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New legislation infringes on gun rights

Joseph Lake considers the effects of gun control. | Photo courtesy of Joseph Lake

 

When I returned from 15 months in Iraq, among the first things I did was celebrate my Second Amendment right in Texas by purchasing guns. When I returned from 14 months in Afghanistan, I celebrated it more. As a California native, I welcomed this freedom which has been refused to my home state.

The right to bear arms remains among the most volatile political issues in the nation. On one side, gun rights supporters hold fast to the “shall not be infringed” portion of the Second Amendment. On the other, gun control supporters emphasize “A well regulated Militia.”  Who the Second Amendment applied to was finally settled and then reaffirmed with Heller (2008) and MacDonald (2010). These cases clarified the long debated question, “Is the Second Amendment an individual right?” with two 5-4 decisions, affirming the individual’s right to bear arms. Despite these rulings, numerous gun control laws that conflict with the Constitutional amendment continue to be proposed and passed in California.

Early this month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed several gun control bills into law adding to the plethora of gun control measures already present. The most egregious were AB 1014 and AB 1964. At the same time, had SB 808, SB 53, AB 2305, or SB 47 passed, any of one of those would have created a significantly worse environment for California gun owners than the two recently signed.

AB 1014 was proposed in direct response to the Isla Vista killings, which occurred last spring. It allows family members to report one another to have their firearms forcefully confiscated by police. Law enforcement initially holds that person’s guns for two weeks, but this period of time can can extend for up to a year. This new law allows a fast pass for firearm confiscation, supplanting the right of due process which has been intact for decades. The original version of the bill sought to allow any person to report and have law enforcement confiscate the firearms of any individual. By targeting guns as the problem and not addressing the mental health systems, our law makers either illustrate their failure to understand the problem or the determination they have to erode gun rights of the people they serve.

Because several gun control advocacy groups support the “SWATing”, making fraudulent 911 calls to illicit an overly aggressive law enforcement response, of gun owners, the potential for abuse seemed clear. The legislation narrowed to only allow family members to report one another, thereby reducing the potential for abuse down to dysfunctional family members instead of the whole of social media.

If one considers the “right to keep and bear arms” a natural, civil, and Constitutionally protected right of the people as the Supreme Court has affirmed, I would hope that Americans would feel less inclined to disregard due process. As an essential part of our heritage, due process becomes necessary for us to remain a nation with a high respect for our laws. Considering that the perpetrator of the Isla Vista rampage murdered three of his victims without the use of a firearm, our legal reaction to penalize legal gun owners and not improve mental health treatment appears sadly misplaced.

AB 1964, signed by the governor last July, will restrict the availability of handguns in California. Since 2001, in order to purchase a new handgun in California, the specific make, model, color and caliber has needed approval by the California Department of Justice and posted on their roster. The law provided an exception to the roster if the model was a single shot version. AB 1964 ends that exception beginning January 2015.

This law alone limits the variety of new handguns Californians can purchase to only a selection from the early 2000s. When the roster is combined with California’s microstamping requirement, which went into effect last May. These two laws will effectively ban the majority of pistols from being sold in California potentially as soon as 2015.

One might accuse the gun lobby of resisting the new requirements, but there are practical reasons which show the costliness and ineffectiveness of microstamping. Because federal law bans handgun purchases outside the state of residency, any Biolan who hoped to purchase a new handgun when they turn 21 years old will have a much smaller selection, if any at all, if their birthday is not this year.

I do not share the unadulterated Second Amendment fervor like the Gun Owners of America who sit in their corner and angrily chant “Shall not be infringed!” As Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia articulated in the Heller majority, certain laws regarding weapons in sensitive places were active at the time the Constitution was written. What I have found consistently lacking from proponents of gun control are rational arguments with up-to-date facts. Just as limits have been placed on the First Amendment, there are limits that can be placed on the second. Like the limits on the First Amendment, each one must be justifiable in a directly demonstrable fashion. I believe the whole of the California Assault Weapon law and the CA Handgun Roster fails to meet the common use test solidified in the Supreme Court’s Heller (2008) decision.

I think the same solutions proposed by gun control proponents are ridiculous. These same restrictions were in place for 10 years and failed to provide any measurable decrease in crime. The attack on assault weapons has been sensational from the beginning. There have been repeated reports from the FBI showing rifles, which assault rifles are a subsection of, account for less than 5 percent of the homicides committed with firearms. Reports also fail to distinguish between legal firearms and illegal firearms. Yet, because the uninformed populace sees a black tactical rifle they are stirred into a frenzy. Whenever a law with the potential to limit our civil rights is proposed, any of our civil rights, it ought to be done so with informed politicians and to address specific issues. Anything less than that pulls us away from the principles this nation was founded upon.

 

Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. larry.smith

    Well-written and researched article but so sad to me.

    Where are the frustrated passionate counter arguments? Has Biola become so complaceent that not one student wonders how Christians have fallen so far that we consider gun ownership a faith issue?

    Articles and article-responses like this have shown up in the past and the wackos always come out of the woodwork to protest anyone daring to question their right to open-carry a Bushmaster in church or their obligation to protect their families from the inevitable home invaders who are poised outside their gated community waiting to victimize them.

    Where are the brothers and sisters who have chosen to trust the Lord as their Protector rather than an arsenal that would make ISIS jealous?

    Need to hunt? Get a single bolt action rifle and practice your aim.

    Need to holster up? Join the Army or the LAPD.

    Need to feel like a man? Study Jesus...I'm rather doubtful that he carried a sword. The one he packed was in His mouth and, with it, He instructed, chastised, and blessed humanity.

    Guess what, sports fans? His sword is still sharp and, unless you're Uma Thurman, it isn't intended to dice Ninjas. Your sacred responsibility is to share His Sword (dropping the "s") with a dying world - not adding to the chaos with the Glock you keep under you pillow. Your commission is to go to the ends of the earth to spread that Word - not go to Walmart and spray bullets every time you hear a foreign noise in your back yard.

    You can toss all your Second Amendment misinterpretations at me as if the Constitution is somehow equivalent to the Bible...along with your assumption that the Founding Fathers were more spiritual and unerring than the Apostles.

    Listen up: we're all a mess: spiritually, socially, financially, politically, relationally, and logically. I am not a theologian but I know that none of the messiness is going to be cleaned up or untangled with the assistance of advanced weaponry. And, I know that when Jesus said He would never leave nor forsake us, He didn't add a postscript: IF you pack a sidearm.

    I end this rant. Fellow Believers: Go ahead and decimate pieces of paper with human outlines at your local shooting range; march out and blast Bambi's mother; walk with a Texas swaggah and pretend you're a latter-day Wyatt Earp. But DON'T DO IT IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. High-caliber guns do belong in the hands of human beings; they're called police officers and trained military - not a wimpy Christian exercising his "God-given" right to make a mockery of faith.

    Don't like the truth? Shoot me. October 28, 2014

  2. Arlin Edmondson

    Larry Smith, I don't believe you actually read a word of what Joseph carefully wrote.

    In fact, I believe you only read the title.

    Your statements are so disjointed and disconnected from common sense and rationality as to be incomprehensible in light of what you seem to have deluded yourself into thinking you are responding to.

    In short, you, not Joseph, make a mockery of faith, by being a buffoon. October 29, 2014

  3. Joseph Lake

    Thank you for your comments Larry. If it is any consolation to you I already served in the Army. I alluded to that in the opening sentences. If you would be interested, the Biola Gun Club (of which I am involved) is hosting a theologically based discussion next month about firearm ownership and individual self defense.

    To respond to some of your claims:
    Firearm ownership, like every aspect of our life ought to be a faith issue, that is at the heart of a biblical worldview.
    I am saddened that because I embrace firearms that you would question my faith in Christ as my ultimate protector. Your other "questions" were more hyperbole than genuine inquiries. If you would like to have a civilized chat, I always love discussing opposing views. October 30, 2014

  4. jerry lewis

    biola gun club? That's crazy. I don't get your fixation with violent means. November 2, 2014

  5. Joseph Lake

    Pseudonym Jerry Lewis, the Biola Gun Club serves to educate people about firearms and provide information for those interested in learning. I do not quite understand non-violent response to the most heinous offenses, perhaps we could learn from one another. If you would like to have a discussion feel free to email or message us on Facebook. November 3, 2014

  6. jerry lewis

    Joe, it's my real name. Contact security or Prez Corey to verify. November 3, 2014

  7. Derrick

    It must be the guns that are making the police more violent lately. Well at least if civilians dont have access to them, it makes it easier to do "the job". November 13, 2014

  8. Bill Kelsey

    I dont think anyone wants "an arsenal that would make ISIS jealous" more than just an insurance policy against this thug mentality we see in the news every day. I have 5 kids, 4 of which are daughters, and Im NOT the wordsmith that Jesus is. I couldnt make an abductor fall to tears w/ my words. I didnt join the military/ police because I dont have that killer instict. Even faced w/ an assailant I honestly would do whatever I could to not kill him/her. Yet I HAVE to do WHATEVER I can to protect my kids. A "foreign noise in the backyard" wouldnt even be cause for grabbing a gun, but going out in public nowadays seems to require it. NO, I have never needed one out in public yet, hence the "insurance policy". Im pretty sure most who CCW dont want to have to carry, but feel obligated to help the helpless. Thats how I feel when I read about Newtown, CT. I cried for 2nd graders I didnt know because I have kids in school while I was reading that. If I could prevent something like that I would have to feel like God put me here to save those lives. How many times have you heard of police actually saving someones life?

    Sorry Mr. Lake. This is directed toward Mr. Smith (do I know you?) Im researching CCW in Ca. and came across this article. I had to finish because Im now running late! November 21, 2014

  9. Gordon Mayer

    The very first gun law that was passed infringed on our right to keep and bear arms. All those that have followed since are just icing on the tyrannical cake. The argument that we don't need military grade weapons to hunt with is asinine, as the 2nd Amendment was not put in place to allow us to hunt deer, squirrel, rabbits, etc.. It's there to help our society answer a more dire calling. Most gun critics don't have the intestinal fortitude to imagine answering this calling, much less packing the gear to actually do it. Go ahead sheep, "vote" yourselves into subjugation under a monarchy. I prefer freedom for our people, even if I have to buy it with my own blood. July 19, 2016

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