Gun Control Ballot Measure Raises Direct Democracy Questions

Californian’s embrace of direct democracy continues to entrance those who want to legislate from the outside or to undo legislative actions. As explained in Laurel Rosenhall’s column Friday a bill intended to limit direct democracy has not reduced the number of measures that will appear on November’s ballot. Perhaps this is a result of circumstance — the lower signature count necessary to qualify measures or the decision of the legislature to crowd all initiatives on the General Election ballot.

The tools of direct democracy are available to those who want to set an agenda or to force the Legislature into action, or to reverse legislative action. I’m guilty of this myself both in being a proponent of initiatives that changed laws, and in the case of the workers comp initiative that never went before voters, a measure that pushed the legislature into action it probably would not have taken without the persuasive power of a coming, popular proposition.

The power to undo legislative action is a course I never participated in, which brings me to try and understand the strategy to refer to voters the six gun related bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

A referendum to halt a bill from becoming law must gather about 365,000 signatures in 90 days. That means 365,000 qualified signatures for each measure. To be sure the proponents net enough valid signatures they realistically need about 425,000 signatures. Each.

That means the proponents need over 2.5 million signatures in 90 days. Sure, a single gun advocate and registered voter would probably sign all six petitions but that is still a lot of signatures in a short time period. It won’t be done by volunteers alone. The process will be costly.

Which brings the question of strategy.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s gun measure, Proposition 63, is on the November ballot. True, the proposition is not identical in every way to the six bills signed by the governor, but close enough that the gun advocates want nothing to do with the bills or the initiative.

Funds will be needed to oppose the initiative. Would the funds be better spent opposing the initiative than funding the six-part petition drive?

The quandary for gun supporters is they face a two-front war.

It is doubtful that the referendums could qualify to appear on this November’s ballot, although that is probably the proponent’s goal. If enough signatures are gathered but miss the ballot, the bills are frozen until the voters have a say in the 2018 election.

If the gun supporters defeat the initiative but ignore the bills, the legislation still becomes law, even if an initiative defeat measures the sentiments of the electorate against the gun regulations.

If referendums are pursued and there are few resources left over to battle the initiative it could pass and become law.

If the referendums effort fails to qualify does that undermine the spirit to oppose Proposition 63?

If the referendums drive is successful in freezing the gun laws does that set a positive tone for Proposition 63 opponents?

And where will the money come from to do it all?

You can follow progress of the referendum effort on the Facebook page, Vetogunmageddon.

Joel Fox is editor of Fox & Hounds and president of the Small Business Action Committee.

This piec was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Comments

  1. askeptic says

    And many will conclude that it’s just easier to join the out-migration and let CA fester in its own morass.

    • Skeptical says

      This “run away and hide” solution sounds familiar and frankly impractical. At best , all you can hope for benefit, happens if you intend to die fairly soon. This is because emboldened violators of the Constitution will not rest until ALL STATES are usurping the Constitution by consensus (kinda shiftless and selfish of you, no?). That means the political cancer of progressive socialism will not stop at any state, much less California, but will metastisize and transport to a region near your refuge. Count on it. There is no”running away”.

      • Skeptical says

        Since it is easier to employ the initiative process, I propose an initiative that elevates the codified legislative violation of federal and state Constitutions to the level of high crime and misdemeanor. This violation upon discovery and conviction ought to result in the ejection of the officeholder from office, a ban on future office holding for California, and a prison term certainly more severe than gun-runner/gun-banner Frank Yee ended up with.
        As long as no real penalty is imposed on office holders for perjury of oath of office, they will continue their lawyerballing ethics secure in the knowledge that they shall not be touched.
        These gun-restriction bills are simply political quid pro quo for campaign contributions by gun-ban interests. They seem to look good, but do nothing but abuse law-abiding firearms owners as victimized patsies.

    • Askeptic, It is my sincere hope YOU would not be one of the shirking runaways.

  2. Since it is easier to employ the initiative process, I propose an initiative that elevates the codified legislative violation of federal and state Constitutions to the level of high crime and misdemeanor. This violation upon discovery and conviction ought to result in the ejection of the officeholder from office, a ban on future office holding for California, and a prison term certainly more severe than gun-runner/gun-banner Frank Yee ended up with.
    As long as no real penalty is imposed on office holders for perjury of oath of office, they will continue their lawyerballing ethics secure in the knowledge that they shall not be touched.
    These gun-restriction bills are simply political quid pro quo for campaign contributions by gun-ban interests. They seem to look good, but do nothing but abuse law-abiding firearms owners as victimized patsies.

  3. askeptic: A simple initiative might be good. and no changes to the original. SIMPLE and easy to understand.
    “”The 2nd Amendment shall not be altered in any way, or laws written to circumvent this amendment. Those who propose such laws will be removed from office immediately, with no recourse, and be barred from holding any public office within the State of California, or representing the State of California again.”
    There, that’s simple. Someone run with it please.

  4. Will California Demos repeal the 2nd Amendment by the initiative process? The Demos hatred of the United States Constitution knows no bounds! Is this how the U.S. commits suicide?

Leave a Reply to JET Cancel reply

*