Why California's Rifle Rationing Won't Do Anything

AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

Ah, the good old state of California.

If there’s a state likely to do something stupid with regard to gun control, it’s the Golden State. I mean, have they ever really met a gun control proposal they didn’t like? Sure, they don’t pass everything that gets proposed, but it’s often because they don’t think they can get away with it, not because they don’t want to do it.

Unfortunately, their latest effort which has now gone into effect is, like so many other efforts, doomed to not accomplish anything.

The law, which came into force on Thursday, aims to curb gun violence after newly released data show an increase in homicides across California in 2020. Murders increased by 31%, and in most cases murderers used guns.

The rules regarding who and how often guns can be purchased in California have changed in Senate Bill 61. According to the author SB 61 There are two important provisions.

“Currently, you can’t buy these centerfire semi-automatic rifles in California if you’re under the age of 21, which is very important,” said Senator Anthony Portantino, a Democrat in California’s 25th District. I am. “The second part of it is that for the rest of the population, you can buy only one of these a month.”

The new law comes into force on the same day that California Attorney General Rob Bonta released data on gun use in California last year. Gun use accounts for 74.2% of homicides.

And you know what? This law won’t do jack squat to reduce those homicides.

First, let’s remember that rifles are used in only a tiny fraction of criminal activities. That includes homicides. We’re talking a few hundred per year nationwide. They’re simply not a threat. Restricting how often people can buy them isn’t likely to have much of an impact beyond making it harder for law-abiding citizens who want to buy these types of rifles.

And when you consider that those homicides typically committed by people age 18-20 who were already barred from having the handgun they used to kill someone, there’s no reason to think they’ll suddenly become angels if they can’t get an AR-15.

“Oh, but what about mass shootings. This law really is a response to mass shootings throughout the nation,” someone might say.

Of course, let’s evaluate a few things about mass shooters, for a moment. First, handguns are the most common weapon for a mass shooter to use. This law won’t have any impact on those.

Second, most mass shooters who use a semi-automatic rifle in their rampage buy and use just one rifle. They might have a handgun as well, but they only use one rifle. Please tell me how limiting them to just one rifle a month will stop a mass shooting when they only want one rifle?

Lastly, we have the small minority who use multiple rifles. These people do, unfortunately, exist. However, when you look at how these killers get their weapons, they tend to accumulate them over years, not days.

In other words, no one will be stopped from a mass shooting because of this law.

So, we know it won’t stop a mass shooting. We know it won’t reduce homicides. So, what will it do?

Well, it’ll stop law-abiding citizens between the ages of 18 and 20 from buying a modern sporting rifle and it’ll stop families who discover sports like 3-gun shooting from being able to equip the whole clan. That’s about all that will happen.

Of course, this is California. It’s not like they really care about law-abiding citizens and their right to keep and bear arms. They never have and never will.

Jul 31, 2021 8:30 AM ET