A raft of bills intended to restrict Californians' rights to possess or exchange their weapons went to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk this week, and today he signed six and vetoed five of them.
Via a press release from the pro-Second Amendment Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), with descriptions that reflect their perspective, a list of the six signed and four of the five vetoed. (The last one on the vetoed list was not discussed by the FPC). The names in parenthesis are those of the legislator who introduced the bills. The [bracketed] interpolations are by me:
- AB 1135 (Levine): Bans common and constitutionally-protected firearms that have magazine locking devices.
- 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 [falsely reporting a firearm as having been stolen] a prohibiting offense.
- SB 880 (Hall): Bans common and constitutionally-protected firearms that have magazine locking devices.
- SB 1235 (de Leon): New restrictions on ammunition purchases; creates a DOJ 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
The five vetoed by Brown:
- AB 1673 (Gipson): Would have redefined "firearms" to include objects that are not firearms [the bill would make legally a weapon "a frame or receiver blank, casting, or machined body that requires further machining or molding to be used as part of a functional weapon so long as it has been designed and is clearly identifiable as being used exclusively as part of a functional weapon."]
- AB 1674 (Santiago): Would have banned buying more than one firearm of any type within a 30-day period
- AB 2607 (Ting): Would have dramatically expanded the reach of secret "Gun Violence Restraining Orders" [From the bill's own language, it would "authorize an employer, a coworker, a mental health worker who has seen the person as a patient in the last 6 months, or an employee of a secondary or postsecondary school that the person has attended in the last 6 months to file a petition for an ex parte, one-year, or renewed gun violence restraining order," greatly expanding the ability of the state to restrict gun possession rights absent any crime. The bill would have allowed for confiscation of existing owned weapons at the suggestion of a co-worker or boss, among others. The Los Angeles Times focused on that now-vetoed bill in a story this morning.]
- SB 894 (Jackson): Would have re-victimized victims of theft by criminalizing the failure to report lost and stolen firearms
- AB 1176 which would make "the theft of a firearm grand theft in all cases and punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years."
In an emailed press release from FPC, they noted regarding the signed SB 1446 that its:
statewide, confiscatory ban on lawfully-possessed "large-capacity" magazines [can be evaded by] law enforcement interests [who] once again cut shady deals to exempt their retired members from the long reach of the new gun control laws.
Earlier this year, Firearms Policy Coalition, two other civil rights groups, and a number of individuals filed a federal civil rights lawsuit–captionedGarcia v. Attorney General Kamala Harris–that challenges California's gun law exemptions for retired law enforcement officers on Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection grounds.
California should have already learned that bills like 1446 that require confiscations of widely and innocently owned items can be expensive (and pointless) to enforce from its past attempts to take away previously legally owned weapons from people whose later actions placed them in prohibited categories.
No one who cares about civil liberties should cheer the newly minted creation of overwhelmingly harmless contraband. No compensation will be provided for the now banned over-10-capacity magazines, which must be destroyed, sold, or turned in by July 1, 2017. A brand-new excuse for police searches of the innocent is thus created, one with a built-in excuse for police to feel "endangered."
I reported on versions of many of these bills passing the state Senate in May.
I wrote in the Orange County Register in December about why California doesn't need new gun laws.
Steven Greenhut wrote here about how most of these bills qualify far more as harassment of the innocent than any kind of insurance of public safety. Greenhut observed: "The number of guns owned by Californians has soared over the past two decades, and the population has grown dramatically—yet firearms-related deaths have fallen over the years. Is gun violence a problem of gun supply by legal owners or the behavior of criminals?"
Correction: The headline originally mistakenly said only four gun-related bills were vetoed today.