The gun control line California won't cross

Seth Wenig

Whenever I see a gun control bill introduced in California, my natural assumption is that it’s going to pass. I’ve long said that California has yet to meet an anti-Second Amendment bill they didn’t like, and historically, that’s sure seemed to be the case.

However, it seems there’s a line when it comes to guns that even California is unprepared to cross.

Even in California, home to some of the nation’s strictest firearms laws, a bill requiring parents to tell school officials if they keep guns in the house went too far to move ahead in the Legislature.

It failed Wednesday in its first committee vote after facing opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union and National Rifle Association, two groups rarely on the same page, as well as two organizations representing rank-and-file law enforcement officers.

It died even after Democratic Sen. Anthony Portantino promised to drastically amend his bill if it survived a committee vote. He and supporters said it could help prevent mass shootings and other firearms tragedies, but only two of seven members of the panel voted for it.

“Those go so far beyond my core beliefs in civil liberties that I just can’t associate an ‘aye’ vote,” said Sen. Dave Cortese, a fellow Democrat who has pushed for many criminal justice reforms.

Senate Education Committee’s Democratic Chairwoman Connie Leyva also opposed the measure.

“I believe a better approach is by addressing student mental health,” Leyva said. “This is an important issue, a critically important issue, but this bill is not the answer.”

I’m not going to lie, I’m actually surprised that this didn’t just die, but was voted down in committee.

Of course, I actually agree with both Cortese and Leyva here. This does go beyond what most would term as their core beliefs in civil liberties and yes, student mental health is probably far more important.

Besides, just knowing a family has a gun at home wouldn’t somehow reduce the probability of a mass shooting. What were they thinking, that schools would really only pay attention to those students?

If so, that should be a red flag all on its own.

While I’m surprised by this bill being voted down, I can’t help but wonder just why that is. Sure, part of it is that for some lawmakers this is a privacy concern as opposed to a gun rights issue, but is that all of it?

We’ve seen a number of polls lately that tell us people aren’t interested in new gun control. We’ve seen millions upon millions of new gun buyers each and every month for the last couple of years as well, and we know that gun owners tend to become gun voters.

California lawmakers have seen these polls as well, I’m sure.

Is this really just a line too far for California or are lawmakers concerned that support for gun control is waning even in their state?

Honestly, I’m inclined to think this just went too far, but we’ll have to see what else happens in the Golden State to see if there’s more to it.

Either way, when the ACLU and the NRA agree on a bill, it’s probably a good idea to take a step back and recognize that maybe you’re screwing up by the numbers.