thefederalist.com reports that California’s just-passed Proposition 47 requires that police who catch perps with a stolen firearm (value under $950, not an NFA item) must charge them with a misdemeanor. Not a felony. Provided no other crimes have been committed, the cops can’t arrest the ballistic miscreants. They can only issue them a ticket and a summons to appear in court. And bad guys who’ve been convicted of what used to be a felony can petition the court to have their charge reduced and ta-da! their gun rights restored. I know what you’re thinking. BS. No way. Way! A post-mid-election press release posted on the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page spells it out in black and white (relevant bit bolded) . . .
PRESS RELEASE: THE PASSAGE OF PROPOSITION 47
Effective immediately, the passage of Proposition 47 will have the following effects on the custody and policing practices of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department:
1. In most instances, many crimes that were previously “arrestable” as a felony will now only be “citable” as a misdemeanor. That means they may not be booked into jail but rather given a citation (similar to a traffic ticket) with a court date to appear, and released in the field. They will not be held pending trial. Such felony crimes that are now misdemeanors include:
• Commercial burglary (theft under $950)
• Forgery and bad checks (under $950 value)
• Theft of most firearms
• Theft of a vehicle (under $950 value)
• Possession of stolen property (under $950 value)
• Possession of heroin, cocaine, illegal prescriptions, concentrated cannabis, and methamphetamine
2. Inmates awaiting trial on any of the above felony charges in most instances will be able to have their charges immediately reduced to the new misdemeanor level, and will be let out of jail on a citation. A determination as to each person’s eligibility is somewhat time consuming, but could result in up to 420 releases.
3. Inmates who are sentenced on the above felonies can petition the court for reduction of their felony convictions to misdemeanors and many of them would be also be eligible for immediate release.
4. Convicted felons with the above felonies in their history can petition the court to have their prior felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors. If successful, many of the prohibitions they faced would then be reinstated, such as the right to vote, the right to purchase a handgun, the ability to apply as a peace officer, etc.
So the state with the country’s most draconian gun laws – including a Gun Violence Restraining Order that makes a mockery of due process – is reducing the penalty for possessing a stolen firearm. As thefederalist.com points out, “In one fell swoop, California voters just made it a whole lot easier for criminals to commit gun crimes.” Makes perfect sense to me. Not.