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Exasperated over latest gun control bills


It is exasperating.

Two anti-gun bills that will do nothing to solve crime, stop terrorist attacks, or increase the public safety have already been introduced into the California legislature this year.

AB 1663, introduced by Assemblyman David Chiu, would reclassify banned “assault weapons” to include all semi-automatic rifles with a detachable magazine or those with a “bullet button” magazine. For those of you who don’t understand the “bullet button” thing, it is simply that a pointed object – a pen, an counterpunch, a round of ammunition (“bullet” for those who don’t know the difference between a bullet and a cartridge) – can be used to depress a release that allows the magazine to be removed. Since these guns require a “tool” to remove the magazine, they are not currently included in the assault rifle ban.

AB 1664, introduced by assemblymen Marc Levine and Phil Ting, simply would ban semi-automatic rifles made with “bullet buttons.”

Existing guns with any of these features would have to be registered with the state (no later than 2018) and a registration tax paid. To fail to do that would make you a felon. All future sales of these guns would be banned.

Millions of gun owners in California have guns that fall into these expanded categories, and the Chiu bill will allow the state to charge whatever it wants to register the gun. The amount charged will be changed from “actual processing costs” to “reasonable processing costs” with Chiu’s bill. That little change alone makes me worry a “reasonable” tax that costs more than the gun is worth. That would be reasonable in Chiu’s mind, wouldn’t it?

But it is the basic premise of these bans that is so disturbing.

First, so-called assault rifles are used in very few crimes or murders. You are far more likely to get bludgeoned with a claw hammer or baseball bat than shot with a rifle of any kind. Those are the facts. Even the two terrorists who killed 14 and injured 22 others in San Bernardino would have been undeterred by either of these bills. They acquired the guns illegally and illegally modified them further. The assault weapon ban and 10-round magazine bans were ignored. And we probably shouldn’t forget that murder is already illegal.

The bottom line is that gun control does not impact crime, suicide, or terrorism rates, any more than Prohibition reduced alcoholism or bans on marijuana have reduced its use. Do we ban cars to stop drunk driving? Gun control simply doesn’t do what its proponents claim, and there seems to be a groundswell of thinking members of our society who are recognizing this – even people who do not use or like firearms. Yet, we have legislators in California (and across the country) trotting out the same old misleading, worn out, faux rationale for gun bans.

I’m exasperated because it means they are either stupid, unwilling to look at the data, and make rational decisions, or….

The “or” bothers me most because I don’t believe for a second these people are stupid and buy into their own lying rhetoric. So the only conclusion those of us who own and use firearms can draw is that they know exactly what they are doing. They are discriminating against an entire class of people – people who own firearms, legally and peacefully.

In California, we long-ago banned most of the small, affordable handguns as “Saturday Night Specials” – those somehow “dangerous,” affordable guns that were cheap enough that a poor family in the ghetto could have personal protection. Another large batch of pistols dropped off California’s “legal” list this year. Very few semiautomatic pistols are available for sale here under the guise that the hundreds of other non-available are unsafe, including the latest, improved versions of those still legal here. We banned a whole class of autoloading rifles a few years ago. Piece-by-piece we are banning guns in this state. And the latest bills are just a further step in that march to disarm the public.

The reality is that all the banned guns are no more or less dangerous than the legal ones. The differences are mostly cosmetic, but each year we ban more, trying to keep firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. Criminals, insane people, and terrorists ignore the laws.

So why are politicians afraid of an armed public that could protect itself against home invasion robberies, carjackings, rapists, or even terrorists? Why?

Crime data proves that places with the most gun control have the highest crime and murder rates. Do you suppose that is because those breaking the law target those areas?

Do the politicians believe that only government law enforcement should be trained and armed? Do they believe those dedicated men and women will be able to protect us in all situations where we might need protecting? If they believe that is true, how are they going to respond to the families of those killed and wounded in San Bernardino. Police were there in less than five minutes and it was too late.

So, again, why are our politicians trying to remove guns from the public’s hands? What and who are they afraid of?

I wish I could answer that question, but I can’t, and it troubles me because there are no good answers.


[Jim Matthews is a syndicated Southern California-based outdoor reporter and columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 909-887-3444.]

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