“So goes California, so goes the nation. We need to show these laws are an increased burden on citizens and not reducing crime and we need to stop these laws here. The battle starts and finishes here. So no other states follow,” said David Matza, communications manager for the California Rifle & Pistol Association.
While Americans were fixated on both the Republican and Democrat conventions, politicians continued to push their agendas on gun control from Washington D.C. to California.
On July 22, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that could put small gunsmiths out of business. The order requires any business that makes parts for guns to register as a manufacturer. The US State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) is also part of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The DDTC according to reports require that any manufacturing business pay more than $2,000 a year to register. So a small company that may fix an older gun or thread a barrel may be shut down.
This type of legislating of guns through taxation or redefining what it takes to make the guns or the parts for the gun owner to operate the gun is growing in popularity especially in the state of California.
On the eve of the Fourth of July weekend, Governor Jerry Brown (CA) signed into law six gun-control bills that some say strip citizens of their constitutional rights. The rights violated are claimed to go beyond the second amendment by opponents and make California the state with the strictest gun laws in the nation.
The new laws go as far as banning types of semiautomatic rifles that are currently legal, and regulate the sale of ammunition. At the same time these laws are being passed down for the average citizen to follow, certain classes of citizens are allowed exemption from the new laws. The exemptions, opponents to the new laws say, are also a violation of the constitution.
Jeff Greene from Riverside County in California said, “Turning in legally owned private property without compensation is in violation of the 5th and 14th Amendment. It also sets up and unequal treatment or special privileges between normal citizens and retired police officers.”
Police officers even those retired are exempt from some of the laws creating a separate class of citizen. The notion of allowing some not all citizens a constitutional right is being challenged
The 5th and 14th Amendments forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” By directly mentioning the role of the states, the 14th Amendment greatly expanded the protection of civil rights to all Americans and is cited in more litigation than any other amendment.
“Yet I’m expected to hand in or destroy hundreds of dollars’ worth of magazines for nothing,” said Greene.
At the same time Brown stripped away some gun rights from law-abiding citizens he vetoed AB 1176 a bi-partisan bill that Republican Assemblywoman Melissa A. Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, joint authored with Assembly members Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, and Adam Gray, D-Merced, to reinstate felony penalties for firearm theft that had been reduced under Proposition 47.
Prop. 47 was passed by a vote of the people in 2014 reducing certain drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and requiring misdemeanor sentencing if the theft or stolen property was under $950.
Citizens across the state are feeling the effects of Prop. 47 with an uptick in home invasions and stolen cars.
“It’s baffling. After a week where the legislature passed numerous anti-gun laws aimed not at criminals, but at law abiding citizens, the only sensible legislation that specifically targeted criminals the Governor vetoes,” said Melendez. “When will the Democrats stop protecting criminals and start defending the rights of Californians?”
These new gun laws set precedent for other states to follow. That is why citizens in others states should pay attention to what is happening in Democratic controlled state of California.
The following are California’s latest gun control bills broken down into sections.
Laws targeting the Gun
- SB 1446 The high-capacity gun magazine ban goes into effect July 1, 2017. Anyone who currently possesses a large-capacity magazine must dispose of that magazine by any of the following means prior to July 1, 2017.
(A) Remove the large-capacity magazine from the state.
(B) Sell the large-capacity magazine to a licensed firearms dealer.
(C) Destroy the large-capacity magazine.
(D) Surrender the large-capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction.
- SB 880 and AB 1135: The most controversial of all six new laws are the SB 880 in conjunction with AB 1135. It expands the definition an assault weapon. In January 2017, all AR-style firearms under California’s definition of assault weapons that include certain hunting rifles will be banned in the state.
If you currently own one or purchase one before Jan. 1, 2017, you have the following year to re-register the firearm with the Department of Justice.
In summary, people can still buy these guns until December 31, 2016. But as of January 1, 2017 you have to re-register in order to keep your gun.
- SB 1235: If you want ammunition for your registered gun now you must have an additional ID check and background check to purchase the ammo. The background search will require a statewide database to track such purchases. Storeowners have until 2019 to figure out the logistics and technology that will be required. The cost of background checks for each ammunition sale can be costly and potentially put them out of business.
Laws obtaining a gun
- AB 1511: Prohibits people from lending a gun to anyone outside immediate family members.
Laws on lost and stolen guns
- AB 1695: Criminalizes falsely reporting a stolen gun, to discourage “straw sales” or illegal, off the books gun sales. If convicted, it would be a misdemeanor and the person would not be allowed to own a firearm within 10 years of the conviction. The bill would define “firearm” for these purposes to include the frame or receiver of the weapon, and to include a rocket, rocket propelled projectile launcher, or similar device containing an explosive or incendiary material.
“Our position is we want everyone to be able to carry and own a fire arm. We do not want the laws. We are huge supporters of police officers but we don’t want the laws to exist in the first place,” said Matza.
Matza said the CRPA legal team has been reviewing the litigation route over violations of the second amendment.
“We are fully looking at effects of these bills,” said Matza. “These six laws are so cumbersome and complicated it has taken us three weeks to just work through them to fully understand their consequences.”
Matza said the CRPA believes they will be successful fighting the new laws.
“In our opinion the politicians are passing these laws to do something to feel good about for themselves, not worried about consequences. It is only for political gain,” said Matza.