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Santa Maria Sun / Commentary

The following article was posted on August 3rd, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 23, Issue 23

Trust is the issue when it comes to legislating weapons and the right to bear arms

By JOHN DONEGAN

Why won’t conservatives agree to what you anti-gun liberals see as “common sense” gun restrictions? In a word: trust.

Some of the proposals aren’t that bad, but with your visceral loathing of all guns and gun owners, and your insistence on blaming gun violence on everything but the shooter, we don’t trust you to act rationally and honestly on the subject. You still wouldn’t be satisfied if we acquiesced to your demands. Your party is controlled by anti-gun extremists, and the claims that you are not interested in banning all guns are unconvincing.

June was a busy month in the gun-control battle. The U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision striking down New York’s law for issuing concealed-carry permits, and then Congress passed legislation regulating firearms. 

Despite the florid hyperbole of Democrats, the Supreme Court ruling will make little functional difference. It merely holds that New York may not act arbitrarily in denying permit applications. This is already the law applied in 41 states, with only nine states (including California) allowing authorities complete discretion as to who will be granted a permit. Gun crimes by those with with permits are rare.

You may be surprised to learn that many of us conservatives are not all that upset about the new legislation. Banning “straw man” purchases and closing the “boyfriend loophole” are fine with me. Extending background checks into juvenile criminal and mental health records is a good idea. Extending the waiting period from three to 10 days is a nuisance but not the end of the world. The funding of mental health programs seems like just another instance of ineffectual and wasteful Democratic spending just for the fun of it, but what’s new about that?

“Red flag” laws, taking guns away from the dangerously insane, can be either good or bad, depending upon how they are implemented. The devil is in the details. It is pretty easy to see how these could be abused and used maliciously by an estranged spouse, feuding neighbor, or a workplace rival. A gun owner might be unjustifiably forced into years of a Kafkaesque struggle to recover his guns from a bureaucracy ideologically inclined to oppose him, merely upon an unsupported allegation. Any “red flag” seizure should be supported by evidence of actual conduct, like serious threats, assaultive behavior, or mental health commitment; be proven by credible sources; and allow for immediate and independent judicial review without cost or the requirement of an attorney. Criminal penalties should be applied for misuse of the process.

Many other proposals are problematic. For example, requiring a high-tech device to limit the use of a gun to only the owner? I suggest that you visualize needing a gun during a home break-in and being put on hold by tech support.

A ban on what you call “assault rifles” would only be cosmetic, as these function just like other rifles long used for hunting or target shooting, and other guns are just as deadly. Truly automatic assault rifles have been illegal for the last 100 years or so. You’re just emotionally reacting to the scary military look and image of the gun. The Uvalde, Texas, shooter would have killed as many people with a typical handgun. It never makes sense to allow people who do not understand a subject to regulate it.

Even if all those regulations were enacted, you would still not be satisfied.  The carnage in Chicago, Los Angles, Baltimore, and elsewhere would continue unabated using the illegally possessed guns already in existence, and each new atrocity would move you to demand that even more onerous restrictions be imposed upon the law-abiding gun owner. And, even if the entire country banned all guns, seeing the ease with which massive amounts of fentanyl and immigrants illegally enter our borders, it is easy to see a lot of guns being smuggled in to satisfy criminal demand.  

The recent revelation that the California Department of Justice, headed by a Democratic attorney general, released the personal information of thousands of concealed-carry permit holders has done nothing to increase our trust. Whether this was intentional or merely negligent, it is hard to see giving even more power to untrustworthy authorities. 

We are frustrated by the refusal of anti-gun liberals to confront the true cause of gun violence: the shooters. Liberals refuse to effectively enforce laws already in place, yet demand even more laws. Far more people are killed each year in “catch and release” Chicago alone, including children, than die in the more spectacular mass shootings. Liberals refuse to acknowledge the greater carnage because it would require questioning their bizarre criminal justice agenda and their distaste for imprisoning criminals.  

If you want to end the current impasse, you’ll need to first abandon your efforts to ban all guns and learn to deal rationally and honestly with the issue. But I doubt that you are capable of that.

John Donegan is a retired attorney in Pismo Beach who says he’ll stop writing when you pry the keyboard out of his cold, dead hands. Send a response for publication to letters@santamariasun.com.










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