In 1989 the passing of the first state-wide “assault” weapons ban was voted on and approved through the California legislature. According to the L.A. Times at the time, it was the first such sweeping legislation on guns since the 1934 ban on machine guns due to mobsters.
Throughout the year’s terminology and varying definitions of what an actual “assault” weapon is, has been modified and changed to make it almost impossible for a Californian to obtain an AR-15 style rifle. In the 2016–2018-time frame more changes occurred which didn’t focus on actual performance features but visual features, which further muddied the waters on legitimacy of the actual ban. As seen with an excerpt from the actual SB 880 for defining an “assault” weapon. The stock, grips, scopes and magazines are primary focus points.
It is important because the motivation on the ban was not driven through sound data. Additionally, that pesky thing called our Bill of Rights, forbid a ban on arms. To put this in perspective, more people are killed each year by cars than any type of gun homicide (Both being operated by those things we call human beings). In 2019 over 36,000 people across the country died in car accidents. We average about 11,000-gun homicides each year nationally. This is 37% of the total gun deaths in the U.S., with 58% of the overall total, being death by suicide.
I want to focus on that because of the comparison of intent. So, if we can stipulate that both vehicles and guns can be wielded either purposefully or accidentally as weapons to hurt people, the it is clear just by those simple numbers that you are 66% more likely to die in a car accident than in an incident with a gun. Yet, there has been no legislation pushed or forced in any state to ban automobiles. To this point, the motivations on a gun ban are not based in actual risk but rather an emotional or political statement. If logic or data drove that type of ban, cars would be banned immediately. Furthermore, owning a car isn’t a technical right laid out in the Constitution so they would make a good push if they wanted. Ban rescinded- Californians win.
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Just like the machine gun ban, the reality is that the mobsters still had machine guns, as do criminals in current days, have “assault” weapons. The hard facts are that only people impacted from the actual law, were law abiding citizens that were not legally allowed to have weaponry capable of matching that of the criminals aimed on harming them. This was a long overdue for the Californians that love their 2nd amendment rights to be able to protect themselves with weaponry that is capable of matching that of the criminals. Ban Rescinded- Californians Win
This was a great step in the right direction for Californians but there is still a road to travel on this. There will be appeals, the governor has publicly attacked the judge who levied the decision, and there is an entire political machine devoted to not losing ground on this topic. So, buckle up let’s hope the constitution and the people of California keep on the winning side of things!