Tough on Crime, Not Guns — Not in California

By Dave Dolbee published on in General, Legal, News

Politicians often give speeches promising stiffer penalties for criminals in an effort to make the people feel safer. Whether or not they are actually safer is often debatable, however. Enhanced penalties for criminals committing their offense with a firearm is a good example.  These laws keep some of the worst offenders off the streets longer and is generally supported by all citizens—or so I thought. That is why it was such a head scratcher when California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill into law removing mandatory minimum sentences for criminals who use guns in their crimes.

Gavel with American flag

I have never claimed to understand the motives or reasoning of most politicians—especially those who favor gun control and attempt to trample our Second Amendment rights. However, reducing the sentences of criminals who use a firearm to commit a crime, while touting how “tough” you are on guns has me befuddled. Perhaps someone reading this will be better able to explain it to me. After all, anyone who is pro Second Amendment, likely has never found anything in common with lawmakers touting a new proposal as “common sense gun control,” in the first place, but this goes beyond even that.

The new law, SB 620, coupled with other legislation about to take effect, clearly shows that Jerry Brown wants stiffer regulations for law-abiding citizens, while reducing penalties for criminals using a gun in the commission of a crime! This is evidenced by the fact that Governor Brown’s new law follows California’s new requirements for firearms retailers to add a warning to an already lengthy packaging and literature requirements for firearms and ammunition.

Let’s recap this argument, just in case you are having as much trouble following this as I am. Firearms retailers are required to put bigger warning labels on their products because those who legally buy them might not understand firearms and ammunition could be dangerous if not used properly. However, criminals who purposefully use a gun in the commission of a crime won’t be required to do jail time. Someone please explain this to the rest of us…

Larry Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) weighed in saying, “That’s not logical. It’s ludicrous. Prior to this, the law in California required a criminal be sentenced to an additional 10 years on top of the sentencing for their particular crime.”

Few reading this will be surprised at this next part. Governor Brown has a reputation for attracting the idealistic and untraditional. In fact, he earned the sobriquet (nickname) of “Moonbeam” decades ago by a columnist who called California, “The world’s largest outdoor mental asylum.” Proving the nickname to be fitting as fitting today as it was in the 1970s, Moonbeam was not alone in enacting this asinine law; he had the help and consent of the entire California legislature that voted to send it to the governor for his signature!

National Shooting Sports Foundation Logo

Moreover, what prompted the legislature you might wonder…? SB 620, started with Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) who introduced the bill after a 17-year-old involved in a drive-by shooting was sentenced to 25 years even though he denied shooting the gun. Minimum mandatory sentences are typically mandated by the legislature to ensure an even application during sentences and guard against judges who are soft on sentencing. Governor Brown wants to give the power back to the judges to pick and choose when a person convicted of a crime deserves the enhancement, which promotes the revolving door style of justice the law was designed to prevent.

As Larry Keane put it, “It’s comforting to know that California’s law-abiding gun owners will continue to be put under a magnifying glass to satisfy a political agenda that demonizes them while not accomplishing any true measure of safety. Meanwhile, criminals who openly victimize the Golden State’s citizens won’t have to worry about carrying that gun to commit their crimes. Gov. Brown says they no longer have to do the added time.

“This shows clearly that Gov. Brown, and the rest of the anti-gun California legislature, is more interested in scoring cheap points with their political base instead of pursuing and enforcing laws that will protect all citizens.”

How do you feel about California’s new law? Can you explain it? If you were the governor, what law would you push for? Share your answers in the comment section.

SLRule

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (98)

  • millbob

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    A large majority of people serving time in state prisons for the use of a gun in the commission of a crime are black or Latino. I believe the sentencing reductions for these crimes by state Democrats are an attempt to curry favors with these minority groups as they represent an ever increasing segment of the Democratic voting block in the state. The Dems generally can’t win legislative arguments based on substance so they resort to deceptive tactics to sway their followers. They really don’t believe in administering punishment to those directly responsible for crimes if there is a race disparity involved.

    Reply

  • Jeffrey Decuypere

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    Well this is my third attempt to reply. Guess the folks don’t care for my input. So l will just edit my text to the following. If we were a nation of justice for all. President Trump would declare George Soros an enemy of the state. The Clinton’s would be under indictment. Chuck Schumer and Jeff Sessions would be on there way out. And Tom Styer , Mike Bloomberg and the Bush family cartel would be exposed for what they are. The establishment, from township governments to the governors office. Right on thru to K street would be dismantled with each voting cycle. California’s insane. It’s in financial trouble. Illegal aliens are shooting up the place and there s no justice. It’s a national embarrassment. Not much different from New York. And I’m supposed to be concerned. Gov. Moonbeam is just helping his supporters from ANTIFA remain viable campaign staffers.

    Reply

    • Mr. Applegate

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      I find it funny that you’re calling this post “your input”. I say that because I don’t think it came from your mind after an objective observation of facts. Can you explain why you feel that way specifically or is it just regurgitated words. I don’t mean to be rude I am just a why person. The common theme with the comments all over this are lots of generalizations. XXxX are unamerican, only care about minorities/are racists, war against guns bla bla….. I truly believe that if this bill was introduced elsewhere by the other party this would be filled with the same people praising it. Who comes up with an idea shouldn’t determine your reaction, what the idea is should.

      I would still be interested in hearing why you feel the way you do on each one of those statement’s.

      Reply

  • art

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    i think that they know what they are doing. if you say we need more gun control because of the violence with guns, then you need that violence. therefore we shouldn’t keep those producing the violence in jail very long, so they can ply their trade..you can claim that the poor underage kids having their life ruined by spending it in jail. in reality the gangs use the younger kids because they know they will not be sent away as long and get brakes. those seeking communist governments and the new world order communist platform, where the elite few control the world and financial aspects of it. an armed citizenry is dangerous to that system so they remove private ownership of guns. right now america is one of the few that allow it’s citizens to own a gun. they cannot have that and you eat an elephant one bite at a time. they will slowly head toward disarmament while doing so they need the statistics and deaths of their citizens to further their goal.

    so with their agenda they need to make owning firearms illegal by their citizenry while reducing sentences of criminals. slowly but surely they eat the elephant….

    Reply

    • SaigaFun

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      So not really sure where that rant came from but do you have any data to support any of those claims? I do know there is plenty of data showing as guns per capita increase so does gun violence.

      As far as the new world order and communist part of the post, those elected who oppose any gun regulations are generally also the financial elite. This can easily be checked.

      This country will never take your guns away en mass because it’s a part of our culture (they are also crazy fun!) regardless of what lobbying groups try and sell. Finally, there was no mention of reducing sentences just leaving it up to the individual judge. The human Involvement in case by case sentencing would help keep the idiot who is still learning to control hormones and the habitual offender away from each other.

      I truly hope you do more than just trusting any information that fits what you believe.

      Reply

  • Donnie Lowe

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    California Idiots never cease to amaze me

    Reply

  • Robert Shirley

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    I disagree with the author, for a novel reason- why demonize firearms with stiffer penalties? That is a shining example of poor legislation. Murder is murder, robbery is robbery, assault is assault, all of which are crimes; weather committed with a gun, a knife, a baseball bat, or bare hands. Leave the gun out of the equation.

    Reply

  • rt66paul

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    There is a point when a jail term can help(the individual) and a point where it just cost the state more money. I agree that time should be added to a crime where a gun was used. The problem here is that a kid selling drugs from his bedroom could get (or be threatened into a guilty plea) If there is a gun in the house. Like Chicago, this enhancement has been used to get quick guilty pleas with reduced sentences.
    If a gun is used in the actual commission of a crime, the courts should be barred from allowing a lessor plea. The problem with zero tolerance laws is that the prosacution pushes the envelope to get votes and keep votes. The real bad guys get a short sentence(because they know the ropes) and the guy caught in a sting or the guy who wants his day in court because he feels he is not guilty gets 30 years.
    Any sentence over 5 years(except for capital crimes) is not going to rehabilitate the criminal.
    Giving enhanced sentences to minors is just wrong(they never get a turn at life). They are minors because they are not old enough to sign contracts, why should they be sentenced as adults?
    go ahead and call me a bleeding heart, but Calif prisons are full and the county jails are being forced to house felons(which they were never designed for). Housing the fish with the sharks makes victims and more sharks. This is not what we should be doing. We should partner with the countries where the illegals that make up a large part of the prison population and build private jails in their countries with US management , rules and their countries’ prisoner rights. I think many of the gangs would slow down their crimes if faced with that.

    Reply

    • MR. CHARLES

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      RT66PAUL: GOOD COMMENTS. Yes I think minors involved in crimes should be treated differently then adults. 5 extra years for USING A FIREARM IN A CRIME should be enough I believe as well. Good comments and good thinking.

      Reply

  • Mike in Flag

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    The MSN will leave out the part of the story where their politicians went soft on criminals and only report the increase in crime, blaming it on the easy availability of firearms. The sheeple will eat it up and keep these same politicians leading them down the primrose path.

    Reply

    • SaigaFun

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      Ironically Mike it was the author of this article who left out the key piece of information. It doesn’t lower or remove enhancements, it only gives a judge the ability to decide if the person deserves the enhancement or not.

      Hopefully you will look into stuff a little more before commenting so you don’t end up accusing someone completely unrelated to an article of holding back when it’s actually the articles author.

      Reply

  • Spencer

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    I concluded years ago that fear is the #1 tool politicians control the masses. Democrats are experts at using strict gun control for honest citizens and allowing those who murder to run rampant. Then these same politicians refuse to enforce the methods for controlling the criminals. Joe Biden was recently shown on TV proclaiming it was too much trouble to do these things.
    However, gun control isn’t the only area where this tool “FEAR” is used.

    Reply

  • MR. CHARLES

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    Well if this new law doesn’t just squeeze your head until your brains come out your ears I don’t know what will. Several things come to mind that could have caused this law: 1. The state budget could not support the additional expenses of the convicts for the additional 10 years, money was needed for Welfare, Education, etc for the POOR OF THE STATE. 2. Governor Brown wanted to APPEASE THE GANGS, ILLEGALS, UTOPIAN LIBERALS, FRINGE ELEMENTS IN THE STATE. 3. A legacy notion of the Governor for the CRIMINALS in the state. 4. To show that MINIMUM SENTENCES ARE JUST A WASTE OF THE STATES TIME and so Judges could have less restricted Judgments for crimes committed against the good people of California. Well the above has just about worn out my brain thinking of reasons for this new law, I’ll let others comment.

    Reply

  • Christian D. Orr

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    Frickin’ PRK (People’s Republic of Kaliforniastan)and Governor Moonbeam–reminds me of why I had to leave my former home state for the freedom of a REAL American state, i.e. Texas.

    Reply

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