AB 7 – Another Long Gun Prohibition and Camel’s Nose Under the Tent
When California Governor Jerry Brown cited the importance of “local control” as a reason for vetoing one of the worst anti-gun bills to reach his desk last month, he got a decent head nod from California’s gun retailers. SB 464 would have mandated absurd security requirements on gun stores and Brown’s veto message said “This bill would require additional security enhancements on the premises of all licensed firearms dealers in California. State law already requires that firearms dealers enact security measures to avoid theft. Local jurisdictions can-and have-gone further by adding additional specific requirements. I believe local authorities are in the best position to determine what, if any additional measures are needed in their jurisdictions.”
If anything, Governor Brown is consistent in his inconsistency. Why, then, does he not subscribe to the same philosophy on what “local authorities” can and should do with other gun bills?
Take AB 7 for example. Signed by the Governor just weeks ago, this is a perfect example of a solution in search of a problem.
The open-carry ban was established by AB 1527 (2012) and AB 144 (2011). The ban on the open-carry of long guns did not, however, apply to unincorporated areas, which meant that it was A-OK to open carry an unloaded, legally registered, pre-2016 assault weapon in those (the majority of which are rural) areas in the state. But, as with a good many problems in the Golden State, the particular “problem” of open carry sprang from the urban center of Los Angeles. There are actually several unincorporated islands within city boundaries that include the high-crime areas of Compton, East Los Angeles and West Carson, and the idea that someone could open carry a shotgun in those places didn’t sit well with the Los Angeles County Sheriff. Thus, Assemblyman Mike Gipson stepped in with AB 7, deciding it was best to implement a “one size fits all” policy and ban open carry of all long guns statewide. In a move that some thought was conciliatory to those of us in the pro-gun crowd, the bill gives county supervisors the authority to permit open carry in unincorporated areas of their respective counties. With so many rural regions in California, the law would have been far more acceptable had they allowed individual counties to ban open carry in unincorporated areas that were totally surrounded by incorporated areas. In other words, an “opt in” provision rather than a statewide “opt out.” (It’s important to note that the single exemption pertains to the lawful act of hunting).
Assemblyman Gipson is a resident of Carson, and his primary concern stems from problems in his own back yard. He states, “Since 2012, it has been legal to open-carry long guns in Compton, East Los Angeles, and other parts of California that are unincorporated. While the concealed-carry of firearms is permissible with the approval of the county sheriff, the open-carry of firearms presents a tremendous problem for law enforcement that is unable to distinguish a potential active shooter situation from a law-abiding citizen. Additionally, the public can be easily confused and intimidated by non-law enforcement openly carrying firearms.”
Without question, we disagree with this assessment, and aside from the fact that the prohibition on open carry is a violation of the 2nd Amendment, this proposal makes the unfortunate assumption that law abiding individuals – who are fully complying with the law – are somehow guilty of provoking fear and confusion. GOC has confidence in our law enforcement being able to differentiate between an “active shooter” situation and someone lawfully carrying a shotgun or rifle. And, although the author cites concerns with the urban unincorporated areas of the state, AB 7 will have a serious impact on many rural counties in California. Consider this: In Los Angeles County alone, more than 65 percent of the County – 2,630 square miles – is unincorporated. The enormity of these regions in the Golden State are just that: enormous.
To be honest, this certainly isn’t the worst anti-gun bill to be signed by the Governor in recent years, and it pales in comparison to the damage that could have been done to the gun-owning community had he signed SB 464. That being said, though – this is yet another camel sticking its nasty little nose under the tent of the 2nd Amendment. GOC is well aware how very adept the lefties are at incrementally sneaking their way into our camp and chipping away at our freedoms. AB 7 is just one more unnecessary maneuver, and Governor Brown – if anything – should have let the locals decide, rather than blanketing the entire state with another ridiculous restriction.
Stay armed – and informed with GOC.