Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Schwarzenegger and Gun Control

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation [on Saturday] requiring that new models of semiautomatic handguns sold in California be able to stamp identifying serial numbers on shell casings."

At first glance, this might not strike one as an assault on the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of California (what few we have left). The requirement that guns stamp serial numbers on casings, in and of itself, does not really restrict a person's ability to either "keep" or "bear" arms.

However, consider this:
Retooling the manufacturing process could add up to $200 to the price of each gun, warned Larry Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association of the firearms industry. Supporters said the identifying parts could be added for as little as $1 to $2 per gun.

“Manufacturers are not going to comply with this no matter how much they improve the technology,” said Paredes of the Gun Owners of California. “They are simply going to stop selling any new semiautomatics in the state.”

In the long run, causing the cost of new types of semiautomatics to sky-rocket is only going to keep such weapons out of the hands of law-abiding citizens in the lower income brackets - this could be seen an unreasonable state-imposed expense that clearly violates the rights of the poor and lower class to defend themselves as they choose.

But really, his law will have almost no effect on the sale of semiautomatics for decades, if ever. With 1,300 models already on the roster in California, people will still be able to buy non-stamping semiautomatics. This legislation only effects new models that will be introduced. Of course, this simply screws over gun aficionados who might want to obtain some new type of innovative handgun. In fact, it likely makes California less safe - who knows what sort of gun features might be introduced in the future that could improve handgun safety - and we here in California will be stuck with older models only, or overpriced newer models which most people will be unwilling to pay for. Manufacturers will continue to make models already on the California roster, if just for the large California market. Basically, this law does little other than stifle progress by limiting options and fair competition. A new manufacturer with an excellent product that jams/misfires less than any gun already on the market may simply turn its back on California - a loss to the California population as well as the maker.

This legislation is simply not fair to honest, law-abiding citizens who will now be forced to pay more for new types of guns because of state interference. Sure, a few collectors will be willing to pay more to obtain the new model semiautomatics they desire or feel they need. I don't see all manufacturers completely giving up on the most populous state in the nation as a potential market for their new products. But those that stay in may even have less competition if some companies do decide the new technology is not worth it. Any production costs will be placed upon the honest consumer anyway.

Semiautomatic makers currently located in the state of California will move to another state where their business practices are less controlled by big liberal government interference. Another loss of business in California from a governor who promised to woo business back to California - so much has already left thanks to over-regulation and high taxes.

Criminals will still be able to obtain non-stamping semiautomatics illegally. They will still be able to get their hands on automatic machine guns (currently they are all over the streets), which we honest citizens cannot even get. Revolvers are not covered. Nor shotguns or rifles. Given all the illegal guns out there, given all the non-stamping models which have sold and will continue to be sold, and given the ease which with this stamping can be countered (a nail file), this legislation will have absolutely no effect on either crime or clearance rates in the state. Stamping guns will eventually be stolen, and become untraceable to actual shooters. Criminals will start stealing spent shell casings from gun ranges, and sprinkling them at crime scenes. Even if you support gun control, you have to admit this law will do close to nothing. It's government interference for the sake of interfering. It's an attack on legitimate gun owners.

Despite the high crime and violence rates in California, this state has some of the harshest restrictions of our second amendment rights - Californians can "keep" (ie, own) arms easily enough, but it is nearly impossible to "bear" (ie, carry) arms outside one's home in order to defend oneself where it is most necessary. In order to seriously reduce crime, California should repeal its overly restrictive conceal and carry laws, and make it easier for law-abiding citizens to carry and defend themselves in dangerous areas outside their homes. The judicial system is failing to keep criminals off the streets, and liberal legislation and juries have seriously hindered law enforcement efforts. We need to be able to legally protect ourselves. Our right to self-defense has been restricted enough by a left-wing, totalitarian state.

I apologize for all the Ahnold posts recently, but he signed a tankload of bills this past weekend.