This Friday, new gun laws take effect in California and Texas, and today news agencies in both states along with the Wall Street Journal are discussing the changes, but what may be more important is how these legal actions are seen six months and a year from now.
In California, as detailed by KSBW in Monterey, three “gun safety” (make that gun control) laws become effective. They include SB199, which requires new markings on “realistic” looking airsoft guns to show they are toys; SB707, which prohibits firearms on campuses and expands the 1995 Gun Free School Zone Act to cover people with carry permits, and AB 1014, that allows family members to obtain restraining orders that temporarily prohibit gun ownership for relatives who “they believe” might commit a violent act.
Contrast the Golden State with the new open carry law that becomes effective in the Lone Star State. According to Fox News, Texas will be the “most populous state” to allow open carry, and if the experience of smaller states is any indication, armed Texans from Brownsville to the Panhandle will be a pretty well-behaved lot. Crime may not go down, but on the other hand, the streets will not become one big shooting range, either.
Watch the crime trends for the next 12 months in both states. See whether the new California laws – especially the one that allows for the disarmament of one family member by another – result in abuses. See whether some Texans can’t resist engaging in boorish behavior just to appear in a YouTube video.
The past couple of months have seen a sharp increase in gun sales and applications for concealed carry licenses and permits across the country. That started right after the Paris terrorist attack and picked up speed following San Bernardino and the reports that President Barack Obama is going to announce executive action on guns after the holidays.
How Congress might react to such executive orders is anyone’s guess. However, some people on Capitol Hill should look across the Potomac for some backbone in Richmond, where State Sen. Bill Carrico, reacting to anti-gun Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s ban on guns in state offices, hinted he might push to strip funding for the governor’s armed security detail.
“I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen,” Carrico said, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.
Now, there’s an idea that ought to apply to any government official anywhere who supports gun control, many activists suggest. That’s a list that could easily include Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
On the other hand, there seems to be a growing chorus in the law enforcement ranks for support of the right to keep and bear arms. A strong example of that can be found on the Facebook page of the Sedro Woolley Police Department, where Chief Lin Tucker recently posted some advice to the public he serves, and specifically to armed private citizens. More than a half-million Washington concealed pistol licenses are in circulation, of which more than 10,000 are held by people in Skagit County, where Tucker’s city is located.
One particular item on Tucker’s list is worth repeating over and over. “Firearms are not dangerous,” the chief observes, “irresponsible people, fools, ignorance, people with no thought for the consequences of their actions and people intent on doing bad things are dangerous. In other words, humans and their actions can be dangerous.”
If there is anyone who does not believe that, just cruise the YouTube videos for speeders and drunk drivers. Watch videos of morons at traffic stops.
California and Texas may provide an interesting study in the year ahead. It behooves people on both sides of the gun debate to pay attention.
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