Guest Writer Josh Hentkowski
Do you chop down a tree because of one bad apple? California’s gun laws have been known to be strict and decisive, but on November 8, 2016, the state of California voted on Proposition 63. This proposition expanded the idea of gun control; placing limitations on types of guns and the magazines allowed into the gun.
The law went to a public vote and received roughly a 69 percent approval. In July of 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Proposition 63 that took effect Jan. 1, 2017. This new law was introduced due to the rise in gun violence and has certainly chopped down its tree.
Proposition 63 is a revision of New York’s Safety Act. This proposition is composed of seven different limitations on guns. According to the article 10 Things Every California Gun Owner Needs to Know on January 1, 2017, these new limitations include:
- AB 1135 (Levine): Bans common firearms that have magazine locking devices (like the “Bullet Button”). This basically bans automatic rifles. Sister bill to SB 880.
- SB 880 (Hall): Bans common and constitutionally-protected firearms that have magazine locking devices. Sister bill to AB 1135.
- AB 1511 (Santiago): Criminalizes loaning of firearms between personally known, law-abiding adults, including family members, sportspersons, and competitors.
- AB 1695 (Bonta): Makes a non-violent misdemeanor a prohibiting offense. Meaning if you have a misdemeanor you cannot purchase or legally register your firearm.
- SB 1235 (de Leon): New restrictions on ammunition purchases and sellers; creates a DOJ (Department of Justice) database of ammunition owners.
- SB 1446 (Hancock): Statewide confiscatory ban on all lawfully-possessed standard-capacity ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 round; exemption for retired police.
- AB 857 (Cooper) requires that serial numbers be placed on unserialized firearms (in some cases going back at least 50 years) and on all new owner-assembled (“home-built)” firearms.
These stipulations cause contempt. Gun reform has been found not to work in many major cities and states.
Look at the city of Chicago for example. The city has some of the strictest rules and punishments for guns. They follow a registration plan making every gun owner strictly background checked and the same stipulations as Proposition 63, yet still, have the highest gun homicide rates in the country.
But in California, crime rates have decreased significantly over the years, both in violent and property crimes. It has decreased from roughly 4 thousand crimes per 100 thousand people to roughly 32 hundred crimes. These crime rates are already at a national average low compared to other states. California is trying to fix something that isn’t broken. They are trying to rewrite the laws in which it favors their ideas. They are following the mainstream idea that guns are bad and are the cause of all evil.
These laws have created more issues for law-abiding gun owners. These laws have made law abiding citizens criminals. Gun owners believe it’s their second amendment right to bear arms and California has almost taken it away. Some gun owners refuse to register their guns and comply with the new restrictions. Some gun owners feel like this because they don’t want their names in the system. They don’t want to be continuously watched and evaluated.
Unfortunately, these owners’ disobedience puts them a the place to receive harsh punishments like heavy fines or even jail time.
Even the authorities don’t support this law as Proposition 63 diverts scarce law enforcement resources away from local law enforcement and overburden an already overcrowded court system with the enforcement of flawed laws that will turn harmless, law-abiding citizens into criminals.
In fact, New York Police abandoned enforcing the Safety Act proposal after it was passed, finding that it was impossible to implement and effectively maintain.
Gun owners and companies have found loopholes in this law. For the magazine limit, a company by the name of Mean Arms created a device to get around this law. A magazine is an ammunition storage and feeding device within or attached to a repeating firearm. The Mean Arms device loads ten rounds into the ejector port complying with California’s law since its a fixed mag and only holds ten rounds.
Gun owners have modified their guns to comply with the laws by simply putting a fixed stock, registering their non-registered guns, and simply having the Mean Arms loader with a ten round fixed magazine.
This law does nothing for the safety of the people due to the existence of the black market in which roughly forty to eighty million guns flow every year throughout the United States.
According to the document Homicide Trends in the United States, nearly sixty-one percent of homicides committed by guns come from a secondhand source such as friends, markets, auctions etc. This means that some gun owners are never background checked and are not checked for felonies. The idea that criminals do not buy their guns legally is spot on. It’s easier for them to buy a gun illegally or through other contacts than to go through the legal process.
People purchase guns for many reasons, but the most common one is fear. They are afraid of the future and for their safety. This law just engages the fear that they have. By giving up some of their gun rights, they fear what will happen from the government but also other countries.
My view of gun control is a waiting period for a gun purchase should be implemented. After a person is cleared by a background check they wait a certain amount of time to act as a cooldown period to deter crime. Gun control should deter crime, not discourage gun ownership.
I agree with the new magazine capacity limit. As a fellow gun owner, I haven’t felt the need to have a ten round magazine. A high capacity magazine isn’t needed to hunt, for personal safety or for recreation. If you need to use ten rounds to hunt an animal you need to rethink your approach and spend time at the range. For recreation, there’s no need for a high capacity magazine. Using a gun for safety should be your last resort, there are always other options and killing someone should always be your last.
I support the second amendment but agree that there needs to be changed. Guns have developed so much in the past years that anybody willing enough can cause great harm to society with a gun. However, the government shouldn’t use this excuse to punish the ninety-nine percent of gun owners that are responsible and legal. Gun owners and the government need to come up with a compromise so that both groups are happy with the solution.