California Lawmakers Go Soft On Criminals, Target Gun Owners Instead

(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

California has a reputation as being the most anti-gun state in the nation and for very good reason. The environment for owning firearms in California is more hostile to gun owners than pretty much anywhere else. It’s awful. Law-abiding citizens are routinely treated like they’re criminals or potential criminals.

Meanwhile, it seems California is treating criminals better than law-abiding gun owners.

A frustrating aspect of the modern gun control movement is its seeming abandonment of reason. The same anti-gun politicians that attack the rights of law-abiding gun owners will advocate for more lenient treatment of those who misuse firearms to commit violent crime.

Consider California’s Assembly Bill 1509, which would alter the state’s scheme of sentence enhancements for serious crimes committed with firearms. The legislative counsel’s digest summarized the changes as follows:

Existing law imposes a sentence enhancement in the state prison of 10 years for personally using a firearm in the commission of specified felonies, 20 years for personally and intentionally discharging a firearm in the commission of those felonies, and 25 years to life for personally and intentionally discharging a firearm and causing great bodily injury or death to any other person during the commission of those felonies.

This bill would reduce those enhancements to 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively.

Existing law imposes a sentence enhancement of 5, 6, or 10 years in the state prison for, with intent to inflict great bodily injury or death, discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony and inflicting great bodily injury or death in the commission of a felony.

This bill would reduce that enhancement to 1, 2, or 3 years in the state prison.

AB1509 was authored by Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-25). The bill was coauthored by Assemblymembers Wendy Carrillo (D-51), Ash Kalra (D-27), Mark Stone (D-29), and Senator Scott Wiener (D-11).

Assemblywoman Carrillo has been a vocal proponent of further restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. On May 17, 2018, Carrillo spoke at a gun control rally in Sacramento, put on, in part, by the Brady Campaign. The lawmaker took to Twitter on February 5, 2019 to boast of meeting Gabrielle Giffords of the eponymous Giffords gun control organization, adding, “California has enacted strict gun laws that can lead the way to a national conversation. We need action. #GunReformNow.”

Now, it’s interesting that at the same time they’re calling for additional gun control throughout the nation, they’re working toward tossing the enhancements the state has for the criminal misuse of a firearm.

One would think that if guns were such an unmitigated evil, they’d support these enhancements.

Granted, I think they’re kind of stupid. Do you somehow feel better that you were stabbed rather than shot? The crime is the crime, regardless of the weapon used. However, these elected officials have never indicated similar feelings. After all, anti-gun rhetoric usually revolves around the idea that guns are evil and that we’d be much better without them, regardless of any facts that suggest criminals will keep being criminals and simply using different weapons to inflict harm on law-abiding citizens.

So what does this mean?

Well, it sure as hell looks like their opposition to guns has nothing to do with a belief that guns are bad and everything to do with the fact that law-abiding citizens might shoot criminals. After all, this effort to remove these enhancements is about empowering criminals to use firearms. By empowering the bad guys while trying to inhibit the good guys, it becomes pretty hard to dismiss the possibility that this is about making life easier for criminals.

I’m quite sure that none of these lawmakers would cop to such a thing, but if you judge by their words and actions, it sure looks like the only real beneficiary of their policy positions are the bad guys.

In other words, it’s not the guns they oppose, it’s just anything that makes it harder on criminals.