Shirley King | Avenida Primavera
47, 53, 140, 374, 396, 567, 683, 755 – not Powerball numbers nor new area code prefixes - but rather a package of proposed firearm bills awaiting approval in the California legislature – several will render existing gun legislation “precision sharp.” These eight bills represent the LIFE Act, Lifesaving Intelligent Firearms Enforcement Act, – Governor Brown has already signed SB 140, and the others are on their ways to the Assembly. Fortified with research data from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), the State of California is dismantling the toothless opposing arguments of the California Association of Firearm Retailers, the National Rifle Association and Crossroads of the West Gun Shows.
The LIFE Act compresses the air out of the remaining loopholes in the current assault weapons ban. LIFE tightens the definition of assault weapon as a firearm that does not have a fixed magazine; requires the registration of existing firearms to include the name of the business or individual from whom the gun was acquired and all of the identification markings of the gun; requires ammunition vendors to obtain a license to sell ammunition and ammunition purchasers to submit to background checks; bans the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, and requires the disposal of any large-capacity magazine; adds to the class of prohibited persons those who have been convicted of two or more drug or alcohol-related offenses within a three-year period; and expands the current safety certificate requirement on handguns to all firearms.
LIFE is intended to protect public safety and ultimately precious life. The goal is to reduce the incidence of firearms-related injuries and deaths. The costs associated with its enactment are far outweighed by the heavy societal burdens – including public resources spent on gun-related crime and medical expenses incurred - as estimated by PIRE at nearly $430,000 to $5 million per firearm injury or fatality. Monetizing the grave consequences of firearm tragedies is quite convincing for those of our legislators who rely upon facts to make decisions.
Once the LIFE bills are law, will it be business as usual at the five annual Crossroads of the West Gun Shows at the San Diego County Fairgrounds? Not quite. The pace and volume of ammunition sales would be slowed significantly by the background checks for all ammunition buyers, and the possession of a safety clearance certificate for all handgun sales including long guns would curtail impulse shoppers. Having to learn, know, and pass a test on the intricacies of firearm categories like rifles, shotguns, other long guns would challenge many and delay the time to the purchase decision. Ammunition shoppers may bypass the ‘Del Mar Gun Shows’ altogether and shop out of state helping to shrink revenues for Crossroads and sales tax returns for the Fairgrounds.
LIFE may become a big spoilsport for civilian gun buyers and retailers in California. But unlike our U.S. Congress, unfettered ownership of guns is not a value of the citizens of California and our legislators who are committed to our public health and safety.