California's Gun-Control Resolution: An Exercise in Virtue-Signaling and Futility

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On Thursday (Sep. 14th), California became the first state to call for a Constitutional Convention of the States to add an amendment that (despite the protestations of Governor Gavin Newsom to the contrary) would effectively nullify the Second Amendment.

California lawmakers called for the convention through a resolution that advocates for adding an amendment to raise the age to buy a gun in the U.S. to 21, mandate background checks for firearms buyers, impose a waiting period for gun purchases and ban assault weapons nationwide. Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed calling for a constitutional convention on gun control in June, and worked with lawmakers to pass it through the Legislature.

Such a convention could be triggered if two-thirds of state legislatures call for one. It would be the first constitutional convention since the Constitution was adopted in 1789.

Here, I think, is one of the best reasons that this won’t happen (see the short animation of the spread of concealed-carry states):

A Constitutional Convention requires 34 states to join in a resolution before it can take place. As of last April, 26 states had laws allowing unlicensed concealed carry, or “Constitutional carry,” on their books, including right here in the Great Land. It’s unlikely in the extreme these states would join in California’s resolution. That, by itself, would put the kibosh on the California proposal. Although it would be interesting if such a Convention were called, and (as I suspect) things went 180 degrees off of what Governor Newsom and the California Legislature had in mind.

The fact is that this is futility and virtue-signaling of the first water. While members of the California Legislature are fond of posting heart-wrenching photos of crime victims, all of whom were injured or killed by armed criminals – remember that – there is no mention of the fact that no amount of law will prevent criminals from arming themselves; nor do they mention the many times each year legally-armed citizens prevent crimes. My colleague Jeff Charles has amassed an impressive catalog of such events; here are a few samples:

Home Intruder Learns the Hard Way After Armed 13-Year-Old Steps up to Defend His Family

Armed Florida Citizen Stopping Assailant Shows Why ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Are Critical

An Armed Chicago Homeowner Shoots Intruder, Highlighting the Urgency of Gun Ownership in the Windy City

‘I Didn’t Want to Kill Him’: Armed Homeowner Describes Harrowing Decision During Home Invasion

There are many thousands, likely millions, of these events every year. And “Ay, there’s the rub,” as this amendment, like every proposed gun control action, would only affect people like those described by Jeff Charles; laws like this have never and never will have any effect on criminals except to provide them with a safer working environment. When it comes to dealing with violent criminals, the approach defined by Colonel Cooper works much better:

One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure – and in some cases I have – that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.

There are many problems with this proposal, including the arbitrary raising of the age of gun purchases to 21, which flies in the face of the principle of equal treatment under the law (yes, the current federal statute holding that age as a requirement for handgun purchases does as well). But note that this is another attempt to impose an “assault weapons” ban, but the term is not defined; the proposal states (copied verbatim with strikeouts and emphasis in the original):

a prohibition on the private possession sale, loan, or transfer of assault weapons and other weapons of war; war to private civilians

The resolution, amazingly, doesn’t even attempt to define what an “assault weapon” is.

While “assault weapon” usually involves some vague description of a “semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine,” it always seems to be focused on scary-looking “weapons of war” that are functionally identical to, say, a Winchester 100 or a Remington 7400, save that those weapons fire a far more powerful cartridge than the 5.56mm round commonly used in the AR-15 platform, and they are not black and scary-looking.

This resolution, of course, is going nowhere. Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature have to know it’s going nowhere. This is pure grandstanding. Newsom likes it because it appeals to the “progressive” left and bolsters his eventual presidential run (and he may not be doing this in 2024, but make no mistake, he has his eye on the White House). The Legislature is deflecting attention away from its own failures; California is broke, and crime rates are rising not due to a lack of gun control but due to a lack of law enforcement and the ongoing collapse of the major cities.

I was able to uncover a video of some of the California Legislature’s staff discussing the issue:

You can read the entire text of the resolution here.

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