I’m tired of media outlets reporting on gun control legislation without linking to the proposed law. Do jobbing journos figure that their readers are too stupid to read the laws created by their elected officials that will govern their lives? Or do they still labor under the illusion that they, college-educated scribes, are the filter through which all information must pass, lest an ignorant populace come to the wrong conclusions about the world around them? Get off my digital lawn! Here’s the official summary of AB 1810. Color commentary after you decided for yourself what’s what.
Existing law generally regulates the transfer of firearms and provides for retaining specified information regarding firearm transfers by the Department of Justice. Existing law establishes different requirements regarding reportable information regarding handguns versus firearms that are not handguns. This bill would conform those provisions so that the transfers and information reporting and retention requirements for handguns and firearms other than handguns are the same.
Existing law, subject to exceptions, prohibits peace officers, Department of Justice employees, and the Attorney General from retaining or compiling certain information relating to transactions regarding firearms that are not handguns, as specified. Violation of these provisions is a misdemeanor.
This bill would provide that those provisions become inoperative on July 1, 2012, and thereafter would require compilation and retention of the information, as specified. Existing law requires a personal handgun importer to report certain information relative to bringing a handgun into the state, as specified. Violation of these provisions is a misdemeanor.
This bill would, commencing July 1, 2012, recast personal handgun importer to be personal firearm importer, as defined, and would expand the reporting requirements to apply to the importation of firearms that are not handguns. By expanding these provisions, the violation of which is a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Under existing law, the Department of Justice requires firearms dealers to keep a register or record of electronic or telephonic transfers of information pertaining to firearms transactions, as specified. Existing law exempts from these requirements certain transactions involving firearms that are not handguns. This bill would provide that those exemptions become inoperative on July 1, 2012.
Context: under existing federal law, the federal government is specifically prohibited from using the mandatory FBI criminal background check on firearms purchasers (a.k.a. NICS check) to create “any system of registration of firearms or firearm owners.” The information must be destroyed within 24 hours.
The intent of that law has already been well and truly subverted. The feds require all Federal Firearm License (FFL) dealers to keep a full and accurate record of all transactions involving all firearms. Uncle Sam’s ATF agents can show up at an FFL dealer unannounced and obtain those records without probably cause or a warrant. What’s more, the feds are currently computerizing these records for easy access.
Meanwhile, under California law, both the purchaser of a handgun and the gun itself must be registered by the state, with the information retained into perpetuity. This new bill seeks to extend the requirement to long guns (shotguns and rifles). It passed the California Assembly yesterday on a 43-10 vote (no Republicans in favor). The bill now heads to the Senate and then to the Governator, who, again, has not stated his position on a major piece of gun control legislation.
Ironically enough (or not, as the case may be), the move comes at the exact same time as Canada is considering ditching its long gun registry. Opponents consider the Registry intrusive, expensive, unworkable and ineffective. Canada has an extremely tough licensing process for all firearms. The fact that the system is under assault at all speaks volumes about its practical (rather than political) desirability.
At a time when California is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, heading in the opposite direction to our neighbors to the north on expensive gun control measures makes no sense at all. Even if you discount the California law’s needlessly invasive nature, and the potential not-to-say-partially-paranoid prospect that the registry could pose a threat to Americans’ second amendment right to bear arms.