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California Bust Shows Futility Of "Ghost Gun" Ban

One of the top priorities for anti-gun politicians in California and the rest of country at the moment is a ban on unfinished frames and receivers, which the gun control movement have deemed “ghost guns” to sound extra scary. At issue is the fact that under federal law, these unfinished gun parts can be purchased by private citizens and turned into completed firearms without requiring registration or serialization, so long as the gun isn’t offered for sale.

Gun control activists believe that by banning sales of unfinished firearm parts, criminals will find it harder to illegally acquire a gun, but a recent bust in California is a perfect example of why that’s just wishful thinking.

Police say [32-year old Rudolf] Itskovich was stopped Tuesday morning due to his vehicle having illegally tinted windows. Itskovich allegedly provided a counterfeit driver’s license to the officer, who had him step out and submit to a search, according to Glendale police.

The search of Itskovich turned up a handgun loaded with a high-capacity magazine, but no serial number, several EDD debit cards in other people’s names, and counterfeit driver’s licenses bearing Itskovich’s photo but other names, police said. A Social Security card and another EDD debit card was found during a search of the vehicle, according to Glendale police.

A few hours later police got a call from a Glendale motel about illegal drugs found in a room rented to Itskovich. When they searched the room they found methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, along with 80 rounds of ammunition.

The last time I checked, drugs like meth, cocaine, and heroin were all still illegal to possess in California, yet Itskovich apparently had no trouble getting his hands on the drugs. More importantly, at least when it comes to the usefulness of California’s gun laws in stopping felons like Itskovich from getting ahold of guns and ammunition, every purchase of ammo in the state is supposed to go through a background check.

What’s more, it’s illegal for California residents to purchase ammunition out-of-state and bring it back to California. In other words, if California’s gun control regime actually worked, then Rudolf Itskovich shouldn’t have been able to get ahold of a single round of ammunition.

Clearly that’s not the case, so why should we believe that the proposed restrictions on unfinished gun parts would have any impact on felons and violent criminals? As a convicted felon, Itskovich isn’t allowed to possess a firearm under any circumstances, including a gun he may built himself or acquired on the black market.

Democrat Assemblyman Christopher Ward believes that guys like Itskovich can be stopped from breaking the law as long as more laws are put on the books. He’s introduced AB 311, which would ban the sale of precursor firearm parts and DIY gunmaking kits at gun shows in the state.

“While Californians have the ability to lawfully own firearms, ghost guns can bypass common sense policies created to protect our communities from senseless gun violence. AB 311 will address growing concerns over the availability of these firearms by prohibiting their sale at gun shows,” said Assemblymember Ward.

Here’s a thought; if criminals can so easily bypass policies created to ostensibly protect communities from “gun violence,” then maybe those policies aren’t as common sense as Ward and other anti-gun politicians claim. Maybe the answer involves ensuring that there are consequences for violent criminals, rather than slapping more laws on the books that will restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Crime is soaring in California, and the state’s draconian gun laws aren’t having much of an impact. A much bigger issue right now is the prosecution of violent criminals, and far-left District Attorneys like Los Angeles’ George Gascón are taking a soft-on-crime approach that’s designed to put fewer people in prison and let convicted criminals loose as soon as possible.

And just hours after being sworn in, Gascón delivered to his backers: He announced a slew of policy directives that barred prosecutors from seeking the death penalty, trying juveniles as adults, attending parole hearings or filing most sentencing enhancements that can increase a defendants’ prison term.

Nearly as quickly, the news instigated a brawl among California’s public prosecutors, with the organization representing 57 out of the state’s 58 district attorneys questioning both the legality and wisdom of Gascón’s mandates. Now, many of the state’s old guard of district attorneys are openly sparring with reformer colleagues in a power struggle that could shape criminal justice in California and other states.

“It’s a showdown of exactly how much power one branch of government has to override other branches,” said Sacramento County Dist. Atty. Anne Marie Schubert, who opposes Gascón’s reforms as overreach that ignore victims’ rights. “We are elected to enforce the law, not make the law.”

As the Los Angeles Times reports today, “progressive” prosecutors like Gascón may be controversial, but they’re also gaining influence in the state.

Law enforcement and prosecutors’ unions across California spent millions in a failed bid to defeat Gascón last year, and have reliably been some of the biggest donors in district attorneys’ races. But criminal justice political action committees, especially the Real Justice PAC, largely funded by billionaire George Soros, have spent millions in recent years leveling the playing field by funding candidates like Philadelphia’s Krasner and Gascón. The PACs are also pushing prosecutors to refuse law enforcement donations to avoid a perceived conflict of interest. Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), another contender for attorney general, has discussed legislation to preclude district attorneys from investigating officer misconduct if they accept law enforcement contributions.

At the same time, old-guard prosecutors and their law enforcement allies have found their voices less heeded in Sacramento. Instead, a breakaway group of prosecutors that includes Gascón, Benton, San Francisco Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin and San Joaquin County Dist. Atty. Tori Verber Salazar have gained influence, forming a separate advocacy group last year, the Prosecutors Alliance of California.

By the way, as “progressive” as these prosecutors claim to be, they still fully embrace an anti-gun agenda that creates non-violent, possessory felony offenses out of the right to keep and bear arms. Gascón himself has called for a federal ban on ammunition magazines that can hold more than ten rounds, for example, and appears to be fully on board with the idea of banning the sale of unfinished frames and receivers.

Gascón, who was previously the District Attorney and chief of police in San Francisco, is also allegedly one of those gun control advocates who practice a “guns for me, but not for thee” philosophy. Back in 2018 he was sued by a former investigator of the San Francisco D.A.’s office for allegedly being fired after alerting the Transportation Security Administration to the fact that Gascón was bringing his gun on commercial airline flights. Last year the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to settle the lawsuit filed by the whistleblower.

San Francisco has agreed to pay $400,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former city investigator who claimed retaliation after expressing concerns that former district attorney George Gascón was allegedly carrying firearms on flights in violation of federal law.

Henry McKenzie was fired in 2017 from the prosecutor’s office and sued the city in 2018, claiming that he was subjected to a “pattern of retaliation and harassment” after he and other investigators went to the federal Transportation Security Administration with their concerns about Gascón.

McKenzie believed Gascon was violating federal law, which allows peace officers to carry firearms while traveling so long as they state they are doing so for a work-related reason. They believed Gascon, who became district attorney in 2012, was no longer an active officer.

California has some major problems right now, and none of them are going to be solved by targeting the Second Amendment rights of residents. As long as anti-gun politicians and soft-on-crime prosecutors are in charge of the state, law abiding residents and gun owners are going to be subjected to unconstitutional and ineffective gun control laws, while violent criminals get a slap on the wrist before they’re returned to the streets.

 

Jul 27, 2021 12:30 PM ET