Jerry Brown’s Gun Control Vetoes Don’t Go Far Enough

California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown debates Meg Whitman in Davis, California

Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a slew of draconian gun bills last week, calling proposals that further narrow the State’s definition of “assault” weapons an “infringement on gun owners’ rights.”

“I don’t believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement,” he remarked in vetoing a proposed restriction on any rifle with a removable magazine.

Noting that California already has “some of the strictest gun laws in the country,” Brown vetoed seven gun control bills that had passed the California Assembly.

Those included the rifle bill, as well as proposals that sought to criminalize failure to report missing or stolen firearms, retool the legal definition of a shotgun and restrict the transfer of “unsafe” handguns.

But he also signed into law four other gun control bills, approving a new extension on how long the U.S. Department of Justice can prolong the wait on background checks and limiting the sale of add-ons that increase ammo capacity.

Most devastating to California firearms owners, though, was Brown’s approval of a bill that bans the sale of all forms of lead ammunition — on the grounds that lead pollutes the environment.

Even as he approved that measure, AB 711, Brown offered a perplexing semi-apology to outdoorsmen, the very group most likely to be dramatically affected by the ban. In his signing statement, Brown wrote:

Lead poses a danger to wildlife… Since 2007, California has prohibited it in the eight counties within the [endangered California] condor range.

…I am concerned, however, the impression left from this bill is that hunters and sportsmen and women in California are not conservationists. I know that is not the case. Hunters and anglers are the original conservationists. Since the 1930s, hunters have done more than any other community to conserve species and their habitats, and that is a lasting conservation legacy.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation condemned  the lead ban, noting the new restriction “amounts to a virtual ban on hunting because the federal government considers most types of non-lead ammunition to be ‘armor-piercing’ and limits its manufacture and sale.”

The governor’s legislative update page lists all the new gun laws. For a plain-language rundown, check out this article at The Truth About Guns.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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