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Posted: 10/7/2004 9:51:50 PM EDT

The California Rifle & Pistol Association (CPRA) opposes most gun control laws since they do little but impose upon law abiding citizens or, worse, create a false sense that something is being done about gun violence. But particularly in California, CPRA and like minded groups also complain that overly complicated gun laws make accidental criminals out of good people who cannot figure out what the laws require. The laws catch more dogs than wolves.

It now appears that Governor Schwarzenegger understands that. Although Governor Schwarzenegger disappointed gun owners by signing a new state law banning .50 caliber single shot, bolt action rifles that have never been used in crime, his veto of several other anti-gun bills have given self defense civil rights groups hope. In one veto message the Governor noted that:

"this bill . . . provides no guidance to a person as to how to avoid criminal penalties. Such ambiguity in the law invites arbitrary enforcement and judicial review. . . . Before a government exercises its power to take away one's liberty, it should be clear to every person what actions will cause them to forfeit their freedom. Instead of adding to the lengthy and complex area of firearm laws, a reorganization of the current laws should be undertaken to ensure that statutes that impose criminal penalties are easily understandable."

To advance broader policy agendas, the gun ban lobby regularly drafts legislative proposals using ambiguous or expansive language that goes far beyond the publicized intent. The devil is hidden in the details, the result is confusion about what the law really covers. CRPA has long realized that the far reaching consequences of these proposals are not unintended. Aside from allowing gun ban lobby lawyers to argue for expansive application of the laws, confusion intimidates potential new gun owners. Perhaps this explains why gun-ban lobbyists are taught to "talk concept," not content.

California’s "assault weapon"law exemplifies this. No one knew exactly what the law covered when it passed. Even the California Department of Justice (DOJ) Firearms Division’s own agents still don’t know. Recently they went door to door confiscating certain rifles they incorrectly concluded were "assault weapons. After CRPA lawyers objected, the error was reversed by DOJ’s senior firearm lawyers. Chagrined agents returned the guns.

Usually however, a judge has to get involved. In 2000, Fresno District Attorney Ed Hunt, Mendocino District Attorney Norman Vroman, several law enforcement groups, and other plaintiffs joined together and sued the Attorney General in an unprecedented prosecutor-vs.-prosecutor lawsuit over the state’s "assault weapon" law. In the words of now former DA Hunt: "If I can’t figure out what’s illegal, how is Joe six-pack supposed to?" That litigation is still pending.

Meanwhile, thousands of unwitting citizens like Desert Hot Springs Police Officer Steven O’Connor have been victimized. O’Conner was prosecuted by his own department for possessing a rifle they mistook for a prohibited AK-47. It took ten months for the case to be dismissed, months more for him to be declared innocent by the court, and three years to get his job back.

Other gun laws create similar problems. Former Attorney General Dan Lundgren once noted that California firearm laws had become as complicated as the state’s byzantine environmental and tax laws. That was several years and several complex gun laws ago. Corporations facing complex regulations can afford full time lawyers to decipher them. Gun owners cannot.

Perhaps California Appeals Court Justice Bedsworth, writing about another gun law, said it best:

"At first blush, the statutes seem impenetrable. Reading them is hard, writing about them arduous, reading about them probably downright painful. The [complexity] makes for tough sledding. As Alfred North Whitehead wrote of rationalism, the effort is, itself, "an adventure in the clarification of thought."

With over 700 state gun laws on the books, plus administrative regulations, local ordinances, and case law, CPRA agrees with Governor Schwarzenegger that it is indeed high time to rewrite and streamline these laws.

Link Posted: 10/7/2004 11:58:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2004 11:58:43 PM EDT by operatorerror]
Do I agree that California's laws are unneccesarily complicated and poorly written? YES.

Do I think that they should be rewritten in clear, concise and understandable language? YES.

Do I think that they will be? NO.

And I also think that they will TRY to just throw out all of the laws, confiscate all of the weapons and tell us to pound sand.

Could be a slippery slope.

edited for spelling
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 7:00:39 AM EDT
Ok, first a disclaimer; I am an eternally hopeless optimist......

That being said, it's a pretty big leap for ole Arnie to make just by agreeing that the CA gun laws are too confusing, and that a major reorganization is necessary, because that in and of itself could be enough to get the gun ban lobby's panties all in a twist...

Perhaps, just perhaps, his signing of the .50 gun ban could give him enough political currency with these idiots to allow him to actually make some changes in the gun laws that would be more to our liking. He is an extremely savvy politician, had to be to survive as a Republican in Hollywood all these years. Here in CA compromise with these people is necessary, and it is possible that they can be tricked into agreeing to give us some legislation that would be beneficial to us. I'll give him a year or two and see what he's going to do....

But like I said, I AM an eternally hopeless optimist.....
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 10:05:26 AM EDT
I am not hopeful at all. It is just another opportunity for them to screw us.

If they start rewriting these laws, what are the chances that the gun grabbers will slip in things that will ban even more guns than are banned now? The answer is 100%. Gun grabbers are evil to the bone and will take any opportunity to oppress law abiding citizens. They are just drooling over a chance to "clarify" the gun laws.
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 2:59:43 PM EDT
I could see it now,
Kalifornia gun laws to confusing.
Effective immediately all guns are outlawed in Kalifornia, till we sort out are laws.
Oh yeah, the Second Amendment, that means nothing, thats a States rights issue.
Since when has our Constitution ever been a States rights issue?
Oh yea, since the liberals got in power, and wanted to ban all firearms from civilian possesion.
I can't wait till the First Ammendment is a States Right issue.
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 12:42:24 AM EDT
I sure hope CRPA knows what it's doing...
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 5:48:13 AM EDT
We're gonna get screwed!

If he's so friggin worried about the gun laws here and wants to change them, he can start by reversing the ban on .50's and then AW's. Until then he can eat shit and die! He's not your buddy, brother, friend or savior! Arnie is a friggin RINO and don't forget it! They will never change the gun laws in our favor, they will only make them WORSE!

Wake up KALIFORNIAN"S!!! They're trying to pull the wool further over your eyes!
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