Top 10 Stupidest New Laws in California for 2017

california-flagI’m not in the habit of complaining at the outset of a column, but I’ve taken on a nearly impossible task — figuring out which, of the hundreds of new California laws about to go into effect, are the stupidest.

Don’t laugh. I’m serious.

It’s really, really hard to keep the list at 10 with hundreds of hare-brained schemes that became real laws.

After all, for far too long, the California Legislature has been a “conservative-free zone” — even though there were a handful of “Republicans” occupying seats and taking up space.

I’m going to list the new laws in order of their egregiousness to me, but I’m open to additions or wholesale re-ordering if you care to comment.

Given that Californians are facing 898 new laws going into effect on January 1st, 2017, there’s plenty to hate.

  1. Prop. 63: “2nd Amendment Nullification” Act.  Although various portions go into effect in various years — yes, they staggered implementation of this “critically needed reform,” some out to 2019 — this is the most sweeping assault on our long-cherished, God-given natural right as Americans to protect our lives and our freedom.  It requires you to pass a background check and pay for a permit to buy ammunition for the gun you may have just passed a background check to buy.  Yeah, that’ll stop criminals — who buy their guns and ammo in parking lots from other criminals. WooHoo! Next, it makes high-capacity magazine (any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds) illegal to possess — even if you bought it prior to the current ban and ownership was previously considered grandfathered.  This law should make it clear that the goal of the left is not “safety” — it’s control.
  2. SB880: “Bullet Button Ban.” For years, California Democrats have sought to ban a made-up classification of semi-auto rifles with “evil features” that they re-named “assault weapons” for propaganda purposes. Every year, California Democrats attempt to increase control over this “hated group” of guns — until they finally outright ban all semi-automatics.  This law will not do a single thing to further public safety, as the San Bernardino terrorist attack illustrated — determined mass murderers will simply ignore and work around all gun control laws — as if they are just words on paper. One last bit of irony: in a previous legislative session, this same bill was sponsored by none other than disgraced State Senator Leland Yee. If that name sounds familiar, you’re right. Leland Yee wanted to “protect” Californians from “assault weapons” on our streets — that is, until he was arrested for trafficking fully automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades in exchange for campaign contributions. He’s currently serving a five-year prison sentence.
  3. SB3: Minimum Wage Hike to $15/hour by 2020. As a result of a strong socialist push by unions and complicit governments — such as the union-controlled California legislature — businesses are looking to eliminate as many jobs as possible, investing in automation instead. When you combine this with unchecked illegal immigration — where you have an unlimited labor pool willing to work for sub-par wages under the table — the future for entry-level jobs and small business owners in California is bleak.
  4. AB1785 The “Hands Free” Law. This is another example of government gone wild. AB1785 prescribes driver behavior so severely that in and of itself, I believe it will cause more accidents — and more deaths. Not only must the phone be dash mounted — meaning you’ll have a permanent distraction right in front of you — but you may not text, take photos or video, or enter GPS destinations while driving. Fat chance of stopping those activities with a mere $20 fine. The bill does stipulate that “the only time a driver is allowed to touch the device is when he or she is activating or deactivating a “feature or function.” However, that process should only involve a “single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger,” according to the bill,” mynewsla.com reports. How about “hands off” my phone instead of an unenforceable “hands free” law?
  5. AB 1732: Single-User Restrooms. If you’ve ever had to go so badly that you used the opposite sex restroom at a gas station or Starbucks, then perhaps you think this law is needed. But do we really need another law regulating bathrooms? Some businesses have already put signs on their single-use restrooms designating use by either sex. And sometimes people just take it upon themselves. I can’t help but think this law is unnecessary and diminishes us as a society a little.
  6. SB 1383: Controlling Cow Flatulence. Not making this up. In spite of the fact that 53 California dairy farmers went bankrupt, moved out of state, or just closed down this year, the Marxist-Progressives are back at it again. Capture cow farts or suffer heavy fines.  CARB (CA Air Resources Board) suggests inserting a tube into the cow’s digestive system and venting into a backpack. Even liberals admit that laws like this, where government tries to control the uncontrollable, can have undesirable economic consequences. Lost jobs, lost industries, lost revenue. Stupid law.
  7. AB 857: Ghost Gun Ban.  Even if you manufacture your own gun — starting with an 80 percent receiver — that requires you to have special skills and tools to complete the machining, you must now register it and obtain a serial number from the California Department of Justice. The purpose of this law is simply to record your name and your firearm on a list for eventual confiscation. Once again, control — not public safety — is the goal.
  8. SB1322: Legalizing Child Prostitution. This law bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with intent to do so. So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution. Now that is nuts. I understand the idea of trying to not punish the victim, but certainly granting judges discretion is better than legalizing and therefor “green-lighting” behavior that is so harmful to the individual child.
  9. Prop. 57:  Early Release for so-called Non-Violent Criminals. This was Governor Jerry Brown’s baby — the crown jewel of his prison reform initiatives. Among those offenses he considers “non-violent”: rape of an unconscious person; human trafficking involving sex acts with minors; and assault with a deadly weapon. Blogger Felicia Wilson summed it up well (original emphasis): “Call me crazy, but shouldn’t a crime that includes the word rape or assault be considered, I don’t know … violent?”
  10. AB 2466: Felons Voting. Low-Level felons serving sentences outside of state prison get to keep their right to vote. Hmm. Wonder which party this could possibly help? Just like the “illegal alien vote,” Democrats will have the felon vote locked down. This is simply about protecting their power and making it permanent.

When California Democrats promised to take to the streets to defend the rights of convicted felons, illegal aliens and welfare recipients, they weren’t kidding. If only they were as serious about cracking down on immigration cheats and violent criminals as they are about penalizing law-abiding citizens and gun owners, California would have more jobs, less crime — and might be a place people want to come to instead of fleeing.

Tim Donnelly is a Former California State Assemblyman. FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/tim.donnelly.12/ Twitter: @PatriotNotPol 

This piece was originally published by Breitbart.com/California

CA Senate Approves Sweeping Gun-Control Measures

As reported by ABC News:

Democrats in the California Senate approved a wide-ranging series of gun control bills Thursday, reviving an effort to significantly tighten California’s already strict gun laws in the wake of last year’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

Lawmakers voted to outlaw the sale of assault weapons with easily detachable magazines and to require that people turn in magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. They also backed a variety of other measures aimed at restricting access to guns and ammunition or limiting the carnage they can inflict.

The effort drew a sharp rebuke from gun rights supporters who say squeezing lawful gun owners even further won’t make people safer.

It also laid bare tense differences in personality and strategy between senior California Democrats. Legislative leaders are rushing to head off a ballot measure advocated by Lt. Gov. Gavin Neapolwsom, a fellow Democrat, asking voters to enact many of the same policies. They worry the initiative will fail at the ballot box or …

Click here to read the full article

Latest Idea To Curb 2nd Amendment Gun Rights Won’t Fly

No-Fly-List

Image courtesy of minutemennews.com

It’s a great idea to ban terrorists and suspected terrorists from buying firearms, but the U.S. government’s “No Fly List” can’t be used to do it.

The problem is that the no-fly list is secret. The government won’t say who’s on it, or how they got on it, or how they can get off it.

“The U.S. government does not reveal whether a particular person is on or not on a watchlist,” the Department of Homeland Security explains on its website. “If the government revealed this information, terrorist organizations would be able to circumvent the watchlist’s purpose by determining in advance which of their members were likely to be questioned or detained.”

That means the use of the no-fly list for gun sales might actually be helpful to terrorists, but there’s an even more serious problem with the idea. It crumbles the foundation of all your constitutional rights: due process of law.

The U.S. Constitution twice guarantees due process of law to every person. It’s in the Fifth and 14th Amendments. But what does it mean, exactly?

At the time of the founding of the nation, “due process” meant the ordinary procedures of the law, the opposite of arbitrary power.

In our era, the U.S. Supreme Court has given “due process” a broader meaning. The term now encompasses a general right to fundamental fairness.

But by either definition, the government can’t deny a basic constitutional right to any person just by placing them on a secret government list.

The no-fly list is a subset of the U.S. government’s terrorist watchlist, which is administered by the FBI and the Justice Department in cooperation with the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State and Treasury, and the Central Intelligence Agency.

According to the DHS website, “Intelligence and law enforcement agencies nominate individuals for the watchlist based on established criteria.”

What criteria? Established by whom? We don’t know and they’re not going to tell us, and that’s fine for a screening tool to prevent some passengers from boarding planes. There is no explicit constitutional right to travel on commercial flights.

But there certainly is a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. In order for the government’s terrorist watchlist to be used as the basis for limiting that right, it will have to be made public. Otherwise, innocent people will be denied their rights based on mistakes, like the ones DHS is trying to sort out with its Traveler Redress Inquiry Program.

“Many people erroneously believe that they are experiencing a screening delay because they are on a watchlist,” DHS says on its website. “In fact, such delays are often caused merely by a name similarity to another person who is on the watchlist. Ninety-nine percent of individuals who apply for redress are not on the terrorist watchlist, but are misidentified as people who are.”

With an error rate that high, the government’s use of the watchlist must be watched.

President Obama called it “insane” that people on the no-fly list can buy guns, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, agreed with him. But it’s not insane to protect innocent people from secret government actions against them.

Limits on government power are what make the United States a free country. In other places, officials can simply decide to do anything, to anybody, at any time, for any reason. Not here.

Americans have rights that cannot be taken away by the arbitrary actions of government officials.

That’s the deal we signed, and we’re going to hold them to it.

Gun Rights Lawsuit Targets L.A.’s Prohibition of High-Capacity Magazines

IMG_0383With gun rights and regulations emerging as a hot-button issue in California politics, the city of Los Angeles has provoked a high-profile lawsuit against a recent prohibition on so-called high-capacity magazines.

“This summer, the City Council banned possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition,” the Associated Press recalled. “Owners have until Nov. 18 to sell the magazines, take them out of the city or surrender them to police.” Failure to abide by the new law would result in a misdemeanor. The July ban came in the wake of reports issued by the L.A. city attorney, accordingto Courthouse News; it went into effect last month.

Bringing suit

The response from law enforcement and gun enthusiasts has been swift. Thirty sheriffs statewide brought suit against the ban, joined by the California Reserve Peace Officers Association and the Golden State’s National Rifle Association affiliate, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, noted the Los Angeles Daily News. “Since 2000, California has outlawed manufacturing or selling high-capacity magazines, but Los Angeles’ ordinance goes further, making it illegal to possess them,” the paper added.

That statewide rule factored into the logic driving the lawsuit. According to the plaintiffs, “when Los Angeles banned gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds in July, it ‘land locked’ gun owners who already had the legal weapons,” Courthouse News reported:

“Lead plaintiff Shasta County Sheriff Thomas Bosenko says that California has regulated the sale, possession and use of high-capacity magazines — those that hold more than 10 bullets — since Jan. 1, 2000. High-capacity magazines legally acquired before that date were exempt from the state’s ‘regulatory scheme’ and grandfathered in, according to the Oct. 23 lawsuit.”

But some legal analysts have already suggested that the lawsuit could be in vain. “Cities including Sunnyvale and San Francisco also ban possession of high-capacity magazines and have successfully fended off lawsuits from the NRA,” the Daily News observed.

A broader battle

At the same time, the Los Angeles ban follows on the heels of a similar law in San Francisco, whose former mayor and now Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has vowed to extend the prohibition across all of California. “He proposes a statewide ban on possession — not just sales — of high-capacity ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds,” as George Skelton noted in the Los Angeles Times. In an interview with Skelton, Newsom said that his plan to circumvent the Legislature by putting the ban on the ballot illustrated “why direct democracy was conceived.” But he remained “vague,” Skelton suggested, about how to enforce the proposed rules, which would require owners “to sell them to a licensed dealer, take them out of state or turn them over to law enforcement.”

Although the plaintiffs challenging L.A.’s law have warned of a patchwork quilt of prohibitions too hard for gun owners to discern and obey, that kind of regime has emerged as the likely alternative to Newsom-style regulations covering the whole of California. Gov. Jerry Brown, known as a relative skeptic toward ever-stricter gun control, has effectively become the only officeholder capable of derailing new statewide rules cracking down on guns or ammunition.

In 2013, on the heels of another threatened lawsuit by the NRA, Brown rejected what would have been among the toughest of state laws. “Brown vetoed Senate Bill 374, which would have banned semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines and required firearm owners to register even low-capacity rifles as assault weapons,” the Washington Post reported. “In a message to the Legislature, Brown wrote he didn’t ‘believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners’ rights,’” the Post added.

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Gavin Newsom Announces 2016 Gun Control Ballot Initiative

Gavin newsomThrusting himself to the forefront of America’s campaign-season controversy around access to firearms, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom seized the opportunity to define the 2018 gubernatorial race early, proposing a ballot initiative that would usher in sweeping new gun laws.

Although Newsom’s liberal bona fides were not in question, analysts observed that his calculated risk to wade into the debate made sense in the context of California’s current political climate. “High-profile ballot measure campaigns can help bolster a candidate’s visibility,” as the Los Angeles Times noted. “And because of dismal voter turnout in the last California election, the threshold to qualify measures has been dropped to 365,000 petition signatures, much lower than the previous standard.”

Guns in the crosshairs

Newsom didn’t hesitate to cast himself as a champion of the anti-gun movement, capable of going head to head against the nation’s strongest firearms rights lobbies. “The NRA doesn’t own me, they haven’t bought me — and they never will. They’ve already come after us,” he said in remarks to Capital New York, a Politico publication, “and it’s going to intensify.”

Calling the National Rifle Association “extraordinarily effective at stifling the legislative process,” Newsom vowed “to fight a different fight — that is, direct democracy. We’re going directly to voters. Because the public is with us, including the NRA members themselves.”

Uncertain terrain

To an extent, Newsom has public opinion on his side in the Golden State. “A poll last month by the Public Policy Institute of California found that two-thirds of adults believe California’s gun control laws should be stricter than they are now,” USA Todayreported. “It found that 57 percent of adults said controlling gun ownership is more important than protecting the right of Americans to own guns, while 40 percent said protecting gun ownership is more important.”

But Newsom was cagey on the subject of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has torpedoed California gun legislation in the recent past. His proposed initiative, the Sacramento Bee noted, incorporates “provisions of bills that have stalled at the state Capitol or were vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in recent years.” In addition to compelling sellers of bullets to be licensed in the same manner as sellers of guns, the Bee continued, Newsom’s initiative would “establish a process to seize guns from people prohibited from owning them because of their criminal records, mandate that lost or stolen guns be reported to law enforcement, and require the California Department of Justice to notify federal authorities when someone is added to the state database of prohibited firearms owners.”

Californians have already directly or indirectly established one of the strictest sets of firearms regulations in the country, with “a 10-day waiting period for all firearm purchases, an assault weapons ban, and a ban on making and selling magazines that hold more than 10 rounds,” as the San Jose Mercury News recalled. “The state enacted its assault weapons ban in 1989 and expanded it 10 years later,” the paper added, although “those who already owned the banned guns and magazines were allowed to register and keep them.”

Fueling fears

Of all the provisions proposed by Newsom, one stood out: the ban on so-called “large capacity” gun magazines. UCLA law professor Adam Winkler told the Bee that the provision would “hit a lot of ordinary gun owners where it hurts,” potentially turning gun moderates against the initiative. “It plays into the hands of gun-rights proponents who are always warning that the government is going to come take your guns,” he suggested.

In a statement, NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter promptly advanced that standpoint. “His ballot initiative proposal does nothing but prohibit access to the most effective methods for self-defense, with no measurable positive effect on stopping crime or improving public safety,” she told Courthouse News. “They can’t repeal the Second Amendment, so they’re trying to chip away our rights until there is nothing left,” she said.

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Concealed Weapons Banned on CA Campuses — Even With Legal Permit

GunGov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill criminalizing the concealed carry of firearms on campus.

“Proposed by state Democrats, SB707 passed the Senate in a 23-12 vote in June sending it to the Assembly where it cleared in a largely partisan 54-24 roll call in September, moving it to Brown’s desk,” as Guns.com recounted. “Despite widespread resistance to the bill by state and national gun rights groups that included threats of litigation and 40,000 opposition letters delivered to Brown’s office last week, the governor was not swayed.”

The change upended prior state law, which had not circumscribed the gun rights of permit holders. “Those with concealed-weapons permits had previously been allowed to enter a college or university campus with weapons at will,” the International Business Times observed. State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, introduced the bill in an effort to close what she called a loophole in the 1995 Gun Free Schools Act, which “prohibits a person from possessing a firearm in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone, unless with the written permission of certain school district officials,” as the Vallejo Times-Herald noted.

California already boasted one of the strictest regimes in the country for regulating guns. “The new law bolsters existing restrictions in the state that prohibit the possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school or college campus without written permission from administrators, and comes less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, killing nine people and wounding nine others,” Bloomberg Politics reported. Oregon was one of eight states to legalize so-called “campus carry.”

College crisis

A recent spate of shootings has ratcheted up the fight over whether popularizing concealed carry would increase or decrease public safety. “The fight over whether guns should be allowed on college campuses is gaining prominence nationally. Advocates argue that students may be able to help prevent crimes such as mass shootings and rapes, but gun control supporters counter that throwing firearms onto campuses with young people, alcohol, mental health issues and strongly held beliefs on controversial topics is a dangerous mix,” the Sacramento Bee noted.

Both critics and supporters have attempted to determine how shooters and potential shooters would respond to knowledge of the new restrictions. Firearms Policy Coalition president Brandon Combs argued that the response would be opportunistic one. “Criminals will know that their intended victims are totally vulnerable when they’re on California school grounds because SB707 will ensure that they’re defenseless against a violent attack,” he said. But in most states with concealed carry, “an applicant must be at least 21 to obtain a concealed-carry license, which rules out most undergraduates at many universities,” The Washington Times observed.

The politics of opposition to the law have not always conformed to traditional expectations. In a critical analysis, the Firearms Policy Coalition noted that California’s law enforcement lobby responded to the introduction of SB707 “by offering their full support — in exchange for preservation of existing exemptions for law enforcement retirees. They later cut deals to add in even more special exemptions, including for retired police reservists. Combs believes that this is blatantly unconstitutional,” it added.

Concealed carry has taken on special significance at colleges and universities in part because schools independently maintain their own security staff — not always with great rigor. A recent report revealed that California’s Community College system, the nation’s largest system of higher education at 113 campuses, “does not require schools to have security or training plans that address active shooter scenarios,” according to Guns.com.

National reverberations

In the midst of the presidential campaign season, California’s approach to campus carry has become a touchstone for partisan debate. On the campaign trail, Republican candidates like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have argued that the urge to enact new gun restrictions in the wake of mass shootings is the wrong response,” Bloomberg Politics noted. “Democrat Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, decried Bush’s response.”

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Will New L.A. Ordinance Turn Gun Owners Into Outlaws?

GunIf you’re a gun owner in the city of Los Angeles, you may soon be a criminal.

The City Council has passed an ordinance that bans the possession of any firearms magazine with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. With the mayor’s signature Friday, owners of the prohibited magazines now will have 60 days to turn them over to police, destroy them personally or move them to a location outside the city limits. The ordinance says owners can sell them, but don’t try it — state law prohibits the sale of “large-capacity” magazines and has since Jan. 1, 2000.

Because that state law banned the sale but not the possession of large-capacity magazines, existing property was effectively “grandfathered.” The Los Angeles ordinance makes no such accommodation.

“With a stroke of a pen the Los Angeles City Council has not only turned hundreds of thousands of law-abiding L.A. residents into criminals, they have made property that was legally purchased under state and federal law illegal to possess overnight,” said Paul Nordberg, director of the Calguns Foundation and president of Calguns.net, a highly trafficked online forum for California gun owners. “To the best of my knowledge there is no method or funding for informing the public of their change in status from law-abiding citizen to criminal.”

Nordberg says the people who will be hardest hit are those who participate in the sport of competitive shooting, enthusiasts who have spent tens of thousands of dollars on fees and equipment. Magazines with a capacity of 15 rounds are standard in national competitions. “I refuse to call them ‘high capacity,’” he said, “Fifteen rounds is the standard, and words have meaning.”

People who don’t live in Los Angeles are unaffected by the ordinance, unless they drive through L.A. to get to a shooting range or competition in an area outside the city’s boundaries. Then, Nordberg says, they risk “arrest, confiscation of property and possible loss of civil rights for simply doing the same thing they did the day before and have done for years, simply going to the shooting range with the legal property they have owned for over a decade.”

The City Council is working on a second ordinance that would mandate the use of gun locks in the home. That ordinance is modeled on laws in San Francisco and Sunnyvale that have so far been upheld by the federal courts.

But that may not last. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was not happy with the lower courts’ decision to uphold the mandatory gun lock law. “Despite the clarity with which we described the Second Amendment’s core protection for the right of self-defense, lower courts, including the ones here, have failed to protect it,” he wrote.

Still, the Supreme Court decided not to hear a challenge to the mandatory gun lock law — yet. So Los Angeles jumped right in to pass a similar ordinance.

California is one of only six states that has no “right to keep and bear arms” in its state constitution. In Nevada, for example, the state constitution says, “Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes.”

The Arizona constitution says, “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the State shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.” In Texas, “Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.”

But in California the state constitution is silent, so gun owners in the Golden State must depend on the federal courts’ interpretation of the Second Amendment to protect their rights from infringement. That means lawsuits will be filed to challenge the two city ordinances, and city taxpayers will incur the costs of defending the ordinances in federal court.

To better protect Second Amendment rights in California, an amendment to the state constitution is needed that secures for Californians the protections that gun owners have in 43 other states. Without that, we’re at the mercy of politicians who like to score political points by criminalizing the actions of people who didn’t do anything to anybody.

____________________

Susan Shelley is a San Fernando Valley author, a former television associate producer and twice a Republican candidate for the California Assembly. Reach her at Susan@SusanShelley.com, or follow her on Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.

California Gun Limits Face Court Challenge

As reported by the Wall Street Journal:

California’s requirement that residents looking to carry firearms in public have a good reason to do so is facing a high-level court challenge, one that gets to a key question surrounding the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.

On Tuesday, 11 judges of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will hear arguments over California’s requirement that applicants show “good cause” before they are allowed to carry a concealed handgun in public. The challengers are taking issue with the rules in two California counties — San Diego and Yolo — where sheriffs say that concern for one’s personal safety alone isn’t considered justification enough for a concealed-carry permit.

In a 2008 case, District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled definitively that people had the right to bear arms in their homes, even in municipalities with strict gun-control laws. But aside from a 2010 case that extended the reach of that ruling, the court has been quiet on how far the right extends beyond the front door, largely leaving lower courts little guidance. The California case will likely give the high court another opportunity to more clearly define the law.

Click here to read the full article

Strict SF Gun Laws Survive Challenge in Courts

GunContinuing its reticence to reach beyond a landmark decision seven years ago, the Supreme Court handed a victory to tight regulations on gun use in San Francisco.

Twin ordinances

“The court on Monday let stand court rulings in favor of a city measure that requires handgun owners to secure weapons in their homes by storing them in a locker, keeping them on their bodies or applying trigger locks,” the Associated Press reported. “A second ordinance bans the sale of ammunition that expands on impact, has ‘no sporting purpose’ and is commonly referred to as hollow-point bullets.” The first ordinance passed in 2007; the second, in 1994.

The NRA and gun rights advocates had expected that the court’s 2008 decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller gave them a strong chance at overcoming the regulations. “Gun owners challenged both ordinances after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the Constitution guarantees the right to possess guns at home for self-defense, then ruled in 2010 that state and local laws that substantially burdened that right were invalid,” observed the San Francisco Chronicle. “Gun groups are also relying on those rulings to challenge California’s licensing requirements for concealed weapons, and ordinances in San Francisco and Sunnyvale that ban the possession of high-capacity gun magazines.”

Failure on appeal

As Bloomberg reported, plaintiffs were convinced “that the San Francisco law was similar to the Washington, D.C., trigger-lock requirement invalidated in the high court’s 2008 decision.” But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against them, teeing up a showdown at the Supreme Court. “The Ninth Circuit Court held that the city had a legitimate purpose in applying laws that reduce the danger of guns,” Al Jazeera America recounted, “and that while it did burden the rights of gun owners, it didn’t burden them so much they couldn’t exercise the rights to self-defense enshrined in the Second Amendment.”

“‘The record contains ample evidence that storing handguns in a locked container reduces the risk of both accidental and intentional handgun-related deaths, including suicide,’ Circuit Judge Sandra S. Ikuta wrote in the court’s opinion in March of last year.”

Among Supreme Court Justices, however, only Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas signaled their willingness to take the case.

“In a six-page dissent, Thomas, joined by Scalia wrote that the San Francisco gun laws are ‘in serious tension with Heller‘ and that the prior court rulings had ‘failed to protect’ the Second Amendment,” National Public Radio noted. “San Francisco’s law allows residents to use their handguns for the purpose of self-defense, but it prohibits them from keeping those handguns operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense when not carried on the person,” according to Justice Thomas.

Mixed messages

Although some legal experts immediately noted that the court’s decision raised questions about just how much protection the Second Amendment now could afford, others noted the court’s recent decision to side with the NRA in a different case.

Just last month, the court drew acclaim from the NRA for its unanimous ruling that convicted felons could sell firearms confiscated by law enforcement.

“The decision came in response to a case involving former U.S. Border Patrol agent Tony Henderson,” Western Journalism reported, “whose 19 guns were confiscated by the FBI upon his arrest on drug charges.”

“Following his guilty plea, Henderson was a felon prohibited from possessing firearms; however, he did not want to simply lose the roughly $3,500 his gun collection was worth. He petitioned a lower court in an effort to allow a third party to take possession of the guns and attempt to sell them on his behalf. That effort was unsuccessful at every stage of appeal up to the Supreme Court level.”

Originally published by CalWatchdog.com

California concealed gun ruling to be reconsidered

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

A federal appeals court will reconsider last year’s controversial ruling that would have dramatically loosened California’s restrictions on carrying concealed firearms.

In a brief order filed Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to take a second look at the so-called Peruta case with a special 11-judge panel. The order effectively scraps a February 2014 decision that invalidated the San Diego County sheriff’s strict guidelines for concealed-carry gun permits. And for now the order preserves similar limits in the Bay Area and elsewhere enforced by local sheriffs.

A majority of the 9th Circuit’s 29 fulltime judges had to vote in favor of rehearing the case with an 11-judge panel. In a separate order, the court also agreed to reconsider a related case out of Yolo County. The court will hear arguments in the cases the week of June 15.

Click here to read the full article