California Governor Signs 4 Anti-Gun Bills, Vetoes 1
California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week acted on five gun control measures sent to him by the state's Democrat-controlled legislature and liked four of them enough to turn them into law.
Newsom signed measures that aim to shrink the state's list of handguns approved to consumers, ramp up potentially petty fines for gun stores, expand the list of those who are exempt from "safety" requirements, and accept possibly suspect out of state "red flag" individual gun bans.
Among the bills approved by the Democrat Governor were:
AB 2362, sponsored by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi, a Los Angeles Dem, which passed the state Senate 26-11 and the Assembly 53-18. It would authorize the California Department of Justice to impose civil fines as high as $3,000 on the state's 1,800 firearms dealers over minor technical violations, for instance having the incorrect font and text size on required signs.
AB 2617, sponsored by Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel, which requires California to honor so-called "red flag" gun seizure orders issued by other states. Such orders, which can typically be obtained without following otherwise standard due process without the subject even being required to appear in court before their gun rights are suspended, are often controversial. In arguments against the bill, an attorney group warned of the pitfalls of using sometimes spotty records from out of state as the "failure to maintain accurate law enforcement databases frequently leads to wrongful arrests and harassment of our clients."
AB 2847, sponsored by Assembly Member David Chiu, passed the California state Senate 25-12 after the 52-20 approval of the state Assembly. While on the surface a win for gun owners as it slightly relaxes the state's prohibitively tough microstamping law, it also carries a stipulation with it that Second Amendment groups say is dangerous as it requires two legacy guns deleted from the state's approved roster for every microstamp-capable pistol added. No matter what, police can still buy off-roster guns.
AB 2699, sponsored by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago, passed the legislature with large margins, only gathering two "no" votes. The measure addresses "unsafe" handgun transfers, allowing investigators and agents of such agencies as the California Horse Racing Board, the State Department of Public Health, the Department of Toxic Substance Control, and the Department of Business Oversight to buy "off roster" guns for duty use.
While gun control groups welcomed the news of California's strict gun control policy getting even stricter, Second Amendment organizations such as the NRA and Firearms Policy Coalition slammed the new laws.
“California’s new regulatory scheme is an Orwellian effort to take away choice, control the number and types of arms that individuals can acquire, and continue to reduce the number of people who can exercise their rights," said Richard Thomson, Director of Grassroots Operations for the FPC. "That is not only unconstitutional, it is the worst kind of authoritarian paternalism. If California’s politicians applied the same regulations to books, worship, freedom of speech, or voting they would be struck down immediately or never passed at all. We will continue to fight these laws and restore the rights of the People, which shall not be infringed."
One Bill Vetoed
Newsom, who in the past has been the cheerleader for some of the strongest albeit most innovative gun and ammo control drives in the country, rejected one proposed new measure this week. The bill vetoed, SB 914, sponsored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, another Los Angeles-area Dem, passed the state Senate 29-10 and the Assembly 53-19.
The measure, which would have cost taxpayers $5.5 million over the next two years, aimed to create a procedure for the California DOJ to confirm that a hunting license is valid when a person under the age of 21 years of age is using the license to purchase a firearm-- about the only exemption for adults aged 18-20 to legally buy a rifle or shotgun over the counter in the state. Second Amendment groups contended that additional regulation was unneeded and stood to eliminate youth sporting programs such as high school shooting teams.
Newsom was more pragmatic on his reason for scuttling the initiative. "I am concerned that adding an information technology project will impede DOJ's ability to perform the work it has already been tasked," said the Governor in his veto message.
Portantino has reportedly vowed to keep pushing for the increased red tape, either in the upcoming budget or in next year's legislative session.