California police chief says state's gun control laws "haven't worked"

stevepb / Pixabay

While many politicians in California were quick to use this weekend’s shooting in Sacramento to issue vague demands for more unspecified gun control laws, the mayor of Fresno and the city’s police chief are asking lawmakers to take a different approach in response.

Fresno police chief Paco Balderrama, along with Mayor Jerry Dyer, say instead of continuing down the dead end road of more restrictions on law-abiding citizens, it’s time to get serious about reforming the state’s dysfunctional criminal justice system.

“What I do know about tragedy is that most of the time it’s avoidable. And unfortunately, in this instance we have six people killed, and another 12 people injured, and it just didn’t have to happen. And I hope we can learn from it and make the changes we need in our criminal justice system, so it doesn’t happen again,” said Mayor Dyer.

Mayor Dyer says lawmakers need to make changes to California’s criminal justice system after this weekend’s mass shooting in Sacramento.

He says that with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, the issue lies with how crime is prosecuted.

“There seems to be a disregard for human life. People’s willingness to pull out a firearm and shoot it indiscriminately at times and to know that unintended people get injured and killed,” said Mayor Dyer.

… “I know that California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and those simply have not worked. We have to do something else, and we have to do something real. Violent crime has gone up in the past few years because there’s fewer consequences,” said Balderrama.

According to the narrative set by gun control activists, if Balderrama isn’t on board with more gun control, he must not care at all about the victims of violent crime, or the safety of his own officers. That’s absurd, of course, but it’s still how anti-gun activists portray anyone and everyone who doesn’t believe that giving up a bit of our own personal safety will lead to greater security for everyone else.

As I alluded to earlier, however, even the most vocal of gun prohibitionists hasn’t offered any specific policy remedy that would have prevented this weekend’s shooting. There’s no indication at this point that the shooters were legal gun owners, and police have recovered one firearm from the scene that had previously been reported stolen. California already has a ban on “large capacity” magazines, “may issue” concealed carry laws, background check requirements for all gun and ammunition purchases, and a host of other restrictions that were all put in place after politicians swore that they would make a difference in reducing violent crime.

Instead, both violent crime and property crime increased across the state last year, and this year isn’t looking any better. Meanwhile, most of the major pieces of anti-gun legislation that the gun control lobby is pushing around the country has already been enshrined into law in California, leaving anti-gun lawmakers bloviating about the need for even more restrictions without offering up any specifics.

California has 107 different gun-control laws on the books, more than any other state, according to a database maintained by the Boston University School of Public Health. Massachusetts is No. 2 at 103.

Still, lawmakers say Sunday’s bloodbath near the Capitol shows there’s more work to do in a state where an estimated 7 million people live in a home where guns are present. “What a sickening, senseless loss of life,” said California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon on Twitter. “It’s an epidemic, and we need #GunReform now to stop it.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, speaking a block from the scene, said, “Thoughts and prayers are not nearly enough …. This senseless epidemic of gun violence must be addressed.” He called for tougher laws on assault weapons, even though it wasn’t immediately clear what type of gun was used Sunday.

This was a doubly dumb comment by Steinberg, given that police haven’t said anything about the guns that were used in the shooting (other than to report that stolen gun had been recovered at the crime scene) and California has not only banned “assault weapons” since the 1980s, but has repeatedly gone back and expanded its made-up definition of an “assault weapon” in the decades since.

I doubt that Steinberg seriously believes that this shooting in Sacramento happened because California’s gun control laws are too lax, but that’s the go-to response for far too many California Democrats when confronted with a heinous crime.  I think the police chief in Fresno has a much more realistic take on the efficacy of these gun laws, but I don’t expect the politicians in charge of the state to take his advice about the need to address California’s criminal justice system.