Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Friday, June 03, 2005

CA legislature ponders more (and more, and more) regulation

SB 357, AB 352, and AB 996 have been passed by their originating houses and sent to the other house for committee hearings and votes. All three of these are time- and money-wasting legislation bringing more Big Brother-type regulation to the state that needs it the least. I just sent this email to my assemblywoman and the Public Safety Committee regarding SB 357:
Senate Bill 357 has been passed by the Senate and is on its way to the Assembly, stopping first at the Public Safety Committee. This bill, introduced at the behest of Attorney-General Lockyer, is so rife with problems that it's difficult to know where to start.

First, there is no evidence whatsoever that the serialization of every bullet manufactured would assist law enforcement in solving crimes, but there is every indication that it will mandate huge new costs on every branch of law enforcement to try to make use of the mountains of data. The vast majority of that data would pertain to law-abiding citizens, and only a miniscule percentage would pertain to criminal use - talk about a needle in a haystack! Maryland has tried a similar scheme with ballistic fingerprinting and has found it unmanageable, prohibitively expensive, and completely ineffectual in solving crimes. Bullet serialization in California will fare no better - it could even make matters worse, making it easier to "poison" the crime scene with a few cartridges not purchased by the perpetrator.

Second, putting this kind of requirement on ammunition manufacturers is just another example of onerous regulation that California foists on companies trying to do business in our state. Gasoline in Blythe, CA is on the order of fifty cents per gallon more expensive than it is one mile down the road at the Flying J in Arizona - a major reason for that is the regulations that force gasoline manufacturers to make special blends of gasoline to sell in California. The same kind of regulation makes cars sold in California more expensive than other states. Should this bill pass, the same will happen for ammunition, and it won't just harm our state's consumers - it will harm the military and law enforcement, who buy their ammunition from the same manufacturers! U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the Armed Services committee, said as much in a letter he sent to Gov. Schwarzenegger.

In an effort to keep this short, I'll stop there - but those two reasons alone should be enough to get my point across. SB 357 needs to be defeated.
Here's the email I sent to my state senator and the Public Safety Committee regarding AB 996:
Assembly Bill 996 has been passed by the Assembly and is on its way to the Senate, stopping first at the Public Safety Committee. The regulation this bill provides for is completely unnecessary. Thinking that the state needs to regulate how a retail shop stores its product is ignoring the basic fact that it's in a shop's best interest to store it as to be as safe for their customers and as safe from theft as possible. This is true for every type of store across the entire spectrum of retail - why do we have to treat ammunition sellers differently? Even if the risk of theft were the main motivator of this bill, plain old common sense will tell you that criminals don't just walk into a gun store and steal ammunition off the counter because it's not locked away! A gun store would have to be the riskiest business for a criminal to try to rob - it's obviously going to be the most well-guarded option, and the most hazardous to his health!

In short, AB 996 is a solution in search of a problem, and it shouldn't be passed by the Senate. It will do no good, solve no observable, measurable problems, only make new criminals out of previously law-abiding store owners.
I didn't send anything to the state senate about AB 352 because it's even more silly than either of the other two - they want every gun manufactured so that it "microstamps" the make, model, and serial number of the gun on each bullet it fires, as it's firing! Are they kidding? One wonders if the CA legislature was around to mandate other innovations of questionable worth to other industries - like the automatic transmission or self-sharpening kitchen knife holders!


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