Hacks gonna hack and autocrats gonna wield the levers of power, particularly during a national emergency. Americans — Californians included — have been buying millions of firearms since the pandemic started to affect the United States. A majority of the buyers seem to be first-time gun owners.
Gun retailers saw record gun sales levels last month and from the stores we’ve spoken to, the pace hasn’t slowed down much in April. The current crisis has proved to be a boon to petty authoritarians, particularly when it comes to law-abiding citizens trying to arm themselves.
Case in point: California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago. He’s taken note of the gun buying surge. Despite California jails opening their doors, letting out even violent offenders including those charged with “violent crimes, weapons offenses, and other serious felonies, Santiago wrote a letter pleading for Governor Gavin Newsom to wield his executive power to shutter the state’s gun retailers.
Public safety, he says, trumps personal safety and the individual right to keep and bear arms. Santiago notes that over 22,000 guns are in the hands of prohibited persons, yet he wants to ensure that law-abiding citizens can’t defend themselves with the best tool for the job.
As the distinguished Assemblyman wrote . . .
Adding more firearms to our current state of affairs perpetuates the cycle of public panic and impulsive action. An increased population of firearms in our state not only poses a greater risk to children and families who are largely confined to their homes, but also to our communities facing racially motivated or otherwise targeted hate. The people of California are grappling with a new reality brought on by COVID19 and we have a responsibility to respond to our state’s need for confidence and certainty. By suspending firearm and ammunition sales and arming Californians with strong safeguards on public health and safety reinforced by state peace officers, we can mitigate undue risks to our public.
Here’s the full letter: