CA Lawmakers Take Aim at Gun Rights

It took only days before California’s legislators reacted to the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy with a fusillade of bills designed to take California closer to Democratic leaders’ unstated but obvious goal: making it essentially illegal for Californians to own firearms.

I write “essentially” because the strategy isn’t to ban guns outright, but to mire ownership in so many layers of regulation that owning a gun becomes even more frustrating and costly than operating a business in this state. Legislators aren’t stupid. Direct assaults on gun ownership generate pushback, but killing this constitutional right through a thousand cuts is less confrontational.

California already has the toughest gun regulations of any state, yet legislators (including a Republican) have introduced a long list of new proposals at news conferences where they used the Connecticut tragedy to grandstand.

“They were mowed down,” Los Angeles Democratic Sen. Kevin de Leon said. “I think that, viscerally, it will give a lot of political officials around the country the political courage to do the right thing.” It’s not clear what de Leon means by the right thing.

California has passed 45 gun control laws in the past 23 years.

(Liberal Connecticut has tough gun laws, too.)

California has long waiting periods, background-check requirements, limits on the number of gun purchases, bans on gun sales to people with mental illnesses and felony convictions, bans on high-capacity ammunition magazines and on concealed weapons. The governor recently signed a law banning the open carrying of unloaded long guns. The list goes on.

That’s in addition to myriad federal restrictions.

If you think we’re safe from gun violence because of all those rules, check out the murder rates in Los Angeles, Oakland and San Bernardino.

Targeting ammo

Now, de Leon is targeting ammunition. “We don’t think about the fuel that feeds the violence, and that’s ammunition. If you want to fish, you have to secure a license to fish. If you want to cut down a Christmas tree in California — this is legally factual — you have to secure a permit at a cost of $10. Yet anyone who walks into any gun store in California can buy all the ammunition they want.”

That statement is more of an indictment of the kind of society we’ve become — so regulated and taxed that one isn’t allowed to cut down a Christmas tree without getting government permission — than about firearms. But I digress.

Like everyone, I’m still shaken by the Newtown school shooting. I’m all ears when it comes to finding real solutions to violence, but am tired of cheap, predictable attempts to turn tragedy into another assault on our liberties and wallets.

After this week’s legislative frenzy, I headed to one of the largest Sacramento-area gun dealers to purchase that 12-guage shotgun I’ve been considering — only to find the shelves virtually bare. The Daily Beast reports on a similar situation throughout the country.

Americans realize that an assault on private gun ownership is coming, and it’s best to buy a weapon now, while they still are available at a store, rather than only on the black market.

Perhaps de Leon and others might ask their constituents why they would want a gun. This morning, my wife handed me the local newspaper with a story about three men arrested for murdering one of my neighbors in October during a robbery. Is it unreasonable to want the wherewithal to defend one’s family? The cocking of a shotgun — an internationally understood signal that “you’re not welcome here” — would be all it takes to dissuade most intruders.


Gun control advocates are utopians. Their perspective is that, if guns are no longer readily available, violence will evaporate. But there are so many guns in circulation that it would take decades to reduce their availability — unless legislators adopt the police-state policy of sending cops door-to-door to confiscate firearms. Even then, there would be black markets and other methods for evil folks to commit mayhem.

It’s better to let people arm themselves. An operator of a private school told me that California’s 1995 Gun-Free School Zone Act — banning guns within 1,000 feet of schools — is making it difficult to hire an armed security guard.

There’s a reason criminals are more likely to ply their trade in “gun free” zones than in heavily armed neighborhoods. There’s no better check on a diabolical gun owner than law-abiding gun owners. I personally don’t like guns and wish everyone were peaceful and kind, but it’s better to be realistic than to pursue fantasy.

Gun control laws exempt groups of government officials. Anyone who believes working for the government relieves people of the tendency to do bad things has never heard the phrase “going postal.” There are endless stories of authorities misusing their firearms, both on- and off-duty, which is a reminder of the main reason the founders gave gun ownership the second spot in the Bill of Rights.

Californians crazy enough to believe these new proposed laws will make them safer should be happy. The rest of us should find a well-stocked gun store as soon as possible.

(Steven Greenhut is vice president of journalism at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. He is based in Sacramento. Originally posted on CalWatchdog.)


  1. Tougher gun laws don’t take away your constitutional right to bear arms. You can still have a gun if you think you need one.
    So what’s wrong with banning high caliber, automatic pistols, but selling six shot revolvers?
    You would still have a gun.
    What’s wrong with banning mutli-shot assault weapons and just selling three clip or bolt action rifles to go shoot a deer when you want to hunt?
    Nothing really.
    Everything is still the same. You would own a gun and you can use it if you have to protect yourself or go kill a deer to hang antlers in the den.

    • “…Everything is still the same. ”
      Except when you actually use that right. THEN you will find how all those changes actually changed everything.
      (unless you figure a thrill ride thhrough the judicial system with possible jail time wont change anything)

    • John:

      “automatic pistols” and “multi-shot” firearms are currently illegal. You refer to “assault weapons” however; the guns used in these tragic incidents are not actually an “assault weapon”. Liberals and media refer to these guns as such. If I made up the term and refered to these guns as Alien Transformer Blasters does that make them such? Certainly not. These guns are legal to own and purchace in the United States. The 2nd Amendment provides us (American Citizens) such rights to protct the homeland from domestic or foreign regimes etc. There is much more behind it than just hunting.

      • So then nothing’s changed. Relax.

        • And tell me John who is going to control the very gov you want to make new laws that blatantly violated federal law already in place to commit atrocities during “Fast & Furious”? Eric Holder the chief law enforcement officer in the land got caught with his hands in cookie jar (media & current admin still trying to cover for him and others) . Hundreds of Mexican citizens and our law enforcement officers were killed over their zealous attempt to attack the 2nd amendment. Yet this are the same gov who you want the people to trust…right (lol).

        • Well John, you’re wrong. Things are changing. Instead of saying Assault rifle (military grade automatic rifle) they say Assault weapon (any military style gun, single shot included). Ask someone who served in Afghanistan how many bullets it takes to down an insurgent. It’s a lot more than 3 in many many cases.

    • If you understood where the framers to the consitution were comming from, you would understand that the ultimate purpose to the second amendment is to permit the people to have final defensive recourse against an out of control government. The second amendment has nothing to do with hunting and less to do with self defense in general, but self defense against government. A curosry search of the term democide (death by one’s own government) reveals millions killed by various dictator regimes. In every one of these cases, the population could not posses firearms.

    • J

    • John: If everything is the same, whats your point…..We, as a state, have some of the strictest firearm laws….Yet, liberals that should be running the state government, instead of running it into the ground, wants to intrude further into the lives of honest citizens

      • The point is with one revolver or/and one rifle you still you have your guns. Relax.

        • Hey John you relax. This has nothing to do with those poor kids and everything to do with control. Every year HUNDREDS of children are murdered. In 2008 the number was 1443! 1443 John! For the record 60% were murdered by their OWN Parents! Another 25% were murdered by someone they knew. Leaving 15% by strangers. What about them John? Should we relax about them cause for sure nothing has changed? Most are drowned, strangled or shaken or beat to death John. Why should you have a bathtub or pool if you have children or know children?? Guns are way down on that list of items cause they make too much noise. That guy that shot those firemen beat his grandmother to death with a hammer. Got out 18 years later and now 3 more are dead with guns that your laws already said he couldn’t own. It our SOCIETY that is the problem Mr Relaxation, not us responsible gun owners. I’ll relax and keep my guns and my Freedom.

    • On the contrary John. Citizens in other more enlightened less paranoid states have access to many more firearms and accessories than we do. CA DOJ has a deliberately expensive and nasty system to get guns approved in CA for legal sale. This law was disguised as a safety bill. In actuality it seeks to deprive and penalize lawful California firearms owners of newer more modern and in many cases, highest quality firearms made in the world today. Some of the finest most modern firearms are not approved in CA because the manufacturers won’t bother to submit them. Why? Well how about for one, any cosmetic change on the firearm like a change in color on the grip or sights requires a complete expensive fee laden resubmission for testing to CA DOJ in spite of the fact there was no operational change of any kind. Operational changes would equate to safety, not cosmetic. So a manufacturer who offers several custom options finds it impossibly expensive to submit all model options. I expect the CA lawmakers will try that one next with automobiles. Oh wait, the CARB already has some very similar rules for current and upcoming year automobiles.

      John can you acknowledge people will use whatever they have to commit crimes? Crooks and police alike used to carry multiple revolvers before semi-auto’s came along. Then they switched. they went with the more modern and usually more reliable tool to do work with.

      On high capacity magazines, they have been in existence and in common public use for over 50 years I know of. People used to purchase M-1 carbines for $15.00 from ads in magazines back in the 1950’s and 60’s. If they were/ are so dangerous, why didn’t we see the same sort of monstrous mass shooting crimes back then? Those guns were sold pre so-called “gun control” laws when gun control was about hitting what you aim at and not effective banning of common use modern firearms. John, in actuality even AR styled rifles were available to the public prior to National and CA gun control laws.

      You clearly need some education on what is a “high caliber automatic pistol? What exactly are you referring to, high powered caliber ammunition, full auto pistols? Your comments don’t make sense. i suspect you have little or no knowledge of what you are trying to lecture firearms owners on, or you are just another rose colored glasses wide eyed Utopian covert gun banner. And that is the real problem.

      John I’ve always wondered is what folks like you will do if the state of CA decided to go after all the unregistered assault weapon owners in CA. Those who legally purchased their rifles, submitted to the then gun control laws, and then were later declared illegal criminals by the stroke of a pen. CA DOJ acknowledges most of the owners failed to re-register them after they were banned in CA in1989. Some sources estimate them to be around 3 million citizens. What are you going to do with them? What are you going to do with the subsequent millions of citizens who legally purchased their firearms and accessories only to have them retroactively made illegal as CA politicians extended their gun bans?. Are you going to put millions of CA citizens in prison? Is that your true goal, the way to disarm the populace is to convict them thereby depriving them their 2nd amendment rights and their right to vote.? I wonder, actually I don’t wonder.

      • We are not the police. We are citizens with one revolver and one rifle. You still have your guns. So relax.

        • John, you sir are an idiot. Do you realize that a semi automatic handgun is NO different in the way that it shoots than a revolver? Also BTW, I choose a different gun for self protection INSIDE my home that would be bigger than one that I can carry concealed.

    • Patrick Henry says

      The problem is that, the 2nd amendment was put there so that we the people would have a chance to fight back tyrannical governments. We can’t fight back with handguns when the government has m16s and ak’s. We the people need equal amount of firepower.

    • Spent 8 years in the military and have never seen the need to own a gun until now… is there anything this government isn’t involved in? Ask yourself what area of your life isn’t directly impacted/influenced by the government, then ask yourself if that’s what the Founders’ intent was and then ask yourself are we taking steps towards a freer society or steps towards a totalitarian state.

    • Maria_Maria says

      Tougher gun laws are always directed at the law abiding citizens, not the criminals. You can leave me with a pocket knife, but the criminal is still going to have the best weapon on the black market. We need to address the problem of violence in these gun-free-zones where large numbers of defenseless people congregate. We also need to address the problem of mental health and psychotropic drugs.

    • Tougher gun laws dont take away our 2nd amendment rights? Depends on what those tougher gun laws are.John is a typical uneducated liberal who has no clue as to why the 2nd amendment exists.Our forefathers wanted us to have the ability to defend ourselves.Hunting has absolutely zero to do with the 2nd amendment. An automatic pistol? ‘three clip’? hmm

      • Most of these comments are over-reactions. I’m not a liberal and I’m not an idiot just for stating a simple solution. If you have a revolver and you have a rifle – you have guns. Just relax folks.

        • sidewinderaz says

          You sir are missing the point entirely. Once the gun grabbers succeed in taking away the “ugly guns” (aka assault rifles) and high capacity magazines, they will come after the bolt action “sniper” rifles. Then they will come after the revolvers and then the ammunition. Do you happen to see the trend here? It’s called death by a thousand cuts.
          Yes, we have the revolvers and rifle now…but what will happen in the not so distant future?
          Are you telling us to relax so this can be done behind closed doors at night on Sunday? That’s the way they work.
          I believe it’s time for you to wake up from your over relaxed state John.

  2. Restricting gun ownership will not solve any problems. A gun free zone merely gives those who want to commit mayhem a safe place to do it.
    If you really want to protect schools and school children, hire teachers and school officials who will carry and protect those in their care.
    When I was a child in Northern California’s mountains we walked to school and carried a rifle because of Mountain Lions and Bears. Even the animals knew better than to argue with the gun….
    Safety of property and person is a personal issue and politicos are not the answer, they only wish to control all things on earth.
    Get a gun and learn to use it, for one day it will be your only protection for the politicians and their minions. Our founding fathers knew this lesson and gave us the second amendment to protect us from our own stupidity…..

  3. Rather than undertake an investigation into the root cause of the problem, the liberal left, including their coven queen, Dianne Feinstein, continue their pushing their goal of disarming the citizens, in typical knee jerk reactions.
    I have read that the Columbine, W Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook shooters were all taking SSRI anti-depressants. Could there be a link there? Are the pharmecutical companies deliberately selling drugs that they are aware can cause violet reactions? Where is the FDA?
    Are our physicians over prescribing possibly mind altering drugs?
    Many questions, but it’s so much easier to use the firearm as the scapegoat.
    I would imagine if the root cause of the problem is not addressed, and all the guns are outlawed, the perpetrators will resort to what
    ever means is available, whether it be a vehicle, a knife, a can of
    gasoline, a homemade device of mass destruction, etc.
    It’s the knee jerk reaction of the left that concerns me the most.
    Blame the weapon, not the user. (or~~Blame Bush)

  4. Just as much damage can be done with a compound bow. Are they next on the list?

  5. Pablo Garcia says

    Diane Feinstein carries a concealed handgun in her handbag and always has. She’s a hypocrite.

  6. If and when, the governor, senators, Reps, all elected state workers give up all Bodyguards, building security, police protection….and make it a level playing field. And, of all places for De Leon to be from LA, a sanctuary city that condons lawlessness, they won’t even enforce immigration laws but they want to take protection away from honest citizens……That punk can go to hell,

  7. That’s right… Pass a fricken LAW and the problem will be solved!

    My A$$…

    Take care of the mentally deranged people and it will solve much of the problem.

    Put some guns in the hands of school officials &/or guards to stop it from happening in schools! When a gun is being used, it takes a GUN to fight back with… A LAW will not help at that point.

    Criminals IGNORE LAWS…
    Criminals do not believe in Laws!
    That why they are Criminals! LOL


  8. Peter A. Sagi says

    The real, underlying issue with regards to the second ammendment and all the gun $#!+4laws that apparently fly in the face of it is status. The second ammendment doesn’t apply to the statutory “person” that the gun laws apply to. The second ammendment is specific guarantee against govt. infringement on the gun rights of sovereign Citizens of any of the several (now 50) united States. Unfortunately, very few of us have an unclouded claim to this status. The culprits are birth registration, social security, driver’s licenses, marriage licenses, voter registration, and a number of other ways in which people ordinarily interact with the govt. at various levels. On all of the applications for the above mentioned items that you were a “US citizen and a resident of the State of Yourstate.” That phraseology becomes proof on its face value that you derive your citizenship via the 14th ammendment, a federal citizenship first, granted to freed slaves after the Civil War. Your inalienable rights are not recognized by govt. in that status, only privileges known as “Civil Rights.”

    Furthermore, the states are no longer sovereign for practical intents and purposes. In place of the formerly sovereign states are large municipal corporate entities, known as the STATE OF YOURSTATE in all UPPERCASE. Exampe … the STATE OF CALIFORNIA as opposed to the California Republic.

    I recco viewing “Bursting Bubbles of Government Deception” for free on youtube to get a handle on the issue of status of Freeman, lots of other links from that page.


  9. You can not own a gun in Mexico so they say , now the bad guys have guns thanks to our government they have 2000 aks at the tax payers expense ?? War 2 is why we were not invaded because the Germans & Japs new we Americans had a constitutional right to own guns? That right is slowly being taken from us ,remember a dictator has to ban all guns and also the media i wont name the stations because you already know who they are??

  10. Patrick Henry says

    Banning guns, banning ammo, or ‘death by 1000 cuts’, and there WILL be CIVIL WAR in this country. And everyone that has pushed for big government, the politicians, the thugs that work for them… they will all have a 1000 yard bullseye on their forehead. Someone will make sure it happens.

  11. Chuck Dewey says

    Let’s put this in a different context: What you have here is people that have nothing to do with firearms are telling people that are what they need to own, what they should or should not want to own, and what is enough for gun owners to have.
    What if bicyclists were to dictate laws about motor vehicles: Since the average speed limit is 65, you don’t need a car that will do 120. Since you are just going to work, you don’t need a car with a back seat. Since you are feeding yourself and are not married, you don’t need a car that has a large trunk. And since you only go a few miles a day, you should not have a problem owning a car that just barely runs, after all, you still have the right to own a car don’t you?

  12. Sasquatch08 says

    Most people in this country have heard of Lexington and Concord and know they were the beginning of our war for independence from Britain. Why did the famous battle at Lexington occur? The British were on their way to Concord where the colonial militias had stored weapons, gun powder and the like. The idea was to seize these items and therefore deprive the colonials of arms and munitions. This is one of the reasons for the 2nd Amendment. The Founders realized that when arms are stored in one place, capturing or destroying that stockpile quickly reduces the ability of the militias to fight against oppressors, be they foreign or domestic. Having guns in most people’s homes on the other hand makes them much more difficult to capture or destroy. This is why “the people” are mentioned in the 2nd Amendment. Who is the militia? The people are the militia, we are all “the militia”.
    Clearly, if the Founders intended people to “be the militia”, which they did, then we have the right to “military style assault weapons”. When the Revolutionary War was fought, civilians had access to the same basic weapons that the British military did. Why should we assume that just because technology has advanced in ways that the Founders couldn’t have guessed, that this basic parity would be any different?

    The second reason for the 2nd Amendment is the natural right to self defense. If someone attacks you without provocation you have both the instinct and the right to defend yourself via either fight or flight. The Founders realized that in many cases of crime, a court could provide the victim with compensation by ordering a return of the stolen good or by ordering compensation to be paid. However, the Founders also recognized that there are things which can be taken from you that a court cannot replace. If you are killed, a court cannot revive you. If you are paralyzed a court cannot give you the ability to walk again. If you are blinded a court cannot restore your sight, nor can it give a rape victim peace of mind. In these cases, where a court cannot compensate you for your loss, defense of life and limb is justified, with lethal force if necessary.

    Today, the 2nd Amendment is taken to mean that people have the right to own a gun and in many cases carry it with them. This is a protection against our own biology. Women tend not to be as large or as strong as men, and the build of people varies. It is rare to find a woman or a man of slight build who can routinely and successfully defend themselves in hand to hand combat with a 240 pound man. Especially if said man is high on drugs such as methamphetamine. A gun serves a useful purpose in this situation. It gives the victim equal, if not better, footing than his or her assailant. A gun also allows for an escalation of force by allowing the potential victim the opportunity to scare away their attacker. This happens every day in this country, unfortunately some assailants are not deterred and force the crime victim to shoot and possibly kill them. Let us be clear on this: this is a choice the assailant has made, not the victim. Any choice the victim has made in shooting his or her assailant was forced upon them by the criminal. The criminal is the one who made the decision to start this encounter, escalate it and then not back down when shown overwhelming force was against them.

  13. If you want to make society safer the solution can’t be clearer. Increase the penalty of committing a crime to a level that reduces the chance of it happening. If that means more death penalty, suffering, handless thieves, that should be reasonable. Shift the suffering to the deserved!!! Note: Even with severe penalties in a free society occasionally things will happen!


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