Friday, September 05, 2003

David Codrea points us to this Sacremento Bee poll of the recall candidates views on gun control.

The poll asks if a candidate would sign or veto the following bills, some of which have passed into law & the rest of which are still pending:

• SB 52 and AB 35: Requires Californians who attempt to buy a handgun to complete a two-part exam at the place of purchase to prove they can safely handle and operate the firearm.
• SB 950: Requires the state Department of Justice to check handgun purchase records back to 1991 on every person who falls into a prohibited class (such as felons) to determine whether they had previously purchased handguns. The agency and local law enforcement can take action to determine the status of the weapon and take it off the street.
• SB 682 and AB 496: Overturned a 1983 law that immunized manufacturers against certain liability claims when their weapons cause harm.
• SB 489 (Load Indicator and Magazine Safety Disconnect, by Sen. Jack Scott): Would require most semiautomatic pistols that are newly designed after Jan. 1, 2006, to have a clearly understood load indicator or a magazine safety disconnect. By Jan. 1, 2007, most newly designed pistols would have to have both devices. Handguns that are already approved for sale in California (on the roster before Jan. 1, 2005) would be exempt until/unless they were redesigned.
• AB 50 (Ban .50-Caliber Sniper Rifles, by Assemblyman Paul Koretz): Current law restricts certain "assault weapons" that have specific military features and specific models, such as the AK-47 series. But there is no general restriction on the sale of armor-piercing, .50-caliber military sniper rifles. AB 50 would ban these rifles. People who own them would be required to register them and could not transfer them without a special license from the state Department of Justice.
• SB 35 (Ballistic Fingerprinting Bullet Collection by Sen. Jack Scott): The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives maintains a ballistic fingerprint database of crime guns and bullets or cartridges recovered at crime scenes. The database is not allowed to include non-crime gun data (such as ballistic fingerprints of guns before they are sold). SB 35 would require, before a gun is sold, that bullet and cartridge samples be sent to the California Department of Justice. The samples would be available for entry into a future database. SB 35 would set deadlines for the gun industry to develop an automatic ballistic fingerprint collection processes on new firearms."

If you assummed that Lt. Gov. Bustamante would have signed all the bills in question you'd be correct.

If you guessed that Sen. McClintock would have vetoed all the bills in question, you'd be almsot right. He'd have signed SB 950 which conerns doing a purchase records check to determine if a felon purchased a handgun prior to his conviction so the state could disarm him/her. I'm not happy about that but I can see how some people would think this is a good idea that would only disarm felons. Of course I'm not thrilled about disarming anyone who's not incarcerated let alone the implications of registration necessary to accomplish those checks, but I'll save that discussion for another time.

If you think that Mr. Schwarzenegger would veto all or sign all then you'd be incorrect. He'd have signed all except two, & those he vetoed with an explanation.

SB 682 & HB 496: "Gun Manufacturers should operate under the same liability laws as other manufacturers, & held accountable for safety & other product defects."

SB 35: "This issue should be addressed when technology & costs are more clearly understood."

It seems like Mr. Schwarzenegger is taking a pro Right to Arms stance on those two bills, but there's a certain amount of ambiguity involved & his willingness to sign the other bills makes me think he's not as pro Right to Arms as he'd like people to believe.

Let's look at the first one about SB 682 & HB 496:

"Gun Manufacturers should operate under the same liability laws as other manufacturers, & held accountable for safety & other product defects."

It would appear he's saying that gun manufacturers should be held liabel for issues relating to the product & not its negligent or criminal use. But by his voting to veto a bill that did repeal protections the gun manufacturers had that other indurties didn't he would be contradicting himself. The fact is, as asinine as it may be Ford has no legal protection from a person filing a lawsuit because someone used a stolen Mustang to kill someone else. usually protection in such cases is granted by judges who dismiss the case before it is able to cause too much distress. Then again we are relying on California judges for that kind of protection aren't we?
The "safety & product defects" language causes concern. He could mean what I think of when I think of a safety or product defect, which is a mechanical problem that causes a firearm to operate in a manner that deviates significantly from its design. An example would be a firearm that releases the hammer & fires a cartridge when the safety is applied even though the trigger is not pressed. Or a firearm that rapidly de-constructs itself (i.e. blows up in your face) when using the ocrrect ammunition.
However gun control advocates have maintained that a firearm's design was inherently flawed & unsafe because a negligent person thinks the firearm is unloaded, applies pressure to the trigger & shoots someone he did not intend to. Hell, some gun control advocates think that any gun that can chamber & then fire a cartridge exhibits a "safety & product defect"

On to the next one, SB 35:

"This issue should be addressed when technology & costs are more clearly understood."

What he is saying is that he opposes it now because it's very expensive & hasn't been proved to be effective. A California study said as much about a year ago, & no state which has a similar law has reported a single conviction from it to my knowledge.
But he is not ruling out the possibility of discussing it at a later time. Perhaps if it weren't so expensive or perhaps if there were merely statistics to show it had some benefit he would be in favor of it.

So he's stance on those two particular bills could swing either pro Right to Arms or anti Right to Arms.

Given his position on the others though I'll remain skeptical.

Mr. Schwarzenegger does approve of:

Forcing Californians to pass a written test before purchasing a firearm

Having records searched for a prior purchase of a firearm by a recently convcited felon

Requiring all pistols to have a loaded chamber indicator & a magazine disconnect feature

Banning/heavily restricting all .50 caliber rifles

The conclusion? Mr. Schwarzenegger seems to be for gun control except in certain instances where the financial impact would possibly be unjustifiable to achieve those ends. Lt. Gov. Bustamante is not concerned with the cost. & Sen. McClintock is against gun control except when he believes it applies only to convicted felons.

For those Californians who come here all I can tell you is that I hope that Sen. McClintock wins. I doubt he'd be able to make any conrete differences considering the nature of the legislature, but at least someone in a position of authority would be able to call up the California militia when things get too bad.

I still recommend leaving the state, but I understand how that is difficult. If I were a Californian I'd want to stand my ground & try to win my state back, or die trying. But know that we're hoping for y'all.

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