California bill takes on scourge of... gun store raffles?

California bill takes on scourge of... gun store raffles?
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

California Democrats are taking aim at gun stores across the state with a new bill that would not only make it a misdemeanor offense for FFLs to conduct raffles, but mandates that gun shops host “buyback” events as well.


The latest attempt to eradicate a culture of lawful gun ownership in the state is authored by Sen. Anthony Portantino, who says that SB 368 is meant to “put responsibility on these businesses to be better stewards of public health.” In reality, the legislation seems designed to dissuade people from visiting gun stores with a mind towards exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Portantino, who recently announced a bid for Congress, said new restrictions are particularly needed on promotional events that gun stores often run to bring in business.
“We don’t need games of chance to attract new people into the gun world,” Portantino said. “If it’s detrimental to public heath, should we really be giving freebies?”
Linda Bessin, founder of the political action committee Blue Values Burbank who has lobbied against the opening of new gun stores in the area, said banning promotional events would increase public safety and ensure California’s gun laws are closely followed.
“When you have a very family oriented community like Burbank, we’re going to do everything we can to protect the kids,” Bessin said.
Protect the kids from gun raffles they’re not old enough to enter in the first place? Or “protect” kids by making it harder for their parents to lawfully acquire a firearm and impart some actual gun safety education and training? Seems like it’s the latter to me.
Beyond the bill’s prohibition on raffles and giveaways, the legislation also mandates that gun stores store firearms for those who want to temporarily remove them from their homes, as well as requiring all FFLs to “establish and maintain a program to re-purchase firearms” in conjunction with California DOJ. Given that many gun shops already purchase old and pre-owned firearms for re-sale, this mandate appears to require gun stores to set up their own “buyback” program, with collected firearms being turned over to police rather than sold to customers.
Where would the money for these compensated confiscation efforts come from? Would FFLs be told to pay out of pocket, or would the state provide the money for gun stores to conduct these events? Portantino’s legislation is utterly silent on every salient detail, which I suspect is by design. Why bother getting bogged down in particulars when you can pass an open-ended mandate and let CalDOJ figure out how to implement it?
SB 368 is part of a glut of gun control legislation introduced in Sacramento, and isn’t even the only anti-2A bill introduced by Portantino this session. It remains to be seen whether this particular bill will advance, but it’s a guarantee that more infringements are coming from the anti-gun majority in Sacramento.
One measure, also by Portantino, would limit who can get a concealed-carry weapon permit in California, while others would ban the sale of body armor often worn by mass shooters, establish an excise tax on ammunition and guns, and require owners to get gun liability insurance.
Their efforts are more than certain to prompt lawsuits by gun rights groups and 2nd Amendment advocates who’ve already warned lawmakers against passing new limitations on access to firearms. Republican lawmakers have argued that California’s strong gun control laws have still failed to prevent mass shootings and other incidents of gun violence, and that the state should instead focus its attention on illegal firearm ownership.
“Once again, Democrats are focused on the wrong problem. The local gun shop throwing in a free box of bird shot when you buy a shotgun isn’t what’s driving California’s crime wave,” said Assemblymember Tom Lackey, a Palmdale Republican and former California Highway Patrol officer. “If we want to get serious about gun crime, we have to get serious about gun criminals.”
Well, that’s not happening in the statehouse anytime soon. Democrats in Sacramento are deadly serious about curtailing and criminalizing the fundamental right to keep and bear arms, even as they shut down prisons and treat violent criminals with kid gloves. Their stated goal may be improving public safety, but the tactics they’re deploying are aimed at destruction of the Second Amendment and the eradication of a culture of lawful gun ownership.

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