By now you’ve heard California’s Lt. Governor has kicked off his 2018 gubernatorial campaign by proposing a new set of gun control measures. His proposal is inappropriately called the Safety for All Act of 2016.
There are two things to look at here, the political rational and initiative itself.
Unfortunately for California, this is more of a sly political move than anything. Every bit of opposition, criticism of the proposal or the Lt. Governor himself, brings his name into the press and public arena a little bit more. In other words, massive free campaign advertising. The timing is also important. By putting this on the 2016 ballot during a Presidential election where the presumptive Democratic Party Presidential candidate is a woman (sorry Bernie fans), far more of the Democratic base will be energized and going to the poles.
Even worse for California, the proposal does nothing to enhance the public’s safety. It only creates additional barriers and costs for legal firearms owners, as well as creating criminals from current legal activity.
There are a number of sections in the proposal. So I don’t rant forever, I’ll just focus on one: ammunition.
Anyone wanting to purchase ammunition will be required to obtain a State issued ID card, which will include a background check, for $50 for two years. While $50 may not sound like a large sum, this requirement will disproportionally impact lower income individuals.
Ammunition sellers would need to be State licensed. Employees would need to have State Certificate of Eligibility certificates and all ammunition would need to be behind the counter. Every purchase must be face-to-face – no out of state or Internet orders. All purchases would be recorded and point-of-sale background checks run. All of these serve no purpose other than adding costs and barriers for legal consumers.
Think this proposal is the end? Not so fast. Here are a couple of items this new system would enable. Keep in mind these are not things I dreamed up, these have come up already.
Consumers would only be able purchase ammunition in calibers in which they have firearms registered with the state. Never mind the fact you can legally change calibers, manufacture your own firearms or legally own firearms that are not registered with the State. Consumers would only be able to purchase ‘X’ number of rounds at any given time. Consumers would only be able purchase the type, brand and characteristics of ammunition approved by the State.
So why is ammunition the new front for Gun Control? Part of the rational comes from their interpretation of the Second Amendment.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
In essence, the logic is: “It doesn’t say a single thing about the right to own bullets.” The idea that the framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights would have differentiated between arms and ammunition is of course ludicrous. But to date the lower courts have been very forgiving of ammunition restriction laws, either not acknowledging a Second Amendment right or allowing what they call ‘slight’ infringements. Without a definitive ruling from the Supreme Court, this logic may be used as part of a wider gun control scheme.
So where do these types of proposals come from? One of the major forces behind this ballot initiative is the San Francisco based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. If you’d like to see their target list, take a look at Search Gun Laws by Policy page at http://smartgunlaws.org/search-gun-law-by-gun-policy/ Then take a look at the proposals in your own community and you’ll likely find much of it tied back to this group’s recommendations.
Why is opposition to this ballot initiative and other proposals important? The likelihood of an Australian-style forced gun forfeiture being successfully implemented in the United States is highly unlikely. What is more possible, and is the current strategy, is to take small, incremental, “common sense and reasonable” bites out of the Second Amendment until there is nothing left. It goes back to the old saying: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
#oddstuffing #eatinganelephant #2ndamendment