“It’s clear that the proposals put forward by gubernatorial hopeful Gavin Newsom are less about guns and more about Gavin,” says Eric Meyers, President of the Liberal Gun Club’s California chapter.


With his Oct. 16, 2015 announcement, Gavin Newsom is following a cynical strategy used by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger prior to his gubernatorial run: using a ballot measure as a divisive political issue to exploit a fundraising loophole and evade California’s contribution limits. Fundraising for a ballot proposal is unlimited, while campaign contributions are limited to prevent corruption and ethical violations. Californians will soon see Gavin’s face everywhere, but they should be wary of a politician opening his pockets to special interests. This is about Gavin, not guns.

Gavin’s case against California’s diverse legal gun owners is built on falsehoods. The fundamental truth is that there is no epidemic of gun violence. That may be hard to believe, considering that the National Rifle Association, gun control advocates, and Gavin all use fear to push their agendas. We believe that Californians should have the facts:


  • Violent crime and murders have been dropping for decades. It doesn’t matter how restrictive gun laws are, as states with more and with less restrictive gun control laws have all seen large declines in crime and murder. In fact, in the most recent year reported, Texas had a slightly lower murder rate than California, while having much less restrictive gun laws. [FBI Uniform Crime Reports]
  • Gun homicide rates have decreased by 49% since 1993 and murder rates have steadily declined since 1993. [Pew Research Center and org/FBI UCR]
  • Gun control laws disproportionately impact minority communities due to selective enforcement, with the best example being Michael Bloomberg stop-and-frisk policy in New York City [NYCLU, AZ Central]


Gavin’s initiative is a vehicle for his personal ambitions that is a lemon when examined closely:


  1. Magazine confiscation will be expensive, dangerous, and ineffective. Out of California 38 million citizens, roughly 8 million are gun owners. They comprise 20% of California’s overall population, and many own legal, grandfathered magazines rarely used in crimes. In fact, they are valued collector’s items. The taxpayer money required to go door-to-door to gather up all of these magazines is staggering and, as Gavin knows, completely unrealistic. This proposal will turn good neighbors into felons, putting innocent Californians at risk of jail. It will provide a pretext for invasive policing and dramatically increase the likelihood of deadly police encounters.


  1. Background checks for all ammunition sales already failed in New York and will fail here. New York attempted a similar policy, then backed off because it proved too costly and impossible to implement [NYTIMES]. Just like using restrictions to make legal abortion as difficult as possible, this proposal will make it as difficult as possible for law abiding gun owners and recreational shooters to buy ammunition. As criminals can easily procure ammunition on the black market or in Nevada, Arizona, or Oregon, this measure will cost taxpayers millions of dollars to implement and not make us one bit safer.


  1. Disarming felons and prohibited persons raises issues best handled by the legislature, not a ballot measure. There is good reason why our legislature is still debating this issue. California already has a task force tracking down felons and other prohibited persons to ensure they do not have any firearms. Confiscating firearms is a complex issue best handled by the Department of Justice and the California Legislature.


  1. Required reporting for lost or stolen guns will have zero impact. Governor Brown vetoed a similar proposal two years ago, writing, “Last year I vetoed a nearly identical bill, SB 1366, noting I was not convinced that criminalizing the failure to report a lost or stolen firearm would improve identification of gun traffickers or help law enforcement disarm people prohibited from possessing guns. I continue to believe that responsible people report the loss or theft of a firearm and irresponsible people do not. I remain skeptical that this bill would change those behaviors.” [gov]


  1. NICS database sharing risks violating privacy, especially healthcare data, and stops short of effectively fixing California’s background check system. The state could save millions by shelving the state run background check program and using the federal program instead, as we are already paying for a Federal system.

Gavin’s proposal will eat up California’s dwindling resources better used to reduce our debt, fix our crumbling infrastructure, and improve the lives of all Californians. He is using the pretext of gun control to exploit a fundraising loophole in California law, putting Californians at risk, evading the good judgement of the legislature, and funneling special interest money to his coffers as a pretext to raise his personal profile. This is about Gavin, not guns.


Eric Meyers

California Chapter President

The Liberal Gun Club