The latest bad news on guns, and it’s not about shootings
By JIM MATTHEWS
As a long-time gun owner and hunter, it is painful to listen to politicians talk about the need for gun control measures. They always jump up after a tragic shooting and try to advance measures that will do absolutely nothing to deter crime or prevent the mass shootings by the insane (most of them) or religious martyrs (the recent Oregon shooting).
Are their hearts even in the right place? When a deranged person can walk into a school yard or military base and start killing innocent people, we all want to figure out a way to stem that violence? But when the politicians dredge up gun control solutions that will have absolutely no impact on the violence, it should make the thinking members of our society wonder if they are this stupid on other issues. Their thinking defies common sense and factual data. Or do they have an agenda against those of us who own guns?
Two recent examples of the lunacy:
Last weekend, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that would outlaw people with concealed carry permits from carrying their handguns on school campuses. Think about that. People who have applied and received CCWs have passed a number of background checks, gone through a rigorous training course, and probably have been around firearms their whole lives. I know a lot of CCW holders and I feel safer in public places when they are around -- just like I feel more comfortable when I’m eating in a restaurant with law enforcement officers present. While I can understand where people who are unfamiliar with guns or those of us who own and shoot them, might be a little jittery, I’m pretty sure a mass shooting has NEVER been perpetuated by a CCW permit holder. Sad to say, police shoot more innocent people -- usually by accident when shooting at someone who deserves to be shot -- than CCW holders. That’s a statistical fact. And there is good reason for it. CCW holders never want to use their firearms -- just like we never want to use fire extinguishers or dial 911 -- while police are constantly put in situations where they know they might have to use their firearms. They have far more opportunities to make mistakes.
The bill Brown signed was a solution looking for a problem. But worse, it has made our schools even more dangerous for our children. When someone does start shooting and the 911 calls go out, who shows up? Armed police, people with guns. The point is that Governor Brown has just assured that “gun free zones” are also going to be free of gun owners who might be able to avert a mass shooting long minutes before the police arrive. CCW owners will absolutely obey this new law, unlike the insane wanting to shoot kids, because they don’t want to risk the criminal charges and the loss of their CCW permit. It makes absolutely no sense that you would forbid trained, competent gun owners on school grounds. Would you ban police? It just makes no sense -- except here in California with our politicians.
But there’s more. Just this week, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom -- obviously attempting to get some headlines in advance of his run for governor in 2018 and piggy-back on 10 minutes of moronic gun control talk during the Democratic presidential debate -- announced a sweeping gun control ballot initiative for the 2016 election. The anti-gun media gushed over Newsom’s announcement. MSNBC called it a “gun safety” initiative, even though the initiative has nothing to do with gun safety.
The major components of the bill would be to 1) confiscate rifle or pistol magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition; 2) implement a background check for the sale of ammunition (and mandate sellers to report lost or stolen rounds); 3) establish a process to recover guns from people prohibited from owning them; 4) mandate that guns owners report lost or stolen guns, and 5) mandate the state Department of Justice to notify the federal government when someone is barred from owning firearms.
There are some really profoundly stupid things in this bill. This is a bill about redundancy and harassing legitimate gun owners. It is not about helping solve or prevent crimes. From top to bottom:
The whole idea of banning magazines holding more than a certain number of rounds is laughable on its face, and completely illogical to those of us who are gun owners. It operates under the pretense that a criminal or nut job doesn’t know how to reload his or her firearm. It also presupposes that banned magazines that hold more than the legislatively-prescribed limit will not be available or that their use will stop. All gun owners use an analogy even non gun owners should get: “Ya, banning them has worked so well with drugs.”
Can anyone explain to me how an ammunition background check does anything except add yet another layer of bureaucracy to legal gun ownership? The whole idea of this, in the anti-gun advocate mind, is to sound alarms when someone buys a couple of hundred rounds of ammunition and police can investigate. It shows a profound lack of knowledge about the shooting sports. First, I have several thousand rounds of ammunition at any given time. A day of sporting clays shooting will burn up 100 to 200 or more rounds. When my boys were young, we would shoot over 500 rounds at the range shooting the .22s. Most of the pistol shooters I know will burn up from 100 to 500 rounds practicing with their guns or in competitions. Most crooks never shoot more than five or 10 rounds. So what’s the point, really?
There’s already a mandate that felons can’t own guns, but here in California almost none of them are prosecuted when they try to buy a gun legally and get rejected by the criminal background check system. You wouldn’t think they would be that stupid, but they do it every day. You would think -- if keeping guns out of criminals hands were a high priority -- the state would prosecute a felon when tries to get a gun. They don’t. The process is already there. This is redundancy.
Mandating that gun owners report lost or stolen guns seems fine on its face. I have had guns stolen and reporting them was a high priority for me so if they were ever recovered I might get them back. So what’s the point of this? It’s a way to criminalize gun ownership because you are cited if one of your guns is recovered in a crime and you hadn’t reported it. Suppose you have a shotgun in the closet for self-protection and someone steals it (that kid you son hangs out with you have never liked, for example). If that is all that was taken you might not notice it for months, and then comes the knock on your door. You are now cited and perhaps charged as an accessory to a crime. All legal gun owners already report stolen guns. This is just a way to criminalize gun owners.
Is the Department of Justice NOT notifying the federal government when someone is convicted of a felony or abuse and banned from gun ownership? Again, this is already required and redundant. If the DOJ isn’t competently reporting felons to the federal government (which does background checks), and someone buys a gun and injures or kills someone, the DOJ should be charged as an accessory to that crime for negligence. I guarantee that will not be a part of the proposition.
All of this lacks common sense. None of the provisions are concerned about stopping or solving crimes. They all exhibit a profound lack of knowledge about firearms and their legal uses. This is simply about discriminating against legal gun owners.
When Newsome’s proposition makes the ballot and the ads start reminding you of all the horrific shooting the last few years and that you can help stop those acts, smart people will ask a simple question: How will this ballot measure stop that from happening? It won’t.
Gun control can’t stop these things, any more than banning or restricting alcohol sales will stop drunk driving. Drunk driving itself is illegal. Murder is illegal. Banning the implements that allow drunk driving or murder don’t solve the problems.