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S.357 Keeps The K in Kalifornia

by John Longenecker

Today, FOX reported nationally on the movement of S.357 in Kalifornia. (I spell California with a K whenever it exhibits such oppressive tactics as this one.)

Kalifornia’s S.357 calls for the semi-automatic handguns, such as those worn by police officers and owned by millions of law-abiding givers in society, to be designated as ‘unsafe’ by the year 2009 if their ammunition is not stamped with a serial number "as they fire", which weapon must be in compliance by Jan 1st, ‘09. For the millions of weapons already in the hands of law-abiding, I don’t know how those owners will comply.

Assuming the technology is actually usable – workable and reliable as evidence, which, I trust, is its feel-good intent – this legislation is oppressive for a few reasons. I’ll start with my best evidence argument here, which any adult, including public servants, should already know:

1. Criminals don’t obey the law.

For all the professional experience of the Sacramento, Kalifornia public servants supporting this bill, they’ve shown a profound conflict in hating liberty and America by failing to remember that, no matter what law Kalifornia writes, it will never reach the criminal. It will affect only law-abiding, those safe to insult and vex, and making the law abiding criminal is what put and what keeps the K in Kalifornia.

This will stop violent crime?

No, it will not, and here’s why it will not only not stop violent crime, but make things harder on people who don’t commit crimes. Here is also how it affects you: it can name an innocent person for indictment. It has an intimidation effect on the givers in our society, those who don’t commit crime.

[Author’s note: I don’t mean to imply that gun owners lack courage, but that most very thoughtfully and fully understand the effects of this in terms of legal uncertainties, legal expenses, time investment to answer filings, the idea of facing gun confiscation, general punishing of their resistance and other realities; there are their families to think of; this is the intimidation of the K in Kalifornia. This is unethical for anyone who has taken an oath of office.]

FOX understates the oppressive nature of such legislation as that legislation intentionally targets again those who will usually take it, bite the bullet, so to speak, and try to live with it against the backdrop of costly and painful punishment and for what?

What have the law-abiding done to merit this legislation which will affect only the law-abiding?

2. Bullets are already traceable to the owner of the gun. The bullet is the projectile portion of an intact fixed cartridge, the casing being the container which houses the primer and the powder. The striker pin strikes the flexible primer which ignites the powder which then drives with explosive force the bullet down the channeled interior of the barrel. As the bullet travels, it changes shape, adapting somewhat to the lands and grooves inside the barrel, emerging with a unique etching reflecting the interior of that unique barrel.

But, as FOX reported, "Forensics investigators currently have the ability to match the unique signature on every bullet to the gun it was fired from. The problem then becomes, for detectives and law enforcement, finding the gun itself and the person who fired it."

Oh, yeah? Think again, please. You’d still have that problem. It is not the casing that kills, but the bullet, and there is no scientific or evidentiary way to connect a spent casing in time or discharge event to a criminal shooting as anticipated it would in S. 357 when the casing is stamped but the bullet is only rifled. How do you know the casing found matches a bullet found? How do you know the casing found even matches a criminal act? How do you know when that casing was spent?

Case in point: barrels change with time and use, and barrels can be legally changed by their owners. There goes your ballistics match as one part of the equation vanishes.

There is also the question of when the casing was ejected on discharge and how it is factually connected with any single bullet recovered. Casings are more easily recoverable, and, if introduced as evidence, do they prove the shooter? Can they be placed to frame an innocent person? One can fire ten rounds or two rounds which could be days apart. In proving perhaps the identity of the owner, and in trying to pin down a timeline, how does this prove the identity of the shooter?

It does not. S.357 puts law enforcement no closer to the identity of a shooter than it was before. The only thing they could ascertain is the Owner, but not the shooter, even when the casing in fact furnishes a lead. It then becomes intimidation not of the criminal, but of the lawful.

For individuals against crime, they sure have found, for their own use, a new weapon of intimidation.

Brilliant, Kalifornia, just brilliant. When Kalifornia tries to hit the target of crime, it misses and hits an innocent bystander again.

And for people so ardent and unrelenting on the issue of loopholes for lawful gun purchases, Kalifornia sure is stupid on the subject of how criminals can elude legal technicalities simply by not obeying them.


3. What if the anticipated criminal simply uses a revolver? Lots of criminals use revolvers. What if criminals went with shotguns, or just went with currently banned rifles? How do you reach criminals who use a knife?

Criminals don’t obey laws, no matter what you write. They just won’t use an automatic from now on (as if they were the legal owner of that weapon anyway! As if they cared!) and Kalifornia has then managed to harass lawful owners again, innocent bystanders.

[Another Note: Criminals flee the scene and don't hang around a shooting like a law abiding person would in a self-defense situation he/she could explain and prove. How in the world, Kalifornia, do you expect this legislation even to touch criminals?]

4. Now, what about current police weapons? Police departments buy new weapons all the time – automatics – and will probably buy them in 2009, too; sometimes police shootings need to be investigated with the best tools and technology available; will all of their weapons meet the new law? What if they don’t? For police shootings, it would be positively useful, in many ways even more useful. (If you have a known shooter, the officer, at a known incident, matching up who shot whom could be most useful.)

My suggestion is to impose this on law enforcement as a test with known shootings and known shooters before imposing anything on the givers of society. See if it really works first, then we’ll talk.

I’ve already discussed previously how this would apply to confiscated weapons which oftentimes move into private collections, and the adverse impact it will have on the munitions industry, which supplies, by the way, law enforcement. If some of those providors go bankrupt, how will that affect crime?

I’ve already addressed stolen weapons; How does this law prove the identity of the shooter if, say, they steal Dianne Feinstein’s weapon? Will she be exempt somehow?

Then there’s reloaded ammunition. Millions of owners reload their own, and many do not buy new guns; is S.357 going to criminalize weapons already in the ownership of individuals who reload their own ammo and who do not buy ammo covered under Kalifornia's companion bill calling for the numbering and registration of cartridges sold? How will that reach criminals?

In fact, how are such weapons to be deemed ‘unsafe’ in the first place, today, only to be deemed safe later with a new law that applies only to the law-abiding? How is the weapon in the hands of the criminal shooter made safer by S.357?

It isn’t safer. A weapon in the hands of the criminal is no safer to a community in 2009 than it is today, no matter what law Kalifornia writes.

In the area that needs the most attention - violent crime - how will this law ever reach the people committing the violent crimes?

Brilliant, Kalifornia, just brilliant.

As I’ve mentioned, anyone who is against guns — especially when it profoundly affects the law-abiding and never touches the criminals – is against liberty, because they will not let law-abiding people be. For all its genius, transparent underhandedness and pure hatred for our way of life here, it all amounts to wasting resources and harassing people it’s so comfortably safe to harass – law-abiding.

But if we were really asking a more germane question, such as meeting crime more directly, could we reach a more effective solution for the overall goal?

Why not focus on citizen involvement in time of violent crime?

Thumbnail, more than two-thirds of the states support concealed carry of handguns. (What makes Kalifornia so smart?) In America, individual citizens thwart a crime in progress more than 2.5 million times every year, compared to the 47,000 shootings per year. That’s a lot of non-violent numbers of handling violent crime, more than 53 to 1.

Experts point out that resisting improves chances of non-injury and uncompleted acts. That's something that's understated a lot. Where do you come down on that?

Finally, of course, you’ve heard me say this before: police have no mandate to protect individuals; police cannot always arrive within a life-saving response time.

Concealed carry states have no so-called curbside justice, shoot-outs, blood in the streets or any of the other hysterical predictions. It’s a lot less action, sure, but a lot more safety, and apprehending bad guys just bringing them to justice to begin is a lot more thanwhat Kalifornia has found so far. Kalifornia hasn't done a darned thing right in fighting crime.

With more than 7,000 Los Angeles County felons unlocatable by their Parole Officers as of Spring, 2005 compounding the numbers of us against them, there will never be enough officers to protect people.

I have two words for Kalifornia: Gerry Ortiz. Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy Ortiz was (allegedly) shot and killed by a man who should have been in jail still serving.

And with the Supreme Court’s ruling of Castle Rock v. Gonzales on June 27th, the Supremes' reiteration is that we’re on our own anyway. Have been since the inception of law enforcement in 1845. (Police never did have a duty to protect individuals since the very inception of law enforcement.)

The key to successfully battling violent crime is to untie the hands of the law-abiding where Hornbook, Black Letter Law recognizes self-defense on the one hand, but mounting and mounting, counterproductive legislation taketh away with the other.

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