Peddle Pushing to Disaster

As part of the campaign to regulate the right to bear arms into near non-existence, California is now considering impeding you from buying any ammunition. In the never-ending tragi-comedy that is California gun control, state Senator Kevin De León has introduced SB 53, a bill to regulate all ammunition retailing. SB 53 requires every consumer to get permission (i.e., a license) and pay a fee to buy a few rounds regardless of the use, be it sporting, hunting or self-defense. A De León press release notes that California’s statutory definition for “handgun ammunition” is so unconstitutionally vague that legislation to control just handgun ammo was struck down by a court. But rather than addressing poorly worded prior legislation, or better yet go after the criminals who actually misuse guns, De León decided to over-regulate everything. He now wants to require hunters, target shooters and tin-can plinkers to surrender thumb prints, pass background checks, and pay for the right of buying ammo, which they will only be able to purchase from a gun store. De León’s propaganda dissolves under the weight of his own admissions. “California,” De León says, “has enacted legislation designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.” This may come as a surprise to law enforcement in Oakland, Los Angeles and other California bergs where criminals have no problem acquiring guns and no compunction concerning their misuse, despite what existing legislation may have been “designed” to do. The Brady Campaign, America’s leading gun control organization, ranks California gun laws as the highest on their approved list. California gets a Brady Campaign ranking of 80% for gun control legislative strictness (we can only imagine what it would take to get 100%). Yet according to the FBI, the Golden State has violent crime and homicide rates above national averages, and oddly a gun murder rate 17% above the national norm. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, the analyst of record for criminal activity, notes that a full 40% of crime guns come from completely unregulated and wholly illegal street vendors (up from 37% in 1997). These contraband black market entrepreneurs also traffic in ammo, and have multiple means to bypass De León’s ammunition paperwork tiger. Likewise, common thugs routinely ask transient girlfriends or gang inductees to perform straw purchases of guns. They will simply have them do the same for bullets. The false promise of SB 53, and most gun control legislation, lays in the absolution of criminal intent. The net effect is that criminals remain armed and they will remain loaded while you and your neighbor jump over De León’s red tape, with no effect on reducing crime and violence. By applying and imposing the same type of schemes, regulations, and public inconveniences that they have in the past, De León and other politicians seek to repeat past failures – pushing California’s citizens into defenselessness, and our state’s homicide rates higher in the process. De León’s SB 53 is a ruse and another step in the same wrong direction. Policy requires efficacy, otherwise it wastes time, resources, voter patience and money (none of the latter, incidentally, will be given to localities to compensate them for their mandated participation in SB 53’s red-tape scheme). Where Sacramento fails, aside from balancing the budget, is in prevention of criminal activity. With a staggering recidivism rate and rotating-door incarceration practices, violent people are returned to society without the benefit of rehabilitation. With a nation-leading recidivism rate of over 61% for violent offenders, California endangers citizens not by under-regulating guns and ammo, but by under-regulating thuggery. Whereas incarcerating violent people works, releasing them into the arms of street gun dealers does not. Nor does asking your hunting buddy for a thumbprint when buying shells to harvest a few quail. Through SB 53, De León peddles Californian faster toward a more dangerous future.