A recent editorial claiming the NRA and gun lobby are pushing guns into classrooms caught my attention this past weekend. Ms. Eisenberg seemed convinced that by allowing teachers or others in the classrooms with guns sends both a signal of entitlement to children that they too should be allowed to carry weapons, and banning firearms from campuses will directly result in teacher and student safety.
Her discussion of loopholes which allow this to happen that must be closed really struck a chord and got me thinking…in California, and even here in Santa Clarita, will our Bill or Rights ever be respected?
California has undertaken a merciless attack not just against firearms themselves, but the 2nd amendment in its entirety. While we constantly see editorials and opinions about why we must ban weapons in this place or that place for “public safety” purposes, when is it okay for a citizen to exercise an enumerated right? No one questions an individual’s right to free speech, the right to a trial by jury, or protection from cruel and unusual punishment, yet the right of the people to keep and bear arms without government infringement gets dismissed out of hand. While many people and even states disagree with the landmark Supreme Court decision, District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008, the result has cemented that an individual’s right to possess a firearm for lawful purposes (like self-defense or hunting) is unconnected to serving in a militia. Yet, even after being guaranteed the right to bear arms by the Bill of Rights, and having judicially reaffirmed this right, California continues their onslaught in the name of public safety and political alignment.
For all intents and purposes, a law-abiding citizen in Santa Clarita cannot carry a firearm (hand gun or long gun), openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded, in public without violating existing California Law. The only recourse one has is to apply for a concealed carry permit, and hope the Sherriff will give his blessing. But don’t expect that to happen. The LASD says in their licensing policy “…no concealed weapon license shall be granted merely for the personal convenience of the applicant”. There is nothing convenient, legal, or right, about having to ask a governmental agency to grant you a temporary license to exercise your rights (oh and let’s not forget paying for the application, passing training courses and psychological tests, show an acute need that differs from the population at large, and be judged as having good moral character).
Can you even imagine needing a license to exercise free speech? A July 2017 article on crimesearch.org stated there are only 226 active carry permits, which is about 0.0029 percent of the 7.7 million adults in Los Angeles County. Or, a more accurate way to look at it, is only 226 citizens (which include retired police officers) are “allowed” to exercise a right! We can sit here and debate all day what is a “sensitive place” under Heller where firearms would be unlawful, but I personally refuse to have such a discussion until this Constitutional Right is restored, and I cannot be prosecuted simply for exercising it.
The measure that Ms. Eisenberg is discussing in her editorial (AB 424) would eliminate the power that school district administrators currently have to give people with concealed carry permits permission to have their firearms on K-12 campuses. It is a sad time we live in where someone is more concerned about 226 citizens who have been granted this permission bringing their firearm onto a campus, then the rest of the 7.7 million adults who have no right at all, anywhere in the public arena.
Both liberals and conservatives may be surprised to know that, here in California, the first State law dismissing the right to bear arms publically was enacted in 1967, when Penal Code PC12031 (the Mulford Act) was adopted, banning the open carry of loaded firearms in public (which at the time was supported by the NRA). This was done as a response to Black Panthers standing around the state house with firearms, as a form of Civil Rights and Vietnam War protest. The bill was signed by Governor
Ronald Reagan (a staunch conservative and supporter of the 2nd amendment when he was President).
This shows it’s not simply Democrats that may be willing to limit personal liberty for perceived safety.
We need to stop fearing our rights, else they will be legislated away, allowing our elected Democratic super majority more methods for behavioral conditioning.
Jason Gibbs is a Santa Clarita resident.