Friday, June 04, 2010

California's State Assembly assaults our right of self-defense

Already possessing the reputation of being one of the most anti-gun states in the Union, California's State Assembly seems hell-bent on not only maintaining that reputation, but increasing it to the point of absurdity.

The two latest examples are Assembly Bills (AB) 1810 and 1934.

AB 1810, introduced by Democrat Assemblyman Mike Feuer of Los Angeles, extends the already-existing registration of handguns to long guns such as rifles and shotguns. As usual, if this bill is passed into law, the only people who will abide by this law are law-abiding people who don't commit much, if any, crime in the first place. What makes AB 1810 even more absurd is that while California's Assembly is busy passing this bill, our neighbors to the north in Canada are in the process of getting rid of their long gun registration policies, with that country's Parliament voting 164-137 in favor of scrapping the requirement for Canadians to register their rifles and shotguns. Columnist Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun has this to say on the reasons for the registration repeal:
For starters, gun registration has cut down on neither crime nor gun violence -- and forget the support given the program by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. Try asking individual cops, and you get a different, non-political answer.

The idea that police rely on the registry in the detection of crime, makes no sense. When you get down to it, no one has an accurate idea of how many guns there are in Canada, or who owns them...

The answer is that there are literally millions of unregistered hunting rifles and shotguns out there that Canadians haven't registered and aren't declaring -- and aren't using to commit crimes.

If you accept this -- and how can you not, if you check the record -- the gun registry is little but an expensive, unnecessary, largely useless waste of time. Bureaucratic boondoggle aptly describes the program.
You would hope that the leftist Democrats who control California's legislature could take a clue from Canada's experience, but few people would attest to the presence of much, if any, rationality on the left side of the Assembly chamber. Soon, we will see if the left side of the Senate chamber will show any signs of sanity on this issue.

Then there is AB 1934. As the law is currently written, Californians cannot carry concealed handguns without a permit, which, if you live in an urban county, is dang near impossible to obtain. However, there is nothing in the law that prevents Californians from openly carrying a handgun as long as it is unloaded. If I want to strap my 9mm into a holster on my hip and carry the bullets in another pocket, I can do so... for now. AB 1934, introduced by Democrat Assemblywoman Lori Saldana of San Diego, will make it illegal for Californians to openly carry unloaded handguns.

To many gentle souls in today's society, it is quite shocking to see someone openly carrying a firearm in public. Once upon a time, this sight was not so unusual. Of course, this was back when Americans were a much more informed populace who were more likely to be armed with bravery and gumption, in addition to their firearm.

One of these gentle souls wrote a letter to the editor that was published in today's Sacramento Bee. In singing the Assembly's praises for passing AB 1934, the writer said:
The California Assembly is to be commended for the civilized action it has taken to prohibit carrying of exposed handguns in public. It is one small reason to be glad that we live in California, and be proud of our state for setting an example.

Shame on members who opposed the action. They and the gun lobby should realize that we no longer live on the frontier as some people in other states, like Texas, seem to think.
As soon as someone tries to bolster their anti-gun argument with the scare tactic of threatening a return to the Wild West, then they have already lost the argument. If these people would actually do the research about life in the so-called Wild West, they would see that they are actually bolstering the argument of their opposition. If only we could return to the conditions of the Wild West, our country would be a much safer and more calm place to be. Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen write about this common fallacy in their wonderful book A Patriot's History of the United States. In speaking of the violent reputations of the mining towns and the cow towns that saw bored cowboys arrive with their herd to drink and let off steam, the authors had this to say about the reality of the Wild West:
[T]he numbers of capital crimes in the West appear to be well below current violence crime rates, so the Wild West was only moderately more violent than the rest of society.

Historian Roger McGrath studied the Sierra Nevada mining towns of Aurora and Bodie, which had more potential for violence than other western towns. There he found that homicide rates were high, expecially among the "bad men" who hung out at the saloons, although the homicide rate was about the same as in modern-day Washington D.C. Yet he also discovered that virtually all other crime was nonexistent, certainly due in part to the presence of an armed populace. Robberies in Aurora and Bodie were 7-percent of modern-day New York City's levels; burglary was 1-percent; and rape was unheard of.

Another study, by Robert Dykstra, of five cattle towns with a reputation for violence - Abilene, Ellsworth, Wichita, Dodge City, and Caldwell - discovered that the total cumulative number of homicides was less than two per year. Again, rape and robbery - except for trains and stagecoaches - was largely unknown. Still another researcher, examining Texas frontier towns (are you listening Bee letter writer?) from 1875 to 1900, found murder to be rare - not counting "fair fights" staged by gunslingers. Burglary and theft were so absent that people routinely did not lock their doors. Even in the California gold fields, with all its greed, researchers found little record of violence.
It appears that the legislature of the late, formerly great state of California has a lot to learn regarding the effectiveness of ensuring that law-abiding citizens are not stopped from exercising their God-given right to defend themselves with any means necessary, including firearms.

But since this same Leftist/Democrat-controlled state legislature doesn't seem capable of learning that raising taxes and spending continues to ruin our state's economy, I'm not holding my breath that they will achieve a moment of clarity regarding the benefits of an armed populace either.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

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