Thursday, April 28, 2005

SB 357

Once again the California Legislature proves that collectively they don't have the brains that the good Lord gave the common gnat.

Senator Joe Dunn (D - Garden Grove) and Senator Don Perata (D - East Bay) have authored bill SB 357. This bill and sponsored by Attorney General Bill Lockyer requires:

  • Requires all handgun ammunition manufactured or sold in California to be marked with a unique identifier.
  • The identifier would then be associated with the purchaser of the handgun ammunition at the point of sale and maintained in an electronic database run by the Attorney General's Office.
  • Requires all vendors and manufacturers who conduct handgun ammunition sales in the state to register with the Attorney General's Office.
  • Assesses vendor and end-user fees to pay for the costs of the program.
  • Creates criminal and civil penalties for individuals and corporations who circumvent the requirements of SB 357.

Well Congratulations Gentlemen you have produced one more piece of useless legislation that will do absolutely nothing to deter crime in the state of California. Instead this bill is more likely to increase crime in California.

This bill states that "all handgun ammunition manufactured or sold in California to be marked with a unique identifier". What about the CRIMINALS who will buy ammunition out of state and carry it into California? How about the CRIMINALs who melt down tire weights and cast thier own bullits to use when killing people? How about the CRIMINALS who will just steal someone else's ammo and use it to commit crimes? How about the CRIMINALS who will steal someone else's ID and use it to buy ammo? Getting the picture yet? This bill will not stop CRIMINALS from committing murder.

Hypethetical scenario:

I'm vacationing in New Mexico and I stop into Joe's Bait and Tackle shop and buy a twelve pack of Bud, a bag of chips, some beef jerky, a dozen nightcrawlers and a couple boxes of 22 shorts (for shooting the empty Bud cans with the 22 I borrowed from my nephew). On my way home the next week I stop in Barstow to have a flat tire fixed. Then I grab some lunch before hitting the road for home. While having lunch someone breaks into my car and steals my beef jerky, my drivers licence and the handfull of leftover 22 shorts.

Unbeknowst to me, the tire guy, after rebalancing my tires had taken the old balance weights that weren't good any more melted them down to make bullets that he reloads himself, and later took to the gun range. While there someone steals some of his bullets. Later down in Garden Groove (Senator Joe Dunn's district) my drivers licence is used to buy a box of 45 cartridges. Then my stolen 22 shorts are used to shoot a 13 year old kid in order to steal his Nikes. The bullets made from my lead balance weights are used to kill a liquor store owner. The 45s are used to gun down a police officer. Who is the CRIMINAL here?

Joe? Because he sold unmarked ammo to a California resident?
Me? Because I was went on vacation and shot a few beer cans?
Me? Because I didn't leave my leftover 22 shorts in New Mexico?
Me? Because I had a flat tire in Barstow?
Me? Because I let my drivers licence and ammo get stolen?
The tire guy? Who melted down my tire weights to make bullets?
The tire guy? Who likes to reload his own ammo for shooting at a gun range?
The store owner in Garden Groove who sold 45s to the guy with my drivers licence?
The kid who was stupid enough to wear shoes someone else wanted to steal?
The police officer who didn't duck when the serialized 45s came flying his way?
The CRIMINAL who stole my stuff?
The CRIMINAL who bought 45s with a stolen ID?
The CRIMINAL who stole hand reloaded bullets from a tire guy in Barstow?
The CRIMINAL who shot a kid over a pair of shoes?
The CRIMINAL who shot a store owner for a six pack and $42?
The CRIMINAL who shot a police officer?

Senators Dunn and Perata apparently think that in order to prevent this situation from happening you have to find a way to legislate the behaviour of Joe, Me, the tire guy, the kid with the Nikes, the liquor store owner and the cop. They just don't seem to understand that the cause of those three deaths were the CRIMINALS!!!!!!

Not the storeowners, the honest guy on vacation, the helpless kid or the cop. The honest citizens didn't commit these crimes, the guns didn't commit the crimes, the bullets didn't commit the crimes, the CRIMINALS committed these crimes.

Obviously this is a completely fictious scenario. Afterall, where in the world are the CRIMINALS going to get a bald old fat guy that looks like me to use my drivers licence to buy bullets?

So in my scenario above, how did SB 357 make solving these crimes any easier? The 22 shorts weren't serialized. But they were bought legally. The cast tire weight bullets aren't serialzed. The 45s are serialized, but the database will show that they were bought by me, in Garden Groove at the same time I was bowling in Ridgecrest, 150 miles away with about 40 witnesses. SB 357 has done nothing to stop these CRIMINALS from stealing, robbing and killing.

But what it will do it this: It will dramatically increase the cost of ammunition that is bought by good law abiding citizens. This bill is going to "Assesses vendor and end-user fees to pay for the costs of the program" Who do you think is going to pay that cost, the manufacturer's? Not likely. That cost will be passed down to the purchaser. And what will be get for our added cost of ammunition? More government bureaucracy when law abiding citizens try and exercise out second ammendment rights. We will also get a program that will only be good for catching the stupidest of CRIMINALS. Sure all CRIMINALS are stupid, or they wouldn't be CRIMINALs. But it won't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to circumvent this law.

SB 357 is also aimed at turning good law abiding citizens into criminals. "Creates criminal and civil penalties for individuals and corporations who circumvent the requirements of SB 357" Under this provision home reloaders will have to stop home reloading, or register themselves with the state and buy expensive bullet marking machines. Out of state hunters are going to have to stop at the border check stations and register their ammuition before entering California? Oh wait, we don't have border check stations. Are we going to have to pay to have them built, manned and maintained. Maybe we could just train the agriculture check stations to ask "Are you carrying any Fruits, Vegatables or unregistered ammunition?" Of course no CRIMINAL would ever dare lie to an agricultural check station agent.

Are regular guys going to have to start driving to Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Oregon to buy ammo because it costs half as much there. Not to mention that the sales tax is less. Then learn how to lie convincingly to the guards at the border. Maybe if they buy a couple oranges to turn into the guard at the border he won't bother searching thier car for the 10,000 9mm rounds they bought at the gun show in Vegas.

Are gun range owners going to have to start checking everyone's bullets before entering the range so that in the event of a raid, there isn't a lot of unregistered ammo laying around?

Gregory Markle over at American RealPolitik has a pretty good rant going about this bill as well as a few other ways to combat it.

Jerry Springer (not that one) over at Western Hunter thinks (among other thoughts) that SB 357 is an interesting number for this bill.

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