California Slides Down Slippery Gun Control Slope

The latest bad ideas from the Golden State.

Supporters of the latest spate of gun-control bills that will soon make their way to the governor’s desk insist they only are trying to close “loopholes” and that they won’t deprive Californians of their right to bear arms.

But to peer at the future of gun ownership in California, one might look at policies the state is undertaking now. “In California, officials are ramping up a unique program that identifies and seizes guns from people who are prohibited from keeping them,” according to a recent National Public Radio story.

The piece detailed the California’s Department of Justice’s APPs (Armed and Prohibited Persons) program that sends armed agents to the doors of Californians “who at one time purchased firearms legally, but have since run afoul of the law.” It’s a first-in-the-nation program by which state officials cross-reference government crime databases. An agent might show up at the door of a person who legally purchased a gun, but was later deemed mentally ill or was convicted of domestic violence.

The Legislature is making this program even more muscular. A newly signed law, passed with bipartisan support, provided additional resources for APPs. A widely supported bill would require gun owners to secure their firearms if they live with someone on the banned list.

Most people are happy to see guns kept out of the hands of dangerous felons, but Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, says the list is so poorly maintained that many people on the list shouldn’t be on it and that only a third of the people on the list are convicted felons. Gun owners fear that eventually the Department of Justice could use registration lists to raid the homes of law-abiding owners of recently banned weapons.

Looking at the myriad gun bills, it’s clear that the Legislature is doing more than chipping away at gun ownership. “It’s the most all-encompassing gun grab that’s happened in California since 1982,” when Prop. 15 was on the ballot to freeze handgun purchases, Paredes said. Active bills would add types of semi-automatic weapons to the list of banned weapons, require background checks for ammunition purchases, add certification requirements for purchases of rifles and shotguns, and expand the list of offenses that bar the legal ownership of firearms. Democrats are pushing an aggressive package they call the LIFE Act.

Another controversial bill would halt the use of lead ammunition by 2019, mainly for environmental reasons. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said the bill could ban hunting given that non-lead ammo runs afoul of federal laws banning armor-piercing bullets. An amendment seems to have fixed that problem, but there’s no question it adds burdens and costs.

Although moderate Democrats from places such as the Central Valley often support gun rights, the leadership’s policy appears to be death by 1,000 cuts. “They never get enough,” said Chuck Michel, a Long Beach attorney who represents gun-rights groups. “California is the living slippery slope.”

Gun-rights activists have been calling legislators, but they must ultimately rely on Gov. Jerry Brown, which is not an enviable position. And even if he uses the veto pen, it’s only a matter of time before more bills move forward. The gun-control movement views California as the petri dish for the nation. A February article in lefty Mother Jones argues that “the new laws might do for guns what California’s pollution and fuel economy rules did for the nation’s automobiles.”

Dave Kopel, a scholar at the conservative Independence Institute in Colorado, sees hope in the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. That’s the post-Civil War amendment that applies the Bill of Rights to states — even, he said, “when those rights were violated by extremists and bigots who took control of [Southern] legislatures.” But the courts haven’t rushed in to save Californians from their own legislators, which explains growing pessimism among pro-gun activists.

The situation reminds me of The Offspring song, “The Future Is Now,” which asked: “Now who’s knock, knocking at your door?” If the slope keeps slipping, the person knocking could soon be an agent from the California Department of Justice, seeking your recently banned weapon.

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  • ||

    Fuck California, yo.

  • ||

    It can't fall into the Pacific soon enough!

  • Tim||

    Otisburg?

  • ||

    Instead of being framed a villain, I think Lex should have been praised for his ingenuity in making a shit-load in real estate, while, at the same time, providing a public service.

  • jamesrk||

    I'll see you down at Arizona Bay.

  • fish_remote||

    +1 Hicks

  • BiPolarMoment||

    +2 Tool - AEnema

  • Seamus||

    Xeones, are you back?

  • ||

    I'm in a mood because I just got a letter from them demanding that I pay taxes on income I made after I left that godforsaken state. And to make things even neater, they didn't have any documentation on my earnings (why would they? I didn't live there anymore), they just made up numbers that they claimed were a reasonable estimate. But if I want, I can fly back there for a hearing to defend myself, all at my expense, of course.

    Fuck California.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I had the IRS do something similar when I was out of real work for 11 months, instead doing what should have been a teenager's job. Fictional income pulled out of thin air and I was supposed to pay up on it, or prove I didn't get it.
    The long, tangled story that came from that... is too bureaucratically boring to tell.

  • mtrueman||

    Hasn't this slope been sliding for decades now? In response to the armed Black Panther activists following police as they patrolled black neighbourhoods, it was governor Reagan who instituted gun controls with the full backing of the NRA?

  • ||

    Not that the Mulford Act wasn't bullshit, but to compare it to what is being done today is borderline retarded, even for a TEAM shill like you.

  • mtrueman||

    You do know the meaning of the term slippery slope, I assume. It's a slope that starts out with some gentle bullshit, and gets worse as time goes on.

    Don't know what a TEAM shill is, but shouldn't that be anti-semitic TEAM shill? You, PM, were clever enough to spot my anti-semitism.

    What lesson do we take from the Mulford Act? The one I take is Americans will always allow their hatred and fear of their dark-skinned, crap shooting, eye-popping neighbours to be exploited by demagogues and politicians.

  • Brian D||

    It's a perti dish alright, where some of the most vile ideas can incubate/

  • Brian D||

    Ugh, petri dish, that is.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It's a dish made of an Italian Baroque-era composer?

  • ||

    Only those who don't break the law are subject to the confiscations, since criminals don't register their guns.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    A February article in lefty Mother Jones argues that “the new laws might do for guns what California’s pollution and fuel economy rules did for the nation’s automobiles.”

    Fortunately, guns are considerably more primitive than cars, so micromanufacture of guns in the near future is much more achievable than micromanufacturing cars.

  • ||

    A February article in lefty Mother Jones argues that “the new laws might do for guns what California’s pollution and fuel economy rules did for the nation’s automobiles.”

    What? Cause the industry to stagnate and cause the price to increase by a factor of 10 over the last 40 years?

    GREAAAAAAT!

  • wingnutx||

    Plenty of people make their own guns.

    Like this guy

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Who cares about California? What is the gun policy of the State of Jefferson?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    OT: I just saw the greatest H&R confrontation ever. Commenter "Juice", not realizing the "45 Years, 45 Days" link is dredged up from years ago, confronts himself about stealing his e-mail:

    http://reason.com/archives/201.....nt_1655045

  • setTHEline||

    The worst kind of identity theft.

  • ||

    rofl

  • Hyperion||

    Now that there is funny, I don't care who you are!

  • Swiss Servator - Gnome Slave||

    Damn my past self!!!

  • Floridian||

    At least he is consistent. Same opinion 3 years later.

  • ||

    That was weird and funny.

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but how did you find out he responded to a comment you made 3 years ago? Do you get notifications for that or something?

  • Cdr Lytton||

    The 40 days 40 years posts every day are the original posts, or the first time they were posted on reason.com for pre-WWW articles, being reissued with a new intro and the current date.

  • ||

    Thanks for clearing that up. I've been skipping those posts so I was unaware they were recycled.

  • setTHEline||

    Loophole = 2nd amendment

  • LynchPin1477||

    One other thing about the APP is that people are often not even informed that they can't legally own firearms after being put on the list. And if I remember the NPR story correctly, the success rate of the program is pretty low.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It's interesting that following the letter of the law is considered by so many to be taking advantage of a "loophole". In this case, the most reasonable explanation for this is that they deem the true intent of the law to be the wholesale elimination of private firearm ownership.

  • John||

    What is a concession today becomes a "loophole" tomorrow. The idea is to make gun control a one way ratchet. They also want to make gun ownership as expensive and legally hazardous as possible. Make it so owning a gun requires a fucking law degree to make sure you are not breaking any laws. That way fewer and fewer people bother and as many of the ones who do end up being arrested and banned from ownership and the gun lobby gets smaller.

    These people are fascists who want to use mob violence to intimidate their opponents to get their way. But they can't do that with an armed populace. So there immediate goal is to totally disarm the populace.

  • ||

    The entire article is projection.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    ^ THIS ^

    That's why the exemptions for family or temporary use to the universal registration back ground checks legislation was a stupid reason to support it.

  • ||

    Libertarians are the New Communists

    Yes it includes the Somalia meme and this bit of projection:

    Like communism, this philosophy is defective in its misreading of human nature, misunderstanding of how societies work and utter failure to adapt to changing circumstances. Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish, when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution. It assumes that societies are efficient mechanisms requiring no rules or enforcers, when, in fact, they are fragile ecosystems prone to collapse and easily overwhelmed by free-riders. And it is fanatically rigid in its insistence on a single solution to every problem: Roll back the state!
  • John||

    Like communism, this philosophy is defective in its misreading of human nature,

    This coming from a liberal who no doubt believes human beings can be perfected by the state. All they know is projection.

    Beyond that, when they say "human nature is bad" they are really saying "people can't be trusted with freedom."

  • R C Dean||

    this philosophy is defective in its misreading of human nature

    Boy, he gets this backwards. The reason we libertarians don't trust people with unlimited power is because we think people aren't perfectible and human nature is a mixed bag.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    (Nick Hanauer is a founder of Second Avenue Partners, a venture capital company in Seattle specializing in early-stage startups and emerging technology. He has founded or financed dozens of companies, including aQuantive Inc. and Amazon.com. Eric Liu is the founder of Citizen University and a former White House speechwriter and deputy domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton. They are co-authors of “The Gardens of Democracy.” Follow them on Twitter at @NickHanauer and @EricPLiu.)

    Sounds legit.

  • John||

    Ever notice how the less actual labor someone has to do for their fortune the more likely they are to be the most foolish leftist? People like venture capitalists and movie stars are always complete moron lefties. I think at some level such people realize that they got rich by pure fucking luck. There are lots of good looking people who can act. And why one company becomes Amazon and the next ends up bankrupt is impossible to tell. Venture capital is like gambling in Vegas. So I think such people think that because they really didn't earn their money, no one else did and thus there is nothing wrong with the government taking it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • John||

    Wow. It is one thing to piss on the graves of people in far off places. It is quite another to do it when they are your own family. How any Chinese person could believe that shit is beyond me. The fact that he does indicates Liu has some major issues beyond believing in really stupid and murderous things.

  • sarcasmic||

    Like communism, this philosophy is defective in its misreading of human nature, misunderstanding of how societies work and utter failure to adapt to changing circumstances.


    Because the only way to adapt is with a gun at your back.

    Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish, when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution.


    Because the only time people cooperate is with a gun at their back.

    It assumes that societies are efficient mechanisms requiring no rules or enforcers, when, in fact, they are fragile ecosystems prone to collapse and easily overwhelmed by free-riders.


    Because people only follow the rules with a gun at their back.

    And it is fanatically rigid in its insistence on a single solution to every problem: Roll back the state!


    Because limited government is no government!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Listen. Liu went to Yale and Harvard. Thus, he is better than you. If you're too recalcitrant to listen and act upon to his sage and freely given advice, then what choice does he have? You're literally forcing the gun in his armed servant's hand to your back!

  • John||

    The old Marxists were disgusting. But they did know and understand their world views. Some clown like Eric Hobswain or however you spell is name, was certainly a fool but he wasn't stupid at least when it came to what he believed and the implications of it.

    Someone like Liu, who is an intellectual descendent of the old Marxists, is not just a fool but irrational and stupid. What is Liu's philosophy? I don't see it. All I see is, "do what I tell you and let me and people like us be in charge to do shit that we haven't really figured out what it is yet".

  • Nazdrakke||

    "do what I tell you and let me and people like us be in charge to do shit that we haven't really figured out what it is yet"

    See also: Obama Administration's Push for Syrian Strikes.

  • John||

    Or anything else they have done. If you can find an overarching philosophy to the Obama Administration beyond "fuck you that is why" or "I will be stealing all of your shit and giving it to a few of my friends", you are more creative than I am.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "do what I tell you and let me and people like us be in charge to do shit that we haven't really figured out what it is yet"

    See also: Obama Administration's Push for Syrian Strikes.

    [edit]See also: Obama Administration's Push for Syrian Strikes plan for everything they have done the past 5 years.[/edit]

  • BakedPenguin||

    Or what John said. Refresh is your friend.

  • R C Dean||

    Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish, when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution.

    We're the ones who want a voluntary society with real cooperation, and he's criticizing us for that?

    He's the one advocating a society built on coercion, not cooperation, and he's the one claiming cooperation is the highest value?

    You don't even know where to start with someone so deeply malinformed.

  • sarcasmic||

    When people cooperate for selfish reasons you get evil corporations! All they care about is profit! Profits I tell you! They don't care about people!

    People in government do! They are not motivated by self interest! They care about everyone else! That's why they use violence and coercion to achieve their goals! It's because they care!

  • Curtisls87||

    It always amazes me how liberals can never see that cooperation is, in fact, inherent to the tenets of libertarianism. Where cooperation breaks down because one party wants to much, the other party is free to go cooperate with someone else.

  • sarcasmic||

    Where cooperation breaks down because one party wants to much is a stupid ideologue who doesn't know what's good for them, the other party is free to go cooperate with someone else has to force them to cooperate with a government gun.

  • wwhorton||

    It's strange to me that people who argue against libertarianism under the premise that force is necessary to ensure that people cooperate and, at a minimum, not murder each other and loot the corpses in the streets nevertheless believe that, through the magic of taxation and voting, you can create a class of people who will be immune to corruption and ignorance, and who will consistently make wise, fair choices.

  • Zeb||

    That always gets me too. The whole point of libertarianism is that people can cooperate and work together without a lot of guidance or coercion from the state. Most people aren't so stupid that they think that their self interest means being totally selfish and fucking over everyone else. It is pretty easy to figure out that working with other people is often to your advantage.

  • Jake W||

    I have something you want and you have something I want...

  • ||

    Oh look, it's the trustfund baby "venture capitalist" who doesn't think that rich people create jobs, who was able to go from his Philosophy degree straight into a VP position at a family-owned company.

    No misplaced guilt over what he apparently feels is unearned wealth here, no siree!

  • Duke||

    They’re starting a List! http://www.hulu.com/watch/61335

  • The Late P Brooks||

    “the new laws might do for guns what California’s pollution and fuel economy rules did for the nation’s automobiles.”

    These are the people who actually believe a working biometric trigger exists, and can "just" be incorporated into all newly manufactured weapons and may someday soon be a mandatory retrofit for existing weapons.

    "Congratulations on your new pistol, sir. An excellent choice. That will be twelve thousand, six hundred dollars."

  • fish_remote||

    Same folks I believe who were just certain that if we just stopped making guns the existing ones would just rust away in a couple of years.

  • wwhorton||

    My dad's 1871 Mauser would like a word.

  • RannedPall||

    These new laws might do for California what CARB, the California Air Resources Board, did for small businesses here. Oh, and the cherry on this proverbial steaming shit sundae, they're unelected.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    this philosophy is defective in its misreading of human nature

    Whereas true progressives know the human soul is riddled with original sin, and people are too evil and insane and immorally feckless to be allowed to decide for themselves how to live.

  • John||

    People are immoral and riddled with sin. But that original sin is cleansed when they take a government job or become a top man planner. Then they are incorruptible agents of the people.

    It is not just that they are wrong. It is that they believe things that don't even have any internal logic. They just have a random set of talking points that makes them feel good. Logic and consistence are not required.

  • sarcasmic||

    Logic and consistency is the hallmark of an ideologue.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Which is why they need to be organized by other people who, through the transcendent power of progressive thinking, have broken free from this cycle of self-directed suffering and find their proper place in the community. FOREVER.

  • John||

    Classical liberals and libertarians believe the exact opposite of what this clown claims. They totally understand that people are basically sinful and corrupt. That is why they understand the limits of government and why giving one group of people power over another is a really bad idea and should be avoided to the greatest extent possible.

    It is Marxism and its retarded step child Progressivism that not only believes but depends upon the idea that man can be perfected and transformed into a higher moral being. That is what the new Soviet man is. That is why Marxists worried so much about political consciousness. The whole fucking system depends on man not having a corrupt nature and being perfectible with the right policies.

    These people are so fucking stupid they don't even understand their own philosophy. Their ignorance is offensive. I is bad enough to be wrong. But to not even understand your own position and accuse your opponents of holding the very positions that your philosophy use as cornerstone assumptions is just offensively stupid.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    These people are so fucking stupid they don't even understand their own philosophy.

    Or they're just lying.

  • John||

    I don't give them that much credit. I think they have been steeped in post modernism for so long they have lost the ability to think rationally. They just emote. It is all they know how to do. Someone like these clowns could understand the post I wrote above if they tried. They would look at it puzzled and repeat a couple of talking point like how Libertarians are radical individualists or something. But they wouldn't respond to the argument. They wouldn't understand it. They only know feelings and dogma.

  • Jake W||

    When my liberal professors here an idea that challenges their views the subsequent reactions are hilarious spectacles. Generally, they will get into an emotional fit, regurgitate talking points, and call you stupid. The very fact that you don't agree with gun control or this or that just means, to them, you are a dangerous broken person who should be jailed and kept by the state. They are afraid of us, they are afraid of the world, that is why they hide behind government to shield them. Sadly, it doesn't work. It never has and it never will.

  • sarcasmic||

    Their intentions are good. I mean, they like want peace and order and stability and equality and stuff. What's wrong with wanting those things? I mean, like wouldn't everybody be happy and stuff if we all like had equal access to health care and food and stuff? That's like the goal, you know? Since government is force, shouldn't government be able able to bring those things about? Wouldn't everyone be happier if we all had free health care and free education and free everything?
    And that's why libertarians and classical liberals are bad people! They don't want those things! They're selfish meanies! They don't want equality! They hate sick people! They're mean!

  • John||

    This is what they actually think Sarcasmic. I stand by my response to HM above. They have lost the ability to think rationally.

  • sarcasmic||

    They can't lose what they never had. It takes training and practice to think rationally. Thinking rationally is hard because you may arrive at conclusions that you don't like. For example it sounds nice to institute a maximum allowed income for the rich, and use the confiscated money to establish a minimum lifestyle for everyone else. It sounds nice until you think rationally about it and conclude that when you destroy the incentive to create wealth, wealth won't be created. Now you don't have anything to confiscate and give to the poor.

  • John||

    You are right. They never had it because they never learned it in school and never went out into the real world and had experience teach it to them. Someone like Liu or the various clowns who write for the Lefty media have never had real jobs in their lives. They have spent their entire lives going to schools that rewarded them for emoting the right bullshit and then working in think tanks and publications and political campaigns that expected the same thing. It is a bit scary. They don't have the basic emotional and intellectual skills to ever get any smarter.

  • sarcasmic||

    They don't have the basic emotional and intellectual skills to ever get any smarter.

    That's not true. I was once a good little proggy. I felt just as they do. Then I learned to think. So it is possible. It just takes a willingness to break from the herd.

  • John||

    I bet you had some real world experiences that woke you up. These guys will never have those.

  • sarcasmic||

    A liberal is a conservative who has never been mugged.

  • Libertarius||

    Wait til the dollar collapses. All the leftoids are about to get some real world experience, good and hard.

  • Zeb||

    I don't think you could say that I was ever a good little proggy. I've always been way too anti-authoritarian for that. But at one time I did place myself on the left side of things. I don't think that I had any particular experiences that pushed me into the solidly libertarian camp.

    What's my point? I don't know. This is what happens when I drink at lunch.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't think that I had any particular experiences that pushed me into the solidly libertarian camp.

    I had a series of experiences that showed me that government is nothing but a bunch of idiots who face no consequences for their actions because they are the ones who dole out consequences, and that while they put on a good show about wanting to help people all they are about is making people dependent upon them.

    In short, all they care about is power. The power to act without consequence, and the power that comes from people being dependent upon them.

    I wish I could drink at lunch. Used to bring a couple mason jars of homebrew now and again to share with the office, but no more. One jerk messed it up for everyone.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Was that jerk you? You could always switch to drinking Franzia out of a soda can.

  • PH2050||

    Wine in a can lets you use all sorts of gestures while talking without spilling a drop!

  • albo||

    Californians won't stop until they've legislated the state into a verdant, glimmering Progressive Eden.

    And I'm sure that at that point they'll have checkpoints at the Nevada and Oregon borders ensuring that undesirables like Republicans and libertarians and gun owners are kept out.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Dave Kopel is with the Independence Institute...not the Independent Institute.

  • ||

    They can't go that far. They need people gullible enough to pay taxes.

  • John||

    That won't stop them. They think that bad economic times are just bad luck. When the last productive person leaves California, the remaining leaches will be cursing the bad luck the state keeps having. They will tax themselves into complete oblivion.

  • IamNotEvil||

    Which as far as I'm concerned would consist solely of a sign:

    Warning
    California border
    500 yards

    However we might need landmines to prevent backflow.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    “the new laws might do for guns what California’s pollution and fuel economy rules did for the nation’s automobiles.”

    This mindset has been very bad for California; it just encourages an overall attitude of hubris that is dangerous. It gave me some glee to see California's progressive pride get smacked down a notch when it failed to lead the country on pot legalization and gay marriage (despite my personal disappointment in those outcomes).

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "the new laws might do for guns what California’s pollution and fuel economy rules did for the nation’s automobiles."

    Made them gay?

  • Anders||

    The house of cards is crashing down. CA is now pursuing former residents for imputed income tax - that is to say what they think someone would owe in state income tax given some arbitrary formula.

    They leave aside the fact that these people have not been residents for decades.

    And they can and will access your bank accounts and simply withdraw the money and let you contest it in court, at your expense.

    Desperation measures. They're beyond broke, and unicorn trains, environmental terror, and gun grabbing are just the last gasps of what is about to become a failed state that will put Afghanistan to shame.

  • Anders||

    The house of cards is crashing down. CA is now pursuing former residents for imputed income tax - that is to say what they think someone would owe in state income tax given some arbitrary formula.

    They leave aside the fact that these people have not been residents for decades.

    And they can and will access your bank accounts and simply withdraw the money and let you contest it in court, at your expense.

    Desperation measures. They're beyond broke, and unicorn trains, environmental terror, and gun grabbing are just the last gasps of what is about to become a failed state that will put Afghanistan to shame.

  • Jake W||

    I agree, they'll beg, borrow, and steal to keep afloat as long as possible in the meantime.

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