By now, anyone who follows gun rights news knows that California isn’t a great place to be a gun person. Your choices on handguns are severely limited to just what’s on a particular list, a list that is shrinking as models are discontinued and no longer sold, and your choices of tactical rifles are even more so. Sure, most hunting weapons are untouched, but the Second Amendment doesn’t say a damn thing about hunting.
However, there’s a kind of firearm that made it through the cracks of California state law. It’s not quite a pistol, not quite a rifle. It’s made life in California just a bit easier for some.
So, of course, California lawmakers are looking to ban it.
California lawmakers this week are poised to use a budget maneuver to ban a new type of gun in a move that drew bipartisan criticism in a legislative committee hearing Wednesday evening.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration describes the firearm as an assault-style weapon that’s a cross between a rifle and a pistol. It doesn’t neatly fit into either category, however, because it lacks a shoulder stock needed to be a rifle and has a barrel too long to be a pistol.
Representatives for Newsom argued at a Senate Budget Committee hearing that the gun was designed to circumvent California gun control laws and that the policy change would close the loophole.
Jay Jacobson, president of the company that manufactures the firearm, disputed the administration’s characterization of the gun. He said the gun his company Franklin Armory manufactures, called a Title 1, is in a separate category from rifles and pistols and that the company has worked for years to ensure the weapon would be legal to sell in California.
Several lawmakers raised concerns about the move at the Wednesday hearing, arguing the ban should have been considered in a standalone bill, not as part of the sprawling budget deal that encompasses 19 pieces of complicated legislation.
“It should be a policy bill — banning of a new class of firearm,” said Republican Sen. Melissa Melendez from Lake Elsinore. “This isn’t a budget matter.”
So why wasn’t it?
Well, regular laws passed in California go into effect on January 1 the following year unless there’s an urgency clause, which requires a 2/3 majority, something even California would have trouble getting. Budget bills, however, kick in on July 1.
And, of course, it’s July 2. So it’s too late, right? It’s a done deal and these weapons are banned?
It seems there was enough backlash over how the measure was being pushed–these kinds of things aren’t uncommon, but they’re rarely noticed until it’s too late–that it didn’t go through.
However, it’s California. Expect to see a bill coming up on this one soon enough.
Yet through all of this, there’s one thing that seems to be missing. There’s no mention of these guns being used for criminal activity. Isn’t that the reason we need gun control?
In California, it’s not. At this point, they’re ready to ban guns simply for existing without their permission. It doesn’t matter that these particular weapons aren’t useful for anything except personal amusement. They’re too long to be concealable and aren’t made to be shouldered. They’re just fun for people who like to shoot semi-automatic firearms. That’s it.
But at the end of the day, it’s California, and that’s pretty much all the reason they need.