California DA takes aim at legal gun owners

There’s good news and bad news to report about Santa Clara County D.A. Jeff Rosen on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. The positive news is that Rosen is continuing to prosecute the alleged corruption and bribery that took place in the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office under former sheriff Laurie Smith, who resigned a step ahead of a guilty verdict in a civil corruption trial where jurors determined her office had accepted cash and prizes in exchange for approving rarely-issued concealed carry licenses. Though Smith is now out of office, Rosen recently had bribery charges reinstated against an Apple executive accused of “gifting” $50,000 worth of iPads to the sheriff’s office in order to get carry permits approved for the company’s executive security team.


While I’m glad to see that Rosen isn’t letting the corruption scandal die now even though Smith stepped down in disgrace, he’s wiped out any goodwill he might have earned among gun owners by proposing a ballot referendum for California voters next year that would trample all over their Second Amendment rights.

Rosen is pushing for a vote on what he calls the Gun Violence Prevention Act; a sweeping ballot measure that, if approved, would cause an almost immediate end to gun sales in the state while imposing a new per-bullet tax on ammunition and an annual registration fee for every firearm legally possessed by California gun owners.

Billed as a “common sense” and “victim centered” approach to “gun violence prevention,” Rosen’s plan instead infringes on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms in a variety of ways; starting with his call for “state-of-the-art gun safety measures”.

Require all firearms to be locked so that only the lawful owner can use them. Firearms are required to be equipped with trigger locks within one year of the passage of the GVPA. Mandatory trigger locks can be either key, combination, cable, or biometric. These common-sense measures will prevent innumerable accidental shootings by children, reduce teen suicides, and lessen the violence associated with firearm theft because a trigger-locked firearm is not operational and can’t be used to commit a crime.


If the GVPA were to become law, not only would every firearm sold in California be required to come with an integrated trigger lock within one year, but within five years every lawfully-sold gun would have to incorporate a biometric locking device. In other words, only so-called smart guns could be offered for sale in California. The state’s handgun roster already imposes a defacto ban on new models of semi-automatic pistols, and Rosen’s proposal would mean that every firearm currently on the market would be off-limits to California residents going forward.

That’s bad enough, but Rosen is just getting started. He also has big ideas when it comes to ammunition purchases and lawful gun ownership.

The GVPA will authorize a fee on all ammunition sold in or imported into California. This fee will be structured on a sliding scale based on the ammunition’s lethality. For instance, the fee for a 9 mm bullet would be $0.20, while the fee for an armor-piercing bullet would be $2.  Law enforcement agencies would be exempt from these ammunition fees.


The GVPA will also require that registered gun owners re-certify their firearms with a $25 yearly fee (new CA citizens will be charged $50), similar to an annual car registration fee. A yearly registration fee will allow the State to better monitor the ownership of firearms and limit the slippage of legal guns into the black market.


Of course law enforcement would be exempt from the proposed tax on every round of ammunition. Despite the claims of anti-gunners that police violence is gun violence, they’ll almost always exclude police from their anti-gun provisions. Given that Rosen is clearly eyeing a future political office with his referendum, there’s no way he’s going to voluntarily get on the wrong side of police unions by subjecting their members to the same tax that everyone else would have to pay.

It’s not hard to imagine what the consequences of a yearly $25 per firearm tax would be for California residents already subjected to one of the highest costs of living in the country. Working-class citizens living paycheck to paycheck and those on fixed incomes would be hit the hardest, but every gun owner in the state would be subject to this tax on the exercise of their Second Amendment rights.

As a prosecutor, Rosen knows damn well it’s not legal gun owners who are driving violent crime in California, but as a Democratic politician he also knows that his base of support for any future office is far more interested in cracking down on the Second Amendment than ensuring that repeat, violent offenders pay a price for their crimes. This cynical approach to “gun safety” is almost certainly to be challenged if it’s placed on the ballot next November, but California gun owners should be speaking up now about the dangers to public and personal safety that Rosen is demanding.


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