California’s message to D.C.

The Golden State moves forward on gun bills Congress is too paralyzed to take up

Something must be done to stop the scourge of shooting deaths.

This isn’t a controversial statement anymore. The United States has gone through too many tragedies and mourned too many victims to allow gun ownership with so few restrictions.

Gun owners and peaceniks rarely agree, yet you’ll find them among the 90 percent of Americans who want some form of background check before just anyone can buy a gun. Still, even that popular step can’t get traction in Congress; Democrats mounted a filibuster and a sit-in simply to get Republicans to consider voting. The GOP balked.

Locals tried a similar tactic with North State Rep. Doug LaMalfa. Tuesday (July 5), nearly two dozen Butte County Democrats gathered to “occupy” LaMalfa’s field office in Oroville for a couple of hours to demand “common-sense legislation to prevent gun violence.”

LaMalfa wasn’t there; were he, the effort probably would have been moot, because our congressman is big on guns and gun rights. In fact, he spent part of his Independence Day weekend at the Down Range Indoor Training Center—the Chico gun range that raised hackles for promoting a July 4 giveaway of an AR-15, a weapon similar to the one used in the Orlando shooting.

GOP entrenchment, shored up by the National Rifle Association, has relegated change to statehouses. On that front, we’re proud to be Californians.

Last Friday (July 1), Gov. Jerry Brown signed a half-dozen gun bills. The new state laws require background checks for purchasers of ammunition, prohibit selling semiautomatic weapons with “bullet buttons” to replace magazines, restrict loaning guns without background checks to close relatives, outlaw possessing magazines holding more than 10 rounds and increase penalties for filing false theft reports.

Brown didn’t go gun-control crazy: He vetoed five other bills passed by the Legislature. Those will appear in an initiative, pushed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, on the ballot in November. That’s when California—citizens, not just electeds—can send a loud message to Washington that even Congress should hear.