A Disarming New Governor Greets a More Dangerous State

Hours after Ian David Long murdered 12 people in Thousand Oaks last week, California governor-elect Gavin Newsom pledged to “raise the bar” on gun control when he takes office in January. Outgoing governor Jerry Brown had vetoed “a number of things that I would have not vetoed,” Newsom told reporters. He offered no specifics, but some clues are at hand.

Shooter Ian Long was “deeply troubled,” but “not prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms,” writes Garen Wintemute of the Baker-Teret Chair in Violence Prevention at the University of California, Davis. Wintemute wants to extend prohibition on gun purchases to include misdemeanors such as assault and battery. He also wants to recover firearms from “persons who purchased them legally, but then became prohibited from owning them,” but it may go farther.

Wintemute also heads the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center, created in 2016, and funded with a five-year grant of $5 million from Governor Brown’s budget package. The Center’s first project was “a survey that looks at who owns guns, why they own them and how they use firearms.” So the Center, allegedly driven by data, not a policy agenda, wants “the names” of gun owners. As Stephen P. Halbrook showed in Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State,” the German National Socialists also wanted to know “who owns guns” and ruthlessly suppressed firearm ownership.

In 2016, Jerry Brown signed bills mandating background checks to purchase ammunition and restrictions on the loaning of guns, even to close family members. Look for Gavin Newsom to “raise the bar” on all that while leaving in place new incentives for criminals.

On January 1, 2019, Senate Bill 1391 takes effect. Under this measure, signed by Brown on September 30, any person age 14 to 18 could murder 12 people, face prosecution only in juvenile court “without weighing of factors,” as Yolo County Judge Samuel McAdam notes, and by law serve only until age 25. Under this law, California will be decidedly more dangerous. Under governor Gavin Newsom, law abiding citizens will be less able to defend themselves against violent criminals.

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K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.

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