You don’t have to be a Second Amendment champion to find fault with California’s latest crackdown on lawful gun owners. Heck, you don’t even have to be a gun owner to see the flaws inherent in SB 2, which is scheduled to take effect on Monday. Columnist Marek Warszawski, who writes for the Fresno Bee, says he’s generally in favor of more restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, but even he takes issue with the new mandates that could be enforced in just a few days. At a time when anti-gun politicians like Kamala Harris regularly claim to support the Second Amendment before advocating for all manner of new gun laws, it’s somewhat refreshing to see a gun control fan who’s actually found a gun law that he believes goes too far.
I think assault rifles with high-capacity magazines should be banned and possession of untraceable firearms prohibited. I support lengthening the waiting period to purchase guns, tightening background checks and cracking down on illicit gun shows.
Clearly, this is not the perspective of a gun enthusiast or rights advocate. Those who offer the same lame excuses or condolences every time this country endures another mass shooting absolutely disgust me.
I’m also not a constitutional scholar. My knowledge of the document that outlines our “more perfect union” and all the legal interpretations that have followed doesn’t exceed 12th grade civics.
Still, it’s logical to think that had our founding fathers foreseen automatic weapons with armor-piercing bullets, they would have written the Second Amendment with a little more specificity.
Carrying all of those biases and beliefs, I was surprised by my reaction to Bee reporter Jim Guy’s recent story about a new state law that tightens restrictions on concealed carry permits. Specifically, the part where permit-holders would be prohibited from carrying handguns into “sensitive places” including banks, public parks, school grounds, churches, bars, liquor stores and the vast majority of restaurants and supermarkets.
What? My liberal brain, the same one packed with gun-control biases, slammed the brakes so hard it left mental skid marks.
The immediate thought: There’s no way that’s constitutional.
Followed shortly by: Why are policymakers wasting our time by passing laws that will surely get struck down in court?
You could ask that same question about the laws that Warszawski does find acceptable, especially in light of U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez’s rulings that California’s ban on so-called assault weapons and “large capacity” magazines are a violation of the Second Amendment, but there’s no need to relitigate those arguments here. What’s fascinating to me is that Warszawski clearly doesn’t think much about our right to keep and bear arms, but even he realizes that SB 2’s provisions violate whatever his limited version of the Second Amendment protects.
As a Fresno County resident, the knowledge that I’m living among 18,000 people licensed by the Fresno County sheriff to carry concealed handguns doesn’t make me feel any safer.
But if carrying makes those 18,000 people feel safer, that’s their constitutionally protected right. Has been since 1778.
Does this country have a gun problem? Absolutely. However, the problem is how easily guns with no real purpose except killing human beings wind up in the hands of criminals or the mentally unstable. That’s why we have so many mass shootings.
The problem is not law-abiding citizens that pay for permits to carry holstered handguns, submit to the necessary background checks and attend classes. During which attendees get the legal consequences, both the criminal and civil type, drilled into their heads of using their guns in non-lethal situations.
I’m not sure where Warszawski gets 1778 from, but our right to keep and bear arms predates both the Second Amendment’s ratification in 1791 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The right of the people to keep and bear arms existed in English common law long before the 13 colonies ever became the United States, and the Second Amendment was meant to protect an existing right rather than create one out of thin air.
Warszawski is on more solid footing in his belief that law-abiding citizens aren’t driving crime in California, though I’d love to hear his thoughts on some of the ridiculous training requirements that the state puts in place. The “gun-free zones” created by SB 2 are far from the only issue with the new law, and I wonder what he thinks about some jurisdictions imposing mandatory psychological screenings before exercising a civil right or charging four-figure fees to apply for permission to bear arms in self-defense.
I’m sure that there are far more areas of disagreement between Warzawski and myself than common ground, but to me that makes his objections to SB 2 all the more notable. By his own admission, the columnist is no fan of gun ownership or a stalwart defender of the Second Amendment, but even he realizes that SB 2 is going to have a much bigger impact on lawful gun owners than violent criminals. I’m glad to see him speaking out against these new restrictions, and I encourage him to do some deeper thinking about those gun control laws he does support, because the same objections he raises to the crackdown on concealed carry apply to many of the state’s other infringements on our right to keep and bear arms.