It does not take a long time for the Los Angeles Times to (LAT) pop up with some anti-civil rights drivel. The paper historically embraces everything the anti-freedom caucus stands for. A recent article had peaked my attention with me thinking that maybe they’re going to be onto something. Truth be told, they may be onto something, or not, but that does not change the fact that the paper completely mired the character of their content right in the first sentence. The piece, Editorial: Here’s how California can get more guns out of dangerous hands tries to set the stage with some “facts”.
The dramatic rise in gun violence over the last two years in the United States, as was demonstrated in the deadly shootout in Sacramento on Sunday, demands that leaders do more to keep firearms away from dangerous people.
Optics are everything and the LAT puts some moisture in the lens distorting the view on this one from the get-go. Has there been a dramatic rise in violence in the United States over the last two years? Sure, there has been in some areas. Has some of that violence been committed with firearms? Yeah, you bet. But is a recent shootout in Sacramento a demonstration of our current times? Not really.
Where the LAT drops the ball is in reporting about some of the casual factors in the why there was a rise in any crime in certain areas. The sentence should have read: “There has been a dramatic increase in violent acts over the last two years in the United States. The rise is mostly because of liberal-progressive policies in the way of defunding of police, bail reform, rogue prosecutors, unwillingness to quash ‘mostly peaceful’ protests, and the complete abject failure of left of center policies as a whole.” We can completely ignore how the pandemic and mishandling of the population in some states and cities directly contributed to this rise in criminal activity, and still make our point about their failures clear. It’s time for the progressives to throw up their arms and say “I need an adult.”
Los Angeles in particular has no room to discuss criminal behavior at all. It was not too long ago that I reported on an individual attempting to get a concealed carry permit in the city of Los Angeles and one of his tweeted pictures was that of human excrement smack dab in the middle of the walkway to his apartment. The failures of big cities revolve around going against real commonsense. Not allowing citizens the ability to self-defend is towards the top of that list.
What policy is the LAT gushing over?
California has a system — the only one in the nation — to do so. The Armed and Prohibited Persons System is a state Department of Justice database that tracks firearms owned by people who are banned from possessing them because they’ve been convicted of a felony, are under a restraining order or have a serious mental illness.
A list. That’s what they’re into. The problem with this statement is that California is not the only state to use a system similar to the one they’re lauding. Several point of contact states have systems that are similar to the one in California. Their database though has some serious flaws, which I think they should have made the full focus of their editorial, and maybe advocate for good ole fashioned police work instead.
This database covers only a portion of gun owners, however: those who bought guns legally and later did something that cost them the right to own a firearm. It isn’t able to track weapons bought on the black market or stolen from legal owners, which are often used in crimes. Although the database tracks only guns that were purchased legally, agents routinely take other guns from prohibited owners when they knock on their doors. Last year, about 42% of the 1,428 firearms seized were not in the system, meaning they were banned weapons or obtained illegally.
If we were to statistically look at all the numbers, I’m willing to wager the criminal activity that occurs is done by those that illegally possessed and procured their firearms. A person in possession of a firearm after they end up on the list is not necessarily a crime, is it? Not when the particulars of ending up on such lists could with probability occur ex parte, with the person not even knowing they’re on the list.
In 2021, a new Department of Justice report says, 8,937 people were removed from the database, either because their weapons were taken, their reason for being prohibited expired or they died. But in the same year, 9,848 new people were added to the list. The total number of people the state knows are armed despite being banned? It now amounts to 24,509 — the highest since tracking began in 2008.
Those ex parte situations can be best embodied by a candidate running for sheriff in San Diego John Hemmerling while acting in his capacity at the prosecutor’s office, has educated and taught as many jurisdictions on how to execute Gun Violence Restraining Orders. What happens when one of these orders is executed? The person ends up on the “list” and then the police come knocking at their door. Does that account for the great success California is seeing in the disarmament of the public? Further, people like Hemmerling are reported to have these orders executed whether or not they’re warranted under the law. In all instances of criminal behavior, there are vehicles in place to allow for the seizure of arms from dangerous persons without a seizure order. The increase in executing these orders accounts for the increase of persons on “the list”.
The threshold of which the state of California holds law enforcement officials to meet in order to pull off one of these red flag seizures is not high at all. Of all the seizures from the list being discussed, how many meet that description?
This is what the LAT brings to the table on the bigly successful program:
Despite numerous obstacles it has demonstrated results, with more than 20,000 guns seized since 2006 from those banned from having them. During a February sweep in Los Angeles, agents took more than 100 guns — including 17 assault weapons and eight “ghost” guns, which are unregistered firearms sold as kits — as well as 49,000 rounds of ammunition from people on the list of prohibited owners.
How many of those 20,000 firearms were returned to the owners because they got them seized in the first place over bogus claims? Part of the 8+ thousand people removed from the list, did they get their guns back? That could mean nearly half the people on the list who had their arms seized ended up having them returned. That is possible. And that’s possible because the person ended up being fingered by the fuzz over a garbage claim, conjecture, or false allegations. The numbers say they may have it wrong almost 50% of the time. That also does not account for people that don’t have the financial means to challenge any garbage events that put them on the list. The socioeconomics of the people that get on and remain on the list are not discussed.
The LAT can try to pave the way for the rest of the anti-freedom caucus gun-grabbing section of society they want to, but a lot of this seems like smoke and mirrors. With our federal NICS system in place, which can be improved, sure, more “lists” really do what for us? Lists that are being used to confiscate firearms per their own admission. So what’s the real goal here? Should municipalities in progressive jurisdictions suffer their own nights of broken glass in the future because some citizens are deemed a threat, what kind of list do people surmise will help facilitate such jackbooted operations?
If the Los Angeles Times was truly committed to reporting on things that work or don’t work, they’d look within the walls of their municipality and ask how come the city is as screwed up. “Broken window” policies can be criticized, such as the one NY Mayor Adams is looking to reintroduce, but they can be and are effective if executed properly. Los Angeles needs not just a broken window policy but a pooper scooper policy. Not for anyone’s pets, but rather for the homeless population. But why try to tackle real problems? Everything’s clearly the fault of firearms and gun owners.