Despite that most guns used in the commission of a crime are obtained illegally and off the street, California lawmakers are introducing many more gun control bills this session, restricting legal gun owners’ rights. Assisting this effort is former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-AZ). Giffords spoke at a Capitol press conference Monday on the importance of stricter gun control. “Stopping gun violence takes courage,” Giffords said. “Courage to do what’s right, courage to use new ideas.” She spoke very briefly to the press, after holding a meeting with lawmakers.
Giffords, and 24 others, were shot at a town hall meeting in Tucson in 2011 by gunman Jared Lee Loughner. He killed six and wounded eighteen, before being disarmed and arrested.
Following rehabilitation, Giffords recovered some of her ability to walk, speak, read, and write.
Giffords and her husband created a foundation to fight gun violence similar to the Brady Campaign to stop gun violence. Her foundation, Courage to Fight Gun Violence, fights for stricter gun laws nationally and in state houses.
Giffords was in California Monday to show support for lawmakers announcing plans to introduce additional stricter California gun control bills, on top of the hundreds California already has in place.
“We want to keep guns out of the hands of people who ought not to have them,” Peter Ambler, Giffords spokesman said Monday. Ambler said the Giffords Foundation is hoping to get H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, passed out of the House of Representatives soon. H.R. 8, introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), would require background checks on every gun sale or transfer. H.R. 8 would now require unlicensed gun sellers at gun shows to conduct a background check prior to completing the gun sales. Licensed gun sellers and dealers are already required to perform federal background checks on all gun purchases.
Sadly and ironically, H.R. 8 would not have prevented Jared Lee Loughner from obtaining the gun he legally purchased at an Arizona gun store. Despite obvious mental illness, there were no official state court records about Loughner to prevent the gun sale.
Gun Myths vs. Gun Facts
There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates, the Heritage Foundation found. “The Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence ironically makes this clear with its ratings for states based on gun laws,” the Heritage Foundation report notes. “’Gun freedom’ states that score poorly, like New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho, and Oregon, have some of the lowest homicide rates. Conversely, ‘gun-control-loving’ states that received high scores, like Maryland and Illinois, experience some of the nation’s highest homicide rates.”
Giffords says up to 80 percent of firearms used for criminal purposes are obtained without a background check. The more accurate statement is that 92.3 percent of guns used in a crime were stolen, bought in the black market, borrowed, purchased or rented from a friend or family member, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ statement,….
“An estimated 287,400 prisoners had possessed a firearm during their offense. Among these, more than half (56%) had either stolen it (6%), found it at the scene of the crime (7%), or obtained it off the street or from the underground market (43%). Most of the remainder (25%) had obtained it from a family member or friend, or as a gift. Seven percent had purchased it under their own name from a licensed firearm dealer,” the DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics reported.
According to many studies, almost all mass public shooters have extensive histories of mental health issues (whether delusional/psychiatric or depression/anger), disturbing behaviors, or interpersonal violence, according to a report by the Heritage Foundation.
Since 1950, more than 98 percent of mass public shootings in the U.S. have occurred in gun-free zones, says John R. Lott, author of “The War on Guns” and his 1998 book “More Guns Less Crime,” now in its third edition.
Between 2007 and 2015, murder rates dropped 16 percent and violent crime rates dropped 18 percent, even though the percentage of adults with concealed carry permits rose by 190 percent, Heritage reported.
“Using FBI numbers, the violent crime rate fell 49% between 1993 and 2017,” Pew Research reported. “Using the BJS data, the rate fell 74% during that span (For both studies, 2017 is the most recent full year of data.)”
California’s gun control backlog
California Democrats are counting on Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign the gun control bills vetoed by former Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill most frequently highlighted, Assembly Bill 2888 (Ting, D-San Francisco), would have expanded the list of people who can seek a gun violence restraining order. The bill would have allowed employers, co-workers, school and college staff, and mental health workers to petition a judge to order the temporary removal of firearms from someone they believe poses a danger to themselves or others. Gov. Brown’s veto message said the list of people seeking a gun violence restraining order could already do this through law enforcement professionals.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has more than 10,000 backlogged on the California DOJ Armed Prohibited Persons System list in possession of guns. Despite the extra $24 million the AG received in one-time in extra funding, Becerra reduced the 10,226 backlog by only 408 cases in 2017.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice:
Only .8 percent of guns used in crime were purchased at the gun show.
Only 7.5 percent of guns used in crime were purchased at a retail gun store.
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