San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon recently spoke out against the Safety for All Act, an initiative led by California’s Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. If the measure qualifies for the November ballot and is approved by the voters, it would prohibit possession of large-capacity military-style magazines; treat ammunition sales like gun sales; remove guns from felons; require the reporting of lost or stolen guns; and share information about prohibited people with the federal government.
In an interview with National Rifle Association (NRA) News correspondent Ginny Simone, McMahon says the law is simply not needed. “I don’t think it is going to make any difference at all in violence in the state of California.”
McMahon, who as sheriff has increased the number of concealed weapon permit approvals in the county since taking office, says the law will criminalize citizens exercising their Second Amendment freedom. “You’re taking normal law-abiding citizens and turning them into criminals. The laws are all in place. Felons are not supposed to have guns. We just need to focus on that and not create any new laws to try to restrict those that can legally possess firearms from doing so.”
California banned high-capacity magazines year ago. This measure takes it one step further. McMahon explains, “We have already banned high-capacity magazines. However, when the law was passed, if you owned a high-capacity magazine that can accommodate more than 10 rounds of ammunition, you could continue to possess it.
“This initiative would force current owners of high-capacity magazines to sell them to a licensed gun dealer or give them to somebody in another state. This is just another piece of legislation that would create another bureaucracy in the state of California,” McMahon concluded.
Perhaps of even more concern is the act’s requirement that background checks be done on anyone purchasing ammunition. The sheriff explained, “And then for citizens to register and have a card and pay a fee to buy ammunition and then register every time they purchase that ammunition, I think that is overreach of government. I don’t think it is going to make any difference at all.”
McMahon says that it is his experience that criminals in possession of firearms rarely are carrying a fresh box of ammunition. He says it is normally a mixed bag. “I don’t see the suspects involved in these crimes going to the gun store to buy ammunition,” said McMahon.
Sheriff McMahon went on to say that there are not enough law enforcement officers on the streets to enforce the laws already on the books. He asked who would enforce the new laws. He also reminded Simone that the California Department of Justice already cannot keep up with who currently owns firearms and who is not supposed to own them.
When asked if he thought the new law would have prevented Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the assailants behind the Dec. 2, 2015, attack in San Bernardino that killed 14 and wounded 22, from obtaining weapons, he said it would not. “These folks were not on anybody’s radar. There was nothing to suggest that they would be banned from purchasing ammunition and/or the firearms.”
To learn more about the act, visit Safety for All Act. Proponents need the required signatures by June 28, 2016, if the measure is to qualify for the ballot. They reached the 25 percent mark on Feb. 22, 2016. A total of 365,880 qualifying signatures is required.