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California: Governor Jerry Brown Signs Three Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Friday, October 14, 2011

If they did not already know, California gun owners and sportsmen found out exactly where Governor Jerry Brown stands on the Second Amendment.  Governor Brown made his opposition to this fundamental right, protected by the Second Amendment, clear when he recently signed into law three anti-gun bills.  He did veto a fourth anti-gun bill, but only because there is a pending lawsuit.

The anti-gun politicians who control the state government have made California a state where law-abiding citizens pay the price for the actions of criminals.  Rather than focus their efforts to punish the violent criminals who prey on the innocent, they have chosen to attack the basic rights of the law-abiding. It is a strategy that will never work to eliminate crime, but it is clear that the anti-gun majorities in Sacramento, along with Gov. Brown, are dedicated to advance it.

In their anti-gun zeal, the legislature passed, and Brown signed the following:

Assembly Bill 809 requires the registration of any newly purchased long gun. Not only does AB 809 violate Second Amendment rights by expanding California’s gun registry to include rifles and shotguns, it is also a huge waste of taxpayer money. Gun control advocates estimate the cost at $400,000. Californians would be wise to ask the people of Canada (which has 3 million fewer population than California) if the costs on their long-gun registry have been worth it.  After far more than a billion dollars have been wasted, the debate in Canada is now focused on how to scrap the program.  The only value of registration is to help governments confiscate firearms in the future.  To view Governor Brown’s signing message click here.

Senate Bill 819 allows the Department of Justice to use the Dealer Record of Sales (DROS) funds to help pay for enforcement of California firearm possession laws in the Armed & Prohibited Persons Systems program. The DROS fund monies were originally collected from every firearm purchaser to pay for the administrative process for background checks.  This bill diverts and drains hundreds of thousands of dollars of DROS fee monies that YOU have paid for background checks.  As a result, the DROS fund will run out of money. When it does, they will almost certainly want another increase in the fees YOU PAY for FIREARM background checks in California. Put simply, this is an effort by anti-gun politicians to force law-abiding gun owners to pay the entire bill for the State’s law enforcement programs.

Assembly Bill 144 bans the open carrying of an unloaded handgun.

California already severely restricts the right to carry, with most counties refusing to issue permits at all.  That reality forced many law-abiding people who wished to exercise their right to self-defense to carry firearms openly, but unloaded, as the law allowed. However, the carrying of a firearm, even unloaded so enflamed the anti-gun majority in Sacramento that they passed AB 144 in their effort to stamp out any possibility for the law-abiding to provide for their own safety.

In all fairness, Governor Brown did do two things right, but their impact are far overshadowed by the extreme negative impact of the bills listed above.

Brown vetoed Senate Bill 427 which would have granted authority to law enforcement to collect sales records from ammunition retailers, required ammunition vendors to notify local law enforcement of their intention to engage in the business of selling ammunition AND includes a list of calibers which would have to be registered to purchasers at the point-of-purchase. It would have been a point in the Governor’s favor had he vetoed this extreme bill based on its negative merits, but in reality he only did so because of a pending lawsuit on the bill’s predecessor, AB 962, which was passed in the preceding legislature.  Not once did he mention how this bill will negatively affect California gun owners, sportsmen and even retailers. To view Governor Brown’s veto message click here.

Additionally, Governor Brown also signed an important piece of pro-gun legislation, Senate Bill 610. This bill improves the application process for obtaining a license to carry a firearm, and makes the process more transparent and less financially risky for applicants.  SB 610 clarifies that licensing authorities must publish a written policy explaining the criteria used to determine whether applicants have “good cause” to obtain a license.   SB 610 further requires that licensing authorities notify applicants in writing of whether they satisfy the “good cause” requirements before the applicant can be required to pay the majority of the application fee. SB 610 also requires that licensing authorities explain in writing why an applicant is denied. Finally, SB 610 prohibits licensing authorities from requiring costly insurance policies as a condition of obtaining a carry license.

While a positive for gun owners, the impact of this bill will be limited as long as California continues to give local officials complete authority to arbitrarily deny carry permits.

The setbacks suffered by California gun owners this year are a direct result of the outcomes of the past few elections.

With a solid anti-gun majority in both houses of the legislature and an anti-gun Governor, California gun owners will continue to see their rights under assault.  NRA will continue to fight these legislative attacks and aggressively challenge these unfair laws in the courts. But the surest way to restore the Second Amendment rights to Californians is to replace the anti-gun politicians who are abusing their positions to infringe on our fundamental rights.

Every gun owner and sportsmen needs to spread the word that gun rights in California cannot continue to survive as long as anti-gun extremists control the levers of power. Pro-gun Californians need to start getting out the word that the 2012 state elections can bring about significant change.

If you are not a member of the NRA, please take a moment to join.  If you are already a member, thank you for your support and help the California’s membership voice grow by finding new NRA members.  There has never been a more important time to join than now.  A membership application can be found here.

 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.