Just In: California Outlawed Most Pistols
They’ve gone and done it, California outlawed possession of most full-size pistol magazines. If you own a firearm which uses magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, your weapon is illegal to possess in the State of California. Oh, make that your magazines which are illegal to possess. Enjoy your new paperweight. The law signed in by Governor Jerry Brown on Friday requires that citizens surrender their “high capacity” magazines. California’s previously enacted gun bill only prohibited the sale or import of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, but possession was legal.
That’s not all. Now a background check will be required for any ammunition sales. All ammo purchasers will be registered into a state database which labels them as a dangerous ammunition owners… or something. It’s not clear what the purpose of this database it. Do they want all rounds to have an associated serial number, so that they can track the owners?
Fox News reports (although most news outlets seem to be ignoring this):
Gov. Jerry Brown signed six stringent gun-control measures Friday that will require people to turn in high-capacity magazines and mandate background checks for ammunition sales, as California Democrats seek to strengthen gun laws that are already among the strictest in the nation.
Brown vetoed five other bills, including requirement to register homemade firearms and report lost or stolen weapons to authorities.
The Democratic governor’s action is consistent with his mixed record on gun control. Some of the enacted bills duplicate provisions of a November ballot measure by Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Some of the vetoed measures also appear in Newsom’s initiative.
“My goal in signing these bills is to enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner, while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Brown wrote in a one-sentence message to lawmakers.
Gun control measures have long been popular with the Democratic lawmakers who control the California Senate and Assembly. But they stepped up their push this year following the December shooting in San Bernardino by a couple who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
The bills angered Republicans and gun-rights advocates who say Democrats are trampling on 2nd Amendment rights, creating new restrictions that won’t cut off the flow of guns to people intent on using them for nefarious purposes.
“On the eve of Independence Day, independence and freedom and liberty in California has been chopped down at the knees and kicked between the legs,” said Sam Paredes, executive director of the advocacy group Gun Owners of California.
Lawsuits challenging the new laws are likely once they take effect next year, Paredes said.
Brown’s action will require people who own magazines that hold more than 10 rounds to give them up. It extends a 1999 law that made it illegal to buy a high-capacity magazine or to bring one into the state but allowed people who already owned them to keep them.
In an attempt to slow gun users from rapidly reloading, the governor signed a bill outlawing new weapons that have a device known as a bullet button. Gun makers developed bullet buttons to get around California’s assault weapons ban, which prohibited new rifles with magazines that can be detached without the aid of tools. A bullet buttons allows a shooter to quickly dislodge the magazine using the tip of a bullet or other small tool.
People will be allowed to keep weapons they already own with bullet buttons, which are often referred to as “California compliant.”
Brown also endorsed a bill making another attempt to regulate ammunition sales after a law passed in 2009 was struck down by a Fresno County judge who said it was too vague. The new law will require ammunition sellers to be licensed and buyers to undergo background checks. Transactions will be recorded.
He also opted to require a background check before a gun can be loaned to someone who isn’t a family member.
“Strong gun laws work. … What we’re doing in California is a better job of keeping guns out of dangerous hands,” said Amanda Wilcox, a spokeswoman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, whose daughter was killed by a shooter using a high-capacity magazine.
The new law appears to be depriving people of their valuable property, in violation of their Second Amendment rights. Outlawing the magazines that go in guns is effectively outlawing the guns. It’s hardly different than outlawing bullets, and then claiming that even though you removed people’s ability to use guns, you aren’t taking away anyone’s guns. But we aren’t constitutional lawyers, we’re cops.
As a group of law enforcement professionals, we support people’s right to carry firearms. We have firsthand knowledge that sometimes it takes too long for the police to get to people who need help. This problem is especially bad in sparsely populated areas where law enforcement response may exceed half an hour. Sparsely populated areas like most of California.
It always amazes me how ignorant the general public seems to be of the violence and evil that exists around them. They enact laws like this because it fits in with their idealistic daydream of how society should be. Law enforcement officers see the evil every day; we were hired to fight it. And when we are forced to use violence to fight against these evils, we also no longer fit inside of their dream and we are cast out of the society that created us.
Quite frankly, I’m surprised that California didn’t just outlaw all semi-automatic firearms. Baby steps, right?