I thank Gov. Jerry Brown for vetoing SB 374, which would have banned a large percentage of the rifles in California. I want to reduce all violence, gun or otherwise, but this bill would have penalized law-abiding California gun owners without providing any measurable benefit.
These types of laws are usually sold as balancing Second Amendment rights with public safety. While they may grandfather existing owners (but impose very severe restrictions and expense), they prohibit new owners. If it is so important to ban them, why grandfather existing owners? If I have a right to own them today, why don't my children have that same right later?
If the goal is to prevent criminal misuse, then common sense indicated widespread bans won't be effective. Narcotics have been illegal in the U.S. for almost 100 years, yet they are readily available on many street corners.
Mexico has very draconian gun laws with only one gun store in the entire county, and it is in the middle of a Mexican Army base. Yet firearms are freely available and used by criminals.
Connecticut had an assault weapon ban even before the Newtown tragedy, but this ban didn't stop the deranged gunman. The deranged shooter at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., violated numerous gun bans; but deranged people don't obey the law.
The recent shooting in a Chicago park happened despite a ban on assault weapons, a ban on possession of any firearm in the park, and a ban on attempted murder. The shooter was a gang member previously convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm, but served no jail time. Criminals don't obey the law.
Hadiya Pendleton, 15, marched and sang with her school band at President Barack Obama's inauguration. She was murdered by a Chicago gang member on probation for prior unlawful use of a firearm. Criminals don't obey the law.
Here in the Bay Area, there was a story in the paper of a bus shooting by an Oakland gang member on probation for gun conviction. His accomplice was on probation for robbery. As convicted criminals, they were banned from possessing any firearm, but criminals don't obey the law.
There is another story about an Oakland gang member who killed an 8-year-old girl that lists the charges: being a felon in possession of a firearm, shooting into a residence, murder and attempted murder. Criminals don't obey the law.
Finally, yet another article notes that Richmond police have a list of 240 people they believe to be responsible for nearly all the violent crime in that city.
Instead of passing ineffective laws restricting all Californians' rights, why not pass laws to keep repeat firearm criminals off the street and focus on the very few responsible for most of the violence?
Bernard Flushe is a longtime Newark resident.