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The right to disagree and responsibility to defend the Constitution

I received a letter today from a California Assemblymember that I had contacted before I wrote a blog entry about “goofy” bills in the State Legislature that were occupying the time of lawmakers who STILL, at the cost of $52 million per day, have not enacted a long-overdue (two weeks) state budget.

Without identifying the Assemblymember, I want to thank her for her formal response. So many of her colleagues DO NOT BOTHER. :-) (We should blame their parents for lack of proper upbringing.) :-)

The Assemblymember responded about Assembly Bill (AB) 1810. I will quote one paragraph in its entirety, so that Americans (including lawmakers) in other states, and people in other countries (thank you for the wide readership!), can have some insight into the thought processes of one California lawmaker (who I am sure is not alone in her opinion):

“AB 1810 would make long guns, such as rifles and shotguns, applicable to the same regulations relating to the reporting and retention of records for handguns. While I understand you have concerns about this bill, I supported AB 1810 when it came before me for a vote because I believe it will help to strengthen public safety in our state by ensuring that criminals, those subject to restraining orders, or the dangerously mentally ill do not have access to firearms. The bill passed the Assembly on June 3rd, 2010, and is now in the Senate, where it is currently pending before the Appropriations Committee.”

The letter goes on to say, “Thank you for keeping me informed of your views. Although I regret that we are unable to agree on the merits of this legislation, I hope you will continue to contact me regarding other state issues of concern to you.”

Well, I certainly respect the right to disagree. :-)

I do not have “concerns about this bill” – I have “concerns” about my pool sweep doing its job! :-)

As for AB 1810, the excuse of “public safety” is one of the excuses given for erosion of our liberties. As for “ensuring” that criminals (who already disobey laws, that is why they are “criminals”), those subject to restraining orders (only if they would attempt to PURCHASE firearms legally), or the dangerously mentally ill (the incorrect assumption, and it is a BIG one, is that the dangerously mentally ill have all been diagnosed and identified), AB 1810 would be ineffectual.

In no way does AB 1810 prevent access to firearms by anyone other than the law-abiding. AB 1810 does NOTHING to ENSURE (“ensure” is a pretty absolute term) the prevention of ACCESS to firearms, of the three groups mentioned above. The bill also focuses on firearms, which seem to be an obsession of the State Legislature (and/or an obsession of their lobbyists, who have not taken the oath below), which are certainly not the only inanimate objects that could be employed as weapons by members of the three groups.

It may interest readers in the many states and countries who read this blog to know that “Members of the California Legislature, and all public officers and employees, executive, legislative, and judicial, except such inferior officers and employees as may be by law exempted, shall, before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation:”

“I, ______, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter….”

Well, it seems as though we have a conflict here!

On the one hand, we have California Assembly members almost continuously proposing legislation that “infringes” (definition 1) the Constitutional Right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment, as reaffirmed by TWO (1, 2) recent Supreme Court decisions, under the pretense of “public safety.” On the other hand, these members of the California Assembly have sworn that they “will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States….” The latest Supreme Court decision (MCDONALD ET AL. v. CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, ET AL.) with regard to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, in June 2010, stated that, “The Second Amendment provides Americans a fundamental right to bear arms that cannot be violated by state and local governments….”

Frankly, I do not CARE whether the opinion(s) (“informed” or otherwise :-) ) of anyone in the California General Assembly (or Senate) DISAGREE(S) with my own – such are the makings of a healthy democracy.

I DO care when members of the General Assembly (or Senate), under the pretense of “public safety” seek to be the final arbiters of the Constitutional Rights of Americans living in California!

Sorry, that is not their job. :-)

That is the job of the U.S. Supreme Court, which has rendered TWO judgments recently with regard to the Second Amendment. The second of these presents an interpretation of the law (THEIR job) that a majority of the California Legislature does not seem to wish to obey, in violation of their oaths of office!

Either get behind the Constitution of the United States and obey U.S. laws, or resign and make way for someone who CAN!

Meanwhile, why not scuttle (definition 2) the “goofy” bills and get to work on a state budget? And try not to close any more schools or lay off any more teachers….

Oh, California hunters and target shooters – if you agree with the U.S. Supreme Court and DISAGREE with the California Legislature, you may want to make those in the State Senate aware of your views.

(Note added September 3, 2010: For the outcome of this [latest] battle in the seemingly endless war against your U.S. Constitutional Rights in California, see my entry here.)

-Bill at

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