Despite California's bans on "assault weapons," "unsafe" handguns, private gun sales, and sales of two handguns in a 30-day period; its 10-day waiting period on all gun sales; and its denial of carry permits to people who don't have the right connections, the Golden State's murder and robbery rates are 12 and 20 percent higher, respectively, than in the rest of the country.
Nevertheless, the Brady Campaign calls California's "assault weapon" ban "a model for the nation," and gives the state a high "grade" just for having more gun control than other states. Washington, D.C.'s city council adopted California's "assault weapon" ban and "unsafe handgun" ban whole cloth in January, backtracking on handguns this summer only in the face of court challenges.
And then there's Garen Wintemute, of the University of California (Davis), who in September released another of his "studies" in favor of gun control. His new piece is called "Inside Gun Shows: What Goes On When Everybody Thinks Nobody's Watching."
"Gun shows" are just the hook, however. While repeating gun control supporters' mantra about the need to run instant background checks on people who buy guns from private parties at gun shows, Wintemute admits important factors that undercut his goal. First, he notes that straw purchases—the very purpose of which is to thwart the background checks he pretends to be concerned about—"are a major source of crime guns." Second, he admits that "The proportion of all gun sales nationwide that occurs at gun shows is relatively small" and that "most sales at gun shows involve licensed retailers," who are already required to perform background checks.
As you probably have already deduced, Wintemute has his sights on something more than just requiring background checks on all gun sales at shows. Eventually getting to the bottom line, he concludes that "Regulating private party sales just at gun shows will not end the problems associated with these anonymous and undocumented transactions. Most of them occur elsewhere already. ... It would be preferable to regulate private party gun sales generally." That's the law in California, where private sales are prohibited, transfers of firearms are delayed by a 10-day waiting period, and sales are permanently recorded by the government.If you think you've heard it before, you're right. In 1976, the Brady Campaign, then named National Council to Control Handguns, advocated delaying handgun sales and registering handguns, before banning the possession of handguns altogether. Let's hope Wintemute is as successful today as the Brady Campaign was a generation ago.