Gas, Guns, and Government Lunacy

“Sacramento police want your guns in exchange for gas money,” says a May 6 Sacramento Bee headline. The department asks residents to give away their firearms, which the Second Amendment authorizes them to keep and bear, for a $50 gas gift card that would not even provide a fill-up for many vehicles. 

The department claims it will not ask any questions or demand identification, but it is unlikely that any criminals will be handing over firearms. Criminals do not follow gun laws, and criminals, not guns, commit crimes. 

“Research has shown that past gun exchanges have helped reduce the risk of gun violence among some,” the Bee claims, “according to a 1993 study done in Sacramento.” That might strike readers as a bit vague. In California, the report says, “about every 1 in 4 adults live in a gun-owning home, according to research from UC Davis.” 

That is a possible reference to the UC Davis Firearms Violence Research Center, lavishly funded by the state government but not, strictly speaking, an organ of UC Davis. The Center’s first project was a survey of “who owns guns, why they own them and how they use firearms.” The Center wants “the names,” and Californians should find that troubling.

In Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State,” author Stephen P. Halbrook shows how National Socialist Germany wanted to know “who owns guns” and ruthlessly suppressed firearm ownership by disfavored groups. As Halbrook shows, the Nazis used the records of the Weimar Republic, which also suppressed ownership and use of firearms. Meanwhile, a gun “buyback” is not the only government scheme for high gasoline prices.

“Governor Newsom Proposes $11 Billion Relief Package for Californians Facing Higher Gas Prices,” proclaims March 23 statement from the governor’s office. The higher gas prices are “a direct result of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” so registered vehicle owners will be eligible for “at least $400 per vehicle.” The package will include “inflationary adjustment on gas and diesel excise tax.” Embattled Californians might have a problem here.

The higher gas prices are more to do with the Biden administration’s cancelation of pipeline projects and restrictions on drilling, which affect the supply of gasoline. For a problem of its own making, the government proposes giving back money it has already taken from the people. Legislators also failed to act in time to undo the gasoline and diesel excise tax hike. 

Californians will not get the promised “gas tax holiday,” and on July 1, prices will surge even higher. If Californians thought that was what the government wanted, it would be hard to blame them. Happy Independence Day weekend everybody. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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