Ric Llewellyn

Friday, Oct 25 2013 04:00 PM

RIC LLEWELLYN: New laws take us closer to firearms ban

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    Californian contributing columnist Ric Llewellyn.

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By Ric Llewellyn

I'm unsettled with regard to the recent spate of so-called gun control laws that were signed into law by Governor Brown.

One person's idea of "the common good" is just an intrusion for another person. And various solutions affecting public safety can be equally effective even though they follow different paths.

So when our policy is to create more gun crimes and to increase the complexity of the gun crimes already on the books, I am distrustful of its purpose.

It is not just the designs of conniving ideologues that disturb me. I'd suggest the most fundamental problem with the state of California taking action on gun control is that the state has no authority to do so.

A few years ago the state of Arizona took action to protect its interests with respect to immigration policy and enforcement. In essence the state took authority that was constitutionally given to the federal government. And it got slapped down for it!

Regardless of whether the U.S. government was fulfilling its constitutional obligation with respect to immigration, the state of Arizona wasn't allowed to take immigration enforcement action on its own, even if it aligned with federal law.

Indeed, the state cited public safety issues and problems affecting the common good. Even so, the authority of the United States superseded the authority of the state of Arizona and the failure of the federal government to protect the state didn't matter.

So what is the difference with gun control? Clearly, the issues surrounding the right to "bear arms" are constitutionally assigned to the federal government. Therefore -- like immigration policy and enforcement -- it is an area in which the states must yield to the policy and authority of the United States government.

But alas, liberal ideologues have control of the political system in California. While meddling in immigration enforcement is anathema, meddling in gun control is blessed. Thus we have nearly a dozen new laws limiting -- dare I say, infringing the rights of American citizens with regard to owning firearms.

Generally, the new bills expanded on existing laws. I don't know if the existing laws were that ineffectual or if the new laws are just another small step toward a complete ban. But my impression is that the government of California would prefer a firearms ban if it could finagle it.

Some of the more oppressive are the lead ammo ban (AB 711), high-capacity magazine conversion kit ban (AB 48) and allowing a 30-day hold on the delivery of a firearm (AB 500).

The lead ammo ban has nothing to do with gun safety. But it is a move toward ultimately banning functional firearms in California. While couched in environmentalist rhetoric, the result is that by July 1, 2019, shooting center-fire lead ammo will be banned by state law and shooting center-fire non-lead ammo will be banned by federal law.

As the tiny steps toward making California a "gun-free zone" continue, you can expect more laws that will ban selling, buying and possessing lead ammo too.

Today in California it is illegal to possess a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds unless you owned it prior to the 1999 ban. Owners of those authorized high-capacity magazines will be prohibited from purchasing parts kits to service or repair their legal magazines.

The endgame? Ensure that all magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds end up in a landfill.

In addition, many shooters own high-capacity magazine repair kits that are assembled and used out of state for recreation and competition. The magazines are disassembled into their several parts when they return to California.

Though it is not an insurmountable problem for those California gun owners who legitimately use high-capacity magazines, it is most definitely an infringement. And it is an action that won't stop criminals or make Californians safer.

AB 500 authorized a 30-day hold on the delivery of a firearm if the Department of Justice cannot determine that the purchaser is eligible to own it within the 10-day period gun buyers are already familiar with.

The 30-day hold is associated directly with criminal legal action or mental health determinations that may be pending against the purchaser. But rather than focusing on a quick, decisive determination by the DOJ, this new law protects the bureaucracy's right to lollygag while infringing the right of citizens to purchase and take delivery of a firearm.

We have eleven new laws that really aren't that new. They are taking us closer -- step-by-step -- to a firearms ban that was conceived back in the nineties.

Of course the people of California are against lead poisoning the environment and having guns in the hands of the mentally ill. But it has gone way past rational public safety policy or acting for the common good.

Although we have a long history in this state of tolerating governmental meddling, maybe it's finally time to tell our arrogant and overbearing politicians, "This is the federal government's business, not yours."

-- Ric Llewellyn is a community columnist whose work appears in The Californian's Local section every third Saturday. Email him at llewellyn.californian@ gmail.com. These are Llewellyn's opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian.

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