Ever wonder what FPC is up against when it comes to fighting gun control bills?
Here’s a snapshot of what Firearms Policy Coalition has had to deal with in recent days in CA.
Gun and Ammo Tax Bill
FPC’s Craig DeLuz went to the California capitol building this week to oppose AB 2497, which would impose a tax on the purchase of firearms and ammunition. He was joined by the NRA, Gun Owners of California, and even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Except the anti-gun legislators wouldn’t hear of it. Before DeLuz could even get up to speak, Committee Chairwoman Autumn R. Burke could be heard joking “here they come” with a smirk on her face.
DeLuz argued that it’s already cost prohibitive to be a gun owner in California, and that the proposed bill amounts to a regressive tax that would hammer minorities and low-income people.
When it came time to vote on this atrocious bill, Committee Chairwoman Burke lectured those who opposed the bill, saying she thought the “gun people” would want to be a part of the solution instead of the problem by paying a tax on their firearms and ammunition.
The bill’s author, Jim Cooper, concurred, essentially saying his experience in law enforcement means his opinions should carry more weight than the combined objections of everyone who opposed the bill. Cooper said he isn’t anti-gun, but he sure could have fooled us. He has voted for practically every anti-gun bill that has ever come up during his time in the legislature.
To no one’s surprise, the committee advanced the bill along a party-line vote. AB 2497 will be moved further along the legislative process, even though the bill’s own author hasn’t specified how much he thinks gun owners should pay in tax. And he doesn’t care. He simply hates guns.
Gun Violence Restraining Orders
The next day, the state scheduled hearings on two more draconian gun bills. FPC again sent DeLuz to the capitol to oppose the bills on behalf on law-abiding gun owners across California.
This time, the Senate Public Safety Committee was deciding whether to pass a bill that would include gun parts in Gun Violence Restraining Orders. Under SB 1200, law enforcement would be required to ask whether the restrained person has any firearm, gun part, or ammunition when serving a GVRO.
DeLuz argued the bill’s expansive definition of what could be included in a GVRO could end up entrapping people even if they attempt to follow the law. For example, a common spring could be considered a firearm part.
That didn’t seem to matter to the bill’s proponents, such as a psychiatrist who spoke in support of the measure. She thought the bill would be great because it would stop “angry, entitled men with violent revenge fantasies.” As though that wasn’t a blatant example of bias.
Unfortunately, this ignorant “expert witness” went on. “The beauty of this (GVRO) is it doesn’t really care if criminality has occurred,” she said.
In one moment of sanity during the hearing, Sen. Joel Anderson expressed concerns because SB 1200 would criminalize those under a GVRO for being in possession of common household objects. Under the bill’s broad definition of what constitutes a firearm part, a person could be put in jail for even being in possession of a spring because that could be interpreted as part of a gun.
Anderson asked that the bill be amended so it wouldn’t criminalize those trying to comply with the law. But SB 1200 was rubber-stamped and moved along by an anti-gun stacked committee.
No Guns Before 21
Earlier, when FPC showed up to oppose SB 1100, DeLuz encountered outright hostility from the moment he opened his mouth to speak to the committee.
DeLuz mentioned the committee’s new tradition of limiting speaking time for pro-Second Amendment advocates. In response, Sen. Nancy Skinner raised her voice and snarked back at DeLuz, denying this well-documented process and threatening to cut him off.
“Please proceed or I will cut you off,” she spat.
We at FPC were flabbergasted at this open display of hatred and arrogance from the legislature; especially after the committee allowed the bill’s Democratic author to pontificate for what felt like hours, wherein he exploited the deaths of the Parkland students for political gain. He argued that, in essence, anyone who doesn’t support his bill is somehow in favor of killing young kids.
Despite this, DeLuz voiced FPC’s strong opposition to the bill, which would bar people under 21 from purchasing a handgun. This illegal age requirement would strip millions of their Constitutional rights.
“The idea of rationing a Constitutionally-enumerated right is like saying we don’t need to have more than one church in the community,” he said. “If we treated any other Constitutional right like this, the entire building would be livid.”
As with AB 2497 and SB 1200, this “gun rationing” bill was moved through the committee.
Pro-Gun Bills Get Mixed Reception
Unfortunately, while many of these anti-gun bills moved swiftly through committee, others like AB 2860, which would have repealed the handgun roster, died before they could see the light of day. The tyrant legislators simply refuse to consider such common-sense legislative reforms.
Luckily, there was one good gun bill that advanced. In fact, the Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously voted to advance SB 1382, which would allow people driving a pickup truck or vehicle without a trunk to transport their guns in a locked toolbox or utility box as long as it’s “permanently affixed” to the bed. Sometimes legislation makes so much sense that even California anti-gun Democrats support it!
We need you to keep the fight moving forward. Visit our Take Action page so you can act on these and many other bills. The battle depends on people like you being engaged!