‘You cannot have a gun if the gun has not been made… you cannot sell a gun that has not been made.’ Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove
California has 109 gun-control laws that restrict how and where guns can be used – more than any other state in the country.
Now, Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles) wants to “encourage” financial institutions to stop lending to gun manufacturers and gun retailers, through Assembly Concurrent Resolution 115. Resolutions are usually trial balloons for future legislation, and do not require the Governor’s signature.
The purpose of Kamlager-Dove’s bill is “to affect the proliferation of guns by urging six nationally chartered banks to curtail their relationships with gun manufacturers. If major banks refuse to extend credit to gun manufacturers, borrowing costs for gun manufacturers would likely increase, which could reduce industry investment in additional capacity or new business lines. Such a result could reduce the proliferation of guns not only in California, but also across state lines,” bill analysis says.
When pressed in a recent hearing by Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) to explain the goal of the resolution, Kamlager-Dove said, “the goal is to encourage financial institutions to reconsider those whom they lend debt to – specifically targeting gun manufacturers.”
“We tend to have conversations from the demand side – the folks who have a gun… the folks who want a gun… legally purchased or not… where they are buying the gun… who the dealer is… how much ammunition they are allowed to purchase…” Kamlager-Dove said.
“What business is that of any financial institution?” Melendez asked.
“That is the kinds of conversations we’ve been having,” Kamlager-Dove answered. “This [bill] is saying, let’s have a different conversation, also as it relates to gun violence and gun violence prevention… and talk about the supply side.”
“Kamlager-Dove continued: “You cannot have a gun if the gun has not been made. You cannot sell a gun that has not been made. The reality is there are 400 million guns in this country. So everyone still has an opportunity to at least have one. The other reality is, we live in a free-market society. So, I think it is presumptuous to say, ‘if you cannot go to one lending institution, then your opportunity to manufacturer a gun is shot.’ That’s kind of the incentive to living in a free market, capitalistic society.”
Kamlager-Dove then compared her resolution to how many companies divested from South Africa during apartheid: “Companies still found ways to earn money and be socially responsible.”
“Okay, I am even more confused,” Melendez said. “Is the other part of your goal to get to the point where these weapons aren’t being manufactured?” Kamlager-Dove confirmed that it was.
Melendez asked if anyone thought about the ramifications of the resolution, and where law enforcement would get their guns. “Every law enforcement agency in California needs firearms. So if you encourage lending institutions to not do business with gun manufacturers and retailers, where then will our law enforcement agencies get their firearms for their officers to do their job?”
Melendez said Kamlager-Dove dodged the question when she said the resolution is only for banks that have open accounts with the state of California, and said Bank of America and Citibank have already stopped doing business with companies that manufacture “military-inspired” firearms for civilian use.
“And one of those banks refinanced Remington Outdoor, which manufacturers assault weapons,” Melendez said. “You can’t have it both ways.”
Melendez warned the committee and Kamlager-Dove that the bill was a dangerous precedence to set, using ideology and personal beliefs to legislate and make law. “Look to the future when the tables might be turned and you might not like the way someone else imposes this type of legislation on other individuals,” Melendez said.
“ACR 115 draws attention to the unchecked supply of guns by addressing the lending relationships between banks and gun manufacturers,” Kamlager-Dove said. “Large lines of credit granted to gun manufacturers allows for increased production of weapons available to buyers.”
In related legislation, AJR 5 by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), claims gun violence and gun-related deaths over the past 25 years have dropped in California because of the many strict gun control laws. “Yet those laws have failed to prevent mass murders and acts of terrorism,” Sam Paredes, Executive Director of Gun Owners of California, said in a March interview with California Globe. “Asking Congress to use California gun control laws as federal laws would guarantee failures on a nationwide basis.”
“Through legislative actions and ballot initiative, California has aggressively pursued gun control policies to the point of some California laws being ruled unconstitutional by federal courts,” the bill analysis acknowledged. Since the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment decisions in Heller v DC 2008 and McDonald v Chicago in 2010, questions continually arise concerning the scope of government’s power to infringe and even restrict the possession and use of all firearms, through regulations that impose harsh conditions and requirements on gun owners.
In January, the United States Supreme Court announced its decision to hear a case that challenges New York City’s near-prohibition on owning or transporting handguns. This is significant for Californians as the Golden State also has such restrictive gun laws.
Click HERE to see the exchange between Assemblywomen Kamlager-Dove and Melendez in the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee, August 12.
And Melendez posted the video to her Facebook page.
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