We all know how the state of California feels about guns. It has to be pretty bad for the legislature to reject a bill that seeks to restrict firearm ownership in the state.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is just as anti-Second Amendment as most Democrats in the state, a fact made clear by his push for a constitutional convention to pass gun control–a laughable position as there is considering an amendment would be far more difficult than the simple regulations lawmakers have failed to pass for decades.
But you know something is wonky when a columnist who favors gun control thinks the state screwed up with its latest effort.
My No. 1 example of a bad miss was the bill the Legislature passed to impose a new 11% state excise tax on firearm and ammunition sales. Again, the ruling Democrats’ answer to a problem was to raise taxes rather than prioritize spending.
Gov. Gavin Newsom hasn’t indicated how he feels about that tax. Gun control groups are trying to pressure him into signing the measure. They’re worried he might veto it. He should.
A legislative bull’s-eye was a bill to resume restrictions on when concealed weapons can be carried in public. The U.S. Supreme Court essentially tossed out the old law last year.
The proposed new regulation makes much sense: We shouldn’t allow just anyone to cart around loaded guns everywhere — in bars, in city halls, on playgrounds.
“You don’t need a gun to go to your daughter’s soccer game,” says state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank), author of Senate Bill 2. “You need a water bottle and orange slices.”
I’m including this so you know that the author isn’t exactly a Bearing Arms reader. He clearly thinks gun control, at least to some degree, is a good idea.
But that doesn’t mean he agrees with what the legislature did regarding the new tax on guns.
All Californians benefit from these programs — not just law-abiding hunters, skeet shooters and people worried about their own security. And all Californians should pay for them out of the state general fund.
This year’s state budget is a record $311 billion. Surely there’s enough money in the treasury to pay for such worthwhile efforts.
In fact, the governor’s office recently bragged that “last year, Gov. Newsom [invested] a record $156 million … in anti-violence programs uniquely suited to individual community needs.” He did it without raising taxes.
But if the Legislature and governor decide that more tax revenue is needed to enhance those programs, then they should hit up everyone — not just gun owners. It’s doubtful many criminals buy their weapons at gun stores anyway, so they wouldn’t be paying the tax.
No, they generally don’t buy them at gun stores.
And he’s right about the fact that there’s money in the general fund to pay for these measures and that all Californians will benefit from them.
But what I think columnist George Skelton misses is that I don’t think it’s just about funding violence prevention programs. If it were, that would be one thing, but this is a tax designed to make guns and ammunition more difficult to obtain. An 11 percent tax is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you consider all the other taxes imposed on guns and ammunition.
There is an entire school of thought out there that suggests that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens somehow contribute to crime. They want to reduce the number of firearms in private hands. This tax seeks to do pretty much that.
Skelton didn’t just take issue with the tax, though. Another measure he called a big miss was the constitutional convention effort. He correctly acknowledges that once a convention is called for, literally anything can come out of it, including a lot of things many Californians would rather not see ratified as amendments.
Especially since it’s unlikely to result in any kind of gun control amendment in the first place.