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Gun owners property rights violated.

By Ralph Weller
CalNRA Contributing Editor


17 October, 1999 - What if the California Legislature passed a law requiring all automobiles, regardless of how old they might be, to meet current smog equipment requirements that would cost car owners upwards of thousands of dollars to retrofit. What if they passed a law requiring all homes, no matter how old, to have hard wired smoke alarms and sprinkler systems installed. What would the people of California do?

It can be said with certainty the people would make a change in the legislature by voting certain people out of office. It also can be predicted that court cases would abound claiming violation of personal property rights. Ballot propositions would be numerous. The laws would be eliminated one way or the other. More importantly, the legislature, while they may be liberal, wouldn't be crazy enough to pass such legislation.

Unfortunately, when it comes to gun owners, politicians take a different view. SB-23, the law passed this year by the California Legislature that bans certain cosmetic accessory items on firearms, is exactly the same thing.

SB-23 mandates that firearm owners expend funds to modify their legally purchased personal property to comply with current law. It's a law designed to make cosmetic changes to personal property so it no longer "offends" certain politicians. If gun owners don't spend the money to modify their property, they will be required to spend money by registering their name and rifle with the state. Or, they can render their firearms inoperable by removing the offending items avoiding registration or the cost to make it comply as a "non-assault weapon". The travesty of SB-23 is that it has nothing to do with safety, crime or the environment. It has everything to do with politics...bad politics. It has everything to do with violation of personal property rights of one segment of the population purely for the purpose of pandering to another segment of the population.

It will not reduce the number of firearms in California and it most certainly will not turn a career criminal into a law-abiding citizen simply because they must eliminate a pistol grip from a rifle. A career criminal will not submit registration papers to the DOJ notifying them of illegal ownership of a firearm. Nor, will registration solve a single crime in California. We've said it before and we will say it again, there has yet to be one example of a crime solved as a result of registration of the firearms listed under the 1989 Roberti-Roos Assault Weapon Ban and registration law. Not one! Can the state provide evidence of any crimes solved as a result of decades of handgun registration in California? They have not provided one example!

Gun control proponents will nonetheless point out that crime is reduced through registration of firearms. Why is it that California's handgun crime rate is higher than that of states that do not register firearms. Why is it that California's crime rate exceeds that of states that have "shall issue" concealed carry laws? Can it be possible that gun control doesn't work?

Look at Washington D.C. crime rates and the answer will become crystal clear. Despite a full ban on handguns and requirements to dismantle rifles so they are rendered inoperable, D.C. to this very day has the highest murder rate in the nation exceeding the national average rate by eleven times! No, that is not a typing error. Since implementation of gun control, D.C.'s murder rate has increased by almost three times. Is it any wonder since gun control was implemented in D.C. that residents have left in droves reducing the population by as much as 15% since its peak? People are simply afraid to live in Washington D.C. Is it any wonder that gun control proponents never mention their shining star city as an example of how gun control should work? They may want to take our rights away, but they aren't stupid.

Nowhere can gun control proponents point out that gun control reduces crime. Even Australia and Great Britain, where recent gun ownership bans have become law, are now experiencing unprecedented increases in gun related crimes and murder. Crime rates are a function of two things. First and foremost are the expectations of the people. If citizens allow state and local governments to pander to criminals, the result will be criminals who don't perceive the government as a long term threat to their career choice. Second, when citizens are disarmed, there is no reason for criminals to fear the population as a whole. The result is chaos. As a country Americans chose chaos because the liberal left made many feel guilty for imposing harsh sentences on criminals. Only recently have Americans come their senses and the results have been unprecedented drops in crime. The liberals, sensing they are losing control of the crime issue have gone mad with a plethora of gun control legislation in an effort to claim a couple of years down the road that gun control was the reason for reductions in crime. In other words, they will simply lie.

Registration of personal property and forcing citizens to modify a firearm purely for cosmetic purposes is obviously not the answer. If anything, the new laws are a violation of property rights purely for the purpose of state sponsored harassment of law-abiding citizens. They cannot prove that it reduces crime rates nor can they prove that it will solve crimes. The state simply has no compelling reason to know who owns what firearms. Nor should they be allowed to take control of the property of law-abiding citizens by mandating changing the physical characteristics of personal property.

We challenge anyone to prove that gun control has reduced crime in general. Show the data! Make your point HCI! Tell the American public how crime is reduced in Washington D.C. We will gladly publish the data and information unedited. Just prove your point. We suspect that we'll wait a long time before that challenge is met.

It's one thing to complain about this law, it's another thing to do something about it. We urge all of you to register to vote. We urge all of you to get your friends and relatives to vote. We can't wait for the magic bullet court case. That's years if not decades away. We can't wait for a ballot referendum though they certainly can't hurt. We need voters. We need gun owning voters. We need non-voting gun owners to get off their weary butts and vote. Complaining and becoming a member of the NRA is only part of the answer. Voting the liberals out of the legislature will be the quickest and final solution.