaths.

City Attorney Mara Elliott introduced the Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance last month. It would require all firearms in a residence be stored in a locked container, or disabled by a trigger lock, unless they are being carried by or are under control of the owner.

Monday’s vote was the first of two required for the ordinance to become law, and came after about 90 minutes of public comment, with about two-thirds of those who spoke urging the council to pass the ordinance. Those who opposed the proposed regulations told the council the ordinance infringes on their Second Amendment rights. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Diego Union-Tribune

California’s gun seizure program hits hurdles

Gun seizureAuthorities in California are struggling to enforce a state law that permits officials to seize firearms from people with previous criminal convictions or mental health issues – running into staffing and budgetary issues that have contributed to a massive backlog of guns marked for confiscation.

The law, which was passed in 2013 following the shooting at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook elementary school and set aside $24 million for seizure programs, had a goal of confiscating around 20,000 guns over three years. But six years later, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report, there are still roughly 9,000 of those guns out there, with more being added to the list yearly.

While the state’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, has made gun control a priority of his new administration and has proposed a multi-million-dollar increase to hire more agents, the program reportedly has been hit by retention issues and a lack of experience among new agents. …

Click here to read the full article from Fox News

Will Gavin Newsom be tougher on guns than Jerry Brown?


Gun Open CarryCalifornia Democrats on Monday outlined a plan to enact new forms of gun control, and they’re hoping Gov. Gavin Newsom will sign firearm restrictions that his predecessor vetoed last year.

Standing alongside former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head at a 2011 Tuscon event, Democrats in the Legislature called for more gun restrictions.

So far, they’re proposing Assembly Bill 165, which would provide training to police officers on the use of gun violence restraining orders, and Senate Bill 61, which would limit firearm purchases to one gun per month.

“Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what’s right, the courage to new ideas,” Giffords said at the news conference. “I’ve seen great courage when lives are on the line. Now is the time to come together, be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone, we must never stop fighting. Fight, fight, fight. Be bold. Be courageous. The nation is counting on you.” …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

Nancy Pelosi to Introduce Bill Criminalizing Private Gun Sales


Photo courtesy shawncalhoun, flickr

Photo courtesy shawncalhoun, flickr

House Democrats plan to introduce a bill criminalizing private gun sales on Tuesday of next week.

The legislation will be introduced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), and gun control proponent Gabby Giffords.

Tuesday will be the eighth anniversary of the day on which Giffords was shot by Jared Loughner.

The bill seeks to put background checks in place for all gun sales, requiring a daughter to get a background check before her mother can give her a gun or a son to get a background check before a father can give him one. It would also require a lifelong friend to get a background check before he can a gun from his lifelong friend. …

Click here to read the full article from Breitbart.com

Riverside County Sheriff Sued Over Concealed Weapon Policies


Gun Open CarrySheriff Stan Sniff’s policy on who gets to carry concealed weapons in Riverside County is unconstitutional because it excludes legal U.S. residents, according to a lawsuit filed Oct. 19 in federal court. Sniff denounced the lawsuit, filed by a county resident and five gun rights groups, as politically motivated and designed to help his opponent in the Nov. 6 election.

In his lawsuit, Arie van Nieuwenhuyzen, a legal U.S. resident who was born in The Netherlands, argues his rights were violated last year when the Sheriff’s Department told him he could not apply for a permit because he is not a U.S. citizen. The Riverside resident and business owner said he bought a handgun for self-defense purposes, a need that extends beyond his home.

“Courts across the country have long held that legal United States residents are entitled to the same constitutional protections as everyone else,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, George M. Lee, said in a statement. “Sheriff Sniff’s discriminatory and unconstitutional policies and practices are denying people access to the right to keep and bear arms and violating the Fourteenth Amendment’s command that all people shall enjoy equal protection of our laws.” The other plaintiffs are the Calguns Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation, and the Madison Society Foundation. …

Click here to read the full article from the Riverside Press-Telegram

Gov. Brown Signs Bill Banning Gun Sales to People Under 21


Gun seizureMost people under 21 won’t be able to buy guns in California starting next year under a law Gov. Jerry Brown announced signing Friday.

It will prevent people under 21 from buying rifles and other types of guns. State law already bans people under 21 from buying handguns.

The new law exempts law enforcement, members of the military and people with hunting licenses from the restriction.

It was one of dozens of bills Brown took action on.

Democratic Sen. Anthony Portantino pointed to the shooting at a Florida high school earlier this year that killed 17 people as the reason for his bill banning gun sales and transfers to people under 21.

“I was determined to help California respond appropriately to the tragic events our country has recently faced on high school campuses,” Portantino said in a statement. …

Click here to read the full article from NBC News

San Francisco Court: 2nd Amendment Grants Right to Carry Guns Openly


Gun Open CarryAmericans have a constitutional right to carry guns openly outside the home, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Tuesday on an issue that has divided federal courts and is likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 2-1 ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a case from Hawaii may not last long — it was written by one of the court’s most conservative judges, Diarmuid O’Scannlain, whose previous decision striking down a California concealed-weapons law was overturned by the court’s liberal majority. But it highlights a Second Amendment issue the high court has sidestepped since 2008, when it ruled for the first time that the Constitution guarantees the right to possess a handgun at home for self-defense.

Supreme Court intervention in the open-carry issue appears likelier with the widening split among lower courts — three federal appeals courts have found no right to carry guns openly in public — and with the possible addition on the court of President Trump’s nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, to succeed the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. As a federal appeals court judge, Kavanaugh has interpreted the Second Amendment broadly, saying in one dissenting opinion that it protects the right to own semiautomatic weapons.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s ruling potentially applies to gun laws in nine Western states covered by the Ninth Circuit, including California. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle

California lawmaker proposes Tax guns instead of arming teachers


GunFollowing the February school massacre in Parkland, Fla., California legislators responded as they often do after a mass shooting, with proposals to further tighten the state’s strict gun control laws.

But the killings – and a national protest movement that they inspired – have also raised questions across the country about how best to keep children safe in school.

Assembly Bill 2497, unveiled last month by Assemblyman Jim Cooper, would create a tax on firearm and ammunition sales to fund grants for high schools that want to hire police to provide campus security. The money would also pay for a counselor at every middle school, whose primary responsibility would be to detect and report potential threats of violence. …

Click here to read the full article from the Sacramento Bee

California Dems Push Pension Funds to Divest from Guns, Oil Pipeline


PensionsSACRAMENTO – California’s two major pension funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), control more than $500 billion in total assets, making them two of Wall Street’s most influential investors. They also are government entities, and some California leaders want to use their investment muscle to achieve public-policy outcomes.

This often comes in the form of divestment, by which the funds are encouraged – or even required – to sell their assets in industries that are viewed negatively by the people who push these efforts. These efforts tend to work against the goals of the funds’ professional investment staff, which are charged with getting high investment returns to fund pensions for the systems’ retirees. Both funds have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize their return on taxpayer dollars.

Yet estimates from a consulting firm suggest that CalPERS has lost approximately $8 billion in returns because of previous efforts to divest from coal-related and tobacco industries. That’s become a particularly contentious issue as funding levels have fallen to 68 percent for CalPERS and 64 percent for CalSTRS. That means they have only around two-thirds of the assets needed to make good on all the current and future pension promises made to government retirees.

Despite the troubling numbers, there’s a new push for divestment from some politicians. Following the October massacre in Las Vegas, by which a gunman murdered 59 people at a country music concert, state Treasurer John Chiang has called for the teachers’ fund to sell its assets in weapons firms and sporting-goods companies that sell any guns that are illegal in California.

“Neither taxpayer funds nor the pension contributions of any of the teachers we represent, including the three California teachers slain in Las Vegas should be invested in the purveyors of military-style assault weapons,” said Chiang, a 2018 candidate for governor and member of both pension boards. Chiang also told the Sacramento Bee that he plans on making a similar request to the CalPERS board.

The newspaper also noted that both funds “this year have faced calls to divest from companies that do business with the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline,” which would transport oil underground from North Dakota oilfields to Illinois. It has prompted protests from a variety of environmental and Native American activists.

Critics of these proposals say they are largely symbolic and would do little to influence gun sales or the pipelines. Divestment from these relatively small industries wouldn’t have much impact on the massive funds’ financial returns, either.

On Oct. 30, 12 members of California’s Democratic congressional delegation sent a letter to CalPERS chief executive officer Marcie Frost urging the pension fund to divest from a fund that has acquired a hotel owned by Donald Trump’s organization. This move is more directly political than many divestment efforts, which tend to focus on the social implications of investing in the pipeline, weapons manufacturers, coal-related industries and tobacco companies.

Divestment advocates sometimes argue that these controversial products may be poor long-term investments. For instance, the Public Divestiture of Thermal Coal Companies Act of 2015 and similar efforts by the state insurance commissioner were based in part on the notion that these coal-related companies may face diminishing values as the world shifts away from carbon-based fuels – a point rebutted by those who note that the current price of the stocks already reflects that risk.

But the Trump-related divestment call, led by U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu of Torrance, is designed to target the president. The members of Congress expressed their disappointment that CalPERS “has not divested its interest” in that fund “nor has taken any actions to ensure that its fees are not being transferred to President Trump,” according to their letter. They criticized CalPERS for taking a “wait-and-see” approach toward the matter.

These members of Congress claim that this CalPERS investment could be in violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which states that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” This would be an unusual interpretation of an arcane clause.

Meanwhile, the pension funds have been expanding other divestment and socially motivated investment efforts. Last December, the CalPERS investment staff “recommended that the board remove its 16-year ban on tobacco investments in light of an increasing demand to improve investment returns and pay benefits,” according to a Reuters report. But instead of removing the ban, the board “voted to remain divested and to expand the ban to externally managed portfolios and affiliated funds.”

And last year CalPERS adopted a five year Environmental, Social and Governance plan that focuses on socially responsible investing. The fund has long used its financial clout to push companies it invests in to promote, for instance, board diversity and other social goals.

Whatever their chances for approval, the latest efforts are not out of the ordinary. But they will rekindle the long-running debate between political and financial goals, and whether the former imperils the latter given both funds’ large unfunded liabilities.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him at sgreenhut@rstreet.org.

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com