In a move that could have been predicted by anyone with a pulse, anti-gun extremists are calling for more anti-gun policies to be implemented in arguably the most anti-gun state in the nation: California.
The gun-ban organization Giffords recently put out a wish-list of 10 “priorities” it would like to see California implement, claiming they will “make California safer for all who call it home.” Of course, this is the same organization that already gives California its highest “Scorecard Grade” of “A,” and proclaims, “California has the strongest gun safety laws in the nation….”
For those not keeping score, California has enacted virtually every gun ban and anti-Second Amendment law that Giffords has said, so far, it would like to see imposed on every other state. It was the first state to pass a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” bans magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, has so-called “universal” background checks that require all lawful firearm transfers to be processed through a licensed firearms dealer, has “waiting periods” for those same transfers, imposes severe restrictions on the building or modifying of firearms for private use, restricts the lawful carrying of firearms for personal protection, and requires the registration of all handguns.
And that’s the abbreviated list. As California’s gun owners know, the state has been doing everything it can to make lawful gun ownership as inconvenient and uncomfortable as possible. In other words, it has done everything it can to earn that “A.”
But, as most are painfully aware, violent crime, including violent crime that involves criminals using firearms, remains a problem for the Golden State, and is on the rise.
So, in spite of the fact that California’s gun control policies repeatedly fail to stop deranged, violent criminals, Giffords wants more.
Einstein is often credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” While there is doubt as to whether he coined that particular phrase, it seems fairly applicable to the folks who keep promoting laws that only the law-abiding obey in order to try to stop violent criminals.
Then again, the “crazy” is likely by design.
Ultimately, anti-gun organizations like Giffords simply want the government to be able to control anything and everything that law-abiding gun owners do when it comes to their firearms. They promote vague, undefinable concepts like “fighting gun violence,” yet virtually everything they propose ends up predominantly affecting peaceful, law-abiding gun owners.
Then they propose new restrictions when violent crime remains a problem, which they likely knew would happen.
For example, although it is well known that so-called “assault weapons” make up only a small percentage of the firearms used in violent crimes, these anti-gun extremists promote banning them, and when violent crime does not go down—as any competent, unbiased criminologist or statistician could accurately predict—the folks at anti-gun groups insist more anti-gun laws are needed.
Then there’s the concept of registration. Sure, the law-abiding will comply, but not the lawless. In fact, criminals that possess firearms cannot be compelled to register the firearms they unlawfully possess, as that would violate their right to be protected against self-incrimination. Besides, registering guns does nothing to thwart crime. Its only potential value is to possibly help track down who owned a gun at the time it was registered, usually long before it was ever used in a crime, and often long after it was no longer in the possession of the person who registered it.
Then again, a cynic might say that registration can be effectively used to help in the confiscation of firearms that were previously legal, but may be banned in the future.
But what does Giffords now want for California?
They want to tax gun manufacturers—a tax that will be passed on to law-abiding gun purchasers—in order to pay for a “victim recovery fund.” In other words, hold financially responsible the lawful firearms industry and law-abiding gun owners for the actions of violent criminals. So, when a rancher in Stanislaus County buys a rifle that was made in Wyoming, a premium must be paid in case a drug dealer in Los Angeles shoots a rival dealer with a firearm he acquired illegally?
Sure, that makes sense.
Giffords also wants California to impose greater restrictions on whether, when, and where a law-abiding citizen may carry a firearm for personal protection. This is a response to the landmark Bruen decision, which held that may-issue carry permit laws (like the one in California) are unconstitutional.
Again, perfect sense. Nothing says you want to “make California safer for all who call it home,” than ensuring law-abiding citizens are not armed if they are faced with a violent criminal. At least it will be “safer” for criminals.
There’s also a call to “[d]eclare gun violence a public health and safety crisis….” That vague concept of “gun violence” is, quite certainly, intended to be rather confusing. The term is not only hard to define, but also very malleable. Its use can be, and regularly is, applied to any instance where a firearm is involved.
In the real world, “gun violence” does not really exist. Yes, people commit violent acts while using a firearm. In order for something to be “violent,” however, it must have the ability to form intent, or it must result in causing damage through the use of physical force due to its action. People can be violent. Animals can be violent. Natural phenomena, like a tornado, can be violent. The common denominator for all of these things is that, whether intentional or not, many actions taken by these things can result in damage to other things, or people.
Guns, on the other hand, must be acted upon in order for the use of them to be potentially violent. By themselves, they are not inherently violent, nor can they do anything violent on their own. Take a loaded gun and put it on a table, and it will sit there for eternity until some outside force acts on it. Calling any damage caused by an individual using a firearm “gun violence” is like calling it “sidewalk violence” if someone pushes someone else off a roof, and the person pushed is injured or killed when they strike the sidewalk.
Maybe that can also be called “roof violence,” “altitude violence,” or “gravity violence.”
Giffords, and other anti-gun extremists, simply want to label any action they don’t like that involves a firearm as “gun violence,” rather than explore the deeper, real issues of violent crime (irrespective of what, if any, tools are used in committing them), criminal justice, mental health, firearm safety, self-defense, and any number of specific issues that can be, and should be, addressed.
In the eyes of these radicals, “gun violence” can be applied to a civilian discharging a firearm in lawful self-defense, an injury or death from an accidental discharge, discharge of firearms by law enforcement or military personnel (Giffords has adopted the mantra “Police violence is gun violence.”), suicide, or virtually any time a firearm is used in a manner these gun prohibitionists wish to exploit.
Accidents can be reduced with greater access to, and promotion of, safety programs geared towards responsible firearm owners. Giffords does not offer any, but NRA does. If more training is needed for law enforcement and military personnel, that can certainly be implemented, but Giffords, again, offers nothing on this front, while NRA does. Suicide, generally, is a mental health issue, regardless of the means used. Giffords still has nothing to offer in any way to treat those suffering from suicidal ideations.
The only “solution” Giffords has to addressing death or injury that involves someone using a firearm is to label all such instances as “gun violence,” then go about limiting access to firearms or banning them.
Another “priority” for Giffords is “microstamping,” a requirement that any semi-automatic handgun sold in the state legibly imprint an array of information (including the firearm’s make, model, and serial number) on two locations on each fired cartridge case. California has such a law in place, but it applies only to new models of pistols. Although Giffords refers to “microstamping” as a “proven crime-solving feature,” that is simply a lie.
First, no manufacturer of any semi-auto handgun incorporates such technology. Second, because no manufacturer has incorporated “microstamping,” it is impossible for a single crime to have been solved using the technology. Giffords knows this, yet the group still falsely claims “microstamping” is a “proven crime-solving feature.”
The closest real-world test for “microstamping” was the failed “ballistic imaging” law—once a widely promoted idea by virtually every anti-gun organization—that was once on the books in Maryland. It required gun manufacturers to send to state officials fired shell cases from each new handgun to be sold in Maryland. The stated goal was to enter the cases into a database to provide information that could be used to solve crimes that involved handguns.
This program didn’t just fail, it failed spectacularly.
The law went into effect in 2000, then was completely wiped from the books in 2015 due to the fact that the database was utterly useless as a “crime-solving” tool, and after wasting millions of tax dollars. Maryland, by the way, has an “A-“ from Giffords, and is widely considered one of the leading anti-gun states in the country, just behind California.
The last specific Giffords “priority” is the goal of imposing “restrictions on the sale and marketing of ghost gun manufacturing machines.” Again, Giffords is talking about things that simply do not exist. We could mean the term “ghost guns,” which, like “assault weapons,” is little more than a term anti-gun extremists have decided is scary, and should be applied to any firearm that a law-abiding citizen makes in his own home for his own, lawful use. Something people have been doing in America since before the Revolution.
But whether you call them “ghost guns,” homemade guns, unfinished firearm frames or receivers, 80 percent frames or receivers, or unmarked/unserialized firearms, those actually do exist. What does not exist are “ghost gun manufacturing machines.”
Every single piece of equipment that can be used to manufacture or complete a firearm can be used to manufacture something else. Just like any woodworking tool can be used to make countless wooden products, any tool designed for working metal—as in the metal of a firearm—can be used to make countless other metal products that are not firearms. Similarly, 3D printers, which can be used to make some firearm parts, are simply designed to make plastic parts; not specific plastic parts.
What, exactly, Giffords means by “ghost gun manufacturing machines” will be interesting to ultimately see, since there are very few real details in its list of “priorities” for California.
The rest of what the group wants is a mix of what sounds like feel-good generalities, exploiting existing programs (both federal and state) to promote anti-gun ideas, and forming an anti-gun task force to promote anti-gun ideas.
Oh, and at the end of the list of “priorities,” there is at least a mention of improvements to some programs that might, if implemented without bias, help address keeping firearms out of the hands actual violent criminals. But the inclusion of the last two “priorities” seems like an afterthought, and far less important to the group than the gun control policies it really wants implemented. Besides, this is Giffords we are talking about, and California, so we’ll have to wait to see what they really intend to do when it comes to actual violent criminals.
Feel free to take a look at what this anti-gun organization proposes for California. Just remember to take everything with a grain of salt. This is a group that supports banning firearms and magazines, has filed an amicus brief it says “argues that the right to possess a firearm is not based on an individual right of self-defense,” and has no problem with laws that suspend due process if it means being able to confiscate firearms. It also seems very interested in allowing anti-gun groups (perhaps itself) to sue the firearms industry into oblivion.
On second thought, you’re probably going to need a lot of salt.