Huntington Beach voters may see measure that would ban all semi-automatic firearms
By JIM MATTHEWS
While it is far from being on the ballot, and even further from gaining voter approval in Huntington Beach, a measure has been submitted that would ban all semi-automatic firearms within the city of Huntington Beach. The measure’s proponents will have to submit 11,500 valid resident’s signatures by June 2 to qualify the measure for the ballot, according to the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA).
The proposed ballot measure would “ban the possession and sale of semi-automatic and automatic guns and rifles in the City of Huntington Beach.” The new law, if passed by voters, would become effective Jan. 1, 2019, and after a three-moth probation period, it would become a “felony to own, sell, or possess any and all semi-automatic and automatic guns and rifle within the border of the City of Huntington Beach.”
The measure was submitted by Daniel Horgan in mid-November, but both of the phone numbers tried to reach Horgan were either disconnected or associated with a business where he no longer worked. So, it was impossible to determine exactly what Horgan wanted to ban with his measure.
The measure was originally credited as coming from the Huntington Beach city attorney and other city government officials, but city attorney Michael Gates was quick to point out that was not the case in a number of public forum posts.
“This was a citizen initiative and not the City Attorney. We always uphold, protect, and defend the law, including the Second Amendment. Having said this, we cannot prevent a citizen from placing an initiative on the ballot, no matter how seemingly inappropriate and/or illegal. If this initiative gets traction and support, we’ll consider all legal options to address the legal/Constitutional conflict,” wrote Gates.
The CRPA’s story on this measure was clear their organization would challenge the legality of the measure should it pass.
The language of the measure shows that Horgan knows little about firearms or the law. First, since the word “gun” applies to all rifles, handguns, and shotguns, adding the word “rifles” is redundant. Second, fully automatic firearms have been banned by the federal government for over 80 years. Perhaps he wanted to ban them all and included “rifles” and “automatic” firearms for emphasis.
Did he and his supporters know that a complete ban on semi-automatic firearms would ban many of the most popular sporting firearms on the market today and those from previous generations still in use, including guns like the Ruger 10/22 rimfire rifle, perhaps the most popular .22 being made today. It would ban all semi-automatic shotguns like the Remington Model 1100, most having magazines that hold no more than three shotgun shells and do not have detachable magazines.
Did they know that the measure clearly violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution, and that similar measures have been stuck down by the Heller and McDonald decisions from the Supreme Court in recent years?
So what is the point? It will be thrown out by the courts if it is passed. Why waste the public’s and staff’s time at the City of Huntington Beach?
The effort is nothing more than symbolic -- a little chest thumping, a gesture aimed at blaming guns for horrific crimes. This is the solution of the short-sighted. This is the solution of those who are willing to sacrifice other people’s rights and possessions so they feel better, maybe safer, even though that is an illusion.
This Huntington Beach proposal is laughable. It will fade from the news in a few weeks, but the mentality that creates measures like this is alive and thriving in our local, state, and federal government. And it is getting more frightening by the day.
One of the proposals in Washington D.C. to address the horrific mass shootings, one supported by President Trump and many conservative and liberal politicians (at least in the Senate), would allow law enforcement to take firearms or other dangerous items away from anyone without due process if authorities “think” the person might pose a problem.
“I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida,” said Trump late last month at a meeting with lawmakers on gun violence in schools. “To go to court would have taken a long time.”
He later said it even clearer: “Take the guns first, go through due process second,” said Trump.
That idea has been written into a law that is advancing in the U.S. Senate right now.
Whoa! Think about that. Someone claims you are a danger or says you are planning to shoot up a nearby school, and the police come to your home, take your firearms, and maybe your children, without any due process. No facing your accuser. No mental illness history. No evidence other than a hunch or a phone call. They just come and take your property.
Then what? The gun owner would then have to go through a long, legal process to prove they are competent and get their personal property returned. Guilty until proven innocent.
That isn’t a gun issue. That isn’t a solution to violence. That is a police state.