Well I didn’t think I’d be writing about a budget bill today, but it looks like we’ll have to. Much like we opposed previous bills that stripped due process like the “Gun Restraining Order“, this new bill, which it’s rider had zero relation to any budgetary process, was just signed by Governor Brown.
So what does it do? AB 103 includes the stripping of rights for someone suspected of a felony or a misdemeanor. That’s right, no due process, no verification that the person is actually guilty. And the penalty of having a gun if a warrant is issued? A felony. Even if you are cleared of the initial crime, (even the misdemeanor), if you had a gun when the warrant was out, then you’re subject to a wholly unrelated and worse charge. Which then ensures you lose your rights to own a firearm for life upon conviction. As a card carrying member of the ACLU and the LGC, I can’t see how this follows due process or equal protection. Given that 1 in 25 people in this country are wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, and 40% of wrongful convictions overall are due to official misconduct, this new law in California is a chilling removal of rights before we’ve even gotten to the point of “reasonable doubt” with the jury.
Further, given the racial bias in drug arrests, despite similar drug use rates, this will be used as yet another bludgeon in African American communities to levy crippling charges and further drive our already largest prison population in the world to new levels. And despite having some of the most restrictive firearms laws in the country, California is faring worse than Texas in their firearm murder rate. 3.14/100k vs 2.81/100k according to the FBI’s UCR. This will be another one that sounds good on paper but won’t deliver any actual results.
This law fails to follow due process and creates criminals out of thin air- for these reasons, we are fully opposed to these bill riders.