AP Photo/Matt York, File
The state of California doesn’t like to make it easy for gun owners. It’s not like the state is known for supporting the right to keep and bear arms in any way, shape, or form. There seems to be a certain pride in restricting firearms, even when there’s no reason for a law to exist. It doesn’t matter one way or another, the state’s going to create more gun control laws.
One rule in the state requires the mandatory reporting of missing firearms within five days of noticing it missing.
However, the city of Morgan Hill decided that five days was too long. It instituted a 48-hour requirement instead.
Now, one resident of the community is taking the city to court over it.
A Morgan Hill resident and a statewide firearms advocacy organization have sued the City of Morgan Hill over a local gun control ordinance enacted by the city council last year.
The plaintiffs—G. Mitchell Kirk and the California Rifle and Pistol Association—say the city ordinance’s new provision requiring gun owners to report incidents of firearm theft to police within 48 hours contradicts existing state law. The state law allows victims of gun theft up to five days to report the loss or theft, according to the lawsuit filed April 15 in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Specifically, the state’s Proposition 63, which California voters approved in 2016, established the five-day maximum timeframe within which to report firearm theft. According to the lawsuit filed by Kirk and the CRPA, the state law preempts the city’s gun control ordinance, which the council approved in October 2018.
“The legal preemption doctrine bans local laws that duplicate or conflict with state laws because these confuse the public,” reads a statement from CRPA about the lawsuit. “In this case, the conflicting requirements place innocent gun owners at risk of criminal prosecution for unwitting and accidental local ordinance violations that do not violate the state law.”
The individual who drafted the law argues that a mandatory reporting requirement is a public safety issue, but that’s bull. They’re way too easy to get around, especially if someone has a lot of firearms.
I don’t boast the impressive arsenal that many have, but even I have a wide variety of firearms ranging from classic .22 rifles in extinct ammo varieties to AR-15s. As such, I don’t put my eyes on all my guns every single day. My daily carry-firearm, sure, but the antique rifle that was my great grandfather’s? Not so much. Hell, I don’t even look at the CZ-75B I used to carry every single day.
Any of those weapons could go missing, and I wouldn’t know about it for days or weeks.
On the same token, I could claim I didn’t notice the weapon was missing until whenever as well.
That’s the problem with mandatory reporting laws. They’re too easy to beat.
Tightening up those requirements doesn’t change anything. Cutting three days off the total amount of time you have doesn’t do anything to protect public safety. If anything, it pushes people to pretend missing guns aren’t missing. Either that or lie about when it disappeared.
What else do you expect to happen when you create laws that penalize the victims of theft?
All that said, I don’t know about how well this lawsuit will do. California doesn’t seem like the type of state to issue a preemption clause in its anti-gun legislation, though doing so would make a lot of sense. It’s not something California is known for. My research hasn’t found any preemption clause in the law yet, either.
Still, I wish Mr. Kirk well on his efforts. The law he’s fighting is ridiculous, so hopefully, someone in the courts will see sense.
But, since it’s California, I’m not holding my breath.