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Sacramento goes on an anti-gun crusade

MARCH 5, 2016 4:06 PM

San Bernardino terrorist attack spurs more gun control legislation

Proposed laws wouldn't have stopped San Bernardino killings, or any other murder

Lawmakers want to make it difficult to exercise Second Amendment rights


In December, less than 24 hours after two terrorists massacred 14 Americans and wounded 22 others at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Sen. Barbara Boxer took the microphone at a Capitol Hill news conference where Democrats were announcing plans to introduce new gun control laws.

"Sensible gun laws work. We've proven it in California," Boxer said.

Matthew Hoy.
Matthew Hoy. David Middlecamp
Tell that to the 14 killed just the day before with legally acquired handguns and two rifles that had also been purchased legally but illegally transferred to the terrorists and illegally modified by them.

Tell that to Cal Poly graduate Kate Steinle, murdered by an illegal immigrant who had seven felony convictions and had been deported five times. The gun used to murder Steinle was stolen from the car of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger. (San Francisco responded to this tragedy by passing a law that requires firearms to be in a locked container within the vehicle cabin or in the trunk - and then exempted law enforcement from the requirement.)

Despite the obvious fact that there really is no law politicians can pass to stop criminals intent on doing evil - mass murder is already illegal; they can't make it illegaler - your betters in Sacramento have decided to do something.

More laws are something, even if they are stupid and useless:

AB 1663, AB 1664 and SB 880: These bills are an attempt to further regulate scary black rifles.

AB 1663 and SB 880 redefine "assault weapon" to include just about any semi-automatic, centerfire rifle made since the 19th century and require you to register them with the state.

AB 1664 would outlaw the bullet button, a device that requires the use of a tool in order to change magazines in a rifle. In most states, you can change a magazine in a rifle by simply pressing a button with your finger. In California, that's illegal if the gun has a pistol grip (or other cosmetic features) like the typical modern sporting rifle has. Lawmakers wanted to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to change magazines, and the bullet button does just that.

Unfortunately, it doesn't make it difficult enough. Therefore, we have yet another law despite the fact that murders are committed more often with knives, fists and clubs than with rifles of any kind.

AB 1674 would extend the current limit on handgun purchases - one in 30 days - to all types of firearms and remove the private-party transfer (PPT ) exemption to the limit.

While the entire bill is an affront to the Second Amendment, the PPT exemption is especially stupid. For example, if someone bequeathed an extensive firearm collection to you, it could take years for the estate to be disposed of, as only 12 guns per year could be transferred to you - longer if you actually wanted to buy new firearms.

If lawmakers attempted to limit purchases of books to no more than one a month, First Amendment defenders would be outraged, and such a law would be quickly ruled unconstitutional. A similar limit on the Second Amendment should provoke similar outrage.

AB 1798 makes it illegal to have a gun-shaped cellphone case. This is a thing?

SB 1037 would require people moving into the state (and really, what gun owner would want to do that?) to turn all of their guns over to a federal firearms licensee and undergo a background check to get their guns back. Mix this one with the removal of the PPT exception to the 1-in-30 rule, and members of the military transferred to a base in California may not get all their guns back before they're transferred to another duty station in another state.

SB 1446 would make magazines that look like they can hold more than 10 rounds, even though they can't, illegal. It would also effectively ban many semi-automatic handguns, since many 9 mm and .40 handgun magazines are designed to hold more than 10 rounds in their default configuration, but are "blocked" to only 10 to be sold in California.

All of these bills have one thing in common: There isn't a single murder they would have prevented. Not one.

Lawmakers want to make it harder and harder for citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights in this state. Their goal is to make it as difficult as possible to own a gun and not break some obscure and arbitrary law so your guns can be confiscated.

They dream of a place where only criminals have guns and all gun owners are criminals.

Empty gestures and useless posturing are what our state Legislature does best, and our ever-more-draconian gun control laws are evidence of that.

Conservative columnist Matthew Hoy is a former reporter, editor and page designer. You can read his blog at and follow him on Twitter @hoystory. His column appears in The Tribune every other Sunday, in rotation with liberal columnist Tom Fulks.


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